Project: Research project

Project Details


The goals of this proposal are to elaborate the roles played by the type
II alveolar epithelial cell and the surfactant it produces in normal host
defense function in the alveolus, as well as in an immunosuppressed host
and in the context of a challenge by an opportunistic pathogen,
Pneumocystis carinii. Specifically, the expression of surfactant and
class II major histocompatibility group (MHC) antigens at the RNA and
protein levels will be characterized in type II cells and in lung tissue
from normal and glucocorticoid-immunosuppressed rats using biochemical
and histological techniques. Reciprocal regulatory influences between
immune cells in the alveolus and the type II cell and its products will
also be studied. Subsequently, the ability of the type II cell to
participate in specific steps in the host defense process by serving as
an antigen-presenting cell and by regulating lymphocyte proliferation
will be investigated. In addition, this alveolar immune network will be
examined in the context of the Pneumocystis carinii to determine how this
pathogen influences the function of type II cells and their production of
surfactant in a host with normal immune function. Finally, the
interaction of type II cells, surfactant and immune cells with
Pneumocystis will be monitored as immune function declines during
immunosuppression and as it is gradually restored following the cessation
of immunosuppressive steroid treatment. Defining the details of this
alveolar immune network will improve our understanding of the mechanisms
used by the lung to combat infections and provide insight into the
reasons behind the susceptibility of the lung to Pneumocystis carinii and
other opportunistic pathogens in various immunodeficiency states such as
Effective start/end date8/1/917/31/94


  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


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