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J Immunol. 1990 Apr 1;144(7):2725-9.

Microbiostatic effect of murine-activated macrophages for Toxoplasma gondii. Role for synthesis of inorganic nitrogen oxides from L-arginine.

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Immunology Research Department, Gillis W. Long Hansen's Disease Center, Carville, LA 70721.


Recent studies show the importance of a single amino acid, L-arginine, as a necessary substrate for activated macrophage-mediated cytotoxic activity for tumor target cells and microbiostatic function for Cryptococcus neoformans. The present studies were carried out to determine the role of the L-arginine-dependent macrophage effector function on the microbiostatic effects of activated macrophages on the obligate intracellular protozoan, Toxoplasma gondii. A guanidino methylated derivative of L-arginine, NGmonomethyl-L-arginine (NGMMA), a competitive inhibitor of the L-arginine-dependent effector pathway, virtually abolished the normally potent microbiostatic effect of macrophages for Toxoplasma gondii after activation of the macrophages in vitro by IFN-gamma and LPS or in vivo by i.p. injection of killed Corynebacterium parvum. Addition of supplemental L-arginine to the culture medium overcame the capacity of NGMMA to block activated macrophage-mediated microbiostasis of Toxoplasma. The ability of NGMMA to inhibit the microbiostatic capacity of activated macrophages for Toxoplasma gondii correlated with almost total inhibition of synthesis of nitrite, nitrate, and L-citrulline from L-arginine. Therefore, as is the case for tumor target cells and C. neoformans, the synthesis of inorganic nitrogen oxides from a terminal guanidino nitrogen atom of L-arginine appears to be essential for murine cytotoxic activated macrophage mediated microbiostatic capacity for T. gondii.

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