Pulmonary vascular and alveolar development in preterm lambs chronically colonized with Ureaplasma parvum

Graeme Polglase, Richard Dalton, Ilias Nitsos, Christine Knox, Jane Pillow, Alan Jobe, Timothy Moss, John Newnham, Suhas Kallapur

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Ureaplasma species, the most commonly isolated microorganisms in women with chorioamnionitis, are associated with preterm delivery. Chorioamnionitis increases the risk and severity of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns. It is not known whether the timing of exposure to inflammation in utero is an important contributor to the pathogenesis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia. We hypothesized that chronic inflammation would alter the pulmonary air space and vascular development after 70 days of exposure to infection. Pregnant ewes were given intra-amniotic injection of Ureaplasma parvum serovars 3 or 6 at low (2 x 10(4) cfu) or high doses (2 x 10(7) cfu) or media (controls) at 55 days gestational age. Fetuses were delivered at 125 days (term = 150 days). U. parvum was grown from the lungs of all exposed fetuses, and neutrophils and monocytes were increased in the air spaces. Lung mRNA expression of IL-1beta and IL-8, but not IL-6, was modestly increased in U. parvum-exposed fetuses. U. parvum exposure increased surfactant and improved lung gas volumes. The changes in lung inflammation and maturation were independent of serovar or dose. Exposure to U. parvum did not change multiple indices of air space or vascular development. Parenchymal elastin and collagen content were similar between groups. Expression of several endothelial proteins and pulmonary resistance arteriolar media thickness were also not different between groups. We conclude that chronic exposure to U. parvum does not cause sustained effects on air space or vascular development in premature lambs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L232 - L241
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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