Prostaglandin E2 suppresses bacterial killing in alveolar macrophages by inhibiting NADPH oxidase

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2007 Nov;37(5):562-70. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2007-0153OC. Epub 2007 Jun 21.


Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a potent lipid mediator that effects changes in cell functions through ligation of four distinct G protein-coupled E prostanoid (EP) receptors (EP1-EP4). PGE2 inhibits bacterial killing and reactive oxygen intermediate (ROI) production by alveolar macrophages (AMs), although little is known about the operative molecular mechanisms. The aims of this study were to evaluate the molecular mechanisms and the specific EP receptors through which PGE2 inhibits killing of Klebsiella pneumoniae by AMs. The treatment of AMs with PGE2 suppressed the killing of K. pneumoniae, and this effect was blocked by an adenylyl cyclase inhibitor and mimicked by agonists for the stimulatory G protein (G(s))-coupled EP2 and EP4 receptors. Conversely, microbicidal activity was augmented by pretreatment with the cyclooxygenase inhibitor, indomethacin, and antagonists of EP2 and EP4. Similar results were found when ROI production was examined. PGE2 inhibition of killing and ROI generation was associated with its activation of the cAMP effectors, protein kinase A and exchange protein directly activated by cAMP-1, as well as attenuation of the phosphorylation and translocation of the reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase component, p47phox, to the phagosomal membrane. We conclude that PGE2 suppresses the microbicidal activity of AMs through the G(s)-coupled EP2/EP4 receptors, with increased cAMP inhibiting the assembly and activation of p47phox.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dinoprostone / physiology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / growth & development*
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / immunology
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / enzymology*
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / immunology
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / microbiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • NADPH Oxidases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • Dinoprostone