Surfactant proteins A and D enhance the phagocytosis of Chlamydia into THP-1 cells

Rebecca E. Oberley, Kevin A. Ault, Traci L. Neff, Kavita R. Khubchandani, Erika C. Crouch, Jeanne M. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Chlamydiae are intracellular bacterial pathogens that infect mucosal surfaces, i.e., the epithelium of the lung, genital tract, and conjunctiva of the eye, as well as alveolar macrophages. In the present study, we show that pulmonary surfactant protein A (SP-A) and surfactant protein D (SP-D), lung collectins involved in innate host defense, enhance the phagocytosis of Chlamydia pneumoniae and Chlamydia trachomatis by THP-1 cells, a human monocyte/macrophage cell line. We also show that SP-A is able to aggregate both C. trachomatis and C. pneumoniae but that SP-D only aggregates C. pneumoniae. In addition, we found that after phagocytosis in the presence of SP-A, the number of viable C. trachomatis pathogens in the THP-1 cells 48 h later was increased ∼3.5-fold. These findings suggest that SP-A and SP-D interact with chlamydial pathogens and enhance their phagocytosis into macrophages. In addition, the chlamydial pathogens internalized in the presence of collectins are able to grow and replicate in the THP-1 cells after phagocytosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L296-L306
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number2 31-2
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Chlamydia pneumoniae
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • SP-A
  • SP-D


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