ExoU-induced vascular hyperpermeability and platelet activation in the course of experimental Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumosepsis

Gloria-Beatriz S Machado, Maria-Cristina de Assis, Robson Leão, Alessandra M Saliba, Mauricio C A Silva, Jose H Suassuna, Albanita V de Oliveira, Maria-Cristina Plotkowski
Shock 2010, 33 (3): 315-21
To address the question whether ExoU, a Pseudomonas aeruginosa cytotoxin with phospholipase A2 activity, can induce hemostatic abnormalities during the course of pneumosepsis, mice were instilled i.t. with the ExoU-producing PA103 P. aeruginosa or with a mutant obtained by deletion of the exoU gene. Control animals were instilled with sterile vehicle. To assess the role of ExoU in animal survival, mice were evaluated for 72 h. In all the other experiments, animals were studied at 24 h after infection. PA103-infected mice showed significantly higher mortality rate, lower blood leukocyte concentration, and higher platelet concentration and hematocrit than animals infected with the bacterial mutant, as well as evidences of increased vascular permeability and plasma leakage, which were confirmed by our finding of higher protein concentration in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids and by the Evans blue dye assay. Platelets from PA103-infected mice demonstrated features of activation, assessed by the flow cytometric detection of higher percentage of P-selectin expression and of platelet-derived microparticles as well as by the enzyme immunoassay detection of increased thromboxane A2 concentration in animal plasma. Histopathology of lung and kidney sections from PA103-infected mice exhibited evidences of thrombus formation that were not detected in sections of animals from the other groups. Our results demonstrate the ability of ExoU to induce vascular hyperpermeability, platelet activation, and thrombus formation during P. aeruginosa pneumosepsis, and we speculate that this ability may contribute to the reported poor outcome of patients with severe infection by ExoU-producing P. aeruginosa.

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