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Borrelia burgdorferi induces chemokines in human monocytes.

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Abstract

Lyme disease is clinically and histologically characterized by strong inflammatory reactions that contrast the paucity of spirochetes at lesional sites, indicating that borreliae induce mechanisms that amplify the inflammatory response. To reveal the underlying mechanisms of chemoattraction and activation of responding leukocytes, we investigated the induction of chemokines in human monocytes exposed to Borrelia burgdorferi by a dose-response and kinetic analysis. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) derived from Escherichia coli was used as a positive control stimulus. The release of the CXC chemokines interleukin-8 (IL-8) and GRO-alpha and the CC chemokines MIP-1alpha, MCP-1, and RANTES was determined by specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and the corresponding gene expression patterns were determined by Northern blot analysis. The results showed a rapid and strong borrelia-inducible gene expression which was followed by the release of chemokines with peak levels after 12 to 16 h. Spirochetes and LPS were comparably effective in stimulating IL-8, GRO-alpha, MCP-1, and RANTES expression, whereas MIP-1alpha production preceded and exceeded chemokine levels induced by LPS. Unlike other bacteria, the spirochetes themselves did not bear or release factors with intrinsic chemotactic activity for monocytes or neutrophils. Thus, B. burgdorferi appears to be a strong inducer of chemokines which may, by the attraction and activation of phagocytic leukocytes, significantly contribute to inflammation and tissue damage observed in
Lyme disease.

Infect Immun. 1997 Nov;65(11):4384-8. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

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