Differential contribution of chemotaxins and opsonins to neutrophil-mediated killing of Schistosoma mansoni larvae

C. H. King, P. J. Spagnuolo, J. J. Ellner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In neutrophil-mediated killing of schistosomula, antibody and serum complement serve two functions: (i) opsonization of the target pathogen and (ii) generation of cell-activating, chemotactic peptides. We studied neutrophil-mediated schistosomulum killing in experiments designed to isolate these functions of antibody and complement in the cell activation response of neutrophils to external pathogens. Schistosomula opsonized by antibody or antibody plus complement induced neutrophil-mediated killing, while complement-opsonized larvae did not. Antibody enhancement of cell-mediated killing correlated with increased cell-to-parasite adherence, while cell-mediated killing in the presence of fresh normal human serum (providing chemotactic factor stimulation and complement opsonization of larvae) demonstrated a dissociation between neutrophil adhesive and killing responses. Exogenous chemotactic stimuli were found to enhance significantly neutrophil-mediated killing of both opsonized and unopsonized larvae. Experiments involving parabiotic chambers confirmed that chemotactic-factor-stimulated neutrophils may cause significant parasite mortality without direct cell-parasite contact. In further analysis of the neutrophil response to surface and fluid-phase stimulation, release of neutrophil cytotoxic mediators was found to vary according to the type of stimulus provided: cell exposure to either larvae opsonized by antibody plus complement or to chemotactic factors provoked low-to-moderate cell release of superoxide anion, granule enzymes, and arginase; when opsonic and chemotactic stimuli were combined, a greater-than-additive secretory response was noted. Under such maximal stimulation, oxidative and nonoxidative mediators were synergistic in effecting neutrophil-mediated parasite killing. The primary function of complement in cell-mediated parasite killing appears to be to promote chemotactic-factor-mediated cellular release of toxic agents and not cell-target linkage, whereas antibody-mediated adherence is associated with concurrent cellular activation. Both neutrophils adherent to the antibody-opsonized schistosomulum and chemotactic-factor-stimulated cells (adherent and not adherent to the parasite) appear to contribute significantly to its demise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)748-755
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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