Regulation of pulmonary and systemic bacterial lipopolysaccharide responses in transgenic mice expressing human elafin

J-M Sallenave, G A Cunningham, R M James, G McLachlan, C Haslett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The control of lung inflammation is of paramount importance in a variety of acute pathologies, such as pneumonia, the acute respiratory distress syndrome, and sepsis. It is becoming increasingly apparent that local innate immune responses in the lung are negatively influenced by systemic inflammation. This is thought to be due to a local deficit in cytokine responses by alveolar macrophages and neutrophils following systemic bacterial infection and the development of a septic response. Recently, using an adenovirus-based strategy which overexpresses the human elastase inhibitor elafin locally in the lung, we showed that elafin is able to prime lung innate immune responses. In this study, we generated a novel transgenic mouse strain expressing human elafin and studied its response to bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) when the LPS was administered locally in the lungs and systemically. When LPS was delivered to the lungs, we found that mice expressing elafin had lower serum-to-bronchoalveolar lavage ratios of proinflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), macrophage inflammatory protein 2, and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, than wild-type mice. There was a concomitant increase in inflammatory cell influx, showing that there was potential priming of innate responses in the lungs. When LPS was given systemically, the mice expressing elafin had reduced levels of serum TNF-alpha compared to the levels in wild-type mice. These results indicate that elafin may have a dual function, promoting up-regulation of local lung innate immunity while simultaneously down-regulating potentially unwanted systemic inflammatory responses in the circulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3766-74
Number of pages9
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003


  • Animals
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Lung
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Proteinase Inhibitory Proteins, Secretory
  • Proteins
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha


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