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Microb Pathog. 2001 Mar;30(3):149-55.

Chlamydia pneumoniae facilitates monocyte adhesion to endothelial and smooth muscle cells.

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Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, University of California Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Chlamydia pneumoniae has been linked to atherosclerotic heart disease. However, there is a limited knowledge by which C. pneumoniae gain access to atheromatous lesions. The adhesion of C. pneumoniae -infected circulatory component(s) to endothelium and smooth muscle cells represents the first step in an inflammatory response. We examined the ability of viable as well as heat inactivated C. pneumoniae to infect human monocytes and subsequently the ability of infected monocytes to adhere to human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAEC) and human coronary smooth muscle cells (HCSMC). Our results demonstrate susceptibility of monocytes to in vitro chlamydial infection. Inclusions of varying sizes and intensities were observed 3-5 days after inoculation with viable C. pneumoniae. Monocytes infected with heat inactivated organisms revealed no inclusions, in keeping with the observations of uninfected monocytes. Moreover, monocytes infected with viable C. pneumoniae adhered preferentially to HCAEC and HCSMC, as compared to uninfected monocytes or monocytes harbouring heat inactivated Chlamydia.

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