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Research Article

Regulation of human monocyte/macrophage function by extracellular matrix. Adherence of monocytes to collagen matrices enhances phagocytosis of opsonized bacteria by activation of complement receptors and enhancement of Fc receptor function.

S L Newman and M A Tucci

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Ohio 45267.

Published September 1990

In inflammation monocytes emigrate from the peripheral circulation into an extravascular area rich in extracellular matrix proteins. In this milieu, phagocytes ingest and kill invading pathogens. In the present studies, we found that monocytes adhered to type I collagen gels phagocytized 2.5-12-fold more opsonized Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Streptococcus pneumoniae than plastic-adherent monocytes. The rate of phagocytosis and the number of bacteria ingested by collagen-adherent monocytes was equal to, or greater than, the number of bacteria ingested by 7-d cultured macrophages (M phi). Although both collagen- and plastic-adherent monocytes were bactericidal for E. coli and S. aureus, more bacteria were killed by collagen-adherent monocytes by virtue of their enhanced phagocytic capacity. Cultured M phi only were bacteriostatic. Adherence of monocytes to collagen gels activated C receptors (CR) types 1 and 3 for phagocytosis, and enhanced Fc receptor (FcR)-mediated phagocytosis. Collagen- and plastic-adherent monocytes produced equivalent amounts of superoxide anion in response to phorbol myristate acetate and opsonized zymosan. Thus, the enhanced phagocytosis and killing of opsonized bacteria by collagen-adherent monocytes appear to be by regulation of the function of membrane CR and FcR, without apparent enhancement of the respiratory burst. These data suggest that adherence of monocytes to the extracellular matrix during inflammation may rapidly activate these cells for enhanced phagocytic bactericidal activity.

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