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Microb Pathog. 2008 Jan;44(1):34-42. Epub 2007 Aug 14.

In vitro models of acute and long-term continuous infection of human respiratory epithelial cells with Chlamydophila pneumoniae have opposing effects on host cell apoptosis.

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Department of Pediatrics, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203, USA.


Persistent infection with the obligate intracellular pathogen Chlamydophila pneumoniae has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many chronic diseases, but its mechanism remains unclear. Many pathogens have been found to modulate cellular apoptosis in order to survive and multiply. Chlamydial species were shown to both induce and inhibit host cell apoptosis depending on the experimental conditions. We utilized in vitro models of acute and long-term continuous (LTC) infection with the same cell line (HEp-2) and chlamydial isolate (TW-183) used in both models. Host cell apoptosis in infected and uninfected cells was assessed by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. While acute infection induced apoptosis 72 h post-infection, LTC-infected cells had low rates of apoptosis and showed resistance to different exogenous inducers of apoptosis (sorbitol, serum withdrawal, hydrogen peroxide) when compared to uninfected cells. Chronicity of infection appears to be a critical factor in the modulation of host cell apoptosis by C. pneumoniae. Induction of apoptosis may help to propagate the infection, while inhibition of apoptosis could help protect the organism in chronic infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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