Invasive aspergillosis is a serious complication in immunocompromised patients. The effects of recombinant human tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF- α) on antifungal activities of human neutrophils (polymorphonuclear leukocytes [PMNs]), human monocytes (MNCs), and rabbit pulmonary alveolar macrophages (PAMs) against Aspergillus fumigatus were studied. The percentage of PMN-induced hyphal damage was increased after 30 min of incubation of PMNs with 0.1 ng of TNF-α per ml at 37°C (P = 0.043). At 0.1 to 10 ng/ml, TNF- α also increased superoxide anion (O2/-) produced by PMNs in response to phorbol myristate acetate, N-formylmethionyl leucyl phenylalanine, and unopsonized hyphae (P < 0.01) but did not exert any effect on PMN phagocytosis of conidia in the presence of serum. By comparison, TNF-α induced only a slight increase in O2/- production by MNCs in response to phorbol myristate acetate (P = 0.05) and no concomitant increase in the percentage of MNC-induced hyphal damage. Incubation of MNCs with TNF-α at 0.001 to 10 ng/ml for 2 days had no effect on phagocytosis or conidiocidal activity. By contrast, incubation of PAMs with TNF-α at 0.1 to 10 ng/ml for 2 days increased phagocytosis of conidia (P = 0.03). Thus, TNF-α augments the capacity of PMNs to damage Aspergillus hyphae, possibly through enhanced oxidative mechanisms, and increases PAM phagocytic activity against conidia. As such, TNF-α may have an important role in host defense against aspergillosis, and neutralization of its activity may be complicated by increased susceptibility to aspergillosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases