Activation of mouse peritoneal macrophages in vitro and in vivo by interferon-γ
To determine the role of IFN-gamma in the activation of resident mouse peritoneal macrophages, crude macrophage-activating lymphokines were incubated with a monoclonal anti-murine IFN-gamma antibody. This treatment abolished the capacity of mitogen-induced lymphokines to enhance either H2O2 release or activity against the intracellular protozoa Toxoplasma gondii and Leishmania donovani. All macrophage-activating factor detected by these assays was also removed by passing the lymphokines over a Sepharose column to which the monoclonal anti-IFN-gamma antibody had been coupled. Therefore, pure murine rIFN-gamma was tested both in vitro and in vivo as a single activating agent. After 48 hr of pretreatment in vitro with 0.01 to 1 antiviral U/ml, macrophage H2O2-releasing capacity was enhanced an average of 6.4-fold; half-maximal stimulation was induced by 0.03 U/ml. Resident macrophages infected with T. gondii half-maximally inhibited parasite replication after 24 hr of preincubation with 0.14 U/ml of rIFN-gamma, and near complete inhibition was achieved by pretreatment with 100 U/ml. Half-maximal leishmanicidal activity was induced by 0.08 U/ml of rIFN-gamma, and 67 to 75% of intracellular L. donovani amastigotes were killed after macrophages were preincubated with 10 to 100 U/ml. Eighteen hours after parenteral injection of rIFN-gamma, peritoneal macrophages displayed a dose-dependent enhancement of H2O2-releasing capacity and antiprotozoal activity. Half-maximal enhancement required 85 to 250 U or rIFN-gamma given i.p. Peritoneal macrophages were also activated by rIFN-gamma injected i.v. and intramuscularly. These results suggest that, in the mouse model, IFN-gamma is likely to be a primary factor within mitogen-induced lymphokines responsible for activating macrophage oxidative metabolism and antiprotozoal activity, and indicate that rIFN-gamma is a potent activator of these effector functions both in vitro and in vivo. These findings provide a rationale for evaluating rIFN-gamma in the treatment of systemic intracellular infections, and indicate that murine models are appropriate for such studies.