Background: Clearance of apoptotic neutrophils in the lung is an essential process to limit inflammation, since they could become a pro-inflammatory stimulus themselves. The clearance is partially mediated by alveolar macrophages, which phagocytose these apoptotic cells. The phagocytosis of apoptotic immune cells by monocytes in vitro has been shown to be augmented by several constituents of pulmonary surfactant, e. g. phospholipids and hydrophobic surfactant proteins. In this study, we assessed the influence of exogenous poractant alfa (Curosurf (R)) instillation on the in vivo phagocytosis of apoptotic neutrophils by alveolar macrophages. Methods: Poractant alfa (200 mg/kg) was instilled intratracheally in the lungs of three months old adult male C57/Black 6 mice, followed by apoptotic neutrophil instillation. Bronchoalveloar lavage was performed and alveolar macrophages and neutrophils were counted. Phagocytosis of apoptotic neutrophils was quantified by determining the number of apoptotic neutrophils per alveolar macrophages. Results: Exogenous surfactant increased the number of alveolar macrophages engulfing apoptotic neutrophils 2.6 fold. The phagocytosis of apoptotic neutrophils was increased in the presence of exogenous surfactant by a 4.7 fold increase in phagocytosed apoptotic neutrophils per alveolar macrophage. Conclusions: We conclude that the anti-inflammatory properties of surfactant therapy may be mediated in part by increased numbers of alveolar macrophages and increased phagocytosis of apoptotic neutrophils by alveolar macrophages.
- Anti inflammation
- Drug therapy