Eosinophils contribute to early clearance of pneumocystis murina infection

Academic Article


  • Pneumocystis pneumonia remains a common opportunistic infection in the diverse immunosuppressed population. One clear risk factor for susceptibility to Pneumocystis is a declining CD4+ T cell count in the setting of HIV/AIDS or primary immunodeficiency. Non-HIV-infected individuals taking immunosuppressive drug regimens targeting T cell activation are also susceptible. Given the crucial role of CD4+ T cells in host defense against Pneumocystis, we used RNA sequencing of whole lung early in infection in wildtype and CD4-depleted animals as an unbiased approach to examine mechanisms of fungal clearance. In wild-type mice, a strong eosinophil signature was observed at day 14 post Pneumocystis challenge, and eosinophils were increased in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of wild-type mice. Furthermore, eosinophilopoiesis-deficient Gata1tm6Sho/J mice were more susceptible to Pneumocystis infection when compared with BALB/c controls, and bone marrow-derived eosinophils had in vitro Pneumocystis killing activity. To drive eosinophilia in vivo, Rag1-/- mice were treated with a plasmid expressing IL-5 (pIL5) or an empty plasmid control via hydrodynamic injection. The pIL5-treated mice had increased serum IL-5 and eosinophilia in the lung, as well as reduced Pneumocystis burden, compared with mice treated with control plasmid. In addition, pIL5 treatment could induce eosinophilia and reduce Pneumocystis burden in CD4-depleted C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice, but not eosinophilopoiesis-deficient Gata1tm6Sho/J mice. Taken together, these results demonstrate that an early role of CD4+ T cells is to recruit eosinophils to the lung and that eosinophils are a novel candidate for future therapeutic development in the treatment of Pneumocystis pneumonia in the immunosuppressed population.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 23076111
  • Author List

  • Eddens T; Elsegeiny W; Nelson MP; Horne W; Campfield BT; Steele C; Kolls JK
  • Start Page

  • 185
  • End Page

  • 193
  • Volume

  • 195
  • Issue

  • 1