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Infect Immun. 1986 July; 53(1): 161–165.
PMCID: PMC260091

Killing of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans by the human neutrophil myeloperoxidase-hydrogen peroxide-chloride system.


Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans is a facultative gram-negative coccobacillus associated with periodontal disease and nonoral infections. This organism is resistant to serum bactericidal mechanisms but is nevertheless killed by human neutrophils under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Most of the killing attributable to oxidative mechanisms is inhibited by sodium cyanide, which suggests that the myeloperoxidase-hydrogen peroxide-chloride (MPO-H2O2-Cl-) system may be a key factor in the oxidative killing process. In this report, we examine whether the isolated MPO-H2O2-Cl- system is bactericidal against A. actinomycetemcomitans. We found that three major chromatographic forms of MPO were capable of killing A. actinomycetemcomitans at sublethal concentrations of H2O2 and that both catalase-positive and catalase-negative strains of this organism were sensitive to killing by the MPO-H2O2-Cl- system. We conclude that the isolated MPO-H2O2-Cl- system is bactericidal for A. actinomycetemcomitans independent of other neutrophil granule constituents and may be an important component of the oxygen-dependent bactericidal activity of the neutrophil with respect to this periodontopathic organism.

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