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Hua Xi Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 1992 Jun;23(2):126-9.

[Investigation of microbicidal activity of neutrophil defensins against leptospires].

[Article in Chinese]


Defensins play an important role in oxygen-independent microbicidal mechanisms of neutrophils. They are effective against many bacteria, fungi and enveloped viruses. However, the effect of defensins upon leptospires has not been studied. In the present report, human defensins (i.e. HNP, a mixture of HNP1, HNP2 and HNP3 were prepared from human polymorphonuclear neutrophils by chromatography on Sephadex G-100 and then on Biogel P-10. Rabbit defensin NP1 was purified from rabbit peritoneal granulocytes by preparative acid urea polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. By using the most-probable-number procedure, HNP and NP1 were tested in vitro for the killing of leptospira interrogans serogroup icteroheamorrhagiae serovar lai strain 017. NP1 was highly effective. When leptospires of strain 017 were incubated with 1 microgram/ml of NP1 at 30 degrees C for 4 hours, > 99% of these organisms were killed. HNP was less potent than NP1, and at 50 micrograms/ml, it killed > 90% of leptospires. As is also the case for the killing of bacteria, NP1 was active against leptospires in nutrient-free buffer, whereas HNP required the addition of glucose. The data suggest that defensins could play a major role in the killing of leptospires by neutrophils.

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