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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013 May 9;7(5):e2212. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002212. Print 2013.

Post-exposure therapeutic efficacy of COX-2 inhibition against Burkholderia pseudomallei.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America.


Burkholderia pseudomallei is a Gram-negative, facultative intracellular bacillus and the etiologic agent of melioidosis, a severe disease in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. Like other multidrug-resistant pathogens, the inherent antibiotic resistance of B. pseudomallei impedes treatment and highlights the need for alternative therapeutic strategies that can circumvent antimicrobial resistance mechanisms. In this work, we demonstrate that host prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production plays a regulatory role in the pathogenesis of B. pseudomallei. PGE2 promotes B. pseudomallei intracellular survival within macrophages and bacterial virulence in a mouse model of pneumonic melioidosis. PGE2-mediated immunosuppression of macrophage bactericidal effector functions is associated with increased arginase 2 (Arg2) expression and decreased nitric oxide (NO) production. Treatment with a commercially-available COX-2 inhibitor suppresses the growth of B. pseudomallei in macrophages and affords significant protection against rapidly lethal pneumonic melioidosis when administered post-exposure to B. pseudomallei-infected mice. COX-2 inhibition may represent a novel immunotherapeutic strategy to control infection with B. pseudomallei and other intracellular pathogens.

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