Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 9596099
Eur. Respir. J. 1998 Mar;11(3):542-7
Pneumocystosis-related surfactant changes have been reported in both humans and corticosteroid-treated experimental hosts. As corticosteroids induce an increase in pulmonary surfactant, some findings could be considered as controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the surfactant composition changes during experimental pneumocystosis were related to the Pneumocystis development. In this work two corticosteroid-untreated animal models were used: rabbits, which develop spontaneous pneumocystosis at weaning; and severe combined immunodeficiency mice, which were intranasally inoculated with Pneumocystis carinii. Surfactant phospholipid and protein content was explored by bronchoalveolar lavage. The in vitro effect of surfactant on P. carinii growth was also explored. In the two models, the surfactant phospholipid/protein ratio was significantly increased, whereas parasite rates were low. This ratio decreases with the slope increase of the parasite growth curve. These early surfactant changes suggested that Pneumocystis proliferation requires alveolar lining fluid changes, and that normal surfactant is not suitable for parasite development. In this way, in vitro experiments presented here have revealed an inhibitory effect of synthetic or seminatural surfactants on the P. carinii growth. Further studies are needed to determine how Pneumocystis induces the reported early modifications of the surfactant, and why the parasite development is inhibited by pulmonary surfactant.