A non-opsonic mechanism of binding and phagocytosis by human neutrophils of arthroconidia is described. This was in direct contrast to the complement dependency of phagocytosis. Both serum complement and specific antibody to promoted maximal phagocytosis (61% and 40% of neutrophils, respectively, contained arthroconidia). Increasing the ratio of arthroconidia to neutrophils did not increase non-opsonic phagocytosis (18-26%). Phagocytosis of arthroconidia exposed to trypsin in the absence of opsonin was not affected (18%). However, proteinase and chitinase reduced the level of non-opsonic and opsonic phagocytosis to negligible levels (6.3% and 4.5%, respectively). When mannose was added to neutrophils, mannose receptors on the phagocyte membrane were partially blocked when arthroconidia were opsonised, but this did not reduce the level of non-opsonic phagocytosis. The non-opsonic mechanism proposed here may have direct relevance in skin sites poor in opsonins.


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