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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2001 Jul;25(1):45-50.

Aspergillus fumigatus-induced allergic airway inflammation alters surfactant homeostasis and lung function in BALB/c mice.

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Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Division, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 421 Curie Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The differential regulation of pulmonary surfactant proteins (SPs) is demonstrated in a murine model of Aspergillus fumigatus (Af )-induced allergic airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness. BALB/c mice were sensitized intraperitoneally and challenged intranasally with Af extract. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analysis of serum immunoglobulin (Ig) levels in these mice showed markedly increased total IgE and Af-specific IgE and IgG1. This was associated with peribronchial/perivascular tissue inflammation, airway eosinophilia, and secretion of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-5 into the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). Functional analysis revealed that in comparison with nonsensitized mice, allergic sensitization and challenge resulted in significant increases in acetylcholine responsiveness. To analyze levels of SPs, the cell-free supernate of the BALF was further fractionated by high-speed (20,000 x g) centrifugation. After sensitization and challenges, the pellet (large-aggregate fraction) showed a selective downregulation of hydrophobic SPs SP-B and SP-C by 50%. This reduction was reflected by commensurate decreases in SP-B and SP-C messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of the lung tissue of these animals. In contrast, there was a 9-fold increase in SP-D protein levels in the 20,000 x g supernate without changes in SP-D mRNA. The increased levels of SP-D showed a significant positive correlation with serum IgE (r = 0.85, P < 0.001). Tissue mRNA and protein levels of SP-A in either the large- or the small-aggregate fractions were unaffected. Our data indicate that allergic airway inflammation induces selective inhibition of hydrophobic SP synthesis accompanied by marked increases in the lung collectin SP-D protein content of BALF. These changes may contribute significantly to the pathophysiology of Af-induced allergic airway hyperresponsiveness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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