The incidence of empyema is increasing and associated with a mortality rate of 20% in patients older than 65 years. Since 30% of patients with advanced empyema have contraindications to surgical treatment, novel, low-dose, pharmacological treatments are needed. A Streptococcus pneumoniae-induced rabbit model of chronic empyema recapitulates the progression, loculation, fibrotic repair, and pleural thickening of human disease. Treatment with single chain (sc) urokinase (scuPA) or tissue type (sctPA) plasminogen activators in doses 1.0–4.0 mg/kg were only partially effective in this model. Docking Site Peptide (DSP; 8.0 mg/kg), which decreased the dose of sctPA for successful fibrinolytic therapy in acute empyema model did not improve efficacy in combination with 2.0 mg/kg scuPA or sctPA. However, a two-fold increase in either sctPA or DSP (4.0 and 8.0 mg/kg or 2.0 and 16.0 mg/kg sctPA and DSP, respectively) resulted in 100% effective outcome. Thus, DSP-based Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1-Targeted Fibrinolytic Therapy (PAI-1-TFT) of chronic infectious pleural injury in rabbits increases the efficacy of alteplase rendering ineffective doses of sctPA effective. PAI-1-TFT represents a novel, well-tolerated treatment of empyema that is amenable to clinical introduction. The chronic empyema model recapitulates increased resistance of advanced human empyema to fibrinolytic therapy, thus allowing for studies of muti-injection treatments.


© 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).



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