Guinea-pig alveolar macrophages kill Mycobacterium tuberculosis in vitro, but killing is independent of susceptibility to hydrogen peroxide or triggering of the respiratory burst

Microb Pathog. 1991 Mar;10(3):199-207. doi: 10.1016/0882-4010(91)90054-e.


Alveolar macrophages from the lungs of guinea-pigs that had been vaccinated, boosted and then intravenously challenged with Mycobacterium microti or Mycobacterium bovis BCG killed tubercle bacilli phagocytosed in vitro. The killing was modest, about 40% of phagocytosed bacilli were killed in a day, but alveolar macrophages from animals that had been vaccinated and boosted but had not received the intravenous challenge did not kill bacilli. Different strains of tubercle bacilli had different degrees of susceptibility to these activated macrophages but there was no correlation between killing by macrophages and mycobacterial susceptibility to killing by hydrogen peroxide. The different strains of tubercle bacilli triggered peroxide release from these macrophages but there was no correlation with susceptibility to killing by macrophages or with virulence in the guinea-pig. However, phagocytic uptake of these strains by the activated macrophages was inversely correlated with virulence, and uptake by activated macrophages was less than uptake by normal macrophages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology*
  • Macrophage Activation* / drug effects
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / growth & development
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Oxygen Consumption* / drug effects
  • Phagocytosis* / drug effects
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / immunology
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / microbiology*


  • Hydrogen Peroxide