Impact of sex and ozone exposure on the course of pneumonia in wild type and SP-A (-/-) mice

Anatoly N. Mikerov, Sanmei Hu, Faryal Durrani, Xiaozhuang Gan, Guirong Wang, Todd M. Umstead, David Phelps, Joanna Floros

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25 Scopus citations


Female mice exhibited higher survival rate than males after pneumonia, with a reversal of this pattern following ozone exposure. Surfactant protein A (SP-A) plays an important role in innate immunity and SP-A (-/-) mice were more susceptible to pneumonia than wild type mice. Here, we investigated underlying mechanisms of the differential susceptibility of mice to pneumonia. Wild type and SP-A (-/-) C57BL/6J male and female mice were exposed to ozone or filtered air (FA) and then infected intratracheally with Klebsiella pneumoniae. Blood, spleen, and lung were analyzed for bacterial counts, lung and spleen weights, and sex hormone and cortisol levels were measured in plasma within two days post-infection. We found: 1) in the absence of ozone-induced oxidative stress, males had higher level of bacterial dissemination compared to females; ozone exposure decreased pulmonary clearance in both sexes and ozone-exposed females were more affected than males; 2) ozone exposure increased lung weight, but decreased spleen weight in both sexes, and in both cases ozone-exposed females were affected the most; 3) plasma cortisol levels in infected mice changed: ozone-exposed > FA-exposed, females > males, and infected > non-infected; 4) no major sex hormone differences were observed in the studied conditions; 5) differences between wild type and SP-A (-/-) mice were observed in some of the studied conditions. We concluded that reduced pulmonary clearance, compromised spleen response to infection, and increased cortisol levels in ozone-exposed females, and the higher level of lung bacterial dissemination in FA-exposed males, contribute to the previously observed survival outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-249
Number of pages11
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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