Human as well as murine granulocytes have been shown to kill the larval stages of helminth parasites; the mechanism of this cell-mediated cytotoxicity is, however, poorly understood. The present study was designed to assess the role of peroxidative processes in killing of schistosomula of Schistosoma mansoni by human granulocytes in vitro. The rate of H2O2 production by human neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils was measured upon incubation with schistosomula alone or in the presence of specific antibody or complement. Opsonized parasites (antibody and/or complement) increased the rate of H2O2 production by neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils by respective percentages of 500, 500, and 371. The rate of H2O2 release was directly related to the number of granulocytes and to the proportion of cells attached to the surface of the schistosomula. Increased hydrogen peroxide release occurred by 10 min of incubation and was demonstrable up to 16 h after addition of leukocytes to schistosomula. The primary source of this oxygen product was found to be the granulocytes adherent to the schistosomula and not those that remained unattached. Hydrogen peroxide production by neutrophils and eosinophils was quantitatively similar (schistosomula coated with antibody plus complement stimulated 5 × 106 neutrophils and eosinophils to release H2O2 at respective rates of 0.35 and 0.40 nmol/min). Granulocyte-mediated parasite killing correlated with rate of H2O2 generation; both processes were inhibited by catalase. To define further the role of oxidative metabolites, neutrophils and eosinophils of two subjects with chronic granulomatous disease were used; marked reduction of granulocyte-mediated parasite mortality was observed.
James W. Kazura, Mary M. Fanning, Jeffrey L. Blumer, Adel A. F. Mahmoud