The role of gamma interferon in the generation of human macrophages cytotoxic for Entamoeba histolytica trophozoites Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Entamoeba histolytica
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Macrophages


  • Upon exposure to Entamoeba histolytica antigen, lymphocytes from patients treated for amebic liver abscess produce lymphokines which activate monocyte-derived macrophages to kill E. histolytica trophozoites. We now demonstrate that gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) is produced by these stimulated lymphocytes and is sufficient but not exclusively necessary to activate monocyte-derived macrophage amebicidal activity. Supernatants from mononuclear cells of 7 patients when stimulated with amebic antigen contained more IFN-gamma than comparable supernatants derived from control cells (1,862 U/ml vs. 174 U/ml geometric means, P less than 0.01); IFN-gamma levels were similar in patient and control supernatants following concanavalin A stimulation. Macrophages activated solely by partially purified IFN-gamma or recombinant human IFN-gamma (300 U/ml) killed 47% of virulent amebae by 6 hr at 37 degrees C. Monocyte-derived macrophages stimulated with lymphokines elicited by amebic antigen or concanavalin A killed 48% and 57% of axenic E. histolytica trophozoites, respectively, over 6 hr at 37 degrees C (P less than 0.001 for each compared to control). Macrophages incubated with the identical lymphokines, but in the presence of monoclonal antibody to IFN-gamma, were only able to kill 18% and 27% of amebae, respectively, at 6 hr (P less than 0.05 to control or when antibody to IFN-gamma was not present). If antibody to IFN-gamma was added to the stimulating lymphokine, more macrophages died during interaction with amebae (P less than 0.05). In summary, IFN-gamma has a major but not exclusive role in activating human monocyte-derived macrophages in vitro to kill virulent E. histolytica trophozoites.

publication date

  • January 1987



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed ID

  • 2886071

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 72

end page

  • 8


  • 37


  • 1