Nitric oxide partially controls Coxiella burnetii phase II infection in mouse primary macrophages

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Zamboni, Dario S [UNIFESP]
Rabinovitch, Michel [UNIFESP]
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In most primary or continuous cell cultures infected with the Q-fever agent Coxiella burnetii, bacteria are typically sheltered in phagolysosome-like, large replicative vacuoles (LRVs). We recently reported that only a small proportion of mouse peritoneal macrophages (PMPhi) infected with a nonvirulent, phase II strain of C. burnetti developed LRVs and that their relative bacterial load increased only slowly. in the majority of infected PM(D, the bacteria were confined to the small vesicles. We show here that nitric oxide (NO) induced by the bacteria partially accounts for the restricted development of LRVs in primary macrophages. Thus, (i) PMPhi and bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMPhi) challenged with phase II C. burnetii produced significant amounts of NO; (ii) the NO synthase inhibitors aminoguanidine and N-methyl-L-arginine reduced the production of NO and increased the frequency of LRVs (although the relative bacterial loads of individual LRVs did not change, the estimated loads per well increased appreciably); (iii) gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) or the NO donor sodium nitroprusside, added to BMMPhi prior to or after infection, reduced the development and the relative bacterial loads of LRVs and lowered the yield of viable bacteria recovered from the cultures; and (iv) these effects of IFN-gamma may not be entirely dependent on the production of NO since IFN-gamma also controlled the infection in macrophages from inducible NO synthase knockout mice. It remains to be determined whether NO reduced the development of LRVs by acting directly on the bacteria; by acting on the traffic, fusion, or fission of cell vesicles; or by a combination of these mechanisms.
Infection and Immunity. Washington: Amer Soc Microbiology, v. 71, n. 3, p. 1225-1233, 2003.