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Microbiol Immunol. 1997;41(9):657-64.

Anti-chemotactic activity of capsular polysaccharide of Cryptococcus neoformans in vitro.

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Department of Microbiology, Yamanashi Medical University, Japan.


In this study, we demonstrated the anti-chemotactic activity of the capsular polysaccharides (CPSs) isolated from each of the heavily (H)- and weakly (W)-encapsulated strains of Cryptococcus neoformans in vitro. The capacity for activation of the alternative complement pathway (ACP) of cells of the two C. neoformans strains in fresh human sera was comparable to that of zymosan (insoluble control), whereas the capacity for generation of the chemotactic factor (CF) of the cells of the two strains in fresh murine sera was markedly lower in the order H- < W-strain than that of zymosan. Conversely, the capacities for ACP activation and CF generation of the CPSs were extremely lower than those of lipopolysaccharide (LPS, soluble control). When zymosan-activated murine serum was incubated with CPS, both CPSs inhibited CF activity dose dependently. When zymosan-activated serum was incubated with heat-killed cells of each strain of C. neoformans, H and W, the CF activity of the treated sera decreased significantly, suggesting that CPS per se did not affect the neutrophils directly, but CPS absorbed CF. On the other hand, both CPSs were shown to possess the O-acetyl groups in their molecules by 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The de-O-acetylation of both CPSs increased the capacity for ACP activation to a level similar to that of LPS, and the de-O-acetylated CPS of both strains exhibited a lower ability to inhibit CF than did native CPS. Collectively, these results suggest that the anti-chemotactic activity of CPS accounts for its ability to absorb the CF which was mostly generated at the sites around the cell wall of whole cells via the ACP, thus suppressing the inflammatory response by preventing dispersal of CF to the extracellular space; and also that the O-acetyl group is partly, if any, involved in the mechanism for incompetence in ACP activation as well as the inhibition of CF.

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