Introduction: It remains unknown why some intubated patients remain infection-free while others develop tracheobronchitis (VAT) or pneumonia (VAP). Objective: To identify and compare VAP/VAT gene expression "signatures" using genome-wide oligonucleotide microarrays. Material and methods: A prospective translational study of gene expression profiles of VAP and VAT groups was carried out, establishing comparisons in both pre-infection and infection phases. Pathway and functional analyses were performed with Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA). Data analysis and hierarchical clustering of the genes involved in the signalling pathways expressed differentially in the two groups were performed with GeneSpring GX 11.0. Results: Eight patients developing respiratory infections (3 VAP and 5 VAT) after 4 days of mechanical ventilation were assessed. Comparison of gene expression profiles in the pre-infection period revealed 5595 genes expressed differentially between VAP and VAT (p< 0.01, fold change >2). Comparative IPA analysis identified a significant depression of the complement system signalling pathway in the VAP group, affecting the classical pathway along with the final common pathway (p< 0.05). In addition, the cAMP and calcium signalling pathways were also significantly depressed in the VAP group during the pre-infection phase also. Conclusion: Intubated patients complicated with pneumonia developed immune impairment in the pre-infection period, manifesting as a relatively lower expression of genes involved in the complement system that differed from patients developing tracheobronchitis. These findings suggest that a significant proportion of VAP episodes cannot be prevented, but might be treatable through pre-emptive therapy.
- Gene expression
- Ventilator associated pneumonia
- Ventilator associated tracheobronchitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine