Neutrophil mobilization is a crucial response to protect the host against invading microorganisms. Neutrophil recruitment and removal have to be tightly regulated to prevent uncontrolled inflammation and excessive release of their toxic content causing tissue damage and subsequent organ dysfunctions. We show here the presence of live and apoptotic neutrophils in the cytoplasm of inflamed mammary, urinary and gall bladder epithelial cells following infection with E. coli and Salmonella bacteria. The entry process commenced with adherence of transmigrated neutrophils to the apical membrane of inflamed epithelial cells. Next, nuclear rearrangement and elongation associated with extensive actin polymerization enabled neutrophils to crawl and invaginate the apical membrane into cytoplasmic double membrane compartments. Scission of the invaginated cell membrane from the entry point and loss of these surrounding membranes released intracellular neutrophils into the cytoplasm where they undergone apoptotic death. The co-occurrence of this observation with bacterial invasion and formation of intracellular bacterial communities (IBCs) might link entry of infected neutrophils to the formation of IBCs and chronic carriage in E. coli mastitis and cystitis and Salmonella cholecystitis.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the Electron Microscopy Core Facility at The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for their support.
© 2019 The Author(s).