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Open Access Research article

Assessment of Surfactant Protein A (SP-A) dependent agglutination

Stefanie M Heinrich and Matthias Griese*

Author Affiliations

Dr. von Haunersches Kinderspital, University of Munich, Lindwurmstr. 4a, D-80337 Munich, Germany

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BMC Pulmonary Medicine 2010, 10:59  doi:10.1186/1471-2466-10-59

Published: 22 November 2010

Abstract

Background

Monomers of the collectin surfactant associated protein-A (SP-A) are arranged in trimers and higher oligomers. The state of oligomerization differs between individuals and likely affects SP-A's functional properties. SP-A can form aggregates together with other SP-A molecules. Here we report and assess a test system for the aggregate forming properties of SP-A in serum and broncho-alveolar lavage samples.

Methods

Anti-SP-A antibodies fixed to latex beads bound SP-A at its N-terminal end and allowed the interaction with other SP-A molecules in a given sample by their C-terminal carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD) to agglutinate the beads to aggregates, which were quantified by light microscopy.

Results

SP-A aggregation was dependent on its concentration, the presence of calcium, and was dose-dependently inhibited by mannose. Unaffected by the presence of SP-D no aggregation was observed in absence of SP-A. The more complex the oligomeric structure of SP-A present in a particular sample, the better was its capability to induce aggregation at a given total concentration of SP-A. SP-A in serum agglutinated independently of the pulmonary disease; in contrast SP-A in lung lavage fluid was clearly inferior in patients with chronic bronchitis and particularly with cystic fibrosis compared to controls.

Conclusions

The functional status of SP-A with respect to its aggregating properties in serum and lavage samples can be easily assessed. SP-A in lung lavage fluid in patients with severe neutrophilic bronchitis was inferior.