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Infect Immun. 2009 Dec;77(12):5334-46. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00883-09. Epub 2009 Oct 5.

Critical role for interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) during Chlamydia muridarum genital infection and bacterial replication-independent secretion of IL-1beta in mouse macrophages.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205, USA.


Recent findings have implicated interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) as an important mediator of the inflammatory response in the female genital tract during chlamydial infection. But how IL-1beta is produced and its specific role in infection and pathology are unclear. Therefore, our goal was to determine the functional consequences and cellular sources of IL-1beta expression during a chlamydial genital infection. In the present study, IL-1beta(-/-) mice exhibited delayed chlamydial clearance and decreased frequency of hydrosalpinx compared to wild-type (WT) mice, implying an important role for IL-1beta both in the clearance of infection and in the mediation of oviduct pathology. At the peak of IL-1beta secretion in WT mice, the major producers of IL-1beta in vivo are F4/80(+) macrophages and GR-1(+) neutrophils, but not CD45(-) epithelial cells. Although elicited mouse macrophages infected with Chlamydia muridarum in vitro secrete minimal IL-1beta, in vitro prestimulation of macrophages by Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) purified from Escherichia coli or C. trachomatis L2 prior to infection greatly enhanced secretion of IL-1beta from these cells. By using LPS-primed macrophages as a model system, it was determined that IL-1beta secretion was dependent on caspase-1, potassium efflux, and the activity of serine proteases. Significantly, chlamydia-induced IL-1beta secretion in macrophages required bacterial viability but not growth. Our findings demonstrate that IL-1beta secreted by macrophages and neutrophils has important effects in vivo during chlamydial infection. Additionally, prestimulation of macrophages by chlamydial TLR ligands may account for the elevated levels of pro-IL-1beta mRNA observed in vivo in this cell type.

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