Publications & Reports

Quantifying phagocytosis of Mycobacterium avium complex by human monocytes in whole blood.

Hewish MJ, Meikle AM, Hunter SD, Crowe SM
AIDS Pathogenesis Research Unit, Macfarlane Burnet Centre for Medical Research, Fairfield, Victoria, Australia.


Studies of phagocytic efficiency in cells of the macrophage lineage have assumed additional importance since the discovery that HIV infection of these cells impairs their immune function. A rapid method has been developed for measuring phagocytosis of the opportunistic pathogen Mycobacterium avium complex by human monocytes. Fluoresceinated M. avium complex (F-MAC) was incubated with whole blood at 37 degrees C and the fluorescence of extracellular F-MAC was quenched using a vital blue stain. Monocytes were then stained with a monoclonal antibody (mAb) to human CD14 conjugated to phycoerythrin (PE) red cells were lysed, and the percentage of monocytes which had phagocytosed F-MAC was measured by flow cytometry. The results were reproducible in samples of blood taken from individual donors over a period of 1 or 2 weeks, and optimum F-MAC concentrations and an optimum incubation time were determined by experiment. This method has the advantages of requiring only a small volume of blood, not necessitating manipulation of cells before testing, and using a phagocytic target relevant to the pathogenesis of HIV infection.


  • Journal: Immunology and Cell Biology
  • Published: 01/08/1996
  • Volume: 74
  • Issue: 4
  • Pagination: 306-312

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