Sphingosine rescues aged mice from pulmonary pseudomonas infection

Teresa C. Rice, Amanda M. Pugh, Aaron P. Seitz, Erich Gulbins, Vanessa Nomellini, Charles C. Caldwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background Bacterial lung infection is a leading cause of death for those 65 y or older, often requiring intensive care unit admission and mechanical ventilation, which consumes considerable health care resources. Although administration of antibiotics is the standard of care for bacterial pneumonia, its overuse has led to the emergence of multidrug resistant organisms. Therefore, alternative strategies to help minimize the effects of bacterial pneumonia in the elderly are necessary. As studies have shown that sphingosine (SPH) has inherent bacterial killing properties, our goal was to assess whether it could act as a prophylactic treatment to protect aged mice from pulmonary infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Methods Aged (51 wk) and young (8 wk) C57Bl/6 mice were used in this study. Pulmonary SPH levels were determined by histology. SPH content of microparticles was quantified using a SPH kinase assay. Pneumonia was induced by intranasally treating mice with 106 Colony Forming Unit (CFU) P aeruginosa. Microparticles were isolated from young mice, whereas some were further incubated with SPH. Results We observed that SPH levels are reduced in the bronchial epithelial cells as well as the bronchoalveolar lavage microparticles isolated from aged mice, which correlates with a susceptibility to infection. We demonstrate that SPH or microparticle treatment can protect aged mice from pulmonary P aeruginosa infection. Finally, we observed that enriching microparticles with SPH before treatment eliminated the bacterial load in P aeruginosa-infected aged mice. Conclusions These data suggest that prophylactic treatment with SPH could reduce lung bacterial infections for the at-risk elderly population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-359
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Anti-microbial
  • Lung infection
  • Microparticles
  • Sphingosine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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