Suppression of macrophage antimicrobial activity by a tumor cell product
Medium conditioned by tumor cells (TCM) and certain nonmalignant cells contains a trypsin-sensitive factor that suppresses macrophage oxidative metabolism. Because the killing of intracellular pathogens such as Toxoplasma gondii and Leishmania donovani by macrophages is largely oxygen-dependent, we tested the effect of TCM on the antiprotozoal activity of mouse peritoneal macrophages. After 24 hr of cultivation with TCM, in vivo and in vitro activated macrophages could no longer kill toxoplasmas or inhibit their replication. In vivo administration of TCM resulted in similar impairment. The leishmanicidal activity of resident and activated macrophages, when measured 6 hr after infection, was markedly suppressed by in vitro exposure to TCM. The addition of exogenous H2O2 in the form of glucose-glucose oxidase reconstituted the capacity of TCM-exposed macrophages to kill L. donovani promastigotes as quickly as control cells. Thus, TCM appears to deactivate macrophages by the functional criteria of suppressed antitoxoplasmal and antileishmanial activity, as well as by the biochemical criterion of suppressed oxidative metabolism.