The activities of the endogenous O2- and H2O2 scavenging enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathionine peroxidase (GP), and catalase, were measured in lysates of the intracellular parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, and in various macrophage populations. During 72 h of cultivation in standard medium alone, the catalase activity of in vivo-activated toxoplasma-immune macrophages (IM) and immune-boosted macrophages (IB) progressively increased by eight- to ninefold, and correlated with the previously observed parallel decline in these cells' antitoxoplasma activity and capacity to release H2O2. SOD and GP activities either remained constant or decreased during this 3-d period. Lymphokine exposure, which preserved the antitoxoplasma activity and oxidative capacity of 48- and 72-h cultures of IB and IM cells, blunted the rise in catalase levels and had no effect on SOD or GP. Inhibition of IB and IM macrophage catalase by aminotriazole maintained toxoplasmastatic activity otherwise lost after 48 h of cultivation. In addition, IB and IM cells from acatalasemic mice contained 20- to 30-fold less catalase, and showed comparatively little decline in either H2O2 release or antitoxoplasma activity during 72 h in culture. In vitro-(lymphokine) activated resident macrophages from normal mice had the highest levels of SOD, GP, and catalase, and these cells failed to kill or inhibit T. gondii despite enhanced extracellular release of O2- and H2O2. Toxoplasmas were also found to contain all three enzymatic scavengers. Aminotriazole inhibition of lymphokine-activated cells' catalase or of toxoplasma catalase was effective in inducing these macrophages to display antitoxoplasma activity. Moreover, and in contrast to normocatalasemic resident cells, those from acatalesemic mice were readily induced by lymphokine to inhibit the replication of untreated virulent toxoplasmas. These results suggest that endogenous O2- and H2O2 scavenging enzymes, which function within both T. gondii and activated macrophages as host cell antioxidant protective mechanisms, may reduce the effectiveness of phagocyte antimicrobial activity. Thus, the presence of SOD, GP, and especially catalase within both target and effector cell may be important determinants of macrophage oxygen-dependent processes.

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