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Uropathogenic Escherichia coli block MyD88-dependent and activate MyD88-independent signaling pathways in rat testicular cells.

Bhushan S., Tchatalbachev S., Klug J., Fijak M., Pineau C., Chakraborty T., Meinhardt A.

Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) is the most common etiological cause of urogenital tract infections and represents a considerable cause of immunological male infertility. We examined TLR 1-11 expression profiles in testicular cells and the functional response to infection with UPEC. All testicular cell types expressed mRNAs for at least two TLRs and, in particular, synthesis of TLR4 was induced in testicular macrophages (TM), Sertoli cells (SC), peritubular cells (PTC), and peritoneal macrophages (PM) after UPEC exposure. Even though MyD88-dependent pathways were activated as exemplified by phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases in TM, SC, PTC, and PM and by the degradation of IkappaBalpha and the nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB in PTC and PM, treatment with UPEC did not result in secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1alpha, IL-6, and TNF-alpha in any of the investigated cells. Moreover, stimulated production of these cytokines by nonpathogenic commensal E. coli or LPS in PM was completely abolished after coincubation with UPEC. Instead, in SC, PTC, TM, and PM, UPEC exposure resulted in activation of MyD88-independent signaling as documented by nuclear transfer of IFN-related factor-3 and elevated expression of type I IFNs alpha and beta, IFN-gamma-inducible protein 10, MCP-1, and RANTES. We conclude that in this in vitro model UPEC can actively suppress MyD88-dependent signaling at different levels to prevent proinflammatory cytokine secretion by testicular cells. Thus, testicular innate immune defense is shifted to an antiviral-like MyD88-independent response.

J. Immunol. 180:5537-5547(2008) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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