Inhalation of antigen in immunized mice induces an infiltration of eosinophils into the airways and increased bronchial hyperreactivity as are observed in human asthma. We employed a model of late-phase allergic pulmonary inflammation in mice to address the role of leukotrienes (LT) in mediating airway eosinophilia and hyperreactivity to methacholine. Allergen intranasal challenge in OVA-sensitized mice induced LTB4 and LTC4 release into the airspace, widespread mucus occlusion of the airways, leukocytic infiltration of the airway tissue and broncho-alveolar lavage fluid that was predominantly eosinophils, and bronchial hyperreactivity to methacholine. Specific inhibitors of 5- lipoxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase-activating protein (FLAP) blocked airway mucus release and infiltration by eosinophils indicating a key role for leukotrienes in these features of allergic pulmonary inflammation. The role of leukotrienes or eosinophils in mediating airway hyperresponsiveness to aeroallergen could not be established, however, in this murine model.
Recent studies in transgenic mice have revealed that expression of a dominant negative form of the transcription factor GATA-3 in T cells can prevent T helper cell type 2 (Th2)-mediated allergic airway inflammation in mice. However, it remains unclear whether GATA-3 plays a role in the effector phase of allergic airway inflammation and whether antagonizing the expression and/or function of GATA-3 can be used for the therapy of allergic airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness. Here, we analyzed the effects of locally antagonizing GATA-3 function in a murine model of asthma. We could suppress GATA-3 expression in interleukin (IL)-4–producing T cells in vitro and in vivo by an antisense phosphorothioate oligonucleotide overlapping the translation start site of GATA-3, whereas nonsense control oligonucleotides were virtually inactive. In a murine model of asthma associated with allergic pulmonary inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized mice, local intranasal administration of fluorescein isothiocyanate–labeled GATA-3 antisense oligonucleotides led to DNA uptake in lung cells associated with a reduction of intracellular GATA-3 expression. Such intrapulmonary blockade of GATA-3 expression caused an abrogation of signs of lung inflammation including infiltration of eosinophils and Th2 cytokine production. Furthermore, treatment with antisense but not nonsense oligonucleotides induced a significant reduction of airway hyperresponsiveness in OVA-sensitized mice to levels comparable to saline-treated control mice, as assessed by both enhanced pause (PenH) responses and pulmonary resistance determined by body plethysmography. These data indicate a critical role for GATA-3 in the effector phase of a murine asthma model and suggest that local delivery of GATA-3 antisense oligonucleotides may be a novel approach for the treatment of airway hyperresponsiveness such as in asthma. This approach has the potential advantage of suppressing the expression of various proinflammatory Th2 cytokines simultaneously rather than suppressing the activity of a single cytokine.
GATA-3; antisense DNA; asthma; T cells; Th2 cytokines
Identifying therapeutic drugs that block the release or effects of T-helper type 2 (Th2) cytokines after allergen exposure is an important goal for the treatment of allergic inflammatory diseases including asthma. We recently showed, using a murine model of allergic airway inflammation, that poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of asthma-related lung inflammation. PARP inhibition, by single injection of a novel inhibitor, thieno[2,3-c]isoquinolin-5-one (TIQ-A), before ovalbumin (OVA) challenge, prevented airway eosinophilia in C57BL/6 mice with concomitant suppression of Th2 cytokine production and mucus secretion.
To evaluate the efficacy of the drug when it is given after OVA challenge for its possible therapeutic potential.
This study was conducted using a murine model of allergic airway inflammation.
A single injection of TIQ-A (6 mg/kg) one or 6 h post-allergen challenge conferred similar reduction in OVA challenge-induced eosinophilia. More significantly, post-allergen challenge administration of the drug exerted even better suppression on the production of IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, and IgE and prevented airway hyperresponsiveness to inhaled-methacholine. The significant decrease in IL-13 was accompanied by a complete absence of airways mucus production indicating a potential protection against allergen-induced airway remodelling.
