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Infect Immun. 1997 Nov;65(11):4790-4.

The major surface glycoprotein of Pneumocystis carinii induces release and gene expression of interleukin-8 and tumor necrosis factor alpha in monocytes.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Copenhagen, Hvidovre Hospital, Denmark.


Recent studies suggest that interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) may play a central role in host defense and pathogenesis during Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. In order to investigate whether the major surface antigen (MSG) of human P. carinii is capable of eliciting the release of IL-8 and TNF-alpha, human monocytes were cultured in the presence of purified MSG. MSG-stimulated cells released significant amounts of IL-8 within 4 h, and at 20 h, cells stimulated with MSG released 45.5 +/- 9.3 ng of IL-8/ml versus 3.7 +/- 1.1 ng/ml for control cultures (P = 0.01). In a similar fashion, MSG elicited release of TNF-alpha. Initial increases were also seen at 4 h, and at 20 h, TNF-alpha levels reached 6.4 +/- 1.1 ng/ml, compared to 0.08 +/- 0.01 ng/ml for control cultures (P < 0.01). A concentration-dependent increase in IL-8 and TNF-alpha secretion was observed at 20 h with 0.2 to 5 microg of MSG/ml (P < 0.01). Secretion of IL-8 and TNF-alpha from MSG-stimulated monocytes at 20 h was inhibited by 60 and 86%, respectively, after coincubation with soluble yeast mannan (P = 0.01). With an RNase protection assay, increases in steady-state mRNA levels for IL-8 and TNF-alpha were detectable at 4 h. These data show that recognition of MSG by monocytes involves a mannose-mediated mechanism and results in the release of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-8 and TNF-alpha.

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