Disparate innate immune responses to persistent and acute Chlamydia pneumoniae infection in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Daniel Droemann*, Jan Rupp, Torsten Goldmann, Ulrike Uhlig, Detlev Branscheid, Ekkehard Vollmer, Peter Kujath, Peter Zabel, Klaus Dalhoff

*Corresponding author for this work
29 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale: Chlamydia pneumoniae (Cpn) infection may play a role in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Few data are available comparing persistent and acute infection of this pathogen in the human respiratory tract. Objectives: To study Cpn-induced innate immune responses in lung tissue from patients with COPD and control subjects ex vivo and in vitro. Methods: Cpn detection was done by nested polymerase chain reaction, in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemistry ex vivo in unstimulated tissue and in vitro using an acute Cpn infection model. As main endpoints for the assessment of early cellular responses, nuclear factor (NF)-κB activation and CXC chemokine ligand (CXCL)-8 expression were evaluated. The role of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) as recognition molecules in Cpn-induced innate responses was tested by blocking experiments. Measurements and Main Results: Fifteen percent of patients with COPD were chronically infected with Cpn in contrast to 0% of control subjects (p < 0.05). There were no differences in CXCL-8 and NF-κB expression between infected and noninfected COPD tissue ex vivo. In contrast, acute in vitro infection induced an intense innate immune response including up-regulation of TLR2. Blocking experiments demonstrated the predominant role of TLR2 in induction of the early immune response, whereas no influence on chlamydial infection rates was observed. Conclusions: Acute in vitro infection of human lung tissue with Cpn elicited a marked innate response via TLR2, whereas chronic chlamydial infection in patients with COPD was not associated with enhanced cellular activation. These findings suggest different roles of Cpn during acute and chronic stages of pulmonary infection.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)791-797
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 14.04.2007

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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