Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Listeria monocytogenes meningitis and decreased phagocytosis associated with iron overload.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 284 doi: (Published 20 February 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;284:542
  1. B S van Asbeck,
  2. H A Verbrugh,
  3. B A van Oost,
  4. J J Marx,
  5. H W Imhof,
  6. J Verhoef


    A patient with Listeria monocytogenes meningitis was found to have idiopathic haemochromatosis and monocytes with reduced phagocytic capacity. The phagocytic function recovered completely after a series of therapeutic phlebotomies. In-vitro iron had a deleterious effect on the phagocytic capacity of monocytes and granulocytes. These findings show that iron overload in the host can increase susceptibility to L monocytogenes infection not only by increasing the virulence of the organism but also by reducing the phagocytic capacity of the monocytes.