Response of CFTR-Deficient Mice to Long-Term chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infection and PTX3 Therapy

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Abstract

Background. In cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, chronic lung infection and inflammation due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa contribute to the decline of lung function. The increased prevalence of multidrug resistance among bacteria and the adverse effects of antiinflammatory agents highlight the need for alternative therapeutic approaches that should be tested in a relevant animal model.

Methods. Gut-corrected CF and non-CF mice were chronically infected with a multidrug-resistant P. aeruginosa strain and treated with the long pentraxin PTX3. Body weight, bacterial count, inflammation, and lung pathology were evaluated after 12 days. PTX3 localization in CF sputum specimens was analyzed by immunofluorescence.

Results. Chronic P. aeruginosa infection developed similarly in CF and non-CF mice but differed in terms of the inflammatory response. Leukocyte recruitment in the airways, cytokine levels, and chemokine levels were significantly higher in CF mice, compared with non-CF mice. PTX3 treatment, which facilitates phagocytosis of pathogens, reduced P. aeruginosa colonization and restored airway inflammation in CF mice to levels observed in non-CF mice. The presence of PTX3 in CF sputum, in leukocytes, or bound to P. aeruginosa macrocolonies, as well as previous data on PTX3 polymorphisms in colonized CF patients, confirm the relevance of this molecule.

Conclusions. These findings represent a step forward in demonstrating the therapeutic potential of PTX3 in CF.

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