Catalase expression of Propionibacterium acnes may contribute to intracellular persistence of the bacterium in sinus macrophages of lymph nodes affected by sarcoidosis

  • Kurara Yamamoto
  • Keisuke Uchida
  • Asuka Furukawa
  • Tomoki Tamura
  • Yuki Ishige
  • Mariko Negi
  • Daisuke Kobayashi
  • Takashi Ito
  • Tomoya Kakegawa
  • Akira Hebisawa
  • Nobuyasu Awano
  • Tamiko Takemura
  • Tomonari Amano
  • Takumi Akashi
  • Yoshinobu EishiEmail author
Original Article


Bacterial catalase is important for intracellular survival of the bacteria. This protein of Propionibacterium acnes, one of possible causes of sarcoidosis, induces hypersensitive Th1 immune responses in sarcoidosis patients. We examined catalase expression in cultured P. acnes isolated from 19 sarcoid and 18 control lymph nodes and immunohistochemical localization of the protein in lymph nodes from 43 sarcoidosis and 102 control patients using a novel P. acnes-specific antibody (PAC) that reacts with the catalase protein, together with the previously reported P. acnes-specific PAB and TIG antibodies. High catalase expression of P. acnes cells was found during stationary phase in more isolates from sarcoid than from non-sarcoid lymph nodes and was associated with bacterial survival under H2O2-induced oxidative stress. In many sarcoid and some control lymph nodes, catalase expression was detected at the outer margins of PAB-reactive Hamazaki-Wesenberg (HW) bodies in sinus macrophages, the same location as catalase expression on the surface of cultured P. acnes and the same distribution as bacterial cell membrane-bound lipoteichoic acid in HW bodies. Some or no catalase expression was detected in sarcoid granulomas with PAB reactivity or in clustered paracortical macrophages packed with many PAB-reactive small-round bodies. HW bodies expressing catalase may be persistent P. acnes in sinus macrophages whereas PAB-reactive small-round bodies with undetectable catalase may be activated P. acnes proliferating in paracortical macrophages. Intracellular proliferation of P. acnes in paracortical macrophages may lead to granuloma formation by this commensal bacterium in sarcoidosis patients with Th1 hypersensitivity to certain P. acnes antigens, including catalase.


Sarcoidosis Propionibacterium acnes Catalase Monoclonal antibody 



We gratefully acknowledge Dr. Y. Hara and Dr. T. Suzuki for their advice regarding the study design. We thank Ms. Y. Suzuki, Ms. M. Yoshizaki, and Ms. M. Sakaguchi for their technical assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurara Yamamoto
    • 1
  • Keisuke Uchida
    • 2
  • Asuka Furukawa
    • 1
  • Tomoki Tamura
    • 2
  • Yuki Ishige
    • 1
  • Mariko Negi
    • 1
  • Daisuke Kobayashi
    • 1
  • Takashi Ito
    • 1
  • Tomoya Kakegawa
    • 1
  • Akira Hebisawa
    • 3
  • Nobuyasu Awano
    • 4
  • Tamiko Takemura
    • 5
  • Tomonari Amano
    • 6
  • Takumi Akashi
    • 2
  • Yoshinobu Eishi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Human Pathology, Graduate School and Faculty of MedicineTokyo Medical and Dental UniversityBunkyo-kuJapan
  2. 2.Division of Surgical PathologyTokyo Medical and Dental University HospitalBunkyo-kuJapan
  3. 3.Clinical Research Center and Pathology DivisionNational Hospital Organization Tokyo National HospitalKiyose-siJapan
  4. 4.Division of Clinical Respiratory MedicineJapanese Red Cross Medical CenterShibuya-kuJapan
  5. 5.Division of PathologyJapanese Red Cross Medical CenterShibuya-kuJapan
  6. 6.Division of PathologyTokyo Kita Medical CenterKita-kuJapan

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