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J Infect Dis. 2000 Dec;182(6):1678-87. Epub 2000 Oct 18.

Infection and activation of airway epithelial cells by Chlamydia pneumoniae.

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Department of Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases, Charité, Medical School of Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.


The activation of primary human airway epithelial cells (HAECs) and of the bronchial epithelial cell line BEAS-2B by Chlamydia pneumoniae, an important respiratory pathogen, was characterized. A time-dependent enhanced release of interleukin (IL)-8 and prostaglandin-E(2) and an increased expression of the epithelial adhesion molecule intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), followed by subsequent transepithelial migration of polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN), were also demonstrated. The transepithelial PMN migration could be blocked by an anti-ICAM-1 monoclonal antibody (MAb) but not by MAbs against IL-8. In addition, there was an enhanced C. pneumoniae-mediated activation of NF-kappaB within 30-60 min in HAECs and BEAS-2B, which was followed by increases in mRNA synthesis of IL-8, ICAM-1, and cyclooxygenase-2, with maximal effects occurring 2 h after infection. Thus, C. pneumoniae infects and activates HAECs and BEAS-2B and therefore may be able to trigger a cascade of pro- and anti-inflammatory reactions during chlamydial infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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