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J Immunol Methods. 1997 Jan 15;200(1-2):55-68.

Functional assays for evaluation of serogroup B meningococcal structures as mediators of human opsonophagocytosis.

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Medical Department B, University of Bergen, Haukeland Hospital, Norway.


Functional flow cytometry and chemiluminescence (CL) assays have been modified to identify serogroup B meningococcal structures that mediate anti-meningococcal opsonophagocytosis. Serogroup B meningococcal outer membrane vesicles (OMV) were adsorbed to fluorescent latex beads (OMV-beads) and opsonized with acute phase and convalescence sera from patients with serogroup B meningococcal disease. Phagocytosis of these beads by human monocytes and polymorphonuclear leukocytes (non-lymphocytes) was dependent on both antigen exposure on the bead surface and on serum opsonization. OMV-beads opsonized with serum from a patient recovering from meningococcal disease, caused 97% of the non-lymphocytes to phagocytose an average of 15.8 beads per cell with a CL response of 46,550 mVs, whereas opsonized control beads were phagocytosed by 19% of the non-lymphocytes with 1.1 beads per cell and a CL response of 53 mVs. Increased amounts of functional, anti-OMV opsonins were detected during infection, and opsonized OMV-beads elicited phagocyte responses of similar magnitude to those of opsonized whole meningococci. Phagocyte internalization of OMV-beads was confirmed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. We conclude that epitopes on the meningococcal outer membrane are recognized by anti-meningococcal opsonins in these functional phagocytosis assays, which provide a basis for subsequent evaluation of various purified bacterial components as mediators of human opsonophagocytic responses and hence future vaccine constituents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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