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Infect Immun. 1992 Jul;60(7):2914-9.

Interaction of Mycoplasma dispar with bovine alveolar macrophages.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Preventive Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames 50011.


The capacity to avoid phagocytosis and the activation of bovine alveolar macrophages (BAM) by encapsulated Mycoplasma dispar or purified M. dispar capsule was investigated. Encapsulated and unencapsulated M. dispar were cocultured with BAM in the presence or absence of antisera prepared against unencapsulated M. dispar or purified capsule antiserum. Unopsonized mycoplasmas resisted phagocytosis, while only anti-capsule antibodies enhanced the phagocytosis of encapsulated mycoplasmas. BAM were cultured in the presence of purified M. dispar capsule or either live or heat-killed encapsulated or unencapsulated M. dispar. These BAM were then activated with Escherichia coli endotoxin or left without further activation. The supernatants of these cultures were assayed for tumor necrosis factor, interleukin 1, and glucose consumption as indicators of macrophage activation. Tumor necrosis factor and interleukin 1 were produced by BAM stimulated with unencapsulated M. dispar but not when encapsulated M. dispar or its purified capsule was used. Similarly, glucose consumption was increased in the presence of unencapsulated M. dispar, but not when BAM were cocultured with encapsulated M. dispar or purified capsule. When BAM were treated with purified capsule or encapsulated mycoplasmas, they could not be subsequently activated by endotoxin. These results indicate that encapsulated M. dispar or purified capsule exerts an inhibitory effect on the activity of BAM and prevents the activation of these cells.

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