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Title: Role of Surfactant Protein D in Experimental Otitis Media
Surfactant protein D (SP-D) is a C-type collectin and plays an important role in innate immunity and homeostasis in the lung. This study studied SP-D role in the nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi)-induced otitis media (OM) mouse model. Wild-type C57BL/6 (WT) and SP-D knockout (KO) mice were used in this study. Mice were injected in the middle ear (ME) with 5 μL of NTHi bacterial solution (3.5 × 105 CFU/ear) or with the same volume of sterile saline (control). Mice were sacrificed at 3 time points, days 1, 3, and 7, after treatment. We found SP-D expression in the Eustachian tube (ET) and ME mucosa of WT mice but not in SP-D KO mice. After infection, SP-D KO mice showed more intense inflammatory changes evidenced by the increased mucosal thickness and inflammatory cell infiltration in the ME and ET compared to WT mice (p < 0.05). Increased bacterial colony-forming units and cytokine (IL-6 and IL-1β) levels in the ear washing fluid of infected SP-D KO mice were compared to infected WT mice. Molecular analysis revealed higher levels of NF-κB and NLRP3 activation in infected SP-D KO compared to WT mice (p < 0.05). In vitro studies demonstrated that SP-D significantly induced NTHi bacterial aggregation and enhanced bacterial phagocytosis by macrophages (p < 0.05). Furthermore, human ME epithelial cells showed a dose-dependent increased expression of NLRP3 and SP-D proteins after LPS treatment. We conclude that SP-D plays a critical role in innate immunity and disease resolution through enhancing host defense and regulating inflammatory NF-κB and NLRP3 activation in experimental OM mice.  more » « less
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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Innate Immunity
Page Range / eLocation ID:
197 to 210
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Otitis media (OM) is the most common disease among young children and one of the most frequent reasons to visit the pediatrician. Development of OM requires nasopharyngeal colonization by a pathogen which must gain access to the tympanic cavity through the eustachian tube (ET) along with being able to overcome the defense mechanisms of the immune system and middle ear mucosa. OM can be caused by viral or bacterial infection. The three main bacterial pathogens are Streptococcus pneumoniae, nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), and Moraxella catarrhalis. Innate immunity is important in OM resolution as the disease occurs in very young children before the development of specific immunity. Elements of innate immunity include natural barriers and pattern recognition receptors such as Toll like receptors (TLRs), and Nod like receptors (NLRs). Surfactant proteins A (SP-A) and D (SP-D) act as pattern recognition receptors and are found in the lung and many other tissues including the ET and the middle ear where they probably function in host defense. Surfactant has a potential for use in the treatment of OM due to surface tension lowering function in the ET, and the possible immune functions of SP-D and SP-A in the middle ear and ET. 
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