The major complication of peritoneal dialysis (PD) is the development of peritonitis, an infection within the abdominal cavity, primarily caused by bacteria. PD peritonitis is associated with significant morbidity, mortality and health care costs. Staphylococcus epidermidis is the most frequently isolated cause of PD-associated peritonitis. Mesothelial cells are integral to the host response to peritonitis, and subsequent clinical outcomes, yet the effects of infection on mesothelial cells are not well characterised. We systematically investigated the early mesothelial cell response to clinical and reference isolates of S. epidermidis using primary mesothelial cells and the mesothelial cell line Met-5A. Using an unbiased whole genome microarray, followed by a targeted panel of genes known to be involved in the human antibacterial response, we identified 38 differentially regulated genes (adj. p-value < 0.05) representing 35 canonical pathways after 1 hour exposure to S. epidermidis. The top 3 canonical pathways were TNFR2 signaling, IL-17A signaling, and TNFR1 signaling (adj. pvalues of 0.0012, 0.0012 and 0.0019, respectively). Subsequent qPCR validation confirmed significant differences in gene expression in a number of genes not previously described in mesothelial cell responses to infection, with heterogeneity observed between clinical isolates of S. epidermidis, and between Met-5A and primary mesothelial cells. Heterogeneity between different S. epidermidis isolates suggests that specific virulence factors may play critical roles in influencing outcomes from peritonitis. This study provides new insights into early mesothelial cell responses to infection with S. epidermidis, and confirms the importance of validating findings in primary mesothelial cells.
McGuire, A. L., Mulroney, K. T., Carson, C. F., Ram, R., Morahan, G., & Chakera, A. (2017). Analysis of early mesothelial cell responses to Staphylococcus epidermidis isolated from patients with peritoneal dialysis-associated peritonitis. PLoS ONE, 12(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178151