Grant Number :    1R01AI062787-01A1

Pricipal Investigator : Ackermann Mark

Project Title : Preterm birth, lung innate immunity, and RSV

Abstract : Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is the most common cause of respiratory disease leading to hospitalization in children. Preterm infants are especially susceptible to severe RSV infection. Respiratory epithelium is an initial site of RSV infection and epithelial cells along with alveolar macrophages (AM) and dendritic cells (DC) are vital to innate and adaptive immune responses. However, the extent of innate immune gene expression by epithelia and AM-DC in preterm infants can be variable/limited. The hypothesis is that: Reduced innate immunity by respiratory epithelia and AM-DC preterm enhances susceptibility to RSV infection This hypothesis is based on the facts above and our preliminary data in lambs demonstrating limited expression of surfactant proteins A and D (SP-AD), sheep beta-defensin-1 (SBD-1), and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) preterm. It will be tested in preterm lambs which have close similarities with human disease including susceptibility, lesions, and innate immunity. Specific Aim 1 compares expression of key innate immune genes (SBD-1, SP-AD, TLR4) and protein/peptide production in vivo as well as AM-DC cytokine expression in pre- and full-term lung. It also tests the hypothesis that limited epithelial cell proliferation and/or differentiation pre-term underlie(s) the mechanistic basis for limited SP-AD, SDB-1 expression and tests this by comparing transcriptional activity, protein/peptide production in pre- and full term cultured cells with or without cell proliferation and differentiation. Specific Aim 2 tests the hypothesis that SP-AD, SBD-1 and AM-DC responses to RSV are less at pre- than full-term in the lamb model and in vitro with cultured epithelial cells. A second hypothesis, that increased cell proliferation and/or differentiation of epithelia protects against RSV infection, will be tested in vitro with treatments from Aim 1. The extent to which SP-AD, SBD-1 directly prevent RSV infection will be tested with RNAi assays. Specific Aim 3 tests the hypothesis that yet other innate immune genes expressed with cell proliferation/differentiation prevent RSV infection. This Aim uses gene expression profiling of primary polarized human lung cells and a respiratory epithelia-specific probe set (Unigene) that is the most well-annotated and defined gene target set to date. It also identifies ovine orthologs of human genes and test for impaired/reduced expression preterm. This team combines veterinary and human medical expertise to attain the goal of this project: to discover the reason(s) for inadequate expression of SP-AD, SBD-1 and other innate immune genes as well as AMDC responses at preterm that predispose to RSV infection. The work is significant because it discovers the underlying basis for RSV susceptibility preterm and mechanistic approaches to enhance innate immunity.


Duration of Award : 15 AUG 2005 - 31 JAN 2010

Amount :

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