Macrophage-mediated innate host defense against protozoan parasites

Critical Reviews in Microbiology
James L StaffordMiodrag Belosevic


Macrophages are immune cells that play a pivotal role in the detection and elimination of pathogenic microorganisms. Macrophages possess a variety of surface receptors devoted to the recognition of non-self by discriminating between host and pathogen-derived structures. Recognition of foreign microorganisms by the macrophage ultimately results in phagocytosis and the eventual destruction of microorganisms by lysosomal enzymes, toxic reactive oxygen and nitrogen intermediates, and/or nutrient deprivational mechanisms. However, protozoan parasites such as Toxoplasma gondii, Trypanosoma cruzi, and Leishmania spp., parasitize macrophages, utilizing them as a host cell for their growth, replication, and/or maintenance of their life cycles. The protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania are unique in that their intracellular replication in the host is predominantly restricted to a single cell type, the macrophage. This review focuses on the cellular processes involved in macrophage-mediated host defense against protozoan parasites, from the initial host-parasite interactions that mediate recognition to the mechanisms employed by macrophages to destroy and eliminate the pathogen. As an example model system of experimental study, we d...Continue Reading


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