Molecular Profiling of Innate Immune Response Mechanisms in Ventilator-associated Pneumonia

Khyatiben V. Pathak, Marissa I. McGilvrey, Charles K. Hu, Krystine Garcia-Mansfield, Karen Lewandoski, Zahra Eftekhari, Yate Ching Yuan, Frederic Zenhausern, Emmanuel Menashi, Patrick Pirrotte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a common hospital-acquired infection, leading to high morbidity and mortality. Currently, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) is used in hospitals for VAP diagnosis and guiding treatment options. Although BAL collection procedures are invasive, alternatives such as endotracheal aspirates (ETA) may be of diagnostic value, however, their use has not been thoroughly explored. Longitudinal ETA and BAL were collected from 16 intubated patients up to 15 days, of which 11 developed VAP. We conducted a comprehensive LC–MS/MS based proteome and metabolome characterization of longitudinal ETA and BAL to detect host and pathogen responses to VAP infection. We discovered a diverse ETA proteome of the upper airways reflective of a rich and dynamic host-microbe interface. Prior to VAP diagnosis by microbial cultures from BAL, patient ETA presented characteristic signatures of reactive oxygen species and neutrophil degranulation, indicative of neutrophil mediated pathogen processing as a key host response to the VAP infection. Along with an increase in amino acids, this is suggestive of extracellular membrane degradation resulting from proteolytic activity of neutrophil proteases. The metaproteome approach successfully allowed simultaneous detection of pathogen peptides in patients’ ETA, which may have potential use in diagnosis. Our findings suggest that ETA may facilitate early mechanistic insights into host-pathogen interactions associated with VAP infection and therefore provide its diagnosis and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1688-1705
Number of pages18
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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