Platelet Depletion Impairs Host Defense to Pulmonary Infection withPseudomonas aeruginosain Mice

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Platelets have been implicated in pulmonary inflammatory cell recruitment after exposure to allergic and nonallergic stimuli, but little is known about the role of platelets in response to pulmonary infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In this study, we have investigated the impact of the experimental depletion of circulating platelets on a range of inflammatory and bacterial parameters, and their subsequent impact on mortality in a murine model of pulmonary infection with P. aeruginosa. P. aeruginosa infection in mice induced a mild, but significant, state of peripheral thrombocytopenia in addition to pulmonary platelet accumulation. Increased platelet activation was detected in infected mice through increased levels of the platelet-derived mediators, platelet factor-4 and β-thromboglobulin, in BAL fluid and blood plasma. In mice depleted of circulating platelets, pulmonary neutrophil recruitment was significantly reduced 24 hours after infection, whereas the incidence of systemic dissemination of bacteria was significantly increased compared with non-platelet-depleted control mice. Furthermore, mortality rates were increased in bacterial-infected mice depleted of circulating platelets. This work demonstrates a role for platelets in the host response toward a gram-negative bacterial respiratory infection.

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