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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1994 Sep 15;122(1-2):187-93.

Simultaneous measurement by flow cytometry of phagocytosis and metabolic burst induced in phagocytic cells in whole blood by Borrelia burgdorferi.

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Institute of Microbiology, University of Trieste, Italy.


This paper describes the interactions between a strain of Borrelia burgdorferi and phagocytic cells, measured in whole blood, by a two-color flow cytometric method, which allowed the simultaneous quantification of both the phagocytosis rate and the oxidative burst activation. The data obtained indicated that: a) phagocytosis and metabolic activation increased as a function of spirochete concentration; b) the number of ingesting cells peaked within 10 min but activation followed later, and did not involve all the phagocytosing cells; c) opsonization of borreliae with a patient's serum enhanced the two cellular activities, mostly phagocytosis. The intensity of such functions was lower than those found for Staphylococcus aureus. The flow cytometric assay of phagocytes interactions with Borrelia burgdorferi assessed in whole blood represents an experimental approach which simulates the physiological conditions in nature.

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