Cellular and Humoral Responses in an Animal Model Inhaling Penicillium Chrysogenum Spores

J. Danny Cooley, Ph.d., Wing C. Wong, M.S., Cynthia A Jumper, M.D., David C. Straus, Ph.D. Departments of Microbiology and Immunology1 and Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas

Penicillium chrysogenum (Pc) is a potential causative agent of the complaints and symptoms of occupants in buildings experiencing "sick building syndrome". Viable Pc spores were recovered from the lungs of mice 15 minutes and 3 hours through 36 hours after intranasal (IN) inoculation of 1x106 spores, of which 25% were viable. Eighteen percent of the viable spores were deposited in the lungs, however, by 12 h, only 1x104 viable spores were recovered. This suggests that the mucociliary tract had cleared the majority of spores deposited, but four percent (1x104) of the viable spores were retained in the airways and were probably deposited in the alveolar spaces and remained viable for up to 36 h post-inoculation. Similar acute doses of viable spores induced significant (P<0.001) increases in tumor necrosis factor a (TNF-a), while non-viable (NV) Pc spores did not. Repeated doses (3 weeks) of 1x104 viable spores induced significant (P<0.05) increases in total serum IgE and bronchioalveolar lavage (BAL) interleukin-4 (IL-4), whereas 1x104 NV spores did not. This suggests that viable Pc spores are capable of inducing allergic responses.