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Clin Exp Immunol. 1996 Apr;104(1):48-53.

Differential nitric oxide (NO) production by macrophages from mice and guinea pigs infected with virulent and avirulent Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Hôpital Bichat-Claude Bernard, Paris, France.


L-arginine-dependent reactive nitrogen intermediates have been identified as macrophage cytotoxic effector molecules against intracellular pathogens. To determine its role, ex vivo production of NO by peritoneal macrophages of C3H/HeN mice and Dunkin-Hartley guinea pigs infected intraperitoneally with a virulent and isogenic avirulent Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 strain was compared with bacterial clearance from the lungs. While the virulent strain was cleared from mice lungs, the guinea pigs died within 96 h. In vivo infection with both strains resulted in the production of NO by mouse peritoneal macrophages ex vivo. In contrast, guinea pig macrophages did not produce detectable NO. In addition, infection by the avirulent strain led to the production of significantly more NO by mouse macrophages than the virulent parent strain, irrespective of stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LP) and/or interferon-gamma (ifn-gamma). These results suggest that resistance to Leg. pneumophila infection may depend on the production of NO by host macrophages.

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