Streptococcal exotoxin B increases interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-8 and transforming growth factor beta-1 in leukocytes.
ABSTRACT Previous reports have shown the presence of streptococcal erythrogenic exotoxin type B (ETB), leukocyte infiltration, interleukin-8 (IL-8), transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and glomerular proliferation in renal biopsies from patients with acute post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (APSGN). In addition, increased levels of plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha), and urinary IL-6, have also been reported in this disease. To determine the effect of streptococcal proteins on leukocyte proliferation and leukocyte production of IL-6, TNFalpha, IL-8 and TGF-beta1, we cultured human mononuclear leukocytes with ETB or ETB precursor (ETBP). After 24 h, 48 h and 96 h, culture supernatants were assessed for cytokines by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and for leukocyte proliferation by a monoclonal antibody anti-proliferating cellular nuclear antigen (PCNA). A significant increase in all cytokines was found in ETB- or ETBP-treated cultures when compared with controls. A polyclonal anti-ETB antibody diminished the cytokine stimulatory effect of ETB. An increased number of PCNA-positive cells was observed in ETB or ETBP treated cultures at 48 h and 96 h. Cytokine production and proliferation were not correlated. The stimulatory effect of streptococcal exotoxin B on leukocyte cytokine production may be relevant in renal tissue during the course of APSGN.