Human neutrophils (PMN) demonstrated potent fungistatic activity against Histoplasma capsulatum (Hc) yeasts in a sensitive microassay that quantifies the growth of yeasts by the incorporation of [3H]leucine. At a PMN:yeast ratio of 1:2, PMN inhibited the growth of yeasts by 37%. Maximum inhibition of 85% to 95% was achieved at a PMN/yeast ratio of 10:1 to 50:1. Opsonization of the yeasts in fresh or heat-inactivated serum was required for PMN-mediated fungistasis, but ingestion of the yeasts was not required. Recognition and phagocytosis of opsonized yeasts was via PMN complement receptor (CR) type 1 (CR1), CR3, and FcRIII (CD16). PMN fungistatic activity was evident by 2 h, was maximum at 24 h, and persisted up to 5 d. In contrast, yeasts multiplied within monocytes to a greater extent than in culture medium alone. PMN from three patients with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) inhibited the growth of Hc yeasts by an average of 97%, compared with 86% in three normal controls. Furthermore, preincubation of PMN with the lysosomotropic agent NH4Cl inhibited fungistatic activity in a concentration-dependent manner. Finally, experiments with subcellular fractions of PMN demonstrated that the principal component of the fungistatic activity of PMN was localized in the azurophil granules. These data demonstrate that human PMN possess potent fungistatic activity against Hc yeasts and further show that fungistasis is mediated by antimicrobial agents contained in the azurophil granules.
S L Newman, L Gootee, J E Gabay