Pneumonia remains one of the leading causes of death in both adults and children worldwide. Despite the adoption of a wide variety of therapeutics, the mortality from community-acquired pneumonia has remained relatively constant. Although viral and fungal acute airway infections can result in pneumonia, bacteria are the most common cause of community-acquired pneumonia, with Streptococcus pneumoniae isolated in nearly 50% of cases. Pneumolysin is a cholesterol-dependent cytolysin or pore-forming toxin produced by Streptococcus pneumonia and has been shown to play a critical role in bacterial pathogenesis. Airway epithelium is the initial site of many bacterial contacts and its barrier and mucosal immunity functions are central to infectious lung diseases. In our studies, we have shown that the prior exposure to statins confers significant resistance of airway epithelial cells to the cytotoxicity of pneumolysin. We decided to take this study one step further, assessing changes in both the transcriptome and lipidome of human airway epithelial cells exposed to toxin, statin or both. Our current work provides the first global view in human airway epithelial cells of both the transcriptome and the lipid interactions that result in cellular protection from pneumolysin.
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