Survival of surfactant protein-A1 and SP-A2 transgenic mice after Klebsiella pneumoniae infection, exhibits sex-, gene-, and variant specific differences; Treatment with surfactant protein improves survival

Nithyananda Thorenoor, Todd M. Umstead, Xuesheng Zhang, David S. Phelps, Joanna Floros

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Surfactant protein A (SP-A) is involved in lung innate host defense and surfactant-related functions. The human SFTPA1 and SFTPA2 genes encode SP-A1 and SP-2 proteins, and each gene has been identified with numerous genetic variants. SP-A1 and SP-A2 differentially enhance bacterial phagocytosis. Sex differences have been observed in pulmonary disease and in survival of wild type and SP-A knockout (KO) mice. The impact of human SP-A variants on survival after infection is unknown. In this study, we determined whether SP-A variants differentially affect survival of male and female mice infected with Klebsiella pneumoniae. Transgenic (TG) mice, where each carries a different human (h) SP-A1 (6A2, 6A4), SP-A2 (1A0, 1A3) variant or both variants SP-A1/SP-A2 (6A2/1A0, co-ex), and SP-A- KO, were utilized. The hTG and KO mice were infected intratracheally with K. pneumoniae bacteria, and groups of KO mice were treated with SP-A1 or SP-A2 either prior to and/or at the time of infection and survival for both experimental groups was monitored over 14 days. The binding of purified SP-A1 and SP-A2 proteins to phagocytic and non-phagocytic cells and expression of cell surface proteins in alveolar macrophages (AM) from SP-A1 and SP-A2 mice was examined. We observed gene-, variant-, and sex-specific (except for co-ex) differences with females showing better survival: (a) Gene-specific differences: co-ex = SP-A2 > SP-A1 > KO (both sexes); (b) Variant-specific survival co-ex (6A2/1A0) = 1A0 > 1A3 = 6A2 > 6A4 (both sexes); (c) KO mice treated with SPs (SP-A1 or SP-A2) proteins exhibit significantly (p < 0.05) better survival; (d) SP-A1 and SP-A2 differentially bind to phagocytic, but not to non-phagocytic cells, and AM from SP-A1 and SP-A2 hTG mice exhibit differential expression of cell surface proteins. Our results indicate that sex and SP-A genetics differentially affect survival after infection and that exogenous SP-A1/SP-A2 treatment significantly improves survival. We postulate that the differential SP-A1/SP-A2 binding to the phagocytic cells and the differential expression of cell surface proteins that bind SP-A by AM from SP-A1 and SP-A2 mice play a role in this process. These findings provide insight into the importance of sex and innate immunity genetics in survival following infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number02404
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Issue numberOCT
StatePublished - Oct 16 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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