From 2007 till 2010 the world largest Q fever outbreak took place in the Netherlands, caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Infection can lead to acute and chronic Q fever in humans, and causes abortion in pregnant goats.
The research presented in this thesis focuses on the innate immune recognition against Coxiella burnetii by the immune system of both humans and goats. We show that the Dutch outbreak isolate C. burnetii 3262 is recognized by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) TLR1, TLR2 and TLR6, subsequently resulting in the production of signaling molecules by humane immune cells. The immune cells of goats are also able to recognize the bacterium via the same TLRs and increased cytokine responses. In addition, we show that humans have a better immune response against C. burnetii isolated derived from cattle than isolates derived from sheep or goats.
The effect of genetic variation in several PRRs in the development of chronic Q fever was also examined. Our study showed that specific variation in TLR1, NOD2 and MyD88 results in a larger chance to develop chronic Q fever. In contrast, other receptors such as TLR2, TLR4, TLR6 and TLR10 do not play are role.