Macrophage microbicidal mechanisms in vivo: Reactive nitrogen versus oxygen intermediates in the killing of intracellular visceral Leishmania donovani Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Interstitial Cells of Cajal


  • To determine the relative contributions of respiratory burst-derived reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI) versus reactive nitrogen intermediates (RNI) to macrophage-mediated intracellular host defense, mice genetically deficient in these mechanisms were challenged with Leishmania donovani, a protozoan that selectively parasitizes visceral tissue macrophages. During the early stage of liver infection at wk 2, both respiratory burst-deficient gp91(phox)-/- (X-linked chronic granulomatous disease [X-CGD]) mice and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) knockout (KO) mice displayed comparably increased susceptibility. Thereafter, infection was unrestrained in mice lacking iNOS but was fully controlled in X-CGD mice. Mononuclear cell influx into infected liver foci in X-CGD and iNOS KO mice was also overtly impaired at wk 2. However, granuloma assembly in parasitized tissue eventually developed in both hosts but with divergent effects: mature granulomas were functionally active (leishmanicidal) in X-CGD mice but inert in iNOS-deficient animals. These results suggest that (a) ROI and RNI probably act together in the early stage of intracellular infection to regulate both tissue recruitment of mononuclear inflammatory cells and the initial extent of microbial replication, (b) RNI alone are necessary and sufficient for eventual control of visceral infection, and (c) although mature granulomas have traditionally been associated with control of such infections, these structures fail to limit intracellular parasite replication in the absence of iNOS.

publication date

  • February 15, 1999



  • Academic Article


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1084/jem.189.4.741

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 741

end page

  • 6


  • 189


  • 4