Chlamydia pneumoniae promotes dysfunction of pancreatic beta cells

Annette R. Rodriguez, Germán Plascencia-Villa, Colleen M. Witt, Jieh Juen Yu, Miguel José-Yacamán, James P. Chambers, George Perry, M. Neal Guentzel, Bernard P. Arulanandam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The human pathogen Chlamydia pneumoniae has been implicated in chronic inflammatory diseases including type 2 diabetes. Therefore, we designed a study to evaluate pancreatic beta cells and mast cells during chlamydial infection. Our study revealed that C. pneumoniae infected mast cells significantly (p < 0.005) decreased beta cell ATP and insulin production, in contrast to uninfected mast cells co-cultured with beta cells. Infected mast cells exhibited pyknotic nuclei and active caspase-3 and caspase-1 expression. Additionally, ex vivo analyses of tissues collected from C. pneumoniae infected mice showed increased interleukin-1β production in splenocytes and pancreatic tissues as was observed with in vitro mast cell-beta cell co-cultures during C. pneumoniae infection. Notably, infected mast cells promoted beta cell destruction. Our findings reveal the negative effect of C. pneumoniae on mast cells, and the consequential impact on pancreatic beta cell function and viability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalCellular Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Beta cells
  • Insulin
  • Mast cells
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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