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Microb Pathog. 2003 Apr;34(4):169-77.

Candida albicans triggers interleukin-8 secretion by oral epithelial cells.

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Department of Periodontology, School of Dental Medicine, University of Connecticut, 263 Farmington Ave, Farmington, CT 06030-1710, USA.


Oropharyngeal candidiasis is a frequent opportunistic infection associated with immunocompromised hosts. Candida albicans is the principal species responsible for this infection. Production of interleukin-8 (IL-8), by oral epithelial cells can be expected to play a major role in the recruitment and activation of professional phagocytes at the infected site. The purpose of this study was to determine whether C. albicans triggers secretion of IL-8 by oral epithelial cells in vitro and investigate mechanisms of host cell-fungal interactions that trigger such responses. Oral epithelial cell lines (SCC4, SCC15, and OKF6/TERT-2) as well as primary gingival epithelial cells were used. Epithelial cells were cocultured with C. albicans, strains SC5314, ATCC28366 or ATCC32077, for 24-48 hr, and supernatants were analyzed for IL-8 content by ELISA. A germination-deficient mutant (efg1/efg1 cph1/cph1), otherwise isogenic to strain SC5314, was used to assess the requirement for germination in triggering IL-8 responses. In order to ascertain whether direct contact of yeast with host cells is required to trigger cytokine production, epithelial cells were separated from yeast using cell culture inserts. To test whether IL-8 secretion is dependent on IL-1alpha activity, epithelial cells were challenged with viable C. albicans in the presence or absence of neutralizing anti-IL-1alpha antibody or IL-1ra, and IL-8 secretion was measured in the supernatants. All cell lines and primary cultures responded to C. albicans with an increase in IL-8 secretion. IL-8 responses were contact-dependent, strain-specific, required yeast viability and germination into hyphae, and were in part autoregulated by IL-1alpha.

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