Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Infection and Immunity


Geisel School of Medicine


Human neutrophils are rescued from apoptosis following incubation with once-washed, fibroblast-derived Toxoplasma gondii tachyzoites. Both infected and uninfected neutrophils are rescued, implicating a soluble mediator. In this study we investigated the origin and identity of this soluble mediator. Neutrophils were incubated either with purified tachyzoites or with conditioned medium derived from T. gondii-infected human fibroblasts. Conditioned medium was found to be a potent stimulus that delayed neutrophil apoptosis up to 72 h, whereas purified and extensively washed tachyzoites had no effect. Delayed apoptosis correlated with up-regulation of the neutrophil antiapoptotic protein, Mcl-1, and the neutrophil interleukin 3 receptor alpha subunit (IL-3Ralpha), suggesting a role for granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). GM-CSF and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) were measurable in conditioned medium by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Neutralizing antibodies to GM-CSF and G-CSF were additive in abrogating delayed neutrophil apoptosis induced by conditioned medium. Inhibitors of Src family tyrosine kinases, G(i) proteins, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, p44(erk1) and p42(erk2) mitogen-activated protein kinases, and Jak2 kinases partially attenuated the effect of conditioned medium, consistent with a role for G-CSF and/or GM-CSF. Hence, delayed neutrophil apoptosis is mediated by GM-CSF and G-CSF secreted by T. gondii-infected human fibroblasts. This enhanced neutrophil survival may contribute to the robust proinflammatory response elicited in the T. gondii-infected host.



Original Citation

Channon JY, Miselis KA, Minns LA, Dutta C, Kasper LH. Toxoplasma gondii induces granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor secretion by human fibroblasts: implications for neutrophil apoptosis. Infect Immun. 2002 Nov;70(11):6048-57. doi: 10.1128/iai.70.11.6048-6057.2002. PMID: 12379681; PMCID: PMC130285.