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Exposure to chorioamnionitis alters the monocyte transcriptional response to the neonatal pathogen Staphylococcus epidermidis

de Jong, E., Hancock, D.G., Wells, C., Richmond, P., Simmer, K., Burgner, D., Strunk, T. and Currie, A.J. (2018) Exposure to chorioamnionitis alters the monocyte transcriptional response to the neonatal pathogen Staphylococcus epidermidis. Immunology and Cell Biology, 96 (8). pp. 792-804.

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Preterm infants are uniquely susceptible to late-onset sepsis that is frequently caused by the skin commensal Staphylococcus epidermidis. Innate immune responses, particularly from monocytes, are a key protective mechanism. Impaired cytokine production by preterm infant monocytes is well described, but few studies have comprehensively assessed the corresponding monocyte transcriptional response. Innate immune responses in preterm infants may be modulated by inflammation such as prenatal exposure to histologic chorioamnionitis which complicates 40-70% of preterm pregnancies. Chorioamnionitis alters the risk of late-onset sepsis, but its effect on monocyte function is largely unknown. Here, we aimed to determine the impact of exposure to chorioamnionitis on the proportions and phenotype of cord blood monocytes using flow cytometry, as well as their transcriptional response to live S. epidermidis. RNA-seq was performed on purified cord blood monocytes from very preterm infants (<32 weeks gestation, with and without chorioamnionitis-exposure) and term infants (37-40 weeks), pre- and postchallenge with live S. epidermidis. Preterm monocytes from infants without chorioamnionitis-exposure did not exhibit an intrinsically deficient transcriptional response to S. epidermidis compared to term infants. In contrast, chorioamnionitis-exposure was associated with hypo-responsive transcriptional phenotype regarding a subset of genes involved in antigen presentation and adaptive immunity. Overall, our findings suggest that prenatal exposure to inflammation may alter the risk of sepsis in preterm infants partly by modulation of monocyte responses to pathogens.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Copyright: © 2018 Australasian Society for Immunology Inc.
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