Abstract

Background: Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are elevated in pleural fluids of tuberculous pleuritis (TBP) where pleural mesothelial cells (PMCs) conduct the first-line defense against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). However, the clinical implication of TNF-α and MMPs in TBP and the response of PMCs to MTB infection remain unclear. Methods: We measured pleural fluid levels of TNF-α and MMPs in patients with TBP (n = 18) or heart failure (n = 18) as controls. Radiological scores for initial effusion amount and residual pleural fibrosis at 6-month follow-up were assessed. In vitro human PMC experiments were performed to assess the effect of heat-killed M. tuberculosis H37Ra (MTBRa) on the expression of TNF-α and MMPs. Results: As compared with controls, the effusion levels of TNF-α, MMP-1 and MMP-9 were significantly higher and correlated positively with initial effusion amount in patients with TBP, while TNF-α and MMP-1, but not MMP-9, were positively associated with residual pleural fibrosis of TBP. Moreover, effusion levels of TNF-α had positive correlation with those of MMP-1 and MMP-9 in TBP. In cultured PMCs, MTBRa enhanced TLR2 and TLR4 expression, activated ERK signaling, and upregulated TNF-α mRNA and protein expression. Furthermore, knockdown of TLR2, but not TLR4, significantly inhibited ERK phosphorylation and TNF-α expression. Additionally, both MTBRa and TNF-α markedly induced MMP-1 and MMP-9 synthesis in human PMCs, and TNF-α neutralization substantially reduced the production of MMP-1, but not MMP-9, in response to MTBRa stimulation. Conclusion: MTBRa activates TLR2/ERK signalings to induce TNF-α and elicit MMP-1 and MMP-9 in human PMCs, which are associated with effusion volume and pleural fibrosis and may contribute to pathogenesis of TBP. Further investigation of manipulation of TNF-α and MMP expression in pleural mesothelium may provide new insights into the mechanisms and rational treatment strategies for TBP.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0137979
JournalPLoS One
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 14 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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