Amebic infection in the human colon induces cyclooxygenase-2

W. F. Stenson, Z. Zhang, T. Riehl, Jr Stanley

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42 Scopus citations


We sought to determine if infection of the colon with Entamoeba histolytica induces the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 and, if it does, to determine the contribution of prostaglandins produced through cyclooxygenase-2 to the host response to amebic infection. Human fetal intestinal xenografts were implanted subcutaneously in mice with severe combined immunodeficiency and allowed to grow; the xenografts were then infected with E. histolytica trophozoites. Infection with E. histolytica resulted in the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 in epithelial cells and lamina propria macrophages. Infection with E. histolytica increased prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) levels 10-fold in the xenografts and resulted in neutrophil infiltration, as manifested by an 18-fold increase in myeloperoxidase activity. Amebic infection also induced an 18-fold increase in interleukin 8 (IL-8) production and a >100-fold increase in epithelial permeability. Treatment of the host mouse with indomethacin, an inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2, or with NS-398, a selective inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-2, resulted in (i) decreased PGE2 levels, (ii) a decrease in neutrophil infiltration, (iii) a decrease in IL-8 production, and (iv) a decrease in the enhanced epithelial permeability seen with amebic infection. These results indicate that amebic infection in the colon induces the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 in epithelial cells and macrophages. Moreover, prostaglandins produced through cyclooxygenase-2 participate in the mediation of the neutrophil response to infection and enhance epithelial permeability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3382-3388
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


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