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Infect Immun. 2013 Sep;81(9):3346-55. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00625-13. Epub 2013 Jun 24.

Human and mouse macrophages collaborate with neutrophils to kill larval Strongyloides stercoralis.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Macrophages are multifunctional cells that are active in TH1- and TH2-mediated responses. In this study, we demonstrate that human and mouse macrophages collaborate with neutrophils and complement to kill the parasite Strongyloides stercoralis in vitro. Infection of mice with worms resulted in the induction of alternatively activated macrophages (AAM) within the peritoneal cavity. These cells killed the worms in vivo and collaborated with neutrophils and complement during the in vitro killing process. AAM generated in vitro killed larvae more rapidly than naive macrophages, which killed larvae after a longer time period. In contrast, classically activated macrophages were unable to kill larvae either in vitro or in vivo. This study adds macrophages to the armamentarium of immune components that function in elimination of parasitic helminths and demonstrate a novel function by which AAM control large extracellular parasites.

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