Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) is a major inhibitor of serine proteases in mammals. Therefore, its deficiency leads to protease–antiprotease imbalance and a risk for developing lung emphysema. Although therapy with human plasma-purified AAT attenuates AAT deficiency–related emphysema, its impact on lung antibacterial immunity is poorly defined. Here, we examined the effect of AAT therapy on lung protective immunity in AAT-deficient (KO) mice challenged with Streptococcus pneumoniae. AAT-KO mice were highly susceptible to S. pneumoniae, as determined by severe lobar pneumonia and early mortality. Mechanistically, we found that neutrophil-derived elastase (NE) degraded the opsonophagocytically important collectins, surfactant protein A (SP-A) and D (SP-D), which was accompanied by significantly impaired lung bacterial clearance in S. pneumoniae–infected AAT-KO mice. Treatment of S. pneumoniae–infected AAT-KO mice with human AAT protected SP-A and SP-D from NE-mediated degradation and corrected the pulmonary pathology observed in these mice. Likewise, treatment with Sivelestat, a specific inhibitor of NE, also protected collectins from degradation and significantly decreased bacterial loads in S. pneumoniae–infected AAT-KO mice. Our findings show that NE is responsible for the degradation of lung SP-A and SP-D in AAT-KO mice affecting lung protective immunity in AAT deficiency.
Lena Ostermann, Regina Maus, Jennifer Stolper, Lisanne Schütte, Konstantina Katsarou, Srinu Tumpara, Andreas Pich, Christian Mueller, Sabina Janciauskiene, Tobias Welte, Ulrich A. Maus
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.