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Chlamydophila pneumoniae induces expression of Toll-like Receptor 4 and release of TNF-α and MIP-2 via an NF-κB pathway in rat type II pneumocytes

Author(s): Wissel Heide | Schulz Christian | Koehne Petra | Richter Ekkehard | Maass Matthias | Rüdiger Mario

Journal: Respiratory Research
ISSN 1465-9921

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 51;
Date: 2005;
Original page

Keywords: Chlamydophila (Chlamydia) pneumoniae | rat type II pneumocytes | TLR4 | NF-κB | cytokines

Abstract Background The role of alveolar type II cells in the regulation of innate and adaptive immunity is unclear. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) have been implicated in host defense. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether Chlamydophila pneumoniae (I) alters the expression of TLR2 and/orTLR4 in type II cells in a (II) Rho-GTPase- and (III) NF-κB-dependent pathway, subsequently (IV) leading to the production of (IV) pro-inflammatory TNF-α and MIP-2. Methods Isolated rat type II pneumocytes were incubated with C. pneumoniae after pre-treatment with calcium chelator BAPTA-AM, inhibitors of NF-κB (parthenolide, SN50) or with a specific inhibitor of the Rho-GTPase (mevastatin). TLR2 and TLR4 mRNA expressions were analyzed by PCR. Activation of TLR4, Rac1, RhoA protein and NF-κB was determined by Western blotting and confocal laser scan microscopy (CLSM) and TNF-α and MIP-2 release by ELISA. Results Type II cells constitutively expressed TLR4 and TLR2 mRNA. A prominent induction of TLR4 but not TLR2 mRNA was detected after 2 hours of incubation with C. pneumoniae. The TLR4 protein expression reached a peak at 30 min, began to decrease within 1–2 hours and peaked again at 3 hours. Incubation of cells with heat-inactivated bacteria (56°C for 30 min) significantly reduced the TLR4 expression. Treated bacteria with polymyxin B (2 μg/ml) did not alter TLR4 expression. C. pneumoniae-induced NF-κB activity was blocked by TLR4 blocking antibodies. TLR4 mRNA and protein expression were inhibited in the presence of BAPTA-AM, SN50 or parthenolide. TNF-α and MIP-2 release was increased in type II cells in response to C. pneumoniae, whereas BAPTA-AM, SN50 or parthenolide decreased the C. pneumoniae-induced TNF-α and MIP-2 release. Mevastatin inhibited C. pneumoniae-mediated Rac1, RhoA and TLR4 expression. Conclusion The TLR4 protein expression in rat type II cells is likely to be mediated by a heat-sensitive C. pneumoniae protein that induces a fast Ca2+-mediated NF-κB activity, necessary for maintenance of TLR4 expression and TNF-α and MIP-2 release through possibly Rac and Rho protein-dependent mechanism. These results indicate that type II pneumocytes play an important role in the innate pulmonary immune system and in inflammatory response mechanism of the alveolus.
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