Receptor-mediated phagocytosis of rat macrophages is regulated differentially for opsonized particles and non-opsonized particles containing β-glucan


Dr J. S. Reichner, Surgical Research, NAB-208, Rhode Island Hospital, 593 Eddy Street, Providence, RI 02903, USA. E-mail:


Experiments were conducted to test the hypothesis that opsonic and non-opsonic phagocytic capacities are differentially regulated by resting and wound-derived macrophages. Furthermore, the phagocytosis of non-opsonized zymosan and β-glucan particles was quantified to determine whether cells differentially regulate non-opsonic lectinophagocytosis in accordance with the carbohydrate composition of the ligand. In that regard, wound macrophages exhibited profound differential regulation in lectinophagocytosis with a seven-fold increase in phagocytosis of β-glucan particles following overnight culture but with a relatively modest increase in internalization of mannan-containing zymosan. Cultured peritoneal macrophages increased uptake of both particles similarly. Upon activation with interferon-γ/lipopolysaccharide (IFN-γ/LPS), wound macrophages selectively suppressed β-glucan ingestion, while phagocytosis of zymosan particles was unaffected. Lectinophagocytosis was decreased in activated peritoneal macrophages regardless of particle composition and was due in part to a nitric oxide-dependent mechanism which was without a role in regulation of wound macrophage lectinophagocytosis. Overnight culture of wound macrophages suppressed their capacity for opsonic-dependent phagocytosis independently of activation, whereas suppression of phagocytosis by peritoneal macrophages was activation-dependent. Regulation of all three phagocytic pathways was achieved distinctly by peritoneal and wound-derived macrophages, with changes found in the percentage of resident peritoneal macrophages capable of phagocytosis, whereas the phagocytic capacity of wound macrophages was primarily affected by the number of particles ingested by individual cells. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that the differential regulation of phagocytic pathways encompasses the nature of the phagocytic particle, the site from which macrophages are obtained, their response to activating agents and the mechanism through which the cell population alters its phagocytic potential.