In newborn infants, group B streptococci (GBS) often cause pneumonia, with polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) migrating into the lungs. Because surfactant therapy may be needed in such patients, we evaluated the interaction between GBS or GBS-stimulated PMN and a surfactant preparation (Curosurf) in vitro. The superoxide production of GBS strains or GBS-activated PMN was measured, using the nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) test and the subsequent lipid peroxidation (LPO) as the content of malondialdehyde (MDA) and 4-hydroxyalkenals (4-HNE). The growth of GBS in surfactant was determined and related to the LPO. Finally, the effect of LPO on surfactant activity, caused by GBS-stimulated PMN, was assessed by measuring dynamic surface tension in a pulsating bubble surfactometer. Curosurf diminished the NBT reduction by both live GBS and GBS-stimulated PMN. Surfactant was peroxidized by reactive oxygen species (ROS) from both GBS and GBS-stimulated PMN in a time-dependent manner. Vitamin E significantly reduced the peroxidation level of surfactant in both cases. Surfactant peroxidation was associated with a reduction in the number of live bacteria. The biophysical activity of Curosurf was impaired by GBS-stimulated PMN, as reflected by increased minimum surface tension during cyclic compression. These findings indicate that Curosurf undergoes LPO by ROS produced by GBS and/or PMN. We speculate that exogenous surfactant preparations should be supplemented with vitamin E or another antioxidant, when given to infants with GBS pneumonia.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)