Direct and phagocyte-mediated lipid peroxidation of lung surfactant by group B streptococci

R. K.L. Bouhafs, P. Rauprich, E. Herting, A. Schröder, B. Robertson, C. Jarstrand*

*Corresponding author for this work
6 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)317-329
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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