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Wolbachia-induced neutrophil activation in a mouse model of ocular onchocerciasis (river blindness)

Gillette-Ferguson, I., Hise, A. G., McGarry, Helen F., Turner, Joseph ORCID:, Esposito, A., Sun, Y., Diaconu, E., Taylor, Mark ORCID: and Pearlman, E. (2004) 'Wolbachia-induced neutrophil activation in a mouse model of ocular onchocerciasis (river blindness)'. Infection and Immunity, Vol 72, Issue 10, pp. 5687-5692.

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Endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria are abundant in the filarial nematodes that cause onchocerciasis (river blindness), including the larvae (microfilariae) that migrate into the cornea. Using a mouse model of ocular onchocerciasis, we recently demonstrated that it is these endosymbiotic bacteria rather than the nematodes per se that induce neutrophil infiltration to the corneal stroma and loss of corneal clarity (Saint Andre et al., Science 295:1892-1895, 2002). To better understand the role of Wolbachia organisms in the pathogenesis of this disease, we examined the fate of these bacteria in the cornea by immunoelectron microscopy. Microfilariae harboring Wolbachia organisms were injected into mouse corneas, and bacteria were detected with antibody to Wolbachia surface protein. Within 18 h of injection, neutrophils completely surrounded the nematodes and were in close proximity to Wolbachia organisms. Wolbachia surface protein labeling was also prominent in neutrophil phagosomes, indicating neutrophil ingestion of Wolbachia organisms. Furthermore, the presence of numerous electron-dense granules around the phagosomes indicated that neutrophils were activated. To determine if Wolbachia organisms directly activate neutrophils, peritoneal neutrophils were incubated with either parasite extracts containing Wolbachia organisms, parasite extracts depleted of Wolbachia organisms (by antibiotic treatment of worms), or Wolbachia organisms isolated from filarial nematodes. After 18 h of incubation, we found that isolated Wolbachia organisms stimulated production of tumor necrosis factor alpha and CXC chemokines macrophage inflammatory protein 2 and KC by neutrophils in a dose-dependent manner. Similarly, these cytokines were induced by filarial extracts containing Wolbachia organisms but not by Wolbachia-depleted extracts. Taken together, these findings indicate that neutrophil activation is an important mechanism by which Wolbachia organisms contribute to the pathogenesis of ocular onchocerciasis.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: major basic-protein litomosoides-sigmodontis dirofilaria-immitis filarial nematodes granule proteins surface protein brugia-pahangi bacteria volvulus cornea
Subjects: QX Parasitology > Arthropods > QX 460 Arthropods
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 885 Onchocerciasis
Faculty: Department: Groups (2002 - 2012) > Molecular & Biochemical Parasitology Group
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Sarah Lewis-Newton
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2011 15:31
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2019 09:00


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