Functional and structural changes of porcine alveolar macrophages induced by sublytic doses of a heat-labile, hemolytic, cytotoxic substance produced by Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae

S. Tarigan From the School of Veterinary Science, University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3052 Australia.

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R. F. Slocombe From the School of Veterinary Science, University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3052 Australia.

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 BVSc, PhD
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G. F. Browning From the School of Veterinary Science, University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3052 Australia.

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W. Kimpton From the School of Veterinary Science, University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3052 Australia.

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Summary

Alterations in the size and functions of porcine alveolar macrophages exposed to sublytic amounts of heat-labile, hemolytic cytotoxin produced by Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (App) serotype 1, strain HS54 into the culture medium were studied in vitro. Alveolar macrophages were sensitive to the cytotoxin; treatment of the macrophages with low concentrations of cytotoxin (0.016 hemolytic unit) resulted in severe, irreversible cell swelling. However, high doses of cytotoxin (2.0 hemolytic units) were required to cause substantial cell death, as indicated by the influx of propidium iodide into and release of lactate dehydrogenase from cells. Macrophages exposed to low, sublytic doses of cytotoxin failed to migrate toward chemoattractant, were unable to attach to glass, and failed to phagocytize optimally opsonized erythrocytes. Macrophages already attached to glass surfaces detached when exposed to sublytic doses of cytotoxin. The swelling and impairment of functions of alveolar macrophages observed in this study could not be attributed to endotoxic effects, because heat treatment of the cytotoxin preparation for 60 minutes at 60 C resulted in complete loss of cytotoxicity. We conclude that sublytic doses of heat-labile, hemolytic cytotoxic substances produced by App depress alveolar macrophage function at concentrations likely to develop in association with acute pulmonary infection with App. The Apx (A pleuropneumoniae Rtx toxins) exotoxins secreted by the bacteria into culture medium were considered responsible for the toxic activity of the cytotoxin preparation. The Apx of the App field strain used in this study were likely to be similar to those of serotype -1 reference strain (S4707). Analysis by use of DNA-DNA hybridization indicated that genomic DNA of the field strain contained sequences similar to those encoding structural protein of ApxI (apxIA) and ApxII (apxIIA) of the serotype - 1 reference strain. Therefore, Apx produced by the field strain of App used in this study are likely to be of similar pathogenic importance worldwide.

Summary

Alterations in the size and functions of porcine alveolar macrophages exposed to sublytic amounts of heat-labile, hemolytic cytotoxin produced by Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (App) serotype 1, strain HS54 into the culture medium were studied in vitro. Alveolar macrophages were sensitive to the cytotoxin; treatment of the macrophages with low concentrations of cytotoxin (0.016 hemolytic unit) resulted in severe, irreversible cell swelling. However, high doses of cytotoxin (2.0 hemolytic units) were required to cause substantial cell death, as indicated by the influx of propidium iodide into and release of lactate dehydrogenase from cells. Macrophages exposed to low, sublytic doses of cytotoxin failed to migrate toward chemoattractant, were unable to attach to glass, and failed to phagocytize optimally opsonized erythrocytes. Macrophages already attached to glass surfaces detached when exposed to sublytic doses of cytotoxin. The swelling and impairment of functions of alveolar macrophages observed in this study could not be attributed to endotoxic effects, because heat treatment of the cytotoxin preparation for 60 minutes at 60 C resulted in complete loss of cytotoxicity. We conclude that sublytic doses of heat-labile, hemolytic cytotoxic substances produced by App depress alveolar macrophage function at concentrations likely to develop in association with acute pulmonary infection with App. The Apx (A pleuropneumoniae Rtx toxins) exotoxins secreted by the bacteria into culture medium were considered responsible for the toxic activity of the cytotoxin preparation. The Apx of the App field strain used in this study were likely to be similar to those of serotype -1 reference strain (S4707). Analysis by use of DNA-DNA hybridization indicated that genomic DNA of the field strain contained sequences similar to those encoding structural protein of ApxI (apxIA) and ApxII (apxIIA) of the serotype - 1 reference strain. Therefore, Apx produced by the field strain of App used in this study are likely to be of similar pathogenic importance worldwide.

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