Chlorine gas exposure increases susceptibility to invasive lung fungal infection

Academic Article


  • Chlorine (Cl2) is a highly irritating and reactive gas with potential occupational and environmental hazards. Acute exposure to Cl22 induces severe epithelial damage, airway hyperreactivity, impaired alveolar fluid clearance, and pulmonary edema in the presence of heightened inflammation and significant neutrophil accumulation in the lungs. Herein, we investigated whether Cl2 exposure affected the lung antimicrobial immune response leading to increased susceptibility to opportunistic infections. Mice exposed to Cl2 and challenged intratracheally 24 h thereafter with the opportunistic mold Aspergillus fumigatus demonstrated an >500-fold increase in A. fumigatus lung burden 72 h postchallenge compared with A. fumigatus mice exposed to room air. Cl2-exposed A. fumigatus challenged mice also demonstrated significantly higher lung resistance following methacholine challenge and increased levels of plasma proteins (albumin and IgG) in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Despite enhanced recruitment of inflammatory cells to the lungs of Cl2-exposed A. fumigatus challenged mice, these cells (>60% of which were neutrophils) demonstrated a profound impairment in generating superoxide. Significantly higher A. fumigatus burden in the lungs of Cl2 exposed mice correlated with enhanced production of IL-6, TNF-α, CXCL1, CCL2, and CCL3. Surprisingly, however, Cl2-exposed A. fumigatus challenged mice had a specific impairment in the production of IL-17A and IL-22 in the lungs compared with mice exposed to room air and challenged with A. fumigatus. In summary, our results indicate that Cl2 exposure markedly impairs the antimicrobial activity and inflammatory reactivity of myeloid cells in the lung leading to increased susceptibility to opportunistic pathogens. © 2013 the American Physiological Society.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Gessner MA; Doran SF; Yu Z; Dunaway CW; Matalon S; Steele C
  • Volume

  • 304
  • Issue

  • 11