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Microbiol Immunol. 1990;34(3):231-43.

Enhancement of cytotoxicity of active macrophages by mycoplasma: role of mycoplasma-associated induction of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) in macrophages.

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Department of Microbiology, Kurume University, School of Medicine, Fukuoka.


Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-inducing activity of several mycoplasmas including Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a causative agent in human respiratory infectious diseases, was investigated. Purified peritoneal macrophages from BALB/c mice markedly enhanced their cytotoxic activity to Meth A cells, when cultured with either viable or non-viable mycoplasmas. The supernatants of the macrophage culture with mycoplasmas, M. pneumoniae and Acholeplasma laidlawii, showed the potent cytotoxic activity to TNF-alpha-sensitive L cells but not to TNF-alpha-insensitive L cells. Addition of anti-TNF-alpha antiserum inhibited completely the cytotoxic activity of these supernatants, indicating that a major part of the cytotoxic activity might be due to TNF-alpha. Various other mycoplasmas, either glucose- or arginine-utilizing species, as far as tested showed also the potent activity to produce TNF-alpha. These results strongly suggest the possibility that mycoplasmas possess the activity of TNF-alpha induction which might be responsible for a part of enhancement of cytotoxic activity of macrophages and resistance to infection with mycoplasmas in vivo.

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