Physiologic oxygen tensions limit oxidant-mediated killing of schistosome eggs by inflammatory cells and isolated granulomas

G. M. Feldman, A. M. Dannenberg, J. L. Seed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Explanted hepatic granulomas, eosinophils obtained from the peritoneal cavity of schistosome-infected mice, schistosome egg granuloma macrophages, alveolar macrophages, and activated peritoneal macrophages obtained from Listeria-infected mice were miracidicidal when cultured at 21% oxygen. This activity was markedly attenuated at physiologic oxygen concentrations (1-15%). Catalase and superoxide dismutase blocked the miracidicidal activity of inflammatory cells but did not prevent granuloma-mediated egg killing. However, the biomimetic superoxide dismutase, copper (II) [diisopropyl salicylate]2, inhibited granuloma-mediated egg killing in a dose-dependent, apparently nontoxic manner. Thioglycollate-elicited macrophages did not kill schistosome egg miracidia even when cultured in 21% oxygen, unless pretreated with lipololysaccharide. Isolated schistosome eggs initiated an oxidative burst in macrophages, as measured by superoxide anion production. This burst was suppressed at reduced oxygen concentrations. Thus schistosome egg miracidia can be killed nonspecifically by macrophages through the release of cytotoxic reactive oxygen intermediates triggered by the egg. This activity is not suppressed by the oxygen concentrations found in most tissues, with the possible exception of the lung. Schistosoma mansoni eggs, injected intravenously and lodged in the pulmonary vasculature of mice, were killed rapidly, with a half life of 3.5 days. Eggs, injected into the mesenteric veins and lodged in the liver, remained fully viable for several weeks. The data suggest that the high oxygen tension of the lungs allows for the increased production of reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI) by local inflammatory cells, which in turn increases their miracidicidal efficiency. Conversely, the relatively hypoxic environment of the liver decreases ROI production by local inflammatory cells and decreases their miracidicidal efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-354
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidants
  • Macrophages
  • Miracidia
  • Reactive oxygen intermediates
  • Schistosoma mansoni

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology


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