Research Summary: Resident Alveolar Macrophages Are Susceptible to and Permissive of Coxiella burnetii Infection
Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q fever, is a zoonotic disease with potentially life-threatening complications in humans. Inhalation of low doses of Coxiella bacteria can result in infection of the host alveolar macrophage (AM). However, it is not known whether a subset of AMs within the heterogeneous population of macrophages in the infected lung is particularly susceptible to infection. We have found that lower doses of both phase I and phase II Nine Mile C. burnetii multiply and are less readily cleared from the lungs of mice compared to higher infectious doses. We have additionally identified AM resident within the lung prior to and shortly following infection, opposed to newly recruited monocytes entering the lung during infection, as being most susceptible to infection. These resident cells remain infected up to twelve days after the onset of infection, serving as a permissive niche for the maintenance of bacterial infection. A subset of infected resident AMs undergo a distinguishing phenotypic change during the progression of infection exhibiting an increase in surface integrin CD11b expression and continued expression of the surface integrin CD11c. The low rate of phase I and II Nine Mile C. burnetii growth in murine lungs may be a direct result of the limited size of the susceptible resident AM cell population.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 19-December-2012
Author(s): Calverley M., Erickson S., Read A., Harmsen A.