Production of Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha by Treponema Pallidum, Borrelia Burgdorferi s.l., and Leptospira Interrogans in Isolated Rat Kupffer Cells

FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2004 Apr 9;40(3):187-91. doi: 10.1016/S0928-8244(03)00345-6.


Stimulation of isolated rat Kupffer cells by viable Leptospira interrogans, Treponema pallidum and Borrelia garinii elicited cellular responses resulting in the release of different tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) levels, depending on the spirochetes. L. interrogans induced TNF-alpha levels higher than those achieved with B. garinii and T. pallidum (in this order), but lower than the levels achieved with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In contrast to L. interrogans, pretreatment of borreliae and treponemes with polymyxin B did not substantially diminish the ability of B. garinii and T. pallidum to stimulate Kupffer cells. Purified T. pallidum lipoproteins TpN47, TmpA, TpN15-TpN17, and B. garinii OspA induced TNF-alpha responses comparable to that achieved by LPS. This response was almost insensitive to the action of polymyxin B.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / drug effects
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / immunology*
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Kupffer Cells / immunology
  • Kupffer Cells / metabolism
  • Kupffer Cells / microbiology*
  • Leptospira interrogans / drug effects
  • Leptospira interrogans / immunology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology
  • Lipoproteins / immunology
  • Macrophage Activation / immunology
  • Polymyxin B / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Treponema pallidum / drug effects
  • Treponema pallidum / immunology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Lipoproteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Polymyxin B