Decreased expression of surfactant protein D mRNA in human lungs in fatal cases of H5N1 avian influenza.
ABSTRACT Microarray analysis of gene expression profile of lungs from two fatal H5N1 influenza cases identified 3,435 genes with higher than twofold changes in mRNA levels as compared to those of normal lung. One thousand nineteen genes and 2,416 genes were up-regulated and down-regulated commonly, respectively. Gene ontology analysis identified several ontology terms with significant association with these genes, most of which are related to cellular metabolism and regulation of cellular process including apoptosis and chemotaxis. Pulmonary surfactant protein D (SP-D) was found to be down-regulated. Quantitative RT-PCR confirmed the levels of SP-D mRNA in the lungs infected with H5N1 to be lower than those of normal lungs and lungs from patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. SP-D plays multiple roles in respiratory innate defense against various pathogens, regulation of inflammatory responses, and maintenance of alveolar integrity. Reduction of SP-D in H5N1 influenza may play important roles in the pathogenesis of the disease.