In this study, an in vitro model for the investigation of the effects of Streptococcus pneumoniae infection on the endothelial barrier of the vascular system is presented. Therefore, primary endothelial cells and a chamber separation cell migration assay (CSMA) were used to monitor endothelial wound healing upon bacterial infections. In particular, the role of the cytotoxic pore-forming protein pneumolysin was investigated in endothelial damage and leakage of the vascular barrier. Moreover, the endothelial CSMA was combined with a microfluidic pump system to mimic the flow parameter present in bloodstream infections and to analyze the impact of a defined shear force on endothelial cell migration during pneumococcus infection.
The developed in vitro model enables the microscopic monitoring of endothelial gap closure in the presence of circulating bacteria at defined vascular shear stress values. It, therefore, allows researchers to gain new insights into the effect of pneumococcal infections on endothelial barrier integrity inflow and to characterize pathophysiological processes in real-time.
Streptococcus pneumoniae affects endothelial cell migration in microfluidic circulation
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