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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Aug 15, 1995; 92(17): 7804–7808.
PMCID: PMC41234

The killing of Leishmania major by human macrophages is mediated by nitric oxide induced after ligation of the Fc epsilon RII/CD23 surface antigen.

Abstract

Serum IgE concentrations and the expression of the low-affinity receptor for IgE (Fc epsilon RII/CD23) are increased in cutaneous leishmaniasis or after immune challenge with Leishmania antigens. In vitro, the ligation of CD23 by IgE-anti-IgE immune complexes (IgE-IC) or by anti-CD23 monoclonal antibody (mAb) induces nitric oxide (NO) synthase and the generation of various cytokines by human monocytes/macrophages. The present study shows that IgE-IC, via CD23 binding, induce intracellular killing of Leishmania major in human monocyte-derived macrophages through the induction of the L-arginine:NO pathway. This was demonstrated by increased generation of nitrite (NO2-), the stable oxidation product of NO, and by the ability of NG-monomethyl-L-arginine to block both NO generation and parasite killing. A similar NO-dependent effect was observed with interferon gamma-treated cells. Tumor necrosis factor alpha is involved in this process, since both the induction of NO synthase and the killing of parasites caused by anti-CD23 mAb were inhibited by an anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha mAb. Treatment of noninfected CD23+ macrophages with IgE-IC provided protection against subsequent in vitro infection of these cells by Leishmania major promastigotes. Thus, IgE-IC promote killing of L. major by inducing NO synthase in human macrophages.

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