• Pneumolysin induces platelet destruction, not platelet activation, which can be prevented by immunoglobulin preparations in vitro.

      Jahn, Kristin; Handtke, Stefan; Palankar, Raghavendra; Weißmüller, Sabrina; Nouailles, Geraldine; Kohler, Thomas P; Wesche, Jan; Rohde, Manfred; Heinz, Corina; Aschenbrenner, Axel F; et al.
      Community-acquired pneumonia by primary or superinfections with Streptococcus pneumoniae can lead to acute respiratory distress requiring mechanical ventilation. The pore-forming toxin pneumolysin alters the alveolar-capillary barrier and causes extravasation of protein-rich fluid into the interstitial pulmonary tissue, which impairs gas exchange. Platelets usually prevent endothelial leakage in inflamed pulmonary tissue by sealing inflammation-induced endothelial gaps. We not only confirm that S pneumoniae induces CD62P expression in platelets, but we also show that, in the presence of pneumolysin, CD62P expression is not associated with platelet activation. Pneumolysin induces pores in the platelet membrane, which allow anti-CD62P antibodies to stain the intracellular CD62P without platelet activation. Pneumolysin treatment also results in calcium efflux, increase in light transmission by platelet lysis (not aggregation), loss of platelet thrombus formation in the flow chamber, and loss of pore-sealing capacity of platelets in the Boyden chamber. Specific anti-pneumolysin monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies inhibit these effects of pneumolysin on platelets as do polyvalent human immunoglobulins. In a post hoc analysis of the prospective randomized phase 2 CIGMA trial, we show that administration of a polyvalent immunoglobulin preparation was associated with a nominally higher platelet count and nominally improved survival in patients with severe S pneumoniae-related community-acquired pneumonia. Although, due to the low number of patients, no definitive conclusion can be made, our findings provide a rationale for investigation of pharmacologic immunoglobulin preparations to target pneumolysin by polyvalent immunoglobulin preparations in severe community-acquired pneumococcal pneumonia, to counteract the risk of these patients becoming ventilation dependent. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT01420744.
    • Preclinical Assessment of Bacteriophage Therapy against Experimental Lung Infection.

      Wienhold, Sandra-Maria; Brack, Markus C; Nouailles, Geraldine; Krishnamoorthy, Gopinath; Korf, Imke H E; Seitz, Claudius; Wienecke, Sarah; Dietert, Kristina; Gurtner, Corinne; Kershaw, Olivia; et al. (MDPI, 2021-12-24)
      Respiratory infections caused by multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii are difficult to treat and associated with high mortality among critically ill hospitalized patients. Bacteriophages (phages) eliminate pathogens with high host specificity and efficacy. However, the lack of appropriate preclinical experimental models hampers the progress of clinical development of phages as therapeutic agents. Therefore, we tested the efficacy of a purified lytic phage, vB_AbaM_Acibel004, against multidrug-resistant A. baumannii clinical isolate RUH 2037 infection in immunocompetent mice and a human lung tissue model. Sham- and A. baumannii-infected mice received a single-dose of phage or buffer via intratracheal aerosolization. Group-specific differences in bacterial burden, immune and clinical responses were compared. Phage-treated mice not only recovered faster from infection-associated hypothermia but also had lower pulmonary bacterial burden, lower lung permeability, and cytokine release. Histopathological examination revealed less inflammation with unaffected inflammatory cellular recruitment. No phage-specific adverse events were noted. Additionally, the bactericidal effect of the purified phage on A. baumannii was confirmed after single-dose treatment in an ex vivo human lung infection model. Taken together, our data suggest that the investigated phage has significant potential to treat multidrug-resistant A. baumannii infections and further support the development of appropriate methods for preclinical evaluation of antibacterial efficacy of phages.