Divergent modulation of Chlamydia pneumoniae infection cycle in human monocytic and endothelial cells by iron, tryptophan availability and interferon gamma

Rosa Bellmann-Weiler, Verena Martinz, Katharina Kurz, Sabine Engl, Clemens Feistritzer, Dietmar Fuchs, Jan Rupp, Mika Paldanius, Guenter Weiss*

*Corresponding author for this work
    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Chlamydia pneumoniae is an obligatory intracellular bacterium causing chronic inflammatory diseases in humans. We studied the role of the nutritive factors, iron and tryptophan, towards the course of infection and immune response pathways in C. pneumoniae infected endothelial cells and monocytes.Human endothelial (EA.hy923) and monocytic cells (THP-1) were infected with C. pneumoniae, supplemented with iron or 1-methyltryptophan (1-MT), an inhibitor of the tryptophan degrading enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), and subsequently stimulated with IFN-γ or left untreated. The number of infected cells, the morphology and quantity of C. pneumoniae inclusion bodies, IDO activity and innate immune effector pathways were analysed.While neither iron challenge, IDO inhibition or IFN-γ treatment had a significant effect on C. pneumoniae morphology or numbers within THP-1 monocytic cells, iron supplementation to EA.hy926 cells resulted in promotion of C. pneumoniae proliferation and differentiation while IFN-γ had an inhibitory effect. Furthermore, the number of infected endothelial cells was significantly decreased upon 1-MT treatment. C. pneumoniae infection induced a pro-inflammatory immune response as evidenced by increased IDO activity, neopterin formation or TNF-α production in THP-1 but not in endothelial cells. These pathways were superinduced upon IFN-γ treatment and partly modulated by iron supplementation.Our results demonstrate that the infectious cycle of C. pneumoniae behaves differently between monocytic and endothelial cells. While the intracellular pathogen remains in a persistent form within monocytes, it can differentiate and proliferate within endothelial cells indicating that endothelial cells are a preferred environment for Chlamydia. Nutritive factors such as iron have subtle effects on C. pneumoniae biology in endothelial, but not monocytic cells. Our results contribute to a better understanding of C. pneumoniae infection and its role in chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number9-10
    Pages (from-to)842-848
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - 01.09.2010

    Research Areas and Centers

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


    Dive into the research topics of 'Divergent modulation of Chlamydia pneumoniae infection cycle in human monocytic and endothelial cells by iron, tryptophan availability and interferon gamma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this