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<jats:title>ABSTRACT</jats:title><jats:p>Melioidosis, caused by the Gram-negative bacterium<jats:named-content xmlns:xlink="" content-type="genus-species" xlink:type="simple">Burkholderia pseudomallei</jats:named-content>, is an important cause of community-acquired sepsis in Southeast Asia and northern Australia. An important controller of the immune system is the pleiotropic cytokine transforming growth factor β (TGF-β), of which Smad2 and Smad3 are the major signal transducers. In this study, we aimed to characterize TGF-β expression and function in experimental melioidosis. TGF-β expression was determined in 33 patients with culture-proven infection with<jats:named-content xmlns:xlink="" content-type="genus-species" xlink:type="simple">B. pseudomallei</jats:named-content>and 30 healthy controls. We found that plasma TGF-β concentrations were strongly elevated during melioidosis. In line with this finding, TGF-β expression in C57BL/6 mice intranasally inoculated with<jats:named-content xmlns:xlink="" content-type="genus-species" xlink:type="simple">B. pseudomallei</jats:named-content>was enhanced as well. To assess the role of TGF-β, we inhibited TGF-β using a selective murine TGF-β antibody. Treatment of mice with anti-TGF-β antibody resulted in decreased lung Smad2 phosphorylation. TGF-β blockade appeared to be protective: mice treated with anti-TGF-β antibody and subsequently infected with<jats:named-content xmlns:xlink="" content-type="genus-species" xlink:type="simple">B. pseudomallei</jats:named-content>showed diminished bacterial loads. Moreover, less distant organ injury was observed in anti-TGF-β treated mice as shown by reduced blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and aspartate transaminase (AST) values. However, anti-TGF-β treatment did not have an effect on survival. In conclusion, TGF-β is upregulated during<jats:named-content xmlns:xlink="" content-type="genus-species" xlink:type="simple">B. pseudomallei</jats:named-content>infection and plays a limited but proinflammatory role during experimental melioidosis.</jats:p>

Original publication





Infection and Immunity


American Society for Microbiology

Publication Date





1853 - 1857