Expression of Cytokine Profiles in Human THP-1 Cells during Phase Transition of Talaromyces marneffei

Fangyi Shu, Patcharin Thammasit, Kritsada Pruksaphon, Joshua D. Nosanchuk, Sirida Youngchim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Talaromyces marneffei, a dimorphic fungus, exhibits temperature-dependent growth, existing in a filamentous form at 25 °C and as a yeast at 37 °C. Several studies have highlighted the important roles of macrophages in defense against T. marneffei infection. However, the immune responses to the interaction of macrophages with T. marneffei cells during phase transition require further investigation. This study reports the expression of cytokine profiles in human THP-1 cells during infection by T. marneffei. THP-1 cells were infected with T. marneffei conidia at different multiplicity of infections (MOIs). Surviving conidia transformed into yeasts after phagocytosis by macrophages, and the number of yeasts gradually increased over 36 h. The transcription and secretion levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines were examined at different times by qRT-PCR and ELISA. Transcription levels of IL-8, IL-12, IL-1β, and TNF-α increased significantly at 12 or 24 h and then slightly decreased at 36 h. In contrast, the transcription levels of IL-6, IL-10, and TGF-β gradually increased at all MOIs. The levels of IL-6 and IL-10 secretion corresponded to their levels of transcription. These results indicated that as the number of intracellular yeasts increased, the infected macrophages first underwent slight M1 polarization before shifting to M2 polarization. This polarization transition was confirmed by the fungicidal ability and the expression of macrophage surface markers. By inducing the M2-type polarization of macrophages, the intracellular T. marneffei cells can successfully evade the immune response. Our study provides a novel insight into the immune characterization during the transition of T. marneffei infection and could further contribute to possible diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for this infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1465
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Talaromyces marneffei
  • cytokine
  • macrophage
  • phase transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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