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Med Microbiol Immunol. 1999 Mar;187(3):143-7.

Inducible anti-parasitic effector mechanisms in human uroepithelial cells: tryptophan degradation vs. NO production.

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Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Virologie, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany.


In murine cells the most important effector mechanism directed against the intracellular pathogen Toxoplasma gondii is the production of toxic nitrogen oxides. In contrast the induction of the tryptophan degrading enzyme indolamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) has been described to be the most effective anti-parasitic mechanism in most human cells. In this report we analysed IDO induction and NO production in the human uroepithelial carcinoma cell line RT4. We found that after stimulation with IFN-gamma these cells were able to restrict toxoplasma growth. This was due to an activation of IDO, and the anti-parasitic effect mediated by RT4 cells was abrogated by the addition of L-tryptophan. In addition we found that the costimulation of RT4 cells with IL-1 and IFN-gamma results in the production of nitric oxide, and that in RT4 cells stimulated with both these cytokines, IDO activity and toxoplasmostasis was lower than in cells stimulated with IFN-gamma alone. This IL-1-mediated inhibition of IFN-gamma-induced IDO activity and toxoplasmostasis could be blocked by monomethyl L-arginine, an inhibitor of NO production. We therefore conclude that the induction of indolamine 2,3-dioxygenase activity in human cells is a very important effector mechanism directed against Toxoplasma gondii, and that in human cells the production of NO might be involved in the regulation of IDO activity.

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