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High molecular weight hyaluronic acid: a two-pronged protectant against infection of the urogenital tract?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Catherine Mowbray, Dr Syema Shams, Dr Git Chung, Anna Stanton, Dr Phillip AldridgeORCiD, Andrejus Suchenko, Rob Pickard, Ased Ali, Dr Judith HallORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Objectives -Recurrent urinary tract infections are associated with uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) ascending and infecting the urinary tract. Antibiotics provide only symptomatic relief, not prevent recurrence. Clinical evidence suggests that intravesical glycosaminoglycan therapy, such as hyaluronic acid (HA), helps reduce UTI recurrence. This has been investigated here using in vitro systems modelling the urogenital tract tissues.Methods - RT4 bladder cells were preconditioned with high molecular weight HA (> 1500 kDa) at 2 mg mL-1 and challenged with UPEC to analyse barrier protection and bacterial adherence. Untreated and HA-preconditioned VK2 E6/E7 vaginal cells were challenged with E. coli flagellin (50 ng mL-1) to mimic bacterial challenge, and media analysed for lipocalin-2, human ß-defensin 2 and interleukin-8 by ELISA. Experiments were repeated after siRNA knockdown of Toll-like receptors 2, 4 and 5, and CD44 to investigate signalling.Results - Microscopic analyses showed reduced bacterial adherence and urothelial disruption with HA, suggesting that HA functions as a barrier protecting the epithelium from bacterial infection. Cells treated with HA and flagellin simultaneously produced more of the host antimicrobial peptide LCN2 and pro-inflammatory IL-8 (P < 0.05) compared to the no HA/flagellin challenges. Increased gene expression of DEFB4 (P < 0.05), but not the hBD2 peptide, was observed in the HA/flagellin-challenged cells.Conclusion - These data suggest that exogenous HA has potential to protect the urogenital epithelia from UPEC infection via a two-pronged approach that involves the physical enhancement of the epithelial barrier and augmentation of its innate immune response.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mowbray CA, Shams S, Chung G, Stanton A, Aldridge P, Suchenko A, Pickard RS, Ali ASM, Hall J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical & Translational Immunology

Year: 2018

Volume: 7

Issue: 6

Online publication date: 07/06/2018

Acceptance date: 09/05/2018

Date deposited: 27/06/2018

ISSN (electronic): 2050-0068

Publisher: Wiley


DOI: 10.1002/cti2.1021

PubMed id: 29928502


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