Bordetella pertussis induces respiratory burst activity in human polymorphonuclear leukocytes

L. L. Steed, E. T. Akporiaye, R. L. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

26 Scopus citations


Virulent Bordetella pertussis strains survive intracellularly within human polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN), at least in part because of inhibition of phagosome-lysosome fusion (L. L. Steed, M. Setareh, and R. L. Friedman, J. Leukocyte Biol. 50:321-330, 1991). Further investigations were done to determine if B. pertussis also inhibited respiratory burst activity of PMN as an additional mechanism of intracellular survival. Chemiluminescence and flow cytometry assays showed that B. pertussis induced significant levels of hydrogen peroxide production. In contrast, ferricytochrome c reduction showed that B. pertussis suppressed extracellular release of superoxide. PMN intracellular reduction of nitroblue tetrazolium verified that superoxide was indeed produced intracellularly during B. pertussis phagocytosis. Therefore, B. pertussis does not inhibit production of superoxide but inhibits only its release. Thus, while phagosome-lysosome fusion is inhibited by B. pertussis, respiratory burst activity of PMN occurs at normal levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2101-2105
Number of pages5
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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