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Spring 2-15-2023


Emerging evidence suggests that Gram-negative bacteria release bacterial outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) and that these play an important role in the pathogenesis of bacterial infectionmediated inflammatory responses and organ damage. Despite the fact that scattered reports have shown that OMVs released from Gram-negative bacteria may function via the TLR2/4-signaling pathway or induce pyroptosis in macrophages, our study reveals a more complex role of OMVs in the development of inflammatory lung responses and macrophage pro-inflammatory activation. We first confirmed that various types of Gram-negative bacteria release similar OMVs which prompt proinflammatory activation in both bone marrow-derived macrophages and lung alveolar macrophages. We further demonstrated that mice treated with OMVs via intratracheal instillation developed significant inflammatory lung responses. Using mouse inflammation and autoimmune arrays, we identified multiple altered cytokine/chemokines in both bone marrow-derived macrophages and alveolar macrophages, suggesting that OMVs have a broader spectrum of function compared to LPS. Using TLR4 knock-out cells, we found that OMVs exert more robust effects on activating macrophages compared to LPS. We next examined multiple signaling pathways, including not only cell surface antigens, but also intracellular receptors. Our results confirmed that bacterial OMVs trigger both surface protein-mediated signaling and intracellular signaling pathways, such as the S100-A8 protein-mediated pathway. In summary, our studies confirm that bacterial OMVs strongly induced macrophage pro-inflammatory activation and inflammatory lung responses via multi-signaling pathways. Bacterial OMVs should be viewed as a repertoire of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), exerting more robust effects than Gram-negative bacteria-derived LPS.


© 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access articledistributed under the terms andconditions of the Creative CommonsAttribution (CC BY) license (

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