The growth factor granulocyte/macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) has an important role in pulmonary surfactant metabolism and the regulation of antibacterial activities of lung sentinel cells. However, the potential of intra-alveolar GM-CSF to augment lung protective immunity against inhaled bacterial pathogens has not been defined in preclinical infection models. We hypothesized that transient overexpression of GM-CSF in the lungs of mice by adenoviral gene transfer (Ad-GM-CSF) would protect mice from subsequent lethal pneumococcal pneumonia. Our data show that intra-alveolar delivery of Ad-GM-CSF led to sustained increased pSTAT5 expression and PU.1 protein expression in alveolar macrophages during a 28 day observation period. Pulmonary Ad-GM-CSF delivery two or four weeks prior to infection of mice with S. pneumoniae significantly reduced mortality rates relative to control vector treated mice. This increased survival was accompanied by increased iNOS expression, antibacterial activity and a significant reduction in caspase 3 dependent apoptosis and secondary necrosis of lung sentinel cells. Importantly, therapeutic treatment of mice with recombinant GM-CSF improved lung protective immunity and accelerated bacterial clearance after pneumococcal challenge. We conclude that prophylactic delivery of GM-CSF triggers long-lasting immunostimulatory effects in the lung in vivo and rescues mice from lethal pneumococcal pneumonia by improving antibacterial immunity. These data support use of novel antibiotic-independent immunostimulatory therapies to protect patients against bacterial pneumonias.
GM-CSF; S. pneumoniae; PU.1; pneumonia; therapy; infection
Interleukin-1 receptor like 1 (ST2) is a negative regulator of Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling. TLRs are important for host defense during respiratory tract infections by both influenza and Streptococcus (S.) pneumoniae. Enhanced susceptibility to pneumococcal pneumonia is an important complication following influenza virus infection. We here sought to determine the role of ST2 in primary influenza A infection and secondary pneumococcal pneumonia. ST2 knockout (st2−/−) and wild-type (WT) mice were intranasally infected with influenza A virus; in some experiments mice were infected 2 weeks later with S. pneumoniae. Both mouse strains cleared the virus similarly during the first 14 days of influenza infection and had recovered their weights equally at day 14. Overall st2−/− mice tended to have a stronger pulmonary inflammatory response upon infection with influenza; especially 14 days after infection modest but statistically significant elevations were seen in lung IL-6, IL-1β, KC, IL-10, and IL-33 concentrations and myeloperoxidase levels, indicative of enhanced neutrophil activity. Interestingly, bacterial lung loads were higher in st2−/− mice during the later stages of secondary pneumococcal pneumonia, which was associated with relatively increased lung IFN-γ levels. ST2 deficiency did not impact on gross lung pathology in either influenza or secondary S. pneumoniae pneumonia. These data show that ST2 plays a limited anti-inflammatory role during both primary influenza and postinfluenza pneumococcal pneumonia.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are essential for innate and adaptive immunity, but are purported to exhibit variable radiosensitivity in response to irradiation in various bone marrow transplantation (BMT) protocols. To address this controversy, we analyzed the magnitude of depletion and repopulation of both lung CD11bpos DC and CD103pos DC subsets in response to irradiation and BMT in a murine model. In our study, CD45.2pos donor bone marrow cells were transplanted into irradiated CD45.1pos recipient mice to examine the depletion of recipient DC subsets and the repopulation of donor DC subsets. We observed an apoptosis-mediated and necrosis-mediated depletion (> 90%) of the recipient CD103pos DC subset, and only a 50–60% depletion of recipient CD11bpos DCs from lung parenchymal tissue on Days 3 and 5, whereas recipient alveolar and lung macrophages were much less radiosensitive, showing an approximately 50% depletion by Days 14–21 after treatment. A repopulation of lung tissue with donor DC subsets had occurred by Days 10 and 28 for CD11bpos DCs and CD103pos DCs, whereas alveolar and lung macrophages were repopulated by 6 and 10 weeks after treatment. Furthermore, the infection of mice with Streptococcus pneumoniae further accelerated the turnover of lung DCs and lung macrophage subsets. Our data illustrate the vulnerability of lung CD103pos DCs and CD11bpos DCs to irradiation, and indicate that an accelerated turnover of lung DC subsets occurs, relative to pulmonary and lung macrophages. Our findings may have important implications in the development of adjuvant immune-stimulatory protocols that could reduce the risk of opportunistic infections in patients undergoing BMT.
