Cytokine responses of chronic Q fever patients to the intracellular bacterium Coxiella burnetii have mostly been studied using ex vivo stimulation of immune cells with heat-killed C. burnetii due to the extensive measures needed to work with viable biosafety level 3 agents. Whether research with heat-killed C. burnetii can be translated to immune responses to viable C. burnetii is imperative for the interpretation of previous and future studies with heat-killed C. burnetii. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of chronic Q fever patients (n = 10) and healthy controls (n = 10) were stimulated with heat-killed or viable C. burnetii of two strains, Nine Mile and the Dutch outbreak strain 3262, for 24 h, 48 h, and 7 days in the absence or presence of serum containing anti-C. burnetii antibodies. When stimulated with viable C. burnetii, PBMCs of chronic Q fever patients and controls produced fewer proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin-6 [IL-6], tumor necrosis factor alpha, and IL-1β) after 24 h than after stimulation with heat-killed C. burnetii. In the presence of Q fever seronegative serum, IL-10 production was higher after stimulation with viable rather than heat-killed C. burnetii; however, when incubating with anti-C. burnetii antibody serum, the effect on IL-10 production was reduced. Levels of adaptive, merely T-cell-derived cytokine (gamma interferon, IL-17, and IL-22) and CXCL9 production were not different between heat-killed and viable C. burnetii stimulatory conditions. Results from previous and future research with heat-killed C. burnetii should be interpreted with caution for innate cytokines, but heat-killed C. burnetii-induced adaptive cytokine production is representative of stimulation with viable bacteria.
|Journal||Infection and Immunity|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Oct 2018|
- Chronic Q fever
- Coxiella burnetii
- Immune response