Role of superoxide anion in the fungicidal activity of murine peritoneal exudate macrophages against Penicillium marneffei

Norifumi Kudeken, Kazuyoshi Kawakami, Atsushi Saito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Penicillium marneffei is an important opportunistic fungal pathogen. The mechanisms of host defense against P. marneffei are not fully understood. In the present study, we, for the first time, investigated the role of superoxide anion (O2-) in the killing of two forms of P. marneffei, yeast cells and conidia, and the role of this killing mediator in the fungicidal activity of IFN-γ-stimulated murine peritoneal macrophages. P. marneffei yeast cells were susceptible to the killing effect of activated macrophages and chemically generated O2-, while conidia were not. These results suggested that O2- played some role in the fungicidal activity of macrophages. However, an oxygen radical scavenger, superoxide dismutase (SOD), did not suppress, but rather enhanced the fungicidal activity of IFN- γ-stimulated macrophages against P. marneffei yeast cells. This inconsistency was explained by the release of insufficient concentrations of O2- by activated macrophages as compared with the amount of O2- necessary for the killing of yeast cells, which was predicted in a chemical generating system. On the other hand, SOD enhanced the production of nitric oxide (NO) by IFN-γ-activated macrophages, and their increased fungicidal activity was significantly inhibited by N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA), a competitive inhibitor of NO synthase. Our results suggested that O2- does not function as the killing mediator of macrophages against P. marneffei, but rather plays an important role in the regulation of the NO-mediated killing system by suppressing NO production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-330
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Macrophages
  • Nitric oxide
  • Penicillium marneffei
  • Superoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Virology


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