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Parasitology. 1996 Oct;113 ( Pt 4):403-14.

Neutrophil granule proteins: evidence for the participation in the host reaction to skin microfilariae of Onchocerca volvulus after diethylcarbamazine administration.

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Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany.


The participation of neutrophil granulocytes in the cellular reaction to skin microfilariae of Onchocerca volvulus was studied by immunohistochemistry. Skin biopsies were obtained from adult Liberian and Ugandan patients with generalized onchocerciasis after exposure to topically applied diethylcarbamazine (DEC) and from untreated patients. After DEC many damaged microfilariae were observed either in dermal infiltrates or in epidermal microabscesses consisting both of neutrophils and eosinophils. Infiltrates and microabscesses contained some intact granulocytes and many neutrophils releasing myeloperoxidase, elastase, lactoferrin, defensin, lysozyme, alpha 1-antitrypsin and alpha 1-antichymotrypsin. Eosinophils discharged peroxidase and cationic proteins. Released granule proteins and remnants of disrupted granulocytes were found on the surface and in close proximity of damaged microfilariae in dermal infiltrates and epidermal microabscesses. In larger microabscesses neutrophils were predominant. These observations show that neutrophils and not only eosinophils recruit, accumulate, localize around and release their helminthotoxic granule proteins such as myeloperoxidase onto or closely around skin microfilariae of O. volvulus after topical DEC administration. The association between these processes and the damage of the microfilariae indicated that neutrophils together with eosinophils attack and damage microfilariae of O. volvulus after DEC treatment in the skin.

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