Surfactant protein D increases phagocytosis and aggregation of pollen-allergen starch granules

Veit J. Erpenbeck, Delphine C. Malherbe, Stefanie Sommer, Andreas Schmiedl, Wolfram Steinhilber, Andrew J. Ghio, Norbert Krug, Jo Rae Wright, Jens M. Hohlfeld

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61 Scopus citations


Recent studies have shown that surfactant components, in particular the collectins surfactant protein (SP)-A and -D, modulate the phagocytosis of various pathogens by alveolar macrophages. This interaction might be important not only for the elimination of pathogens but also for the elimination of inhaled allergens and might explain anti-inflammatory effects of SP-A and SP-D in allergic airway inflammation. We investigated the effect of surfactant components on the phagocytosis of allergen-containing pollen starch granules (PSG) by alveolar macrophages. PSG were isolated from Dactylis glomerata or Phleum pratense, two common grass pollen allergens, and incubated with either rat or human alveolar macrophages in the presence of recombinant human SP-A, SP-A purified from patients suffering from alveolar proteinosis, a recombinant fragment of human SP-D, dodecameric recombinant rat SP-D, or the commercially available surfactant preparations Curosurf and Alveofact. Dodecameric rat recombinant SP-D enhanced binding and phagocytosis of the PSG by alveolar macrophages, whereas the recombinant fragment of human SP-D, SP-A, or the surfactant lipid preparations had no effect. In addition, recombinant rat SP-D bound to the surface of the PSG and induced aggregation. Binding, aggregation, and enhancement of phagocytosis by recombinant rat SP-D was completely blocked by EDTA and inhibited by D-maltose and to a lesser extent by D-galactose, indicating the involvement of the carbohydrate recognition domain of SP-D in these functions. The modulation of allergen phagocytosis by SP-D might play an important role in allergen clearance from, the lung and thereby modulate the allergic inflammation of asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L692-L698
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number4 32-4
StatePublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Allergy
  • Antigen processing
  • Innate immunity
  • Lung

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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