Pulmonary infections in swine induce altered porcine surfactant protein D expression and localization to dendritic cells in bronchial-associated lymphoid tissue

C.M. Sørensen, U. Holmskov, B. Aalbæk, Mette Boye, Peter M. H. Heegaard, O.L. Nielsen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Surfactant protein D (SP-D) is a pattern-recognition molecule of the innate immune system that recognizes various microbial surface-specific carbohydrate and lipid patterns. In vitro data has suggested that this binding may lead to increased microbial association with macrophages and dendritic cells. The aim of the present in vivo study was to study the expression of porcine SP-D (pSP-D) in the lung during different pulmonary bacterial infections, and the effect of the routes of infection on this expression was elucidated. Furthermore, the aim was to study the in vivo spatial relationship among pSP-D, pathogens, phagocytic cells and dendritic cells. Lung tissue was collected from experimental and natural bronchopneumonias caused by Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae or Staphylococcus aureus, and from embolic and diffuse interstitial pneumonia, caused by Staph. aureus or Arcanobacterium pyogenes and Streptococcus suis serotype 2, respectively. By comparing normal and diseased lung tissue from the same lungs, increased diffuse pSP-D immunoreactivity was seen in the surfactant in both acute and chronic bronchopneumonias, while such increased expression of pSP-D was generally not present in the interstitial pneumonias. Co-localization of pSP-D, alveolar macrophages and bacteria was demonstrated, and pSP-D showed a patchy distribution on the membranes of alveolar macrophages. SP-D immunoreactivity was intracellular in dendritic cells. The dendritic cells were identified by their morphology, the absence of macrophage marker immunoreactivity and the presence of dendritic cell marker immunoreactivity. Increased expression of pSP-D in the surfactant coincided with presence of pSP-D-positive dendritic cells in bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT), indicating a possible transport of pSP-D through the specialized M cells overlying (BALT). In conclusion, we have shown that pSP-D expression in the lung surfactant is induced by bacterial infection by an aerogenous route rather than by a haematogenous route, and that the protein interacts specifically with alveolar macrophages and with dendritic cells in microbial-induced BALT. The function of the interaction between pSP-D and dendritic cells in BALT remain unclear, but pSP-D could represent a link between the innate and adaptive immune system, facilitating the bacterial antigen presentation by dendritic cells in BALT.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)526-535
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • collectins
    • immunolocalization
    • dendritic cells
    • porcine surfactant protein D
    • pig


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