Coccidioides posadasii infection alters the expression of pulmonary surfactant proteins (SP)-A and SP-D

Shanjana Awasthi, D. Mitchell Magee, Jacqueline J. Coalson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background: Coccidioidomycosis or Valley Fever is caused by Coccidioides in Southwest US and Central America. Primary pulmonary infection is initiated by inhalation of air-borne arthroconidia. Since, lung is the first organ that encounters arthroconidia, different components of the pulmonary innate immune system may be involved in the regulation of host defense. Pulmonary surfactant proteins (SP)-A and SP-D have been recognized to play an important role in binding and phagocytosis of various microorganisms, but their roles in Coccidioides infection are not known. Methods: In this study, we studied the changes in amounts of pulmonary SP-A, SP-D and phospholipid in murine model of Coccidioides posadasii infection, and binding of SP-A and SP-D to Coccidioidal antigens. Mice were challenged intranasally with a lethal dose of C. posadasii (n = 30 arthroconidia) and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) samples were collected on day 10, post infection. In another group of animals, mice were immunized with protective formalin killed spherule (FKS) vaccine prior to infection. The concentrations of BALF SP-A, SP-D, total phospholipid were measured using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and biochemical assays. Results: We found that in lavage fluid samples of C. posadasii infected mice, the concentrations of total phospholipid, SP-A and SP-D were 17 % (SEM 3.5, p < 0.001), 38 % (SEM 5.8, p < 0.001) and 4 % (SEM 1.3, p < 0.001) of those in lavage fluid samples of non-infected control mice, respectively. However, the concentrations of SP-A and SP-D remained unchanged in BALF samples of C. posadasii protected mice after immunization with FKS vaccine. Also, we found that both SP-A and SP-D bind to Coccidiodal antigens. Conclusion: Our results suggest that the C. posadasii infection perturbs the pulmonary SP-A, SP-D, and phospholipids, potentially enabling the disease progression and promoting fungal dissemination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalRespiratory Research
StatePublished - Dec 10 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Coccidioides posadasii
  • Surfactant proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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