Role of neutrophils in preventing and resolving acute fungal sinusitis


Rodriguez TE, Falkowski NR, Harkema JR, Huffnagle GB
Infect Immun. 2007 Dec;75(12):5663-8


Acute fungal sinusitis (AFS) is a devastating disease of the paranasal sinuses afflicting immunocompromised individuals. Knowledge about this disease is limited to clinical observations because there are no animal models in which to study the pathogenesis of the infection. Our goal was to develop a murine model of AFS and examine the role of neutrophils in host defense within the nasal cavity. Female C57BL/6 mice were depleted of neutrophils using anti-Gr-1 monoclonal antibody from day -1 to day 5 postinfection to initiate a transient neutropenia within the mice. At day 0, Aspergillus fumigatus conidia were administered intranasally. The untreated Aspergillus-exposed group had significant neutrophil recruitment by day 3, but by day 7 the leukocyte numbers had returned to unexposed levels. There was not a significant influx of mononuclear cells at either time point. In contrast, beginning at day 3 postinfection and continuing through day 7, anti-Gr-1-treated mice had increased cellular recruitment consisting of banded neutrophils at day 3 and mature neutrophils at day 7. Hyphal masses developed only in the anti-Gr-1-treated mice (25 to 36%) but only during the period of treatment. When the treatment was discontinued, hyphal masses could no longer be detected in the nasal cavities of these mice. In contrast, cyclophosphamide treatment did not induce neutropenia, and the nasal cavity remained free of hyphal masses. These studies demonstrate the feasibility of using this model to study AFS and implicate neutrophils in protection of the sinuses against acute Aspergillus infection and in clearance of established hyphal masses.