Background Surfactant protein D (SP-D), a secreted pattern recognition molecule associated with pulmonary innate immunity, has been shown to mediate the clearance of pathogens in multiple ways. However, how SP-D interacts with alveolar macrophages (AMs) and dendritic cells (DCs) during allergen exposure remains unclear. Objective This study was performed to characterize the immunomodulatory effects of SP-D on mite allergen (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, Der p)-induced inflammatory signalling in AMs and DCs. Methods Murine AM, alveolar macrophage cell line derived from BALB/c mice (MH-S cells), and human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDC) were used as model systems. The production of nitric oxide (NO) and TNF-α, expression of surface Toll-like receptors (TLRs), and expression of the C-type lectin receptor known as dendritic cell (DC)-specific ICAM-grabbing non-integrin (DC-SIGN) were measured as a function of pretreatment with SP-D and subsequent exposure to Der p. Der p-dependent cellular activations that were modified by SP-D in these model systems were then identified. Results Pretreatment of MH-S cells with SP-D reduced Der p-dependent production of NO, TNF-α, and the downstream activations of IL-1 receptor-associated kinase, mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinase, and nuclear factor-κB. SP-D interacted with CD14 such that CD14 binding to Der p was inhibited and Der p-induced signalling via TLRs was blocked. DC-SIGN expression was suppressed by Der p in MH-S and MDDC; this down-regulation of DC-SIGN expression was prevented by pretreatment with SP-D. Conclusions These results indicated that the inhibition of Der p-induced activation of MH-S and MDDC by SP-D is mediated through suppression of the CD14/TLR signalling pathway and maintenance of DC-SIGN expression, which may protect allergen-induced airway inflammation.
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