Chlamydophila (Chlamydia) pneumoniae (C. pneumoniae) is the third most common cause of community-acquired pneumonia and is probably involved in the development of certain chronic inflammatory diseases, including atherosclerosis and adult-onset asthma. Histamine, synthesized by histidine decarboxylase (HDC) from L-histidine, plays an essential role in allergic and inflammatory processes and in cell differentiation. The effect of C. pneumoniae infection on the expression of HDC has not been examined. In the present study, normal Balb/ c mice and HDC knockouts, and control mice with a CD1 background were infected intranasally with C. pneumoniae. On days 1, 3, 7, 16 and 31 after infection, the normal Balb/c mice were sacrificed and divided into three groups. In the homogenized lungs of the first group, C. pneumoniae titres were determined and demonstrated peak levels on day 7. HDC production was revealed by a Western blot assay throughout the observation period of 1-16 days, and cytokine concentrations were determined by ELISA. The interleukin-3 (IL-3) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels were highest on day 1 and on days 1-3, respectively; the interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) levels reached the maximum on day 7, but the quantity of IL-4 was still three times higher than that in the control group 16 days after infection. The lungs of the mice in the second group were processed for the in situ demonstration of HDC activity, while the lungs in the third group were stained for C. pneumoniae antigen. The HDC activity was increased predominantly in the bronchial epithelial cells, while C. pneumoniae antigens were expressed especially in the interstitial macrophages. The HDC knockout mice exhibited a higher survival rate after C. pneumoniae infection than did the control mice. These results point to a strong association between local histamine production and other inflammatory mediators and are novel in demonstrating the role of histamine in the pathomechanism of C. pneumoniae infections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy