UNIT 14.23 Measuring the Killing of Intracellular Pathogens: Leishmania

  1. S. Stenger,
  2. G. van Zandbergen

Published Online: 1 APR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/0471142735.im1423s93

Current Protocols in Immunology

Current Protocols in Immunology

How to Cite

Stenger, S. and van Zandbergen, G. 2011. Measuring the Killing of Intracellular Pathogens: Leishmania. Current Protocols in Immunology. 93:14.23:14.23.1–14.23.12.

Author Information

  1. Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University Hospital of Ulm, Ulm, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 APR 2011
  2. Published Print: APR 2011


Macrophages are professional phagocytes serving as a first line of defence against pathogenic organisms. Macrophages are equipped with efficient effector functions to kill invading microorganisms. The first important mechanism of macrophage host-defence is phagocytosis of pathogens. Subsequently, internalized pathogens are targeted for destruction in maturating phagolysosomal compartments. This process is mediated by lysosomal proteases and an acidified compartment. To investigate macrophages' killing potential in this chapter, we describe an assay based on human primary cells infected with the obligatory intracellular parasite Leishmania. For this pathogen the macrophage has a dual role. The parasite can use macrophages for its intracellular multiplication, but at the same time host macrophages, upon stimulation, can kill the parasite. Curr. Protoc. Immunol. 93:14.23.1-14.23.12. © 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • macrophages;
  • infection;
  • apoptosis;
  • Leishmania;
  • killing assay;
  • phagocytes