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Infect Immun. 1996 Jul;64(7):2609-17.

Candida albicans stimulates cytokine production and leukocyte adhesion molecule expression by endothelial cells.

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Department of Internal Medicine, St. John's Cardiovascular Research Center, Harbor-UCLA Research and Education Institute, Torrance, California 90509, USA. FILLER@HUMC.EDU


Endothelial cells have the potential to influence significantly the host immune response to blood-borne microbial pathogens, such as Candida albicans. We investigated the ability (of this organism to stimulate endothelial cell responses relevant to host defense in vitro. Infection with C. albicans induced endothelial cells to express mRNAs encoding E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule 1, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, interleukin 6, interleukin 8, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, and inducible cyclooxygenase (cox2). All three leukocyte adhesion molecule proteins were expressed on the surfaces of the endothelial cells after 8 h of exposure to C. albicans. An increase in secretion of all three cytokines was found after 12 h of infection. Cytochalasin D inhibited accumulation of the endothelial cell cytokine and leukocyte adhesion molecule mRNAs in response to C. albicans, suggesting that endothelial cell phagocytosis of the organism is required to induce this response. Live Candida tropicalis, Candida glabrata, a nongerminating strain of C. albicans, and killed C. albicans did not stimulate the expression of any of the cytokine or leukocyte adhesion molecule mRNAs. These findings indicate that a factor associated with live, germinating C. albicans is required for induction of endothelial cell mRNA expression. Furthermore, since endothelial cells phagocytize killed C. albicans, phagocytosis is likely necessary but not sufficient for this organism to stimulate mRNA accumulation. In conclusion, the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines and expression of leukocyte adhesion molecules by endothelial cells in response to C. albicans could enhance the host defense against this organism by contributing to the recruitment of activated leukocytes to sites of intravascular infection.

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