dendritic cell; macrophage; pneumonia; Streptococcus pneumoniae; CD103
Neutrophil serine proteases cathepsin G (CG), neutrophil elastase (NE), and proteinase 3 (PR3) have recently been shown to contribute to killing of Streptococcus pneumoniae in vitro. However, their relevance in lung-protective immunity against different serotypes of S. pneumoniae in vivo has not been determined so far. Here, we examined the effect of CG and CG/NE deficiency on the lung host defense against S. pneumoniae in mice. Despite similar neutrophil recruitment, both CG knockout (KO) mice and CG/NE double-KO mice infected with focal pneumonia-inducing serotype 19 S. pneumoniae demonstrated a severely impaired bacterial clearance, which was accompanied by lack of CG and NE but not PR3 proteolytic activity in recruited neutrophils, as determined using fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) substrates. Moreover, both CG and CG/NE KO mice but not wild-type mice responded with increased lung permeability to infection with S. pneumoniae, resulting in severe respiratory distress and progressive mortality. Both neutrophil depletion and ablation of hematopoietic CG/NE in bone marrow chimeras abolished intra-alveolar CG and NE immunoreactivity and led to bacterial outgrowth in the lungs of mice, thereby identifying recruited neutrophils as the primary cellular source of intra-alveolar CG and NE. This is the first study showing a contribution of neutrophil-derived neutral serine proteases CG and NE to lung-protective immunity against focal pneumonia-inducing serotype 19 S. pneumoniae in mice. These data may be important for the development of novel intervention strategies to improve lung-protective immune mechanisms in critically ill patients suffering from severe pneumococcal pneumonia.
Reactive oxygen species produced during the innate immune response to LPS are important agents of anti-pathogen defence but may also cause oxidative lung damage. Glutathione peroxidase-1 (gpx-1) is an anti-oxidant enzyme that may protect lungs from such damage. We assessed the in vivo importance of gpx-1 in LPS-induced lung inflammation. Male wild-type (WT) or gpx-1 deficient (gpx-1−/−) mice were treated intranasally with PBS or 10 µg LPS and killed 3 and 24 h post LPS. Lungs were lavaged with PBS and then harvested for inflammatory marker expression. LPS caused an intense neutrophilia in WT BALF evident 3 and 24 h post challenge that was reduced in gpx-1−/− mice. In addition, LPS-treated gpx-1−/− mice had significantly fewer macrophages than LPS-treated WT mice. To understand the basis for this paradoxical reduction we assessed inflammatory cytokines and proteases at protein and transcript levels. MMP-9 expression and net gelatinase activity in BALF of gpx-1−/− mice treated with LPS for 3 and 24 h was no different to that found in LPS-treated WT mice. BALF from LPS-treated gpx-1−/− mice (3 h) had less TNF-α, MIP-2 and GM-CSF protein than LPS-treated WT mice. In contrast, LPS-induced increases in TNF-α, MIP-2 and GM-CSF mRNA expression in WT mice were similar to those observed in gpx-1−/− mice. These attenuated protein levels were unexpectedly not mirrored by reduced mRNA transcripts but were associated with increased 20S proteasome expression. Thus, these data suggest that gpx-1 primes pro-inflammatory cytokine production after LPS challenge in vivo.
Statin treatment has been associated with a beneficial outcome on respiratory tract infections. In addition, previous in vitro and in vivo experiments have indicated favorable effects of statins in bacterial infections.
The aim of the present study was to elucidate possible antibacterial effects of statins against primary pathogens of the respiratory tract.
MIC-values for simvastatin, fluvastatin and pravastatin against S. pneumoniae, M. catarrhalis and H. influenzae were determined by traditional antibacterial assays. A BioScreen instrument was used to monitor effects of statins on bacterial growth and to assess possible synergistic effects with penicillin. Bacterial growth in whole blood and serum from healthy volunteers before and after a single dose of simvastatin, fluvastatin and penicillin (positive control) was determined using a blood culture system (BactAlert).
