We examined thein vitro production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) by adherent human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (MNL) incubated with arthroconidia or spherules derived from the dimorphic fungus Coccidioides immitis. Using a bioassay measuring the percentage cytotoxicity of L929 cells, arthroconidia and spherules induced the production of measurable amounts of TNF by MNL. Both the arthroconidial and spherule preparations contained <0.01 ng/ml of endotoxin, below that needed to induce cytotoxicity in the bioassay. Based on ELISA, the vast majority of TNF induced by arthtoconidia or spherules was TNF-α, with minimal production of TNF-β. These are the first data to show the production of TNF in human coccidioidomycosis.
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