Background: It has been reported that Chlamydophila (C.) pneumoniae is involved in the initiation and promotion of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD). Surprisingly, the effect of C. pneumoniae on airway function has never been investigated.Methods: In this study, mice were inoculated intranasally with C. pneumoniae (strain AR39) on day 0 and experiments were performed on day 2, 7, 14 and 21.Results: We found that from day 7, C. pneumoniae infection causes both a sustained airway hyperresponsiveness and an inflammation. Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and macrophage inflammatory chemokine-2 (MIP-2) levels in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL)-fluid were increased on all experimental days with exception of day 7 where MIP-2 concentrations dropped to control levels. In contrast, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) levels were only increased on day 7. From day 7 to 21 epithelial damage and secretory cell hypertrophy was observed. It is suggested that, the inflammatory cells/mediators, the epithelial damage and secretory cell hypertrophy contribute to initiation of airway hyperresponsiveness.Conclusion: Our study demonstrates for the first time that C. pneumoniae infection can modify bronchial responsiveness. This has clinical implications, since additional changes in airway responsiveness and inflammation-status induced by this bacterium may worsen and/or provoke breathlessness in asthma and COPD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine