Degradation of Chlamydia pneumoniae by peripheral blood monocytic cells

Katerina Wolf, Elizabeth Fischer, Ted Hackstadt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Chlamydia pneumoniae is a common human respiratory pathogen that has been associated with a variety of chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis. The role of this organism in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis remains unknown. A key question is how C. pneumoniae is transferred from the site of primary infection to a developing atherosclerotic plaque. It has been suggested that circulating monocytes could be vehicles for dissemination of C. pneumoniae since the organism has been detected in peripheral blood monocytic cells (PBMCs). In this study we focused on survival of C. pneumoniae within PBMCs isolated from the blood of healthy human donors. We found that C. pneumoniae does not grow and multiply in cultured primary monocytes. In C. pneumoniae-intected monocyte-derived macrophages, growth of the organism was very limited, and the majority of the bacteria were eradicated. We also found that the destruction of C. pneumoniae within infected macrophages resulted in a gradual diminution of chlamydial antigens, although some of these antigens could be detected for days after the initial infection. The detected antigens present in infected monocytes and monocyte-derived macrophages represented neither chlamydial inclusions nor intact organisms. The use of {N-[7-(4-nitrobenzo-2-oxa-1,3-diazole)]}-6- aminocaproyl-n-erythro-sphingosine as a vital stain for chlamydiae proved to be a sensitive method for identifying rare C. pneumoniae inclusions and was useful in the detection of even aberrant developmental forms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4560-4570
Number of pages11
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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