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Exp Parasitol. 1987 Dec;64(3):485-98.

Leishmania mexicana: a cytochemical and quantitative study of lysosomal enzymes in infected rat bone marrow-derived macrophages.

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Département de Physiopathologie expérimentale, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


The cellular localization and activity of the lysosomal enzymes acid phosphatase, trimetaphosphatase, and arylsulfatase were studied in rat bone marrow-derived macrophages infected with Leishmania mexicana amazonensis amastigotes. The specific activity of acid phosphatase normalized for protein content was similar in normal macrophages and in isolated amastigotes, whereas the latter were markedly deficient in trimetaphosphatase and arylsulfatase activities. It is thus likely that trimetaphosphatase and arylsulfatase activities detected in infected macrophages were of host cell origin. The activities of the three enzymes, assayed biochemically, varied independently in the infected macrophages. While arylsulfatase activity was unchanged after infection, the activity of acid phosphatase increased by 19, 40, and 94% at 6, 24, and 48 hr, respectively. Trimetaphosphatase activity rose only slightly during the first 24 hr after infection but increased by 74% at 48 hr. The rise in acid phosphatase activity could be accounted for only partially by multiplication of the amastigotes. Thus, as for trimetaphosphatase, these results suggest enhanced macrophage synthesis of acid phosphatase and/or reduced enzyme degradation by the infected macrophages. The reduction in host cell lysosomes previously described (Ryter et al. 1983; Barbieri et al. 1985) was confirmed but appearance of lysosomal enzyme activity in the parasitophorous vacuole is documented in the present report. Thus, Leishmania do not seem to reduce the amount and the activity of host lysosomal enzymes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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