In vitro activation of rainbow trout macrophages stimulates inhibition of Renibacterium salmoninarum growth concomitant with augmented generation of respiratory burst products.
Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) head kidney macrophages pretreated for 48 h with a supernatant which contained macrophage activating factor (MAF) obtained from Concanavalin A/phorbol myristate acetate simulated rainbow trout leukocytes expressed an enhanced ability to inhibit R. salmoninarum growth in vitro compared with untreated controls. Enhanced 'killing' capacity of these macrophages was detectable after 24 h exposure to R. salmoninarum. Addition of NG-methyl-L-arginine did not diminish bacterial growth inhibition by MAF-activated macrophages, suggesting that nitric oxide radicals were not involved in this event. However, MAF-treated macrophages expressed enhanced respiratory burst activity compared with control macrophages after a 3 day exposure to R. salmoninarum. In addition, it was demonstrated that R. salmoninarum was susceptible to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in vitro using a cell-free assay. Introduction of catalase to the macrophage assay abrogated the 'killing' activity, suggesting that H2O2 release from activated macrophages was involved in the inhibition of R. salmoninarum growth. The results are discussed in related to other intracellular pathogens and the possible importance of cell-mediated immunity for protection against bacterial kidney disease.