The coincidence of the inflammation trigger and the time of drug administration appear to be important for the drug’s more pronounced protection. The observed time window for efficacy, 1 or 6 h after allergen challenge may be of great clinical interest. These findings may provide a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of allergic airway inflammation, including asthma.
airway hyperresponsiveness; allergy; cytokines; eosinophils; inflammation; interleukin; lung; mucus; PARP; therapeutic potential
Allergic asthma is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness and pulmonary eosinophilia, and may be mediated by T helper (Th) lymphocytes expressing a Th2 cytokine pattern. Interleukin (IL) 12 suppresses the expression of Th2 cytokines and their associated responses, including eosinophilia, serum immunoglobulin E, and mucosal mastocytosis. We have previously shown in a murine model that antigen- induced increases in airway hyperresponsiveness and pulmonary eosinophilia are CD4+ T cell dependent. We used this model to determine the ability of IL-12 to prevent antigen-induced increases in airway hyperresponsiveness, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) eosinophils, and lung Th2 cytokine expression. Sensitized A/J mice developed airway hyperresponsiveness and increased numbers of BAL eosinophils and other inflammatory cells after single or repeated intratracheal challenges with sheep red blood cell antigen. Pulmonary mRNA and protein levels of the Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-5 were increased after antigen challenge. Administration of IL-12 (1 microgram/d x 5 d) at the time of a single antigen challenge abolished the airway hyperresponsiveness and pulmonary eosinophilia and promoted an increase in interferon (IFN) gamma and decreases in IL-4 and IL-5 expression. The effects of IL-12 were partially dependent on IFN-gamma, because concurrent treatment with IL-12 and anti-IFN-gamma monoclonal antibody partially reversed the inhibition of airway hyperresponsiveness and eosinophilia by IL-12. Treatment of mice with IL-12 at the time of a second antigen challenge also prevented airway hyperresponsiveness and significantly reduced numbers of BAL inflammatory cells, reflecting the ability of IL-12 to inhibit responses associated with ongoing antigen-induced pulmonary inflammation. These data show that antigen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation can be blocked by IL-12, which suppresses Th2 cytokine expression. Local administration of IL-12 may provide a novel immunotherapy for the treatment of pulmonary allergic disorders such as atopic asthma.
Allergic asthma is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to allergens, airway oedema, increased mucus secretion, excess production of T helper-2 (Th2) cytokines, and eosinophil accumulation in the lungs. Corni fructus (CF) is a fruit of Cornus officinalis Sieb. Et. Zucc. (Cornaceae) and has been used in traditional Korean medicine as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and diuretic agent. To investigate the anti-asthmatic effects of CF and their underlying mechanism, we examined the influence of CF on the development of pulmonary eosinophilic inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness in a mouse model of allergic asthma.
In this study, BALB/c mice were systemically sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) by intraperitoneal (i.p.), intratracheal (i.t.) injections and intranasal (i.n.) inhalation of OVA. We investigated the effect of CF on airway hyperresponsiveness, pulmonary eosinophilic infiltration, various immune cell phenotypes, Th2 cytokine production, and OVA-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) production.
The CF-treated groups showed suppressed eosinophil infiltration, allergic airway inflammation, and AHR via reduced production of interleuin (IL) -5, IL-13, and OVA-specific IgE.
Our data suggest that the therapeutic effects of CF in asthma are mediated by reduced production of Th2 cytokines (IL-5), eotaxin, and OVA-specific IgE and reduced eosinophil infiltration.
Corni fructus; Asthma; Eosinophil; IL-5; CCR3
Viral respiratory infections can predispose to the development of asthma by mechanisms that are presently undetermined. Using a murine model of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, acute infection is associated with airway hyperresponsiveness as well as enhanced responses to subsequent sensitization to allergen. We demonstrate that acute viral infection results in increased airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine and pulmonary neutrophilic and eosinophilic inflammation. This response is associated with predominant production of Th-1-type cytokines in peribronchial lymph node cells in vitro. Mice sensitized to ovalbumin via the airways after RSV infection developed increased airway responsiveness to methacholine and pulmonary eosinophilic and neutrophilic inflammation, associated with the predominant production of Th-2-type cytokines. Treatment of the mice with anti-IL-5 antibody abolished airway hyperresponsiveness and eosinophilic but not neutrophilic inflammation in both acutely infected mice and mice sensitized after infection. We conclude that RSV infection results in airway hyperresponsiveness in the acute phase and leads to changes in immune function that can enhance the effects of airway sensitization to antigen after infection. In both situations, airway hyperresponsiveness is closely associated with pulmonary eosinophilic inflammation. This model provides a means for further analyzing the influence of viral respiratory infections on airway sensitization and the development of altered airway responsiveness.
Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway is linked to the development of asthma. Anti-malarial drug artesunate is a semi-synthetic derivative of artemisinin, the principal active component of a medicinal plant Artemisia annua, and has been shown to inhibit PI3K/Akt activity. We hypothesized that artesunate may attenuate allergic asthma via inhibition of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.