The MIC-value for simvastatin against S pneumoniae and M catarrhalis was 15 µg/mL (36 mmol/L). Fluvastatin and Pravastatin showed no antibacterial effect in concentrations up to 100 µg/mL (230 µmol/L). Statins did not affect growth or viability of H influenzae. Single doses of statins given to healthy volunteers did not affect growth of pneumococci, whereas penicillin efficiently killed all bacteria.
Simvastatin at high concentrations 15 µg/mL (36 µmol/L) rapidly kills S pneumoniae and M catarrhalis. However, these concentrations by far exceed the concentrations detected in human blood during simvastatin therapy (1–15 nmol/L) and single doses of statins given to healthy volunteers did not improve antibacterial effects of whole blood. Thus, a direct bactericidal effect of statins in vivo is probably not the mechanism behind the observed beneficial effect of statins against various infections.
The receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) has been suggested to modulate lung injury in models of acute pulmonary inflammation. To study this further, model systems utilizing wild type and RAGE knockout (KO) mice were used to determine the role of RAGE signaling in lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and E. coli induced acute pulmonary inflammation. The effect of intraperitoneal (i.p.) and intratracheal (i.t.) administration of mouse soluble RAGE on E. coli injury was also investigated.
C57BL/6 wild type and RAGE KO mice received an i.t. instillation of LPS, E. coli, or vehicle control. Some groups also received i.p. or i.t. administration of mouse soluble RAGE. After 24 hours, the role of RAGE expression on inflammation was assessed by comparing responses in wild type and RAGE KO. RAGE protein levels decreased in wild type lung homogenates after treatment with either LPS or bacteria. In addition, soluble RAGE and HMGB1 increased in the BALF after E. coli instillation. RAGE KO mice challenged with LPS had the same degree of inflammation as wild type mice. However, when challenged with E. coli, RAGE KO mice had significantly less inflammation when compared to wild type mice. Most cytokine levels were lower in the BALF of RAGE KO mice compared to wild type mice after E. coli injury, while only monocyte chemotactic protein-1, MCP-1, was lower after LPS challenge. Neither i.p. nor i.t. administration of mouse soluble RAGE attenuated the severity of E. coli injury in wild type mice.
Lack of RAGE in the lung does not protect against LPS induced acute pulmonary inflammation, but attenuates injury following live E. coli challenge. These findings suggest that RAGE mediates responses to E. coli-associated pathogen-associated molecular pattern molecules other than LPS or other bacterial specific signaling responses. Soluble RAGE treatment had no effect on inflammation.
Bioluminescence imaging is an innovative, noninvasive tool to analyze infectious disease progression under real-life conditions in small laboratory animals. However, the relevance of bioluminescence imaging to monitor invasive compared to noninvasive bacterial infections of the lung has not been examined so far. In the current study, we systematically evaluated the importance of bioluminescence imaging to monitor pneumococcal disease progression by correlating biophotonic signals with lung bacterial loads in two mouse strains (BALB/c, C57BL/6) infected with either self-glowing, bioluminescent serotype 19 Streptococcus pneumoniae causing focal pneumonia or serotype 2 S. pneumoniae causing invasive pneumococcal disease. The best correlations between bioluminescence signals and lung CFU counts were observed in BALB/c mice compared to C57BL/6 mice just on day 3 after infection with invasive serotype 2 S. pneumoniae, while excellent correlations between photon counts and bacterial loads were observed in isolated lungs of BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice, irrespective of the employed pneumococcal serotype. Moreover, good correlations between biophotonic signals and CFU counts were also observed in mice upon infection with serotype 19 S. pneumoniae causing focal pneumonia in mice, again with best correlation values obtained for BALB/c mice at day 3 postinfection. Collectively, we show that the relevance of biophotonic imaging to monitor S. pneumoniae-induced lung infections in mice is largely influenced by the disease model under investigation. The provided data may be important for studies of infectious diseases.
Micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) is a novel tool for monitoring acute and chronic disease states in small laboratory animals. Its value for assessing progressive lung fibrosis in mice has not been reported so far. Here we examined the importance of in vivo micro-CT as non-invasive tool to assess progression of pulmonary fibrosis in mice over time.
Pulmonary fibrosis was induced in mice by intratracheal delivery of an adenoviral gene vector encoding biologically active TGF-ß1 (AdTGF-ß1). Respiratory gated and ungated micro-CT scans were performed at 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks post pulmonary adenoviral gene or control vector delivery, and were then correlated with respective histopathology-based Ashcroft scoring of pulmonary fibrosis in mice. Visual assessment of image quality and consolidation was performed by 3 observers and a semi-automated quantification algorithm was applied to quantify aerated pulmonary volume as an inverse surrogate marker for pulmonary fibrosis.
We found a significant correlation between classical Ashcroft scoring and micro-CT assessment using both visual assessment and the semi-automated quantification algorithm. Pulmonary fibrosis could be clearly detected in micro-CT, image quality values were higher for respiratory gated exams, although differences were not significant. For assessment of fibrosis no significant difference between respiratory gated and ungated exams was observed.
Together, we show that micro-CT is a powerful tool to assess pulmonary fibrosis in mice, using both visual assessment and semi-automated quantification algorithms. These data may be important in view of pre-clinical pharmacologic interventions for the treatment of lung fibrosis in small laboratory animals.
Sustained neutrophilic infiltration is known to contribute to organ damage, such as acute lung injury. CXC chemokine receptor 2 (CXCR2) is the major receptor regulating inflammatory neutrophil recruitment in acute and chronic inflamed tissues. Whether or not the abundant neutrophil recruitment observed in severe pneumonia is essential for protective immunity against Streptococcus pneumoniae infections is incompletely defined. Here we show that CXCR2 deficiency severely perturbs the recruitment of both neutrophils and exudate macrophages associated with a massive bacterial outgrowth in distal airspaces after infection with S. pneumoniae, resulting in 100% mortality in knockout (KO) mice within 3 days. Moreover, irradiated wild-type mice reconstituted with increasing amounts of CXCR2 KO bone marrow (10, 25, 50, and 75% KO) have correspondingly decreased numbers of both neutrophils and exudate macrophages, which is associated with a stepwise increase in bacterial burden and a reciprocal stepwise decrease in survival in S. pneumoniae-induced pulmonary infection. Finally, application of the CXCR2 antagonist SB-225002 resulted in decreased alveolar neutrophil and exudate macrophage recruitment in mice along with increased lung bacterial loads after infection with S. pneumoniae. Together, these data show that CXC chemokine receptor 2 serves a previously unrecognized nonredundant role in the regulation of both neutrophil and exudate macrophage recruitment to the lung in response to S. pneumoniae infection. In addition, we demonstrate that a threshold level of 10 to 25% of reduced neutrophil recruitment is sufficient to cause increased mortality in mice infected with S. pneumoniae.
Daptomycin is a novel lipopeptide antibiotic with excellent activity against Gram-positive bacterial pathogens, but its therapeutic value for the treatment of invasive pneumococcal disease compared to that for the treatment of pneumococcal pneumonia is incompletely defined. We investigated the efficacy of daptomycin in two models of Streptococcus pneumoniae-induced lung infection, i.e., pneumococcal pneumonia and septic pneumococcal disease. Mice were infected with a bioluminescent, invasive serotype 2 S. pneumoniae strain or a less virulent serotype 19 S. pneumoniae strain and were then given semitherapeutic or therapeutic daptomycin or ceftriaxone. Readouts included survival; bacterial loads; and septic disease progression, as determined by biophotonic imaging. Semitherapeutic daptomycin treatment fully protected the mice against the progression of septic disease induced by serotype 2 S. pneumoniae, while therapeutic treatment of the mice with daptomycin or ceftriaxone led to ∼70% or ∼60% survival, respectively. In contrast, mice infected with serotype 19 S. pneumoniae developed severe pneumonia and lung leakage even in the presence of increased intra-alveolar daptomycin levels, resulting in only 40% survival, whereas the ceftriaxone-treated mice had 100% survival. Together, although daptomycin demonstrates little efficacy in the treatment of pneumococcal pneumonia, daptomycin is highly effective in preventing S. pneumoniae-induced septic death, thus possibly offering a therapeutic option for patients with life-threatening septic pneumococcal disease.
Selectin mediated tethering represents one of the earliest steps in T cell extravasation into lymph nodes via high endothelial venules and is dependent on the biosynthesis of sialyl Lewis X (sLex) ligands by several glycosyltransferases, including two fucosyltransferases, fucosyltransferase-IV and –VII. Selectin mediated binding also plays a key role in T cell entry to inflamed organs.
To understand how loss of selectin ligands (sLex) influences T cell migration to the lung, we examined fucosyltransferase-IV and –VII double knockout (FtDKO) mice. We discovered that FtDKO mice showed significant increases (∼5-fold) in numbers of naïve T cells in non-inflamed lung parenchyma with no evidence of induced bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue. In contrast, activated T cells were reduced in inflamed lungs of FtDKO mice following viral infection, consistent with the established role of selectin mediated T cell extravasation into inflamed lung. Adoptive transfer of T cells into FtDKO mice revealed impaired T cell entry to lymph nodes, but selective accumulation in non-lymphoid organs. Moreover, inhibition of T cell entry to the lymph nodes by blockade of L-selectin, or treatment of T cells with pertussis toxin to inhibit chemokine dependent G-coupled receptor signaling, also resulted in increased T cells in non-lymphoid organs. Conversely, inhibition of T cell egress from lymph nodes using FTY720 agonism of S1P1 impaired T cell migration into non-lymphoid organs.
Taken together, our results suggest that impaired T cell entry into lymph nodes via high endothelial venules due to genetic deficiency of selectin ligands results in the selective re-distribution and accumulation of T cells in non-lymphoid organs, and correlates with their increased frequency in the blood. Re-distribution of T cells into organs could potentially play a role in the initiation of T cell mediated organ diseases.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is the leading cause of respiratory acute infections around the world. In Latin America, approximately 20,000 children under 5 years of age die of pneumococcal diseases annually. Pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA) is among the best-characterized pneumococcal antigens that confer protection in animal models of pneumococcal infections and, as such, is a good alternative for the currently available conjugated vaccines. Efficient immune responses directed to PspA in animal models have already been described. Nevertheless, few low cost adjuvants for a subunit pneumococcal vaccine have been proposed to date. Here, we have tested the adjuvant properties of the whole cell Bordetella pertussis vaccine (wP) that is currently part of the DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) vaccine administrated to children in several countries, as an adjuvant to PspA. Nasal immunization of BALB/c mice with a combination of PspA5 and wP or wPlow – a new generation vaccine that contains low levels of B. pertussis LPS – conferred protection against a respiratory lethal challenge with S. pneumoniae. Both PspA5-wP and PspA5-wPlow vaccines induced high levels of systemic and mucosal antibodies against PspA5, with similar profile, indicating no essential requirement for B. pertussis LPS in the adjuvant properties of wP. Accordingly, nasal immunization of C3H/HeJ mice with PspA5-wP conferred protection against the pneumococcal challenge, thus ruling out a role for TLR4 responses in the adjuvant activity and the protection mechanisms triggered by the vaccines. The high levels of anti-PspA5 antibodies correlated with increased cross-reactivity against PspAs from different clades and also reflected in cross-protection. In addition, passive immunization experiments indicated that antibodies played an important role in protection in this model. Finally, subcutaneous immunization with a combination of PspA5 with DTPlow protected mice against challenge with two different pneumococcal strains, opening the possibility for the development of a combined infant vaccine composed of DTP and PspA.
Recognition of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is required for effective defense against invading gram-negative bacteria. Recently, in vitro studies revealed that CD14 is required for activation of the myeloid differentiation factor (MyD)88-dependent Toll-like receptor (TLR)4 signaling pathway by smooth (S)-LPS, but not by rough (R)-LPS. The present study investigated the role of CD14 in induction of lung inflammation in mice by these different LPS chemotypes.
Neutrophil accumulation and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) release in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were determined 6 hours after intranasal treatment of wild type (WT) and CD14 knock-out (KO) mice with different doses S-LPS or R-LPS. The contribution of CD14 to lung inflammation induced by S-LPS or R-LPS depended on the LPS dose. At low doses, S-LPS and R-LPS induced neutrophil influx in a CD14-dependent manner. Low dose S-LPS-induced cytokine release also depended on CD14. Strikingly, neutrophil influx and TNF release induced by high dose S-LPS or R-LPS was diminished in the presence of CD14. Intranasal administration of sCD14 to CD14 KO mice treated with S-LPS partially reversed the inflammatory response to the response observed in WT mice.
In conclusion, CD14 modulates effects of both S-LPS and R-LPS within the lung in a similar way. Except for R-LPS-induced TNF release, S-LPS and R-LPS at low dose induced acute lung inflammation in a CD14-dependent manner, while the inflammatory response triggered by high dose S-LPS or R-LPS was diminished by CD14.
Although the prevalence of Bordetella parapertussis varies dramatically among studies in different populations with different vaccination regimens, there is broad agreement that whooping cough vaccines, composed only of B. pertussis antigens, provide little if any protection against B. parapertussis. In C57BL/6 mice, a B. pertussis whole-cell vaccine (wP) provided modest protection against B. parapertussis, which was dependent on IFN-γ. The wP was much more protective against an isogenic B. parapertussis strain lacking O-antigen than its wild-type counterpart. O-antigen inhibited binding of wP–induced antibodies to B. parapertussis, as well as antibody-mediated opsonophagocytosis in vitro and clearance in vivo. aP–induced antibodies also bound better in vitro to the O-antigen mutant than to wild-type B. parapertussis, but aP failed to confer protection against wild-type or O antigen–deficient B. parapertussis in mice. Interestingly, B. parapertussis–specific antibodies provided in addition to either wP or aP were sufficient to very rapidly reduce B. parapertussis numbers in mouse lungs. This study identifies a mechanism by which one pathogen escapes immunity induced by vaccination against a closely related pathogen and may explain why B. parapertussis prevalence varies substantially between populations with different vaccination strategies.
Enterococci, and especially multiresistant Enterococcus faecium, are increasingly found colonizing hospitalized patients. This increased prevalence of colonization is not only associated with an increased prevalence of infections caused by enterococci, but also by infections with other nosocomial pathogens. In this study we investigated the causality of this observed relationship, by determining the influence of intestinal colonization with E. faecium on pulmonary defense against Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Three groups of mice were tested; 2 groups of mice were pre-treated with vancomycin, of which one group was subsequently treated by oral gavage of vancomycin-resistant E. faecium (VRE). The third group did not receive any pre-treatment. P. aeruginosa pneumonia was induced in all mice. Vancomycin treatment resulted in intestinal gram-negative bacterial overgrowth and VRE treatment resulted in colonization throughout the intestines. All 3 groups of mice were able to clear P. aeruginosa from the lungs and circulation, with comparable lung cytokine responses and lung damage. Mice treated with vancomycin without VRE colonization displayed modestly increased plasma levels of TNF-α and IL-10.
Overgrowth of E. faecium and/or gram-negative bacteria does not impact importantly on pulmonary defense against P. aeruginosa pneumonia.
Recombinant adenovirus-vectored (Ad) tuberculosis (TB) vaccine platform has demonstrated great potential to be used either as a stand-alone or a boost vaccine in murine models. However, Ad TB vaccine remains to be evaluated in a more relevant and sensitive guinea pig model of pulmonary TB. Many vaccine candidates shown to be effective in murine models have subsequently failed to pass the test in guinea pig models.
Methods and Findings
Specific pathogen-free guinea pigs were immunized with BCG, AdAg85A intranasally (i.n), AdAg85A intramuscularly (i.m), BCG boosted with AdAg85A i.n, BCG boosted with AdAg85A i.m, or treated only with saline. The animals were then infected by a low-dose aerosol of M. tuberculosis (M.tb). At the specified times, the animals were sacrificed and the levels of infection in the lung and spleen were assessed. In separate studies, the long-term disease outcome of infected animals was monitored until the termination of this study. Immunization with Ad vaccine alone had minimal beneficial effects. Immunization with BCG alone and BCG prime-Ad vaccine boost regimens significantly reduced the level of M.tb infection in the tissues to a similar extent. However, while BCG alone prolonged the survival of infected guinea pigs, the majority of BCG-immunized animals succumbed by 53 weeks post-M.tb challenge. In contrast, intranasal or intramuscular Ad vaccine boosting of BCG-primed animals markedly improved the survival rate with 60% of BCG/Ad i.n- and 40% of BCG/Ad i.m-immunized guinea pigs still surviving by 74 weeks post-aerosol challenge.
Boosting, particularly via the intranasal mucosal route, with AdAg85A vaccine is able to significantly enhance the long-term survival of BCG-primed guinea pigs following pulmonary M.tb challenge. Our results thus support further evaluation of this viral-vectored TB vaccine in clinical trials.
Lung fibrosis is a devastating pulmonary disorder characterized by alveolar epithelial injury, extracellular matrix deposition and scar tissue formation. Due to its potent collagenolytic activity, cathepsin K, a lysosomal cysteine protease is an interesting target molecule with therapeutic potential to attenuate bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in mice. We here tested the hypothesis that over-expression of cathepsin K in the lungs of mice is protective in bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis.
Wild-type and cathepsin K overexpressing (cathepsin K transgenic; cath K tg) mice were challenged intratracheally with bleomycin and sacrificed at 1, 2, 3 and 4 weeks post-treatment followed by determination of lung fibrosis by estimating lung collagen content, lung histopathology, leukocytic infiltrates and lung function. In addition, changes in cathepsin K protein levels in the lung were determined by immunohistochemistry, real time RT-PCR and western blotting.
Cathepsin K protein levels were strongly increased in alveolar macrophages and lung parenchymal tissue of mock-treated cathepsin K transgenic (cath K tg) mice relative to wild-type mice and further increased particularly in cath K tg but also wild-type mice in response to bleomycin. Moreover, cath K tg mice responded with a lower collagen deposition in their lungs, which was accompanied by a significantly lower lung resistance (RL) compared to bleomycin-treated wild-type mice. In addition, cath K tg mice responded with a lower degree of lung fibrosis than wild-type mice, a process that was found to be independent of inflammatory leukocyte mobilization in response to bleomycin challenge.
Over-expression of cathepsin K reduced lung collagen deposition and improved lung function parameters in the lungs of transgenic mice, thereby providing at least partial protection against bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis.
Acute peritonitis developing in response to gram-negative bacterial infection is known to act as a trigger for the development of acute lung injury which is often complicated by the development of nosocomial pneumonia. We hypothesized that endotoxin-induced peritonitis provokes recruitment of monocytes into the lungs, which amplifies lung inflammatory responses to a second hit intra-alveolar challenge with endotoxin.
Serum and lavage cytokines as well as bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cells were analyzed at different time points after intraperitoneal or intratracheal application of LPS.
We observed that mice challenged with intraperitoneal endotoxin developed rapidly increasing serum and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) cytokine and chemokine levels (TNFα, MIP-2, CCL2) and a nearly two-fold expansion of the alveolar macrophage population by 96 h, but this was not associated with the development of neutrophilic alveolitis. In contrast, expansion of the alveolar macrophage pool was not observed in CCR2-deficient mice and in wild-type mice systemically pretreated with the anti-CD18 antibody GAME-46. An intentional two-fold expansion of alveolar macrophage numbers by intratracheal CCL2 following intraperitoneal endotoxin did not exacerbate the development of acute lung inflammation in response to intratracheal endotoxin compared to mice challenged only with intratracheal endotoxin.
These data, taken together, show that intraperitoneal endotoxin triggers a CCR2-dependent de novo recruitment of monocytes into the lungs of mice but this does not result in an accentuation of neutrophilic lung inflammation. This finding represents a previously unrecognized novel inflammatory component of lung inflammation that results from endotoxin-induced peritonitis.