Interaction between endometrial epithelial cells and blood leucocytes promotes cytokine release and epithelial barrier function in response to Chlamydia trachomatis lipopolysaccharide stimulation

Authors

  • Sze Lok Ho,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Center, Key Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine of Ministry of Education of China, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
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  • Qiong He,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Center, Key Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine of Ministry of Education of China, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
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  • Jie Chen,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Center, Key Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine of Ministry of Education of China, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
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  • Penghui Xu,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Center, Key Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine of Ministry of Education of China, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
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  • Ling Lai Tsang,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Center, Key Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine of Ministry of Education of China, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
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  • Sidney Yu,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Center, Key Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine of Ministry of Education of China, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
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  • Wa Yiu Chung,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Center, Key Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine of Ministry of Education of China, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
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  • Chang Hsiao Chan

    Corresponding author
    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Center, Key Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine of Ministry of Education of China, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
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email hsiaocchan@cuhk.edu.hk

Abstract

Chlamydia trachomatis infection is currently the most common cause of infection-related sterility in women. However, it remains largely unknown how uterine epithelial cells interact with recruited leucocytes in response to C. trachomatis infection in the female genital tract. To study the defence mechanism of the endometrium against C. trachomatis infection, we established an in vitro co-culture of EEC (endometrial epithelial cells) and PBL (peripheral blood leucocytes) isolated from mice and investigated the immune response of these cells upon C. trachomatis LPS (lipopolysaccharide) challenge using a cytokine antibody array and RT-PCR (reverse transcription-PCR). Our results showed that upon C. trachomatis LPS stimulation, proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines, such as TNF-α, IL-1β, MIPs (macrophage inflammatory proteins), IL-12p40p70, KC, GCSFs (granulocyte colony stimulating factors), IL-6 and TIMPs (tissue inhibition metalloproteinases) are up-regulated and/or released from EEC–PBL co-culture. Further, the TER (transepithelial resistance), measured by the Isc (short-circuit current) technique was significantly increased in EEC/PBL co-cultured cells and also when stimulated with C. trachomatis LPS compared with EEC alone. These changes appear to be mediated by the change in cytokine-induced expression of tight junction-related protein ZO-1. The present results demonstrated that the epithelial–immune cross-talk could promote the release of proinflammatory cytokines and enhance the barrier function of the endometrium against C. trachomatis infection in the female reproductive tract.

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