Differential endometrial cell sensitivity to a cholesterol-dependent cytolysin links Trueperella pyogenes to uterine disease in cattle

Matthew R. Amos, Gareth D. Healey, Robert J. Goldstone, Suman M. Mahan, Anna Düvel, Hans-Joachim Schuberth, Olivier Sandra, Peter Zieger, Isabelle Dieuzy-Labaye, David George Emslie Smith, Iain Martin Sheldon

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    101 Citations (Scopus)


    Purulent disease of the uterus develops in 40% of dairy cows after parturition, when the epithelium of the endometrium is disrupted to expose the underlying stroma to bacteria. The severity of endometrial pathology is associated with isolation of Trueperella pyogenes. In the present study, T. pyogenes alone caused uterine disease when infused into the uterus of cattle where the endometrial epithelium was disrupted. The bacterium secretes a cholesterol-dependent cytolysin, pyolysin (PLO), and the plo gene was identical and the plo gene promoter was highly similar amongst 12 clinical isolates of T. pyogenes. Bacteria-free filtrates of the T. pyogenes cultures caused hemolysis and endometrial cytolysis, and PLO was the main cytolytic agent, because addition of anti-PLO antibody prevented cytolysis. Similarly, a plo-deletion T. pyogenes mutant did not cause hemolysis or endometrial cytolysis. Endometrial stromal cells were notably more sensitive to PLO-mediated cytolysis than epithelial or immune cells. Stromal cells also contained more cholesterol than epithelial cells, and reducing stromal cell cholesterol content using cyclodextrins protected against PLO. Although T. pyogenes or plo-deletion T. pyogenes stimulated accumulation of inflammatory mediators, such as IL-1beta, IL-6, and IL-8, from endometrium, PLO did not stimulate inflammatory responses by endometrial or hematopoietic cells, or in vitro organ cultures of endometrium. The marked sensitivity of stromal cells to PLO-mediated cytolysis provides an explanation for how T. pyogenes acts as an opportunistic pathogen to cause pathology of the endometrium once the protective epithelium is lost after parturition.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)54
    JournalBiology of Reproduction
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


    • Actinomycetales Infections
    • Animals
    • Arcanobacterium
    • Bacterial Proteins
    • Bacterial Toxins
    • Blotting, Western
    • Cattle
    • Cell Survival
    • Cholesterol
    • Endometritis
    • Endometrium
    • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
    • Female
    • Genome, Bacterial
    • Hemolysin Proteins
    • Hemolysis
    • Indicators and Reagents
    • Kinetics
    • Organ Culture Techniques
    • Pregnancy
    • Stromal Cells
    • Uterine Diseases


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