Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 10623438
Cytokine 2000 Jan;12(1):21-5
Pilus-mediated adhesion plays a prominent role in the pathogenesis of Neisseria meningitidis by allowing the initial localized adhesion to epithelial and endothelial cells. Non-piliated bacteria are not adherent. Moreover, cytokine production during infection is a key feature of meningococcal pathogenesis. Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) is known to be produced early during meningococcal infections and experimental endotoxemia. Monocytic cells are thought to be responsible for this systemic production of TNF-alpha which is involved in many aspects of meningococcal pathogenesis such as coagulopathy and activation of endothelial cells. In this report, both adherent and non-adherent N. meningitidis were shown to induce the expression of TNF-alpha gene in monocytic cells, however, only adherent N. meningitidis was able to induce the expression of TNF-alpha gene in endothelial cells. This latter induction required the presence of monocytes. These data suggest that endothelial cells may be activated selectively and efficiently by adherent N. meningitidis and can locally produce TNF-alpha upon bacterial adhesion.