Theα-tocopherol form of vitamin E reverses age-associated susceptibility to streptococcus pneumoniae lung infection by modulating pulmonary neutrophil recruitment.
J Immunol. 2015 Feb 1 ;194(3):1090-9. Epub 2014 Dec 15. PMID: 25512603
Elsa N Bou Ghanem
Streptococcus pneumoniae infections are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in older patients. Uncontrolled neutrophil-driven pulmonary inflammation exacerbates this disease. To test whether theα-tocopherol (α-Toc) form of vitamin E, a regulator of immunity, can modulate neutrophil responses as a preventive strategy to mitigate the age-associated decline in resistance to S. pneumoniae, young (4 mo) and old (22-24 mo) C57BL/6 mice were fed a diet containing 30-PPM (control) or 500-PPM (supplemented) α-Toc for 4 wk and intratracheally infected with S. pneumoniae. Aged mice fed a control diet were exquisitely more susceptible to S. pneumoniae than young mice. At 2 d postinfection, aged mice suffered 1000-fold higher pulmonary bacterial burden, 2.2-fold higher levels of neutrophil recruitment to the lung, and a 2.25-fold higher rate of lethal septicemia. Strikingly, α-Toc supplementation of aged mice resulted in a 1000-fold lower bacterial lung burden and full control of infection. This α-Toc-induced resistance to pneumococcal challenge was associated with a 2-fold fewer pulmonary neutrophils, a level comparable to S. pneumoniae-challenged, conventionally fed young mice. α-Toc directly inhibited neutrophil egress across epithelial cell monolayers in vitro in response to pneumococci or hepoxilin-A3, an eicosanoid required for pneumococcus-elicited neutrophil trans-epithelial migration. α-Toc altered expression of multiple epithelial and neutrophil adhesion molecules involved in migration, including CD55, CD47, CD18/CD11b, and ICAM-1. These findings suggest that α-Toc enhances resistance of aged mice to bacterial pneumonia by modulating the innate immune response,a finding that has potential clinical significance in combating infection in aged individuals through nutritional intervention.