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      Interferon-γ promotes abortion due to Brucella infection in pregnant mice


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          The mechanisms of abortion induced by bacterial infection are largely unknown. In the present study, we investigated abortion induced by Brucella abortus, a causative agent of brucellosis and facultative intracellular pathogen, in a mouse model.


          High rates of abortion were observed for bacterial infection on day 4.5 of gestation, but not for other days. Regardless of whether fetuses were aborted or stayed alive, the transmission of bacteria into the fetus and bacterial replication in the placenta were observed. There was a higher degree of bacterial colonization in the placenta than in other organs and many bacteria were detected in trophoblast giant cells in the placenta. Intracellular growth-defective virB4 mutant and attenuated vaccine strain S19 did not induce abortion. In the case of abortion, around day 7.5 of gestation (period of placental development), transient induction of IFN-γ production was observed for infection by the wild type strain, but not by the virB4 mutant and S19. Neutralization of IFN-γ, whose production was induced by infection with B. abortus, served to prevent abortion.


          These results indicate that abortion induced by B. abortus infection is a result of transient IFN-γ production during the period of placental development.

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          Bidirectional cytokine interactions in the maternal-fetal relationship: is successful pregnancy a TH2 phenomenon?

          Pregnant females are susceptible to intracellular pathogens and are biased towards humoral rather than cell-mediated immunity. Since TH1 cytokines compromise pregnancy and TH2 cytokines are produced at the maternal-fetal interface, we hypothesize that these TH2 cytokines inhibit TH1 responses, improving fetal survival but impairing responses against some pathogens.
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            Th1-type immunity is incompatible with successful pregnancy.

            Several years ago, the rather provocative question was raised: is successful pregnancy a T helper 2 (Th2) phenomenon? Implicit in this argument is the corollary that unsuccessful pregnancy is a Th1-type situation. Here, evidence from murine and human pregnancy is presented to show that, since Th1-type cytokines mediate pregnancy loss, a shift towards Th1-type immunity may help resolve 'unexplained' pregnancy failure.
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              Brucella abortus transits through the autophagic pathway and replicates in the endoplasmic reticulum of nonprofessional phagocytes.

              Brucella abortus is an intracellular pathogen that replicates within a membrane-bounded compartment. In this study, we have examined the intracellular pathway of the virulent B. abortus strain 2308 (S2308) and the attenuated strain 19 (S19) in HeLa cells. At 10 min after inoculation, both bacterial strains are transiently detected in phagosomes characterized by the presence of early endosomal markers such as the early endosomal antigen 1. At approximately 1 h postinoculation, bacteria are located within a compartment positive for the lysosome-associated membrane proteins (LAMPs) and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) marker sec61beta but negative for the mannose 6-phosphate receptors and cathepsin D. Interestingly, this compartment is also positive for the autophagosomal marker monodansylcadaverin, suggesting that S2308 and S19 are located in autophagic vacuoles. At 24 h after inoculation, attenuated S19 is degraded in lysosomes, while virulent S2308 multiplies within a LAMP- and cathepsin D-negative but sec61beta- and protein disulfide isomerase-positive compartment. Furthermore, treatment of infected cells with the pore-forming toxin aerolysin from Aeromonas hydrophila causes vacuolation of the bacterial replication compartment. These results are compatible with the hypothesis that pathogenic B. abortus exploits the autophagic machinery of HeLa cells to establish an intracellular niche favorable for its replication within the ER.

                Author and article information

                BMC Microbiol
                BMC Microbiology
                BioMed Central (London )
                4 May 2005
                : 5
                : 22
                [1 ]Department of Applied Veterinary Science, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Obihiro, Hokkaido 080-8555, Japan
                [2 ]Research Center for Protozoan Diseases, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Obihiro, Hokkaido 080-8555, Japan
                [3 ]Department of Pathological Science, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Obihiro, Hokkaido 080-8555, Japan
                [4 ]Department of Development and Medical Technology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Hongo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
                Copyright © 2005 Kim et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Microbiology & Virology
                Microbiology & Virology


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