Cryptococcal polysaccharides induce L-selectin shedding and tumor necrosis factor receptor loss from the surface of human neutrophils

J Clin Invest. 1996 Feb 1;97(3):689-98. doi: 10.1172/JCI118466.


High titers of cryptococcal polysaccharides in the serum and spinal fluid and the lack of cellular infiltrates in the infected tissues are hallmarks of disseminated cryptococcosis. Cryptococcal polysaccharides given intravenously to mice inhibit the influx of leukocytes into sites injected with inflammatory mediators. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if cryptococcal polysaccharides, i.e., glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), galactoxylomannan, and mannoprotein, affect expression of molecules on the surface of neutrophils that are important in extravasation. GXM in the absence of serum was shown to induce human neurophils to shed L-selectin, a molecule needed in the first step of neutrophil movement into tissues. In the presence of serum, GXM caused a further shedding of L-selectin. Shedding of L-selectin was evident by reduced amounts of L-selectin on the neutrophils treated with GXM and by increased levels of soluble L-selectin in the GXM-treated neutrophil supernatants. GXM also stimulated neutrophils to have reduced expression of TNF receptor. In contrast, GXM-treated neutrophils showed increased levels of CD15 and CD11b, and unchanged CD16 expression. In the absence of serum, galactoxylomannan and mannoprotein did not affect L-selectin, TNF receptor, CD15, CD11b, or CD16 on neutrophils but did induce loss of L-selectin in the presence of serum. Our results indicate that cryptococcal polysaccharides, especially GXM, can cause shedding of L-selectin from the surface of neutrophils, and this may prevent neutrophils from attaching to the endothelial cell surfaces. Blockage of this early step in cell migration from the vessels into tissues may be responsible in part for reduced cellular infiltration into infected tissues of individuals with disseminated cryptococcosis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Cryptococcus neoformans*
  • Humans
  • L-Selectin / metabolism*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / pharmacology
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • Polysaccharides / immunology
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / metabolism*


  • Antigens, CD
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Polysaccharides
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • mannoproteins
  • L-Selectin
  • galactoxylomannan
  • glucuronoxylomannan