Patients treated for amebic liver abscess develop cell-mediated immune responses effective in vitro against Entamoeba histolytica
Liver Abscess, Amebic
We studied the afferent and efferent cell-mediated immune response in 15 patients treated for amebic liver abscess. Patients had a lower T4 to T8 ratio (1.25 +/- 0.65) compared with age- and sex-matched controls (1.89 +/- 0.44, p less than 0.01) due to a decrease in T4-"helper" cells and an increase in T8-"suppressor" cells (p less than 0.01). The in vitro proliferative response of patient T lymphocytes to the plant mitogen concanavalin A (Con A) was depressed; responses to phytohemagglutinin were not. The proliferative response of patient lymphocytes to an amebic soluble protein preparation (SPP) was greater than the mitogenic response seen in control lymphocytes (mean of 68,300 delta cpm and 22,300 delta cpm, respectively, p less than 0.001), correlated with the T4 to T8 ratio (p less than 0.05) and the duration of time from initiation of antiamebic therapy (p less than 0.01). Supernatants from patient lymphocytes exposed to the amebic SPP activated normal monocyte-derived macrophages to kill virulent axenic E. histolytica trophozoites (p less than 0.001); patient monocyte-derived macrophages activated by Con A-elicited lymphokine could also kill amebae. Finally, when incubated with the amebic SPP for 5 days, T lymphocytes from patients were able to kill virulent amebae (p less than 0.005); patient T lymphocytes not exposed to the amebic SPP or control T lymphocytes incubated for 5 days with the amebic SPP were not cytotoxic to E. histolytica trophozoites. In summary, after cure of amebic liver abscess, specific cell-mediated immune mechanisms develop that are effective in vitro against the parasite.