Inflammatory potential of the spores of Penicillium spinulosum isolated from indoor air of a moisture-damaged building in mouse lungs

    Juha Jussila, , a, Hannu Komulainena, Veli-Matti Kosmab,
    Jukka Pelkonenc, d and Maija-Riitta Hirvonena

    a Laboratory of Toxicology, Division of Environmental
    Health, National Public Health Institute, P.O. Box 95, FIN-
    70701, Kuopio, Finland
    b Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, University
    of Kuopio and Kuopio University Hospital, P.O. Box 1627,
    FIN-70211, Kuopio, Finland
    c Department of Clinical Microbiology, University of
    Kuopio, P.O. Box 1627, FIN-70211, Kuopio, Finland
    d Department of Clinical Microbiology, Kuopio University
    Hospital, P.O. Box 1777, FIN-70211, Kuopio, Finland

    Received 12 February 2002; revised 5 April 2002; accepted
    8 April 2002. Available online 8 May 2002.

    Excess moisture and microbial growth have been associated
    with adverse health effects, especially in the airways, of
    the inhabitants of moisture-damaged buildings. The spores
    of Penicillium spp. are commonly present in the indoor air,
    both in moisture-damaged and in reference buildings, though
    their numbers seem to be significantly higher in the
    damaged buildings. To assess the potential of Penicillium
    spinulosum to evoke harmful respiratory effects, mice were
    exposed via intratracheal instillation to a single dose of
    the spores of P. spinulosum, isolated from the indoor air
    of a moisture-damaged building (1×105, 1×106, 5×106, 1×107
    or 5×107 spores). Inflammation and toxicity in lungs were
    evaluated 24 h later. The time-course of the effects was
    investigated with the dose of 5×106 spores for 28 days. The
    fungal spores caused mild transient inflammation. The spore
    exposure transiently increased proinflammatory cytokine
    (TNF and IL-6) levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid
    (BALF) in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The highest
    concentrations of both cytokines were measured at 6 h after
    a single dosage. The spore exposure did not cause
    expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase in lavaged
    cells. Neutrophils were acutely recruited into airways, but
    the response leveled off in 3 days. Neither cytotoxicity
    nor major changes in vascular permeability (i.e. increases
    in albumin, total protein, lactate dehydrogenase or
    hemoglobin levels in BALF) were observed in the lungs.
    Considering the profile and magnitude of the changes and
    the dose of the spores, we conclude that P. spinulosum has
    a low potential to cause acute respiratory inflammation,
    nor does it cause direct cytotoxicity.

    Author Keywords: Penicillium spinulosum; Inflammation;
    Cytokine; Nitric oxide; Intratracheal instillation;
    Bronchoalveolar lavage

    Corresponding author. Tel.: +358-17-201320; fax: +358-17-
    201265; email:

    Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology
    Volume 12, Issue 3, October 2002, Pages 137-145
    Copyright © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.