Surfactant dysfunction in SP-A–/– and iNOS–/– mice with mycoplasma infection
Surfactant dysfunction was studied in C57BL/6 (B6), B6.SP-A–/–, and B6.iNOS–/– mice with pulmonary mycoplasma infection (107 colony-forming units). Cell-free bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) from uninfected B6.SP-A–/– versus B6 mice had a reduced content of very large aggregates (VLA) and an increase in intermediate large aggregates (ILA), with no difference in total large aggregates (LA = VLA + ILA). However, LA from uninfected B6.SP-A–/– versus B6 mice contained less protein and were more sensitive to inhibition by serum albumin and lysophosphatidylcholine in pulsating bubble studies in vitro. Infection with Mycoplasma pulmonis caused significant lung injury and surfactant abnormalities in B6.SP-A–/–, B6.iNOS–/–, and B6 mice at 24, 48, 72 h after infection compared with uninfected mice of the same strain. Analyses of time-pooled data indicated that mycoplasma-infected B6.SP-A–/– and B6.iNOS–/– mice had significantly lower levels of LA and higher protein/phospholipid ratios in BAL compared with infected B6 mice. Infected B6.iNOS–/– versus B6 mice also had increased minimum surface tensions on the pulsating bubble and decreased levels of surfactant protein (SP)-B in BAL. These results indicate that pulmonary mycoplasma infection in vivo causes lung injury and surfactant abnormalities that are dependent in part on iNOS and SP-A. In addition, SP-A deficiency modifies surfactant aggregate content and lowers the inhibition resistance of LA surfactant in vitro compared with congenic normal mice.