Inflammation in fetal sheep from intra-amniotic injection of Ureaplasma parvum

Jennifer J. P. Collins, Suhas G. Kallapur, Christine L. Knox, Ilias Nitsos, Graeme R. Polglase, J. Jane Pillow, Elke Kuypers, John P. Newnham, Alan H. Jobe, Boris W. Kramer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Collins JJ, Kallapur SG, Knox CL, Nitsos I, Polglase GR, Pillow JJ, Kuypers E, Newnham JP, Jobe AH, Kramer BW. Inflammation in fetal sheep from intra-amniotic injection of Ureaplasma parvum. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 299: L852-L860, 2010. First published October 8, 2010; doi:10.1152/ajplung.00183.2010.-Bronchopulmonary dysplasia is associated with chorioamnionitis and fetal lung inflammation. Ureaplasma species are the bacteria most frequently isolated from chorioamnionitis. Very chronic ureaplasma colonization of amniotic fluid causes low-grade lung inflammation and functional lung maturation in fetal sheep. Less is known about shorter exposures of the fetal lung. Therefore, we hypothesized that ureaplasmas would cause an acute inflammatory response that would alter lung development. Singleton ovine fetuses received intra-amniotic Ureaplasma parvum serovar 3 or control media at 110, 117, or 121 days and were delivered at 124 days gestational age (term = 150 days). Inflammation was assessed by 1) cell counts in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), and 2) cytokine mRNA measurements, immunohistochemistry, and flow cytometry for inflammatory cells and elastin and alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) staining in lung tissue. Neutrophils were increased in BALF 3 days after exposure to ureaplasmas (P = 0.01). Myeloperoxidase-positive cells increased after 3 days (P = 0.03), and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-positive cells increased after 14 days of ureaplasma exposure (P = 0.001). PU. 1 (macrophage marker)- or CD3 (T lymphocyte marker)-positive cells were not induced by ureaplasmas. CD3-positive cells in the posterior mediastinal lymph node increased in ureaplasma-exposed animals at 3, 7, and 14 days (P = 0.002). Focal elastin depositions decreased in alveolar septa at 14 days (P = 0.002), whereas alpha-SMA increased in arteries and bronchioli. U. parvum induced a mild acute inflammatory response and changed elastin and alpha-SMA deposition in the lung, which may affect lung structure and subsequent development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L852-L860
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • innate immunity
  • maturation
  • lung development
  • bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Ureaplasma species

Cite this