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Knowledge of changes in macrophages following bacterial engulfment is limited. U937-derived macrophages were incubated with Staphylococcus aureus or Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Morphological and biochemical changes in macrophages following host-pathogen interactions were visualized using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) respectively. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was used to assess the variability in the FTIR spectra. Following host-pathogen interactions, survival of S. aureus was significantly lower than P. aeruginosa (P<0.05) and cellular morphology of macrophages was different after incubation with S. aureus compared to P. aeruginosa. Following incubation with S. aureus macrophages were more globular and amorphous in shape whereas long linear pseudopodia were observed following incubation with P. aeruginosa. Distinct FTIR spectra were identified in macrophages post interaction with the different bacteria and PCA analysis demonstrated distinct biochemical differences in the phagocytes following engulfment of the bacteria, with > 99 % of variability in the FTIR spectra explained by the first two principal components. These findings demonstrated that there were clear morphological and biochemical changes in macrophages following engulfment of two different bacterial types suggesting that the biochemical components of the bacterial cell wall influenced the biochemical characteristics and hence the morphology of macrophages in distinct ways.
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