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Innate Immun. 2014 Apr;20(3):283-9. doi: 10.1177/1753425913490535. Epub 2013 Jul 9.

Induction of inflammatory responses from THP-1 cells by cell-free filtrates from clinical isolates of Alloiococcus otitidis.

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1Hunter Area Pathology Service Microbiology, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.


In our model system using the THP-1 monocytic cell line, whole heat-killed cells of Alloiococcus otitidis elicited several pro-inflammatory cytokines identified in ear effusions of children with otitis media (OM). Levels of these cytokines were equivalent to or greater than those elicited by a standard Gram-positive otopathogen, Streptococcus pneumoniae. The current study examined the hypothesis that extracellular material produced by A. otitidis might also contribute to the inflammatory responses in OM. Cell-free culture filtrates of recent A. otitidis isolates (n = 39) were tested for induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines from THP-1 cells primed with IFN-γ. The highest responses were from IL-8 followed by IL-1β, and the lowest from IL-6. Filtrates from nine isolates were treated with lysozyme or proteinase K to assess the nature of the extracellular stimulants. Peptidoglycan was not a major component eliciting the responses. There was no correlation between colony type or β-haemolysin production. Proteinase K treatment indicated extracellular proteins might induce the inflammatory responses, particularly the 70-75 ku band. Further studies on the role of the extracellular proteins of A. otitidis and cytokine responses in pathogenesis of ear infections are needed.


Alloiococcus otitidis; cytokines; otitis media

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