A Comparative Study of Lung Host Defense in Murine Obesity Models Insights into Neutrophil Function

Niki D. J. Ubags, Elianne Burg, Maryellen Antkowiak, Aaron M. Wallace, Estee Dilli, Jenna Bement, Matthew J. Wargo, Matthew E. Poynter, Emiel F. M. Wouters, Benjamin T. Suratt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We have shown that obesity-associated attenuation of murine acute lung injury is driven, in part, by blunted neutrophil chemotaxis, yet differences were noted between the two models of obesity studied. We hypothesized that obesity-associated impairment of multiple neutrophil functions contributes to increased risk for respiratory infection but that such impairments may vary between murine models of obesity. We examined the most commonly used murine obesity models (diet-induced obesity, db/db, CPEfat/fat, and ob/ob) using a Klebsiella pneumoniae pneumonia model and LPS-induced pneumonitis. Marrow-derived neutrophils from uninjured lean and obese mice were examined for in vitro functional responses. All obesity models showed impaired clearance of K. pneumoniae, but in differing temporal patterns. Failure to contain infection in obese mice was seen in the db/db model at both 24 and 48 hours, yet this defect was only evident at 24 hours in CPEfat/fat and ob/ob models, and at 48 hours in diet-induced obesity. LPS-induced airspace neutrophilia was decreased in all models, and associated with blood neutropenia in the ob/ob model but with leukocytosis in the others. Obese mouse neutrophils from all models demonstrated impaired chemotaxis, whereas neutrophil granulocyte colony-stimulating factor-mediated survival, LPS-induced cytokine transcription, and mitogen-activated protein kinase and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 activation in response to LPS and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, respectively, were variably impaired across the four models. Obesity-associated impairment of host response to lung infection is characterized by defects in neutrophil recruitment and survival. However, critical differences exist between commonly used mouse models of obesity and may reflect variable penetrance of elements of the metabolic syndrome, as well as other factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-200
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • obesity
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • pneumonia
  • innate immunity
  • neutrophil

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