Cytokines such as gamma interferon and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) inhibit the intracellular replication of Chlamydia pneumoniae or Chlamydia trachomatis. In this study, we found that another cytokine, lymphotoxin (TNF-β), restricts the growth of C. pneumoniae in HEp-2 cells. When lymphotoxin (10 U/ml) was added during incubation from 8 to 16 h postinoculation, inclusion body formation was severely reduced. In addition, we observed activation of nitric oxide production and the nuclear transition of NF-κB in HEp-2 cells in response to lymphotoxin. These results suggest that inhibition of chlamydial growth by lymphotoxin is mediated, at least in part, by nuclear transition of NF-κB, resulting in induction of nitric oxide synthase to produce nitric oxide, a potent bacteristatic agent. This is the first report on antichlamydial activity of lymphotoxin through induction of nitric oxide
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