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PLoS One. 2017 May 4;12(5):e0177166. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177166. eCollection 2017.

Growth and adherence of Staphylococcus aureus were enhanced through the PGE2 produced by the activated COX-2/PGE2 pathway of infected oral epithelial cells.

Wang Y1,2, Ren B1, Zhou X1,2, Liu S1,2, Zhou Y1,2, Li B1,2, Jiang Y1,2, Li M1, Feng M1,2, Cheng L1,2.

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State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.
Department of Operative Dentistry and Endodontics, West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.


Staphylococcus aureus is a major pathogen of varieties of oral mucous infection. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a pro-inflammatory factor and Cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) is a critical enzyme of PGE2 biosynthesis. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether Staphylococcus aureus can increase PGE2 production of oral epithelial cells and how PGE2 functions in the growth and adherence of Staphylococcus aureus. mRNA levels of COX-2, fnbpA and fnbpB were estimated by quantitative PCR. PGE2 production was measured by Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). The binding biomass of Staphylococcus aureus to human fibronectin was investigated by crystal violet staining and confocal laser scanning microscopy and the adherent force was measured by atomic force microscope (AFM). The COX-2 mRNA level and PGE2 production were increased by Staphylococcus aureus. PGE2 promoted the growth and biofilm formation of Staphylococcus aureus, enhanced the attachment of Staphylococcus aureus to the human fibronectin as well as to the HOK cells. The transcription of fnbpB was up-regulated by PGE2 in both early and middle exponential phase but not fnbpA. These results suggest that the activation of COX-2/PGE2 pathway in oral epithelial cell by Staphylococcus aureus can in turn facilitate the growth and the ability to adhere of the pathogen. These findings uncover a new function of PGE2 and may lead to the potential of COX-2/PGE2 targeting in the therapy of inflammation and cancer in both which the COX-2/PGE2 pathway were observed activated.

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