Human polymorphonuclear leukocytes from normal subjects produced proinflammatory cytokines in response to stimulation with Cryptococcus neoformans yeast cells. The cytokines released after stimulation of neutrophils included interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), IL-6, IL-8 and tumor necrosis factor alpha. The magnitude of the cytokine response was related to the yeast capsule size. Cells of a large-capsule isolate stimulated release of greater amounts of cytokine than did a thinly encapsulated isolate, which, in turn, stimulated release of greater amounts of cytokine than an acapsular isolate. Cytokine release was also stimulated by supernatant fluids from cryptococcal cells that were preincubated with 10% human serum, suggesting the generation of a soluble mediator. The major capsular polysaccharide, glucuronoxylomannan, stimulated release of tumor necrosis factor alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-8 in a dose-dependent fashion. These results differ from previous studies of cytokine secretion by human monocytes in several important respects, including the importance of encapsulation in stimulation of cytokine secretion and the ability of purified glucuronoxylomannan to induce cytokine secretion
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