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J Leukoc Biol. 1992 Dec;52(6):625-9.

Killing of Legionella pneumophila by nitric oxide in gamma-interferon-activated macrophages.

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Department of Medicine, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Kentucky 40292.


The role of nitric oxide (NO) radicals in killing the intracellular bacterial pathogen Legionella pneumophila (Lp) was examined in infected macrophages. Murine (RAW 264.7) and human (HL-60) cell monolayers were treated with 100 U/ml gamma-interferon (IFN) and cocultured with Lp in the presence and absence of NGMMA, a specific inhibitor of NO production. Viable Lp in IFN-treated RAW 264.7 cells decreased from 3.8 to 0.7 +/- 0.12 log CFU/ml after 24 h incubation, whereas in IFN+NGMMA-treated RAW 264.7 cells, viable Lp persisted at 2.2 +/- 0.2 log CFU/ml after 24 h. This increased survival corresponded with an inhibition of NO production (5.65 +/- 2.99 microM with NGMMA vs. 58.6 +/- 5.36 microM without NGMMA). Viable Lp were susceptible to killing, in a dose-dependent fashion, by 0, 2.5, and 5.0 mM sodium nitroprusside, a source of NO radicals. IFN-treated RAW 264.7 cells also had significantly decreased levels of intracellular iron (below assay limit) when compared to IFN+NGMMA-treated cells (72.0 +/- 0.78% of control). Normally permissive HL-60 cells treated with IFN were bacteriostatic rather than bactericidal, and NO production was not detected above background. Thus, NO radicals play a critical role in the bactericidal activity against Lp by IFN-treated RAW 264.7 cells, but the absence of NO production limits IFN-treated HL-60 cells to bacteriostasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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