Journal Article

Serotonin and melatonin, neurohormones for homeostasis, as novel inhibitors of infections by the intracellular parasite chlamydia

Mohd. Akhlakur Rahman, Yoshinao Azuma, Hajime Fukunaga, Tomoyuki Murakami, Kazurou Sugi, Hideto Fukushi, Koshiro Miura, Harumi Suzuki and Mutsunori Shirai

in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Published on behalf of British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Volume 56, issue 5, pages 861-868
Published in print November 2005 | ISSN: 0305-7453
Published online September 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2091 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jac/dki331
Serotonin and melatonin, neurohormones for homeostasis, as novel inhibitors of infections by the intracellular parasite chlamydia

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Objectives: Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular bacteria, causing a variety of diseases, i.e. pneumonia, sexually transmitted disease, conjunctivitis and zoonosis. Tryptophan depletion by interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) is the most important host defence system against chlamydial infection. Thus chlamydial tryptophan metabolism is thought to play key roles for IFN-γ resistance, persistent infection and host/tissue tropisms. We tested tryptophan derivatives for activity against chlamydia-infected cells.

Methods: Rates of chlamydial infection and sizes of the inclusions were evaluated by in vitro infection using three Chlamydiaceae species, Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydophila pneumoniae and Chlamydophila felis, which show significant divergence of tryptophan synthesis genes and different susceptibilities to IFN-γ.

Results: Melatonin and serotonin, which are recognized as neural hormones for maintenance of organism homeostasis, reduced chlamydial infection but not other bacterial growth tested here. Unlike IFN-γ, melatonin limited infection of all three chlamydiae and the effects were not recovered by tryptophan supplementation. Melatonin treatment only of host cells could diminish infection and the infection reduction was neutralized by a pertussis toxin, an inhibitor of G proteins. Ligands of melatonin and serotonin receptors also hampered infection.

Conclusions: Inhibition mechanisms of chlamydial infection by melatonin and serotonin appear to be different from those of IFN-γ and involve specific G-protein-coupled receptors. Melatonin is deemed to inhibit early progression of the chlamydial development cycle, such as establishment of intracellular infection and/or conversion from elementary body to reticulate body. Utilization of melatonin, serotonin or their derivatives may be advantageous for harmless prevention of chlamydial infection.

Keywords: Chlamydophila pneumoniae; Chlamydia trachomatis; tryptophan; antimicrobial agents; G-protein coupled receptor

Journal Article.  6075 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Oncology ; Critical Care

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