Mycoplasma pneumoniae-induced pneumonia (MPP) is a common cause of community-acquired respiratory tract infections, increasing risk of morbidity and mortality, in children. However, diagnosing early-stage MPP is difficult owing to the lack of good diagnostic methods. Here, we examined the protein profile of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and found that S100A8/A9 was highly expressed. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays used to assess protein levels in serum samples indicated that S100A8/A9 concentrations were also increased in serum obtained from children with MPP, with no change in S100A8/A9 levels in children with viral or bacterial pneumonia. In vitro, S100A8/A9 treatment significantly increased apoptosis in a human alveolar basal epithelial cell line (A549 cells). Bioinformatics analyses indicated that up-regulated S100A8/A9 proteins participated in the interleukin (IL)-17 signaling pathway. The origin of the increased S100A8/A9 was investigated in A549 cells and in neutrophils obtained from children with MPP. Treatment of neutrophils, but not of A549 cells, with IL-17A released S100A8/A9 into the culture medium. In summary, we demonstrated that S100A8/A9, possibly released from neutrophils, is a new potential biomarker for the clinical diagnosis of children MPP and involved in the development of this disease through enhancing apoptosis of alveolar basal epithelial cells.
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