Mortality from pneumonia is mediated, in part, through extrapulmonary causes. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) has broad cytoprotective effects, including potent restorative properties in the injured intestine. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of EGF treatment following Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia. FVB/N mice underwent intratracheal injection of either P. aeruginosa or saline and were then randomized to receive either systemic EGF or vehicle beginning immediately or 24 h after the onset of pneumonia. Systemic EGF decreased 7-day mortality from 65% to 10% when initiated immediately after the onset of pneumonia and to 27% when initiated 24 h after the onset of pneumonia. Even though injury in pneumonia is initiated in the lungs, the survival advantage conferred by EGF was not associated with improvements in pulmonary pathology. In contrast, EGF prevented intestinal injury by reversing pneumonia-induced increases in intestinal epithelial apoptosis and decreases in intestinal proliferation and villus length. Systemic cytokines and kidney and liver function were unaffected by EGF therapy, although EGF decreased pneumonia-induced splenocyte apoptosis. To determine whether the intestine was sufficient to account for extrapulmonary effects induced by EGF, a separate set of experiments was done using transgenic mice with enterocyte-specific overexpression of EGF (IFABP-EGF [intestinal fatty acid-binding protein linked to mouse EGF] mice), which were compared with wild-type mice subjected to pneumonia. IFABP-EGF mice had improved survival compared with wild-type mice following pneumonia (50% vs. 28%, respectively, P < 0.05) and were protected from pneumonia-induced intestinal injury. Thus, EGF may be a potential adjunctive therapy for pneumonia, mediated in part by its effects on the intestine.
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- epidermal growth factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine