Systemic bacterial infections elicit inflammatory response that promotes acute or chronic complications such as sepsis, arthritis or atherosclerosis. Of interest, cells in circulation experience hydrodynamic shear forces, which have been shown to be a potent regulator of cellular function in the vasculature and play an important role in maintaining tissue homeostasis. In this study, we have examined the effect of shear forces due to blood flow in modulating the inflammatory response of cells to infection. Using an in vitro model, we analyzed the effects of physiological levels of shear stress on the inflammatory response of monocytes infected with chlamydia, an intracellular pathogen which causes bronchitis and is implicated in the development of atherosclerosis. We found that chlamydial infection alters the morphology of monocytes and trigger the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-8, IL-1β and IL-6. We also found that the exposure of chlamydia-infected monocytes to short durations of arterial shear stress significantly enhances the secretion of cytokines in a time-dependent manner and the expression of surface adhesion molecule ICAM-1. As a functional consequence, infection and shear stress increased monocyte adhesion to endothelial cells under flow and in the activation and aggregation of platelets. Overall, our study demonstrates that shear stress enhances the inflammatory response of monocytes to infection, suggesting that mechanical forces may contribute to disease pathophysiology. These results provide a novel perspective on our understanding of systemic infection and inflammation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)