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Infect Immun. 2009 Mar;77(3):984-95. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01259-08. Epub 2008 Dec 22.

Proinflammatory response of human osteoblastic cell lines and osteoblast-monocyte interaction upon infection with Brucella spp.

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Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, IDEHU, UBA, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The ability of Brucella spp. to infect human osteoblasts and the cytokine response of these cells to infection were investigated in vitro. Brucella abortus, B. suis, B. melitensis, and B. canis were able to infect the SaOS-2 and MG-63 osteoblastic cell lines, and the first three species exhibited intracellular replication. B. abortus internalization was not significantly affected by pretreatment of cells with cytochalasin D but was inhibited up to 92% by colchicine. A virB10 mutant of B. abortus could infect but not replicate within osteoblasts, suggesting a role for the type IV secretion system in intracellular survival. Infected osteoblasts produced low levels of chemokines (interleukin-8 [IL-8] and macrophage chemoattractant protein 1 [MCP-1]) and did not produce proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1beta, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNF-alpha]). However, osteoblasts stimulated with culture supernatants from Brucella-infected human monocytes (THP-1 cell line) produced chemokines at levels 12-fold (MCP-1) to 17-fold (IL-8) higher than those of infected osteoblasts and also produced IL-6. In the inverse experiment, culture supernatants from Brucella-infected osteoblasts induced the production of IL-8, IL-1beta, IL-6, and TNF-alpha by THP-1 cells. The induction of TNF-alpha and IL-1beta was largely due to granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor produced by infected osteoblasts, as demonstrated by inhibition with a specific neutralizing antibody. This study shows that Brucella can invade and replicate within human osteoblastic cell lines, which can directly and indirectly mount a proinflammatory response. Both phenomena may have a role in the chronic inflammation and bone and joint destruction observed in osteoarticular brucellosis.

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