Objective: To investigate the adhesion and extravasation capacity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and the transport of bacterial antigens within these cells during Salmonella infection.
Methods: Thirteen patients who were part of 2 outbreaks of Salmonella enteritidis infection were included in this study. The capacity of PBMC from these patients to bind to vascular endothelium in inflamed synovium was tested using a Stamper-Woodruff-type frozen-section assay. The same cells were studied for the presence of Salmonella antigens by immunofluorescence staining. The transendothelial migration of mononuclear cells containing Salmonella or its components through unstimulated endothelial cell layer was quantified.
Results: The capacity of PBMC to adhere to synovial vessels was significantly increased during Salmonella infection (P=0.0003). Monocytes had a transiently high adhesive state between 2 and 5 weeks after the patients had eaten the contaminated food. The cells containing Salmonella antigens were concentrated in the transmigrated population.
Conclusion: During acute Salmonella infection the increased binding of PBMC to vascular endothelium in inflamed synovium and enhanced transmigration of PBMC containing Salmonella may be the key factors leading to transport of bacterial antigens through the endothelial barrier and initiation of arthritis in susceptible individuals.