Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Elastase has been implicated as a potential virulence factor involved in the invasion process of the opportunistic pathogen,Aspergillus fumigatus. Monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, known to inhibit elastase in vitro, were employed in an immunocompromised mouse model of invasive aspergillosis to determine if the antibodies could protect mice from fatal infection. Individual monoclonal antibodies, known to inhibit elastase partially (13 to 23%), or combinations of monoclonal antibodies, known to inhibit elastase 70 to 100%, were tested in the mouse model. No individual nor combination of monoclonal antibodies protected immunosuppressed, infected mice in the doses tested. Similarly, elastase-specific polyclonal antibodies, raised in mice or rabbits, did not exhibit a protective effect, nor did immunization of mice with elastase prior to immunosuppression and infection. Histological examination of the lungs of immunosuppressed, infected mice showed no amelioration of fungal invasiveness by treatment with elastase-specific monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies. However, immunocompetent mice, instilled with a spore inoculum much higher than used in the preceding studies and treated with antibodies, survived, while control mice not treated with antibodies were overwhelmed by the massive spore dose and died. Nevertheless, overall evidence suggests that elastase may not be the primary virulence factor involved in invasive pulmonary aspergillosis.
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