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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Alveolar macrophages are required for protective pulmonary defenses in murine Klebsiella pneumonia: elimination of alveolar macrophages increases neutrophil recruitment but decreases bacterial clearance and survival.

To study the in vivo role of alveolar macrophages (AM) in gram-negative bacterial pneumonia in mice, AM were eliminated by the intratracheal (i.t.) administration of dichloromethylene diphosphonate encapsulated liposomes. Subsequently, the AM-depleted mice were infected i.t. with 100 CFU of Klebsiella pneumoniae, and the effects of AM depletion on survival, bacterial clearance, and neutrophil (polymorphonuclear leukocyte [PMN]) recruitment were assessed. It was shown that depletion of AM decreases survival dramatically, with 100% lethality at day 3 postinfection, versus 100% long-term survival in the control group. This increased mortality was accompanied by 20- to 27- and 3- to 10-fold increases in the number of K. pneumoniae CFU in lung and plasma, respectively, compared to those in nondepleted animals. This decreased bacterial clearance was not due to an impaired PMN recruitment; on the contrary, the K. pneumoniae-induced PMN recruitment in AM-depleted lungs was sevenfold greater 48 h postinfection than that in control infected lungs. Together with an increased PMN infiltration, 3- and 10-fold increases in lung homogenate tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and macrophage inflammatory protein 2 (MIP-2) levels, respectively, were measured. Neutralization of TNF-alpha or MIP-2, 2 h before infection, reduced the numbers of infiltrating PMN by 41.6 and 64.2%, respectively, indicating that these cytokines mediate PMN influx in infected lungs, rather then just being produced by the recruited PMN themselves. Our studies demonstrate, for the first time, the relative importance of the AM in the containment and clearance of bacteria in the setting of Klebsiella pneumonia.[1]


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