Normal, resident and inflammatory mouse peritoneal macrophages can be induced to display microbicidal activity against trypomastigotes of Trypanosoma cruzi by exposure to products from antigen-pulsed, sensitized spleen cell populations. Optimal macrophage microbicidal activity was achieved by constant exposure and daily renewal of the spleen cell factors. Macrophages obtained after an intraperitoneal injection of mild inflammatory agents were rapidly induced, displaying trypanocidal activity 24 h after exposure to the active spleen cell factor(s), and by 48 h, parasites were no longer observed. Resident peritoneal macrophages required 24 h longer for activation. Removal of the factor(s) before achieving complete disappearance of intracellular parasites led to resumed growth of the surviving organisms. The spleen cell factor(s) is effective when added either before or after exposure of the macrophages to trypomastigotes, and does not itself alter parasite viability. Dilution of the factor(s) up to 1:16 still results in significant trypanocidal activity. In vivo activated cells, obtained after a specific secondary challenge of animals infected with T. cruzi or Bacille Calmette-Guérin, lose their trypanocidal activity under in vitro conditions. This loss of activity can be prevented or restored by the addition of the active spleen cell factor(s). Induction of trypanocidal activity is also obtained with products from Concanavalin A- or lipopolysaccharide-stimulated normal spleen cells.

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