Group B streptococcus induces trophoblast death

Microb Pathog. 2008 Sep;45(3):231-5. doi: 10.1016/j.micpath.2008.05.003. Epub 2008 Jul 2.


Group B streptococcus (GBS) is one of the leading causes of neonatal infection; however the molecular mechanisms involved are not clearly known. Here we used high and low hemolytic GBS isolates and mutant GBS that lacks beta-hemolysin expression and showed that GBS infection or exposure to GBS hemolysin extract induces primary human trophoblast, placental fibroblast and JEG3 trophoblast cell line death, and that GBS-induced trophoblast death was beta-hemolysin dependent. The fibroblasts and trophoblasts provide an innate immune barrier between fetal and maternal circulation in the placenta. These data suggest that GBS may disrupt this barrier to invade fetal circulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Hemolysin Proteins / genetics
  • Hemolysin Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Placenta / cytology
  • Placenta / microbiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / physiopathology*
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / physiology*
  • Trophoblasts / cytology*
  • Trophoblasts / microbiology*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Hemolysin Proteins