Eosinophils are components of inflammatory responses to a variety of pathogens. Although a variety of beneficial and harmful functions have been ascribed to these cells, their role in protection against infectious agents remains uncertain. Previous studies have reported eosinophilic pneumonia in mice infected intratracheally with Cryptococcus neoformans. We confirmed this observation and studied the inflammatory response in the lung at day 14 by light and electron microscopy. Immunostaining for glucuronoxylomannan showed isolated cryptococci inside the eosinophilic cuffs. Eosinophils were found to be in close association with C. neoformans in viva. Cryptococci were associated with eosinophils within eosinophilic perivascular cuffs, within granulomas, and lining the alveolar space. To further investigate this phenomenon in vitro, we isolated rat peritoneal eosinophils and studied cryptococcus-eosinophil interactions in the presence and absence of anticapsular immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) and IgE monoclonal antibody (MAb). Eosinophils phagocytosed C. neoformans only in the presence of specific antibody. Phagocytosis was rapid, and dense rings that appeared to consist of granule contents were formed around the organisms. Mast cells were observed to occasionally phagocytose C. neoformans in vitro in the presence of IgE MAb. Our observations suggest that eosinophils may be effector cells against C. neoformans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases