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February 1985

Escherichia coli and Human Neutrophils: Effect of Bacterial Supernatant With Hemolysin Activity Upon Chemotaxin Receptors

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis (Drs Pruett, Nelson, and Simmons, and Mr Fiegel) and the Department of Pathology, Veterans Administration Medical Center, University of California at San Diego (Dr Chenoweth). Dr Chenoweth is currently a clinical investigator with the Veterans Administration.

Arch Surg. 1985;120(2):212-216. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1985.01390260072010

• A greater proportion of Escherichia coli strains isolated from clinical extraintestinal infections produce α-hemolysin than do strains isolated from normal fecal flora. Proposed mechanisms to explain this observation have stressed the fact that hemolysis liberates hemoglobin, which may provide a nutritional boost for E coli growth. Alternatively, a cytolytic effect of hemolysin upon host neutrophils has been postulated. Our previous studies have suggested a third possibility: Human neutrophils incubated in the supernatant of an α-hemolysin—producing E coli strain produced a selective inhibition of chemotaxis toward C5a. Bacteria-free supernatants from 14 clinical strains of E coli were therefore evaluated for an ability to lyse sheep erythrocytes, alter human polymorphonuclear neutrophil (PMN) chemotaxin receptors, and affect release of PMN enzymes. Supernatants possessing hemolytic activity decreased the C5a receptor activity of human PMNs and increased the number of peptide receptors. A stimulation of secondary granule release, as evidenced by the release of PMN lysozyme, may account for the increased expression of peptide receptors. Perturbation of host defenses through a loss of neutrophil migratory function and secondary granule contents may allow for enhanced survival of E coli, which produce α-hemolysin.

(Arch Surg 1985;120:212-216)

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