Immunostimulation with macrophage-activating lipopeptide-2 increased survival in murine pneumonia

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2009 Apr;40(4):474-81. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2008-0071OC. Epub 2008 Oct 17.


Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is associated with high morbidity and mortality, and Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most prevalent causal pathogen identified in CAP. Impaired pulmonary host defense increases susceptibility to pneumococcal pneumonia. S. pneumoniae may up-regulate Toll-like receptor (TLR)-2 expression and activate TLR-2, contributing to pneumococcus-induced immune responses. In the current study, the course of severe murine pneumococcal pneumonia after pulmonary TLR-2-mediated immunostimulation with synthetic macrophage-activating lipopeptide-2 (MALP-2) was examined. Intratracheal MALP-2 application evoked enhanced proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine release, resulting in recruitment of polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN), macrophages, and lymphocytes into the alveolar space in WT, but not in TLR-2-deficient mice. In murine lungs as well as in human alveolar epithelial cells (A549), MALP-2 increased TLR-2 expression at both mRNA and protein level. Blood leukocyte numbers and populations remained unchanged. MALP-2 application 24 hours before intranasal pneumococcal infection resulted in increased levels of CCL5 associated with augmented leukocyte recruitment, and decreased levels of anti-inflammatory IL-10 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Clinically, MALP-2-treated as compared with untreated mice showed increased survival, reduced hypothermia, and increased body weight. MALP-2 also reduced bacteremia and improved bacterial clearance in lung parenchyma, as examined by immunohistochemistry. In conclusion, pulmonary immunostimulation with MALP-2 before infection with S. pneumoniae improved local host defense and increased survival in murine pneumococcal pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteremia / complications
  • Bacteremia / immunology
  • Bacteremia / pathology
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immunization*
  • Leukocytes / cytology
  • Leukocytes / drug effects
  • Leukocytes / microbiology
  • Lipopeptides / immunology*
  • Lipopeptides / pharmacology
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lung / microbiology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Mice
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / complications
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / immunology*
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / microbiology
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / pathology
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Survival Analysis
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / agonists
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Lipopeptides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2
  • macrophage stimulatory lipopeptide 2