The interaction of lymphogranuloma venereum and oculogenital chlamydia trachomatis with human keratinocytes and cervical epithelium.
Joubert, Bronwyn C.
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Background. Keratinocytes are the first target of infection for lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) Chlamydia trachomatis, yet they have been omitted from pathogenesis studies. We infect keratinocytes and cervical cells with C. trachomatis and hypothesize different growth and cytotoxicity profiles among the strains. Methods. HaCaT human keratinocytes and ME-180 cervical cells were infected with C. trachomatis (multiplicity of infection (MOI) 0.025) serovars L1, L2, L3, 3 LGV clinical isolates or serovar E and incubated at 37 or 33°C for 5 days. Cytotoxicity was quantified daily using the CytoTox96® Non-Radioactive Cytotoxicity Assay, cells stained with the MicroTrak C. trachomatis Culture Confirmation kit and growth quantified by area of 100X photographs covered by Chlamydia. HaCaT and ME-180 cervical cells were infected with C. trachomatis (MOI 0.25) serovar L2 or E, incubated at 37 or 33°C for 48 hours and viewed with a transmission electron microscope (TEM). Mitochondrial activity was quantified using the MTT assay. The DeadEndTM Colorimetric TUNEL System with C. trachomatis Culture Confirmation kit as a counter-stain was used to assess cell death in infected versus uninfected cells. The BioVisionTM CaspGLOW Fluorescein Caspase Staining Kit and Transwell® Permeable Supports was used to differentiate between apoptosis mediated by cell-to-cell contact or a secreted molecule. Results. Growth in ME-180 versus HaCaT cells at 37°C was similar, but slower at 33 versus 37°C in HaCaT cells (p < 0.05). By day 5 L2 had grown faster than other strains in HaCaT cells at 37°C (p < 0.05), faster than clinical isolates in ME180 cells (p < 0.01), and faster than serovar E, and 2 clinical isolates at 33°C (p < 0.01). After 5 days L2 induced cytotoxicty was 11% in ME180 cells, which was higher than the clinical isolates (p < 0.01). In HaCaT cells at 33°C L2 EB were identified in a non-membrane state in the cytoplasm but not in the inclusion at 48 hours post infection. Serovar E but not L2 caused mitochondrial swelling at 1 h post infection in HaCaT cells at 37°C. This corresponded with a 16% reduction in mitochondrial activity (p < 0.001). TUNEL assay analyses demonstrated numerous dead cells adjacent to chlamydial inclusions for strains L2 and L3 but not L1 and E. An elevated number of caspase positive cells was detected in uninfected cell monolayers exposed to both L2 and E at 37°C but not 33°C. Conclusions. 1. C. trachomatis infects human keratinocytes in vitro. 2. Fresh clinical isolates behaved differently to the L2 reference strain. This demonstrates the need for fresh clinical isolates in pathogenesis studies of LGV. 3. In HaCaT cells at 33°C serovar L2 EB leave the intact inclusion and migrate through the cytoplasm in a non-membrane bound state 4. C. trachomatis induces apoptosis in uninfected cells exposed to infected cells via a secreted molecule at 37°C. This is more marked with serovar L2 exposure than serovar E exposure.