The Role of Flagellin versus Motility in Acute Lung Disease Caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Balloy, Viviane; Verma, Amrisha; Kuravi, Sudha; Si-Tahar, Mustapha; Chignard, Michel; Ramphal, Reuben
July 2007
Journal of Infectious Diseases;7/15/2007, Vol. 196 Issue 2, p289
Academic Journal
The flagellum of Pseudomonas aeruginosa has been implicated in acute pneumonia, and its flagellin is known to cause lung inflammation. However, its proinflammatory role, versus its motility function, as a cause of death by a whole bacterium has not been demonstrated. This issue was examined in a lung model of acute infection using different flagellar mutants. We found that the absence of motility does not significantly alter the LD50, whereas the production of excess amounts of flagellin lowers it and results in early death. Next, we found that the absence of the Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) ligand, flagellin, results in slower clearance of this organism from the lungs and a delay in the time to death. These findings demonstrate the dual role of flagellin in host defense and in disease and suggest that the death in this model may be biphasic with flagellin playing a role early in the disease.


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