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Int Immunol. 2005 Nov;17(11):1505-12. Epub 2005 Oct 7.

Characterization of human phagocyte-derived chitotriosidase, a component of innate immunity.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 22700, 1100 DE, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Man has been found to produce highly conserved chitinases. The most prominent is the phagocyte-derived chitotriosidase, the plasma levels of which are markedly elevated in some pathological conditions. Here, we report that both polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) and macrophages (m) are a source of chitotriosidase. The enzyme is located in specific granules of human PMNs and secreted following stimulation with granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). In addition, GM-CSF induces expression of chitotriosidase in m that constitutively secrete the enzyme and partly accumulate it in their lysosomes. Studies with recombinant human chitotriosidase revealed that the enzyme targets chitin-containing fungi. These findings are consistent with earlier observations concerning anti-fungal activity of homologous plant chitinases and beneficial effects of GM-CSF administration in individuals suffering from invasive fungal infections. In conclusion, chitotriosidase should be viewed as a component of the innate immunity that may play a role in defence against chitin-containing pathogens and the expression and release of which by human phagocytes is highly regulated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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