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Can J Vet Res. 1995 Apr;59(2):110-7.

Dissociation of cytolysis and monokine release by bovine mononuclear phagocytes incubated with Pasteurella haemolytica partially purified leukotoxin and lipopolysaccharide.

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  • 1Department of Pathobiological Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.


The bovine respiratory pathogen Pasteurella haemolytica secretes an exotoxin that is specific for ruminant leukocytes (leukotoxin). Previous studies have shown that subcytolytic concentrations of the leukotoxin stimulate bovine neutrophils to undergo a respiratory burst and degranulate. Relatively little is known about the stimulatory effects of the leukotoxin on bovine mononuclear phagocytes. In this study, we compared the relative cytolytic effects of partially purified leukotoxin on bovine peripheral blood monocytes and alveolar macrophages. We found monocytes to be approximately 8- to 10-fold more sensitive than alveolar macrophages to the cytolytic effect of leukotoxin. In addition, incubation of monocytes and alveolar macrophages with sublethal doses of leukotoxin stimulated release of IL-1 and TNF activities in a dose-dependent manner. Addition of an antileukotoxin MAb neutralized the cytolytic effects of leukotoxin, but potentiated TNF release. Heat inactivation also blocked the cytolytic activity of LKT, but only slightly reduced its ability to stimulate TNF release. Although the leukotoxin preparations were estimated to have only small amounts of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) contamination, as determined by a standard Limulus amebocyte lysate coagulation assay, a chromogenic Limulus assay indicated much greater amounts of LPS were present. Adding equivalent doses of P. haemolytica LPS largely duplicated the monokine release stimulated by leukotoxin. These results suggest that the stimulatory effects of the P. haemolytica leukotoxin on bovine mononuclear phagocytes may principally involve LPS, perhaps complexed with leukotoxin.

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