Send to

Choose Destination
J Clin Invest. 1993 Apr;91(4):1553-66.

Direct interactions of human lymphocytes with the yeast-like organism, Cryptococcus neoformans.

Author information

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City 73190.


Lymphocytes, especially CD4+ T cells, are essential for clearance of the yeast-like organism Cryptococcus neoformans from the infected host. The mechanism(s) by which the lymphocytes facilitate elimination of cryptococci has not been elucidated. It is generally thought, however, that lymphocytes reactive with C. neoformans indirectly function by production of lymphokines to enhance clearance of the organism by natural effector cells such as macrophages. In the present study, we assessed the ability of freshly isolated human lymphocytes to interact directly with C. neoformans and to limit the growth of the organism in vitro. We found that large granular lymphocytes (LGL) as well as T cells bound to cryptococcal cells when the lymphocytes were mixed with the cryptococcal cells at a 2:1 ratio. The physical binding interactions of the two lymphocyte populations were different. LGL attached to the cryptococcal cells by many microvilli; T lymphocytes associated with the yeast through broad areas of membrane attached to the cryptococcal cell surface. The two types of lymphocyte interactions did not result in phagocytosis but resulted in direct inhibition of cryptococcal growth, making these lymphocyte interactions with cryptococci distinctly different from interactions of monocytes with cryptococci. With the human natural killer (NK) cell line, NK 3.3, we confirmed that NK cells that were present in the LGL population were capable of limiting the growth of C. neoformans. Through immunoelectron microscopy, human CD3+ lymphocytes were seen attached to cryptococcal cells and by mass cytolysis, human CD3+ lymphocytes were shown to be responsible for inhibition of C. neoformans growth. The direct inhibitory interactions of NK cells and T lymphocytes with cryptococcal cells may be important means of host defense against this ubiquitous organism that frequently causes life-threatening disease in AIDS patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Society for Clinical Investigation Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center