Background Surfactant protein D (SP-D) is involved in the innate immunity within the lung and may have important roles in modulating the inflammatory process of asthma.
Objective To examine the potential immunomodulating role of SP-D on the allergic response in mice, and its interaction with the alveolar macrophages (AMs) during allergic inflammation.
Methods A recombinant 60 kDa fragment of human SP-D (rfh SP-D), Survanta, and budesonide were administrated, respectively, to Der p-sensitive BALB/c mice before or after allergen challenge (AC). Total and differential cell counts, levels of cytokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids(BALFs), and levels of Der p-specific IgE and IgG1 antibodies in sera, were assayed. The production of nitric oxide (NO), and inducible NO synthase (iNOS) expression, in AMs, were determined by ELISA and RT-PCR, respectively.
Results Instillation of rfh SP-D to sensitized mice 6 h after AC (therapeutic), but not 24 h before AC (preventive), markedly reduced infiltration of eosinophils, and also reduced levels of IL-4, IL-5, eotaxin, and TNF-α but elevated levels of IFN-γ in the BALF. These effects were comparable with those obtained with budesonide treatment, whereas Survanta did not have a suppressive effect, either before or after AC. There was significant inhibition of NO production in the rfh SP-D pre-treated AMs of allergen-sensitized mice, but not in naïve mice.
Conclusions These results indicate that rfh SP-D has a therapeutic effect on allergen-induced bronchial inflammation, and that this might be because of its inhibitory effect on NO and TNF-α production by AMs, and it thus prevents the development of T-helper type 2 cytokine response.