Ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone alter cytokine responses, but not Toll-like receptors, to Salmonella infection in vitro

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OBJECTIVES: Antibiotics that enhance host natural defences to infection offer an alternative approach to treating infections. However, mechanisms underlying such processes are poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of clinically relevant concentrations of two antibiotics on bacterial interactions with murine macrophages.

METHODS: Adhesion of Salmonella Typhimurium SL1344 to and invasion by Salmonella Typhimurium SL1344 of antibiotic-treated or untreated J774 murine macrophages were measured using a tissue culture infection model. Expression of genes central to the Toll-like receptor (TLR) signalling pathway of macrophages infected with Salmonella was analysed using the RT(2) Profiler PCR Array. Cytokine production was measured by ELISA.

RESULTS: Adhesion of Salmonella Typhimurium SL1344 to J774 macrophage monolayers was increased when macrophages were exposed to ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone, while invasion was decreased by ciprofloxacin. Expression of IL-1β and TNF-α mRNA was greater in SL1344-infected macrophages that had been treated with ciprofloxacin or ceftriaxone than in macrophages exposed to antibiotics alone or SL1344 alone. TLR mRNA was down-regulated by SL1344 infection, a response that was not altered by antibiotic pretreatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinically relevant concentrations of two antibiotics differentially enhanced the response of immune cells and their interaction with bacteria, increasing bacterial adhesion to macrophages and increasing cytokine production. As increased expression of IL-1β fosters apoptosis of Salmonella-infected macrophages and clearance by neutrophils, the immunomodulatory potential of these antibiotics may explain, in part, why these two drugs continue to be used to treat salmonellosis successfully.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Early online date13 Apr 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Apr 2016