Inhibition of Phosphodiesterase-4 during Pneumococcal Pneumonia Reduces Inflammation and Lung Injury in Mice

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Abstract

Pneumococcal pneumonia is a leading cause of mortality worldwide. The inflammatory response to bacteria is necessary to control infection, but it may also contribute to tissue damage. Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors, such as rolipram (ROL), effectively reduce inflammation. Here, we examined the impact of ROL in a pneumococcal pneumonia murine model. Mice were infected intranasally with 105-106 CFU of Streptococcus pneumoniae, treated with ROL in a prophylactic or therapeutic schedule in combination, or not, with the antibiotic ceftriaxone. Inflammation and bacteria counts were assessed, and ex vivo phagocytosis assays were performed. ROL treatment during S. pneumoniae infection decreased neutrophil recruitment into lungs and airways and reduced lung injury. Prophylactic ROL treatment also decreased cytokine levels in the airways. Although modulation of inflammation by ROL ameliorated pneumonia, bacteria burden was not reduced. On the other hand, antibiotic therapy reduced bacteria without reducing neutrophil infiltration, cytokine level, or lung injury. Combined ROL and ceftriaxone treatment decreased lethality rates and was more efficient in reducing inflammation, by increasing proresolving protein annexin A1 (AnxA1) expression, and bacterial burden by enhancing phagocytosis. Lack of AnxA1 increased inflammation and lethality induced by pneumococcal infection. These data show that immunomodulatory effects of phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors are useful during severe pneumococcal pneumonia and suggest their potential benefit as adjunctive therapy during infectious diseases.

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