Chlamydia pneumoniae infection of brain cells: an in vitro study

Neurobiol Aging. 2007 Apr;28(4):524-32. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2006.02.014. Epub 2006 Apr 18.


Inspired by the suggested associations between neurological diseases and infections, we determined the susceptibility of brain cells to Chlamydia pneumoniae (Cpn). Murine astrocyte (C8D1A), neuronal (NB41A3) and microglial (BV-2) cell lines were inoculated with Cpn. Infection was established by immunofluorescence and real-time PCR at various time points. Productive infection was assessed by transferring medium of infected cells to a detection layer. Finally, apoptosis and necrosis post-infection was determined. Our data demonstrate that the neuronal cell line is highly sensitive to Cpn, produces viable progeny and is prone to die after infection by necrosis. Cpn tropism was similar in an astrocyte cell line, apart from the higher production of extracellular Cpn and less pronounced necrosis. In contrast, the microglial cell line is highly resistant to Cpn as the immunohistochemical signs almost completely disappeared after 24 h. Nevertheless, significant Cpn DNA amounts could be detected, suggesting Cpn persistence. Low viable progeny and hardly any necrotic microglial cells were observed. Further research is warranted to determine whether these cell types show the same sensitivity to Cpn in an in vivo setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Astrocytes / microbiology
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / microbiology*
  • Cell Line
  • Chlamydia Infections* / metabolism
  • Chlamydia Infections* / pathology
  • Chlamydia Infections* / physiopathology
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae*
  • Epithelial Cells / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Microglia / microbiology
  • Necrosis
  • Time Factors