Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii) is an extremely versatile multidrug-resistant pathogen with a very high mortality rate; therefore, it has become crucial to understand the host response during its infection. Given the importance of mice for modeling infection and their role in preclinical drug development, equal emphasis should be placed on the use of both sexes. Through our studies using a murine model of acute pneumonia with A. baumannii, we observed that female mice were more susceptible to infection. Likewise, treatment of male mice with estradiol increased their susceptibility to infection. Analysis of the airway compartment revealed enhanced inflammation and reduced neutrophil and alveolar macrophage numbers compared with male mice. Depletion of either neutrophils or alveolar macrophages was important for bacterial clearance; however, depletion of alveolar macrophages further exacerbated female susceptibility because of severe alterations in metabolic homeostasis. Our data highlight the importance of using both sexes when assessing host immune pathways.
Sílvia Pires, Adeline Peignier, Jeremy Seto, Davida S. Smyth, Dane Parker