Enterococcus faecalis shifts macrophage polarization toward M1-like phenotype with an altered cytokine profile

Mohamed Mohamed Elashiry, Fucong Tian, Mahmoud Elashiry, Rana Zeitoun, Ranya Elsayed, Matthew L. Andrews, Brian E. Bergeon, Christopher Cutler, Franklin Tay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: The macrophage is an innate immune defense cell involved in pathogen recognition and clearance. Aim: In view of the diversity of the macrophage phenotype and function, the present study investigated how Enterococcus faecalis infection affects the differentiation, phenotype and cytokine profile of macrophages. Methods: Murine bone marrow-derived stem cells were co-cultured with E. faecalis before and after differentiation. Macrophage M0 polarization towards M1 or M2 was initiated at day 6 by addition of LPS and INF-γ, or IL-4 and IL-13, respectively. Results: E. faecalis did not inhibit macrophage differentiation and were identified within macrophages. Viability of the macrophages infected with E. faecalis prior to differentiation was enhanced, evidenced by apoptosis inhibition, as was expression of CD38 and IRF5 proteins, indicators of M1-like polarization. These M1-like macrophages expressed an aberrant cytokine mRNA profile, with reduction in inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-12 and increase in regulatory cytokine IL-10. No changes in TNF-α or TGF-β1 were detected, compared with the control groups. This atypical M1-like phenotype was retained even upon stimulation with growth factors that normally trigger their development into M2 macrophages. Conclusions: These findings suggested that E. faecalis infection of bone marrow-derived stem cells during differentiation into macrophages induces an atypical M1-like phenotype associated with intracellular bacterial survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1868152
JournalJournal of Oral Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Apoptosis
  • Enterococcus faecalis
  • infection
  • intracellular
  • macrophage
  • plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry (miscellaneous)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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