rarely causes disease in the immunocompetent, but reported cases of soft tissue infection describe abscess formation requiring surgical debridement for resolution. Neutrophils are the first innate immune cells to accumulate at sites of bacterial infection, where reactive oxygen species and proteolytic enzymes are used to kill microbial invaders. As these phagocytic cells play central roles in protection from most bacteria, we assessed human neutrophil phagocytosis and granule exocytosis in response to serum opsonized or non-opsonized M. smegmatis
. Although phagocytosis was enhanced by serum opsonization, M. smegmatis
did not induce exocytosis of secretory vesicles or azurophilic granules at any time point tested, with or without serum opsonization. At early time points, opsonized M. smegmatis
induced significant gelatinase granule exocytosis compared to non-opsonized bacteria. Differences in granule release between opsonized and non-opsonized M. smegmatis
decreased in magnitude over the time course examined, with bacteria also evoking specific granule exocytosis by six hours after addition to cultured primary single-donor human neutrophils. Supernatants from neutrophils challenged with opsonized M. smegmatis
were able to digest gelatin, suggesting that complement and gelatinase granule exocytosis can contribute to neutrophil-mediated tissue damage seen in these rare soft tissue infections.
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