Female BALB/c mice sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA) developed airway inflammation. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was assessed for total and differential cell counts, and cytokine and chemokine levels. Lung tissues were examined for cell infiltration and mucus hypersecretion, and the expression of inflammatory biomarkers. Airway hyperresponsiveness was monitored by direct airway resistance analysis. Artesunate dose-dependently inhibited OVA-induced increases in total and eosinophil counts, IL-4, IL-5, IL-13 and eotaxin levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. It attenuated OVA-induced lung tissue eosinophilia and airway mucus production, mRNA expression of E-selectin, IL-17, IL-33 and Muc5ac in lung tissues, and airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine. In normal human bronchial epithelial cells, artesunate blocked epidermal growth factor-induced phosphorylation of Akt and its downstream substrates tuberin, p70S6 kinase and 4E-binding protein 1, and transactivation of NF-κB. Similarly, artesunate blocked the phosphorylation of Akt and its downstream substrates in lung tissues from OVA-challenged mice. Anti-inflammatory effect of artesunate was further confirmed in a house dust mite mouse asthma model.
Artesunate ameliorates experimental allergic airway inflammation probably via negative regulation of PI3K/Akt pathway and the downstream NF-κB activity. These findings provide a novel therapeutic value for artesunate in the treatment of allergic asthma.
Pim kinases are a family of serine/threonine kinases whose activity can be induced by cytokines involved in allergy and asthma. These kinases play a role in cell survival and proliferation, but have not been examined, to the best of our knowledge, in the development of allergic disease. This study sought to determine the role of Pim1 kinase in the development of allergic airway responses. Mice were sensitized and challenged with antigen (primary challenge), or were sensitized, challenged, and rechallenged with allergen in a secondary model. To assess the role of Pim1 kinase, a small molecule inhibitor was administered orally after sensitization and during the challenge phase. Airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine, airway and lung inflammation, cell composition, and cytokine concentrations were assessed. Lung Pim1 kinase concentrations were increased after ovalbumin sensitization and challenge. In the primary allergen challenge model, treatment with the Pim1 kinase inhibitor after sensitization and during airway challenges prevented the development of airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophilic airway inflammation, and goblet cell metaplasia, and increased Th2 cytokine concentrations in bronchoalveolar fluid in a dose-dependent manner. These effects were also demonstrated after a secondary allergen challenge, where lung allergic disease was established before treatment. After treatment with the inhibitor, a significant reduction was evident in the number of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and concentrations of cytokines in the airways. The inhibition of Pim1 kinase was effective in preventing the development of airway hyperresponsiveness, airway inflammation, and cytokine production in allergen-sensitized and allergen-challenged mice. These data identify the important role of Pim1 kinase in the full development of allergen-induced airway responses.
airway hyperresponsiveness; inflammation; Pim1 kinase; T cells
Regulatory T cells (Treg) play a decisive role in many diseases including asthma and allergen-induced lung inflammation. However, little progress has been made developing new therapeutic strategies for pulmonary disorders. In the current study we demonstrate that cytokine:antibody complexes of IL-2 and anti-IL-2 mAb reduce the severity of allergen-induced inflammation in the lung by expanding Tregs in vivo. Unlike rIL-2 or anti-IL-2 mAb treatment alone, IL-2:anti-IL-2 complexes dampened airway inflammation and eosinophilia while suppressing IL-5 and eotaxin-1 production. Mucus production, airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine, and parenchymal tissue inflammation were also dramatically reduced following IL-2:anti-IL-2 treatment. The suppression in allergic airway disease was associated with a marked expansion of Tregs (IL-10+CD4+CD25+ and Foxp3+CD4+CD25+) in the tissues, with a corresponding decrease in effector T cell responses. The ability of IL-2:anti-IL-2 complexes to suppress airway inflammation was dependent on Treg-derived IL-10, as IL-10+/+, but not IL-10-/- Tregs, were capable of mediating the suppression. Furthermore, a therapeutic protocol using a model of established airway allergy highlighted the ability of IL-2:anti-IL-2 complexes to expand Tregs and prevent successive airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness. This study suggests that endogenous Treg therapy may be a useful tool to combat the rising incidence of allergic airway disease.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is characterized by local and systemic Th2 responses to cutaneously introduced allergens and is a risk factor for asthma. Blockade of Th2 cytokines has been suggested as therapy for AD.
To examine the effect of the absence of IL-4 and IL-13 on the Th-17 response to epicutaneous (EC) sensitization in a mouse model of allergic skin inflammation with features of AD.
Wild-type (WT), IL-4KO, IL-13KO and IL-4/13 double KO (DKO) mice were subjected to EC sensitization with ovalbumin (OVA) or saline and airway challenged with OVA. Systemic immune responses to OVA, skin and airway inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) were examined.
OVA sensitized DKO mice exhibited impaired Th2 driven responses with undetectable OVA specific IgE and severely diminished eosinophil infiltration at sensitized skin sites, but intact dermal infiltration with CD4+ cells. DKO mice mounted an exaggerated IL-17A, but normal IFN-γ and IL-5 systemic responses. Airway challenge of these mice with OVA caused marked upregulation of IL-17 mRNA expression in the lungs, increased neutrophilia in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), airway inflammation characterized by mononuclear cell infiltration with no detectable eosinophils, and bronchial hyperresponsiveness to methacholine that were reversed by IL-17 blockade. IL-4, but not IL-13, was identified as the major Th2 cytokine that downregulates the IL-17 response in EC sensitized mice.
EC sensitization in the absence of IL-4/IL-13 induces an exaggerated Th17 response systemically, and in lungs following antigen challenge that results in airway inflammation and AHR.
Blockade of IL-4 may promote IL-17-mediated airway inflammation in AD.
IL-17; Th2 cytokines; atopic dermatitis; asthma
Chronic asthma is often associated with neutrophilic infiltration in the airways. Neutrophils contain elastase, a potent secretagogue in the airways, nonetheless the role for neutrophil elastase as well as neutrophilic inflammation in allergen-induced airway responses is not well defined. In this study, we have investigated the impact of neutrophil elastase inhibition on the development of allergic airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) in previously sensitized and challenged mice.
BALB/c mice were sensitized and challenged (primary) with ovalbumin (OVA). Six weeks later, a single OVA aerosol (secondary challenge) was delivered and airway inflammation and airway responses were monitored 6 and 48 hrs later. An inhibitor of neutrophil elastase was administered prior to secondary challenge.
Mice developed a two-phase airway inflammatory response after secondary allergen challenge, one neutrophilic at 6 hr and the other eosinophilic, at 48 hr. PAR-2 expression in the lung tissues was enhanced following secondary challenge, and that PAR-2 intracellular expression on peribronchial lymph node (PBLN) T cells was also increased following allergen challenge of sensitized mice. Inhibition of neutrophil elastase significantly attenuated AHR, goblet cell metaplasia, and inflammatory cell accumulation in the airways following secondary OVA challenge. Levels of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13, and eotaxin in BAL fluid 6 hr after secondary allergen challenge were significantly suppressed by the treatment. At 48 hr, treatment with the neutrophil elastase inhibitor significantly reduced the levels of IL-13 and TGF-β1 in the BAL fluid. In parallel, in vitro IL-13 production was significantly inhibited in spleen cells from sensitized mice.
These data indicate that neutrophil elastase plays an important role in the development of allergic airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness, and would suggest that the neutrophil elastase inhibitor reduced AHR to inhaled methacholine indicating the potential for its use as a modulator of the immune/inflammatory response in both the neutrophil- and eosinophil-dominant phases of the response to secondary allergen challenge.
Neutrophil; Elastase; Airway; Hyperresponsiveness; Asthma
Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) is thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of asthma by effecting the recruitment, activation, and apoptosis of inflammatory cells. We examined the role of class IA PI3K in antigen-induced airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness by i.p. administration into mice of Δp85 protein, a dominant negative form of the class IA PI3K regulatory subunit, p85α, which was fused to HIV-TAT (TAT-Δp85). Intraperitoneal administration of TAT-Δp85 caused time-dependent transduction into blood leukocytes, and inhibited activated phosphorylation of protein kinase B (PKB), a downstream target of PI3K, in lung tissues in mice receiving intranasal FMLP. Antigen challenge elicited pulmonary infiltration of lymphocytes, eosinophils and neutrophils, increase in mucus-containing epithelial cells, and airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine. Except for modest airway neutrophilia, these effects all were blocked by treatment with 3–10 mg/kg of TAT-Δp85. There was also significant reduction in IL-5 and IL-4 secretion into the BAL. Intranasal administration of IL-5 caused eosinophil migration into the airway lumen, which was attenuated by systemic pretreatment with TAT-Δp85. We conclude that PI3K has a regulatory role in Th2-cell cytokine secretion, airway inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness in mice.
allergy; cytokines; eosinophils; lung; inflammation
In this investigation we have used a mouse model containing certain phenotypic characteristics consistent with asthma and IL-4- and CD40-deficient mice to establish the role of this cytokine and allergen-specific immunoglobulins in the initiation of airways hyperreactivity and morphological changes to the airways in responses to aeroallergen challenge. Sensitization and aerosol challenge of mice with ovalbumin resulted in a severe airways inflammatory response which directly correlated with the induction of extensive airways damage and airways hyperreactivity to beta-methacholine. Inflammatory infiltrates were primarily characterized by the presence of CD4+ T cells and eosinophils. In IL-4-deficient mice, the recruitment of airways eosinophils was impaired, but not abolished in response to aeroallergen. Moreover, the characteristic airways damage and hyperreactivity normally resulting from allergen inhalation were not attenuated. Induction of these structural and functional changes to the airways occurred in the absence of ovalbumin-specific IgE and IgG1, but IgG2a and IgG3 were detected in the sera of IL-4-deficient mice. CD4+ T cells isolated from both wild-type and IL-4-deficient mice given ovalbumin produced significant levels of IL-5 after in vitro stimulation. Treatment of IL-4-deficient mice with anti-IL-5 mAb before aeroallergen challenge abolished blood and airways eosinophilia, lung damage, and airways hyperreactivity. These results indicate that IL-4 is not essential for the development of IL-5-producing CD4+ T cells or for the induction of eosinophilic inflammation and airways damage and hyperreactivity. In response to sensitization and aerosol challenge, CD40-deficient mice did not produce ovalbumin-specific IgE, IgG isotypes, or IgA, and airways inflammation and hyperreactivity were not attenuated. Our results suggest that allergic airways disease can occur via pathways which operate independently of IL-4 and allergen-specific immunoglobulins. Activation of these pathways is intimately associated with IL-5 and eosinophilic inflammation. Such pathways may play a substantive role in the etiology of asthma.
Chronic asthma is characterized by ongoing recruitment of inflammatory cells and airway hyperresponsiveness leading to structural airway remodeling. Although α4β1 and β2 integrins regulate leukocyte migration in inflammatory diseases and play decisive roles in acute asthma, their role has not been explored under the chronic asthma setting. To extend our earlier studies with α4Δ/Δ and β2−/− mice, which showed that both a4 and b2 integrins have nonredundant regulatory roles in acute ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthma, we explored to what extent these molecular pathways control development of structural airway remodeling in chronic asthma.
Materials and Methods
Control, α4Δ/Δ, and β2−/−mouse groups, sensitized by intraperitoneal OVA as allergen, received intratracheal OVA periodically over days 8 to 55 to induce a chronic asthma phenotype. Post-OVA assessment of inflammation and pulmonary function (airway hyperresponsiveness), together with airway modeling measured by goblet cell metaplasia, collagen content of lung, and transforming growth factor β1 expression in lung homogenates, were evaluated.
In contrast to control and β2−/− mice, α4Δ/Δ mice failed to develop and maintain the composite chronic asthma phenotype evaluated as mentioned and subepithelial collagen content was comparable to baseline. These data indicate that β2 integrins, although required for inflammatory migration in acute asthma, are dispensable for structural remodeling in chronic asthma.
α4 integrins appear to have a regulatory role in directing transforming growth factor β-induced collagen deposition and structural alterations in lung architecture likely through interactions of Th2 cells, eosinophils, or mast cells with endothelium, resident airway cells, and/or extracellular matrix.
Allergic asthma is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness, inflammation, and a cellular infiltrate dominated by eosinophils. Numerous epidemiological studies have related the exacerbation of allergic asthma with an increase in ambient inhalable particulate matter from air pollutants. This is because inhalable particles efficiently deliver airborne allergens deep into the airways, where they can aggravate allergic asthma symptoms. However, the cellular mechanisms by which inhalable particulate allergens (pAgs) potentiate asthmatic symptoms remain unknown, in part because most in vivo and in vitro studies exploring the pathogenesis of allergic asthma use soluble allergens (sAgs). Using a mouse model of allergic asthma, we found that, compared with their sAg counterparts, pAgs triggered markedly heightened airway hyperresponsiveness and pulmonary eosinophilia in allergen-sensitized mice. Mast cells (MCs) were implicated in this divergent response, as the differences in airway inflammatory responses provoked by the physical nature of the allergens were attenuated in MC-deficient mice. The pAgs were found to mediate MC-dependent responses by enhancing retention of pAg/IgE/FcεRI complexes within lipid raft–enriched, CD63+ endocytic compartments, which prolonged IgE/FcεRI-initiated signaling and resulted in heightened cytokine responses. These results reveal how the physical attributes of allergens can co-opt MC endocytic circuitry and signaling responses to aggravate pathological responses of allergic asthma in mice.
Asthma is a disease of airway inflammation characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophilic inflