Induction of tumor necrosis factor alpha by spherules of Coccidioides immitis

D. C. Slagle, R. A. Cox, U. Kuruganti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) functions as an immunomodulatory protein and as a mediator of cachexia. We report that viable or Formalin-killed spherules of Coccidioides immitis induced the secretion of TNF-α by peritoneal-exudate cells from BALB/c mice. The identification of the cytokine as TNF-α was based on its lytic activity against the TNF-α-sensitive L(S) murine fibrosarcoma cell line but not the TNF-α-resistant L(R) cell line, its neutralization by rabbit anti-TNF-α, and its secretion by peritoneal cells having characteristics of macrophages. The induction of TNF-α was attributable to spherules and not to contaminating lipopolysaccharide (endotoxin), as evidenced by the finding that polymyxin B, a reagent that blocks the TNF-α-inducing component of lipopolysaccharide, did not negate the production of TNF-α in response to spherules, whereas pretreatment of spherules with hyperimmune goat antiserum to spherulin neutralized the induction of TNF-α by these cells. The demonstration that C. immitis activates macrophages to secrete TNF-α in vitro is a new finding and warrants studies to determine whether this cytokine is produced during active coccidioidomycosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1916-1921
Number of pages6
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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