Interaction of Brucella abortus with Osteoclasts: a Step toward Understanding Osteoarticular Brucellosis and Vaccine Safety. Academic Article uri icon


  • Osteoarticular disease is a frequent complication of human brucellosis. Vaccination remains a critical component of brucellosis control, but there are currently no vaccines for use in humans, and no in vitro models for assessing the safety of candidate vaccines in reference to the development of bone lesions currently exist. While the effect of Brucella infection on osteoblasts has been extensively evaluated, little is known about the consequences of osteoclast infection. Murine bone marrow-derived macrophages were derived into mature osteoclasts and infected with B. abortus 2308, the vaccine strain S19, and attenuated mutants S19vjbR and B. abortusvirB2 While B. abortus 2308 and S19 replicated inside mature osteoclasts, the attenuated mutants were progressively killed, behavior that mimics infection kinetics in macrophages. Interestingly, B. abortus 2308 impaired the growth of osteoclasts without reducing resorptive activity, while osteoclasts infected with B. abortus S19 and S19vjbR were significantly larger and exhibited enhanced resorption. None of the Brucella strains induced apoptosis or stimulated nitric oxide or lactose dehydrogenase production in mature osteoclasts. Finally, infection of macrophages or osteoclast precursors with B. abortus 2308 resulted in generation of smaller osteoclasts with decreased resorptive activity. Overall, Brucella exhibits similar growth characteristics in mature osteoclasts compared to the primary target cell, the macrophage, but is able to impair the maturation and alter the resorptive capacity of these cells. These results suggest that osteoclasts play an important role in osteoarticular brucellosis and could serve as a useful in vitro model for both analyzing host-pathogen interactions and assessing vaccine safety.

published proceedings

  • Infect Immun

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Khalaf, O. H., Chaki, S. P., Garcia-Gonzalez, D. G., Suva, L. J., Gaddy, D., & Arenas-Gamboa, A. M.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Khalaf, Omar H||Chaki, Sankar P||Garcia-Gonzalez, Daniel G||Suva, Larry J||Gaddy, Dana||Arenas-Gamboa, Angela M

editor list (cited editors)

  • Roy, C. R.

publication date

  • January 1, 2020 11:11 AM