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J Infect Dis. 1992 Oct;166(4):866-73.

Binding of unopsonized Cryptococcus neoformans by human bronchoalveolar macrophages: inhibition by a large-molecular-size serum component.

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  • 1Evans Memorial Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital, Boston University Medical Center, Massachusetts 02118.


Infection with Cryptococcus neoformans usually begins after inhalation of airborne organisms. Since levels of opsonins in the alveolar space may be low, the ability of human bronchoalveolar macrophages to bind C. neoformans in the presence and absence of opsonins was studied. Bronchoalveolar macrophages bound unopsonized C. neoformans. Surprisingly, component(s) in pooled human serum (PHS) inhibited binding, as evidenced by 26% and 71% inhibition of binding when 20% PHS and heat-inactivated PHS (HI-PHS), respectively, were added to the system. Separation of PHS by molecular size revealed that the inhibitory component had an apparent molecular weight greater than 10(6) and was inhibitory at nanomolar concentrations. PHS stimulated and HI-PHS had no effect on binding of acapsular C. neoformans and zymosan particles to bronchoalveolar macrophages. These data demonstrate that bronchoalveolar macrophages can bind unopsonized, encapsulated C. neoformans, but that serum component(s) inhibits binding.

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