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Am J Vet Res. 1986 Feb;47(2):438-40.

In vitro bactericidal efficacy of equine polymorphonuclear leukocytes against Corynebacterium equi.


Polymorphonuclear leukocytes from adult horses were separated from whole blood, using a 2-step Percoll gradient, and were tested for bactericidal function against Corynebacterium equi. Staphylococcus aureus, an organism against which equine neutrophils have proved efficacy, was a positive control. The percentage of uptake after a 15-minute preincubation of the neutrophils and bacteria in the presence of normal horse serum was also calculated. The results indicated that equine neutrophils effectively phagocytosed and killed C equi and S aureus. The percentage of uptake for S aureus (95% +/- 3%) was greater than that for C equi (85% +/- 6%) (P less than 0.001), but the bactericidal efficacy was equivalent. More than 90% of the ingested or attached bacteria were destroyed during the 3-hour incubation period (mean percentage of C equi killed = 96 +/- 2%; mean percentage of S aureus killed = 91 +/- 8%). These results indicated that a failure of bacterial killing by neutrophils is unlikely to be important in the pathogenesis of C equi pneumonia in the horse.

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