Regulatory properties of macrophages associated with alternative activation serve to limit the exaggerated inflammatory response during pneumonia caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Arginase-1 is an important effector of these macrophages believed to play an essential role in decreasing injury and promoting repair. We investigated the role of arginase-1 in the control of inflammatory immune responses to P. aeruginosa pneumonia in mice that exhibit different immunologic phenotypes. C57BL/6 mice with conditional knockout of the arginase-1 (Arg1) gene from myeloid cells (Arg1) or BALB/c mice treated with small molecule inhibitors of arginase were infected intratracheally with P. aeruginosa. Weight loss, mortality, bacterial clearance, and lung injury were assessed and compared, as were the characterization of immune cell populations over time post-infection. Myeloid arginase-1 deletion resulted in greater morbidity along with more severe inflammatory responses compared to littermate control mice. Arg1 mice had greater numbers of neutrophils, macrophages, and lymphocytes in their airways and lymph nodes compared to littermate controls. Additionally, Arg1 mice recovered from inflammatory lung injury at a significantly slower rate. Conversely, treatment of BALB/c mice with the arginase inhibitor S-(2-boronoethyl)-l-cysteine hydrochloride (BEC) did not change morbidity as defined by weight loss, but mice at day 10 post-infection treated with BEC had gained significantly more weight back than controls. Neutrophil and macrophage infiltration were similar between groups in the lung parenchyma, and neutrophil migration into the airways was reduced by BEC treatment. Differences seem to lie in the impact on T cell subset disposition. Arg1 mice had increased total CD4+ T cell expansion in the lymph nodes, and increased T cell activation, IFNγ production, and IL-17 production in the lymph nodes, lung interstitium, and airways, while treatment with BEC had no impact on T cell activation or IL-17 production, but reduced the number of T cells producing IFNγ in the lungs. Lung injury scores were increased in the Arg1 mice, but no differences were observed in the mice treated with pharmacologic arginase inhibitors. Overall, myeloid arginase production was demonstrated to be essential for control of damaging inflammatory responses associated with P. aeruginosa pneumonia in C57BL/6 mice, in contrast to a protective effect in the Th2-dominant BALB/c mice when arginase activity is globally inhibited.
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