Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Aspergillus fumigatus (Afu) is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that can cause fatal invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) in immunocompromised individuals. Previously, surfactant protein D (SP-D), a surfactant-associated innate immune molecule, has been shown to enhance phagocytosis and killing of Afu conidia by phagocytic cells in vitro. An intranasal treatment of SP-D significantly increased survival in a murine model of IPA. Here we have examined mechanisms via which recombinant forms of full-length (hSP-D) or truncated human SP-D (rhSP-D) offer protection in a murine model of IPA that were immunosuppressed with hydrocortisone and challenged intranasally with Afu conidia prior to the treatment. SP-D or rhSP-D treatment increased the survival rate to 70% and 80%, respectively (100% mortality on day 7 in IPA mice), with concomitant reduction in the growth of fungal hyphae in the lungs, and increased levels of TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma in the lung suspension supernatants, as compared to untreated IPA mice. The level of macrophage inflammatory protein-1 alpha (MIP-1 alpha) in the lung cell suspension was also raised considerably following treatment with SP-D or rhSP-D. Our results appear to reaffirm the notion that under immunocompromised conditions, human SP-D or its truncated form can offer therapeutic protection against fatal challenge with Afu conidia challenge. Taken together, the SP-D-mediated protective mechanisms include enhanced phagocytosis by recruited macrophages and neutrophils and fungistatic properties, suppression of the levels of pathogenic Th2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-5), enhanced local production of protective Th1 cytokines, TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma, and that of protective C-C chemokine, MIP-1 alpha.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Immunol

Publication Date





2363 - 2369


Animals, Aspergillus fumigatus, Chemokine CCL3, Humans, Interferon-gamma, Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mutation, Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Protein D, Recombinant Proteins, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha