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J Immunol. 2004 Nov 1;173(9):5712-20.

Polymorphonuclear cell transmigration induced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa requires the eicosanoid hepoxilin A3.

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  • 1Mucosal Immunology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


Lung inflammation resulting from bacterial infection of the respiratory mucosal surface in diseases such as cystic fibrosis and pneumonia contributes significantly to the pathology. A major consequence of the inflammatory response is the recruitment and accumulation of polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs) at the infection site. It is currently unclear what bacterial factors trigger this response and exactly how PMNs are directed across the epithelial barrier to the airway lumen. An in vitro model consisting of human PMNs and alveolar epithelial cells (A549) grown on inverted Transwell filters was used to determine whether bacteria are capable of inducing PMN migration across these epithelial barriers. A variety of lung pathogenic bacteria, including Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are indeed capable of inducing PMN migration across A549 monolayers. This phenomenon is not mediated by LPS, but requires live bacteria infecting the apical surface. Bacterial interaction with the apical surface of A549 monolayers results in activation of epithelial responses, including the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and secretion of the PMN chemokine IL-8. However, secretion of IL-8 in response to bacterial infection is neither necessary nor sufficient to mediate PMN transepithelial migration. Instead, PMN transepithelial migration is mediated by the eicosanoid hepoxilin A3, which is a PMN chemoattractant secreted by A549 cells in response to bacterial infection in a protein kinase C-dependent manner. These data suggest that bacterial-induced hepoxilin A3 secretion may represent a previously unrecognized inflammatory mechanism occurring within the lung epithelium during bacterial infections.

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