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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Pathogenesis of foreign body infection. Evidence for a local granulocyte defect.

Implanted foreign bodies are highly susceptible to pyogenic infections and represent a major problem in modern medicine. In an effort to understand the pathogenesis of these infections, we studied the phagocytic function in the vicinity of a foreign body by using a recently developed guinea pig model of Teflon tissue cages subcutaneously implanted (Zimmerli, W., F.A. Waldvogel, P. Vaudaux, and U.E. Nydegger, 1982, J. Infect. Dis., 146:487-497). Polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) purified from tissue cage fluid had poor bactericidal activity against a catalase-positive microorganism. When compared with blood or exudate PMN, they exhibited a significant reduction in their ability to generate superoxide in response to a particulate or a soluble stimulus (72 and 57%, respectively, P less than 0.001). Not only their total contents in myeloperoxidase, beta-glucuronidase, lysozyme, and B12 binding protein were significantly reduced (by 62, 21, 47, and 63%, respectively, P less than 0.01), but also their capability for further secretion of residual B12 binding protein upon stimulation. Ingestion rates of endotoxin-coated opsonized oil particles were reduced by 25% (P less than 0.05). In an effort to reproduce these abnormalities in vitro, fresh peritoneal exudate PMN were incubated with Teflon fibers in the presence of plasma. Interaction of PMN with the fibers led to significant increases in hexose monophosphate shunt activity and exocytosis of secondary granules (P less than 0.01). PMN eluted after such interaction showed defective bactericidal activity, oxidative metabolism, and granular enzyme content similar to those observed in tissue cage PMN. The local injection of fresh blood PMN into tissue cages at the time of, or 3 h after, inoculation with 100 microorganisms (Staphylococcus aureus Wood 46) reduced the infection rate from 50 to 56 cages to 1 of 21 (P less than 0.001) and 3 of 8 cages (P less than 0.001), respectively. These results suggest that the in vivo as well as in vitro interaction of PMN with a nonphagocytosable foreign body induces a complex PMN defect, which may be partly responsible for the high susceptibility to infection of foreign bodies.[1]


  1. Pathogenesis of foreign body infection. Evidence for a local granulocyte defect. Zimmerli, W., Lew, P.D., Waldvogel, F.A. J. Clin. Invest. (1984) [Pubmed]
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