Recombinant Treponema pallidum protein Tp47 promotes the migration and adherence of THP-1 cells to human dermal vascular smooth muscle cells by inducing MCP-1 and ICAM-1 expression.Exp Cell Res. 2019 08 01; 381(1):150-162.EC
Vascular inflammation is a complex and multifactorial pathophysiological process that plays a crucial role in all stages of syphilis and is responsible for tissue damage. Little is known about the interactions of infiltrating immunocytes with human dermal vascular smooth muscle cells (HDVSMCs) in arterioles during the immunopathogenesis of syphilis. The Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum membrane protein Tp47 is considered a major inducer of inflammation initiation and development. In this study, we demonstrated that Tp47 promoted the migration and adhesion of THP-1 cells to HDVSMCs. Furthermore, Tp47 increased monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) mRNA and protein expression levels in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The migration and adhesion of THP-1 cells to HDVSMCs were significantly suppressed by anti-MCP-1 and anti-ICAM-1 neutralizing antibodies, respectively. Further studies revealed that treatment of HDVSMCs with Tp47 activated the PI3K/Akt, p38 MAPK and NF-κB signalling pathways. Inhibition of PI3K/Akt, p38 MAPK and NF-κB suppressed the MCP-1 and ICAM-1 expression induced by Tp47. In addition, the migration and adhesion of THP-1 cells to Tp47-treated HDVSMCs were significantly decreased by pretreatment with PI3K/Akt, p38 MAPK and NF-κB inhibitors. These findings demonstrate that Tp47 promotes the migration and adherence of THP-1 cells to HDVSMCs by inducing MCP-1 and ICAM-1 expression, which is mediated by activation of the PI3K/Akt, p38 MAPK and NF-κB pathways. This study provides a novel potential therapeutic strategy for controlling the vascular inflammatory response in syphilis patients.