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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2006 Jan;290(1):L194-9. Epub 2005 Aug 12.

Involvement of the platelet-activating factor receptor in host defense against Streptococcus pneumoniae during postinfluenza pneumonia.

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Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Although influenza infection alone may lead to pneumonia, secondary bacterial infections are a much more common cause of pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most frequently isolated causative pathogen during postinfluenza pneumonia. Considering that S. pneumoniae utilizes the platelet-activating factor receptor (PAFR) to invade the respiratory epithelium and that the PAFR is upregulated during viral infection, we here used PAFR gene-deficient (PAFR-/-) mice to determine the role of this receptor during postinfluenza pneumococcal pneumonia. Viral clearance was similar in wild-type and PAFR-/- mice, and influenza virus was completely removed from the lungs at the time mice were inoculated with S. pneumoniae (day 14 after influenza infection). PAFR-/- mice displayed a significantly reduced bacterial outgrowth in their lungs, a diminished dissemination of the infection, and a prolonged survival. Pulmonary levels of IL-10 and KC were significantly lower in PAFR-/- mice, whereas IL-6 and TNF-alpha were only trendwise lower. These data indicate that the pneumococcus uses the PAFR leading to severe pneumonia in a host previously exposed to influenza A.

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