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Immunology. 1986 Nov;59(3):333-8.

Activation of macrophages to inhibit proliferation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis: comparison of the effects of recombinant gamma-interferon on human monocytes and murine peritoneal macrophages.


When cultured in 20% heat-inactivated human serum, human monocytes from seven donors were not on average significantly different from non-activated murine peritoneal cells (cultured simultaneously and in an identical manner) in their ability to inhibit BCG and, when calculated relative to growth of bacilli in the same medium without macrophages, to enhance the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Recombinant gamma-interferon caused marked inhibition of virulent M. tuberculosis by murine (BALB/c) peritoneal macrophages. This effect was seen, whether the cells were cultured in 10% fetal calf serum or in 20% heat-inactivated normal human serum, with or without the addition of iron supplements. However, unlike murine cells, the addition of crude lymphokine or recombinant gamma-interferon to human monocytes caused only weak inhibition of M. tuberculosis, and in some instances, gamma-interferon caused enhancement of growth of the bacilli. Monocytes were only slightly more effective if precultured for 4-8 days before the addition of the activating stimulus. This relative failure to develop anti-mycobacterial mechanisms occurred in spite of the activation of the cells as shown by a massive increase in reduction of nitro-blue tetrazolium inducible by phorbol myristate acetate.

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