Background: Bacterial infections are a cause of exacerbation of airway disease. Airway smooth muscle cells (ASMC) are a source of inflammatory cytokines/chemokines that may propagate local airway inflammatory responses. We hypothesize that bacteria and bacterial products could induce cytokine/chemokine release from ASMC. Methods: Human ASMC were grown in culture and treated with whole bacteria or pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) for 24 or 48 h. The release of eotaxin-I, CXCL-8 or GMCSF was measured by ELISA. Results: Gram-negative E. coli or Gram-positive S. aureus increased the release of CXCL-8, as did IL-1 beta, LPS, FSL-1 and Pam(3)CSK4, whereas FK565, MODLys18 or Poly I:C did not. E. coli inhibited eotaxin-I release under control conditions and after stimulation with IL-1 beta. S. aureus tended to inhibit eotaxin-I release stimulated with IL-1 beta. E. coli or LPS, but not S. aureus, induced the release of GMCSF. Conclusion: Gram-positive or Gram-negative bacteria activate human ASMC to release CXCL-8. By contrast Gram-negative bacteria inhibited the release of eotaxin-I from human ASMCs. E. coli, but not S. aureus induced GMCSF release from cells. Our findings that ASMC can respond directly to Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria by releasing the neutrophil selective chemokine, CXCL-8, is consistent with what we know about the role of neutrophil recruitment in bacterial infections in the lung. Our findings that bacteria inhibit the release of the eosinophil selective chemokine, eotaxin-I may help to explain the mechanisms by which bacterial immunotherapy reduces allergic inflammation in the lung.
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