Exposure to Simkania negevensis (Sn), an intracellular microorganism that has been associated with respiratory tract infections in infants and adults, is prevalent. Sn can multiply within free-living amoebae and has been detected in domestic water supplies, which may constitute a source of infection with the organism. Its path of transport from its portal of entry to the body to its target organs is unknown. In this study, the possibility that monocytes/macrophages may serve as vehicles of transmission was examined. In vitro cocultivation of Sn-infected Acanthamoeba polyphaga with the monocyte/macrophage cell line U937 resulted in the death of the amoebae and infection of the U937 cells. Sn entered and multiplied in U937 cells within short periods of time, and the microorganism could be transferred from U937 cells to cell cultures of various origins. Uninfected monocyte/macrophages could become infected when in contact with either actively or persistently Sn-infected cell cultures. Persistently infected cultures in contact with uninfected U937 cells became actively infected. The results of this study provide a basis for determination of the molecular mechanisms of monocyte/macrophage-cell interactions in transfer of infection and may contribute to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of Sn infections in vivo.
- Chlamydia trachomatis
- Monocyte/macrophage infection
- Simkania negevensis
- Transmission via monocytes/macrophages