In an accompanying paper (13), we reported that human polymorphonuclear leukocytes kill only a limited proportion (0.5 log) of an inoculum of Legionella pneumophila (Philadelphia 1 strain) in the presence of human anti-L. pneumophila antibody and complement. We now report on the effect of anti-L. pneumophila antibody on L. pneumophila-monocyte interaction. The studies were carried out under antibiotic-free conditions. Monocytes bind more than three times as many viable L. pneumophila bacteria in the presence of both antibody and complement than in the presence of complement alone. Monocytes requires both antibody and complement to kill any L. pneumophila: however, even then, monocytes kill only a limited proportion (0.25 log) of an inoculum. The surviving bacteria multiply several logs in the monocytes and multiply as rapidly as when the bacteria enter monocytes in the absence of antibody. These findings suggest that humoral immunity may not be an effective host defense against L. pneumophila. Consequently, a vaccine that resulted only in antibody production against the Legionnaires' disease bacterium may not be efficacious.

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