Mycobacterium kansasii is a facultative intracellular pathogen causing pulmonary disease in immunocompetent patients. Little is known about the host defense against M. kansasii and its intracellular survival strategy inside macrophages. In the present study, we obtained six clinical isolates from patients with M. kansasii pulmonary disease and investigated the intracellular growth and cytotoxic effects of M. kansasii inside mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) as well as cytokine secretion from BMDM. Interestingly, two isolates, SM-1 and 2693-20, displayed faster growth rates and higher levels of TNF-α secretion from macrophages when compared to the other strains. In addition, SM-1 and 2693-20 also induced massive cell death in BMDM and THP-1 acute monocytic leukemia cells, while the slow growing strains induced significantly lower levels of cell death. This cytotoxicity was mainly caused by necrosis, not apoptosis and it was TNF-α-independent. Caspase inhibitors failed to block M. kansasii-induced macrophage death. In addition, necrosis caused by the fast growing strains was accompanied by the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm). When dissipation of ΔΨm was inhibited by the classical mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT) inhibitor cyclosporine A (CsA), macrophage necrosis was reduced. These results suggest that clinical isolates of M. kansasii that grow faster in macrophages induce higher levels of necrosis in a ΔΨm loss-dependent manner.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the research fund of Chungnam National University (2008) and the Korea Science & Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) through the Infection Signaling Network Research Center (R13-2007-020-01000-0) at Chungnam National University.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases