Inflammasome activation is an important host response to infectious diseases, but the difference in inflammasome activation between typhoid fever and non-typhoidal Salmonella infection has been rarely studied. To determine whether inflammasome activation in macrophages after S. Typhi and S. Typhimurium infection is different, we measured pyroptosis, caspase-1 activation, and IL-1β secretion in monocyte-derived macrophages infected with S. Typhi or S. Typhimurium both in vitro and ex vivo. The role of Vi capsule and virulence genes in Salmonella pathogenicity island-1 (SPI-1), belonging to type III secretion system, was also examined. S. Typhi caused more pyroptosis, caspase-1 activation, and IL-1β production than S. Typhimurium did, predominantly within 2 h of infection, in the context of high number of infecting bacteria. Mutagenesis and complementation experiments confirmed that SPI-1 effectors but not Vi were associated with greater inflammasome activation. The expression levels of invA and hilA were significantly higher in S. Typhi than in S. Typhimurium at early log phase in SPI-1 environment. Thus, S. Typhi, relative to its non-typhoidal counterpart, S. Typhimurium, induces greater SPI-1-dependent inflammasome activation in monocyte-derived macrophages. This finding may explain why S. Typhi causes a hyperinflammatory state at bacteremic stage in typhoid fever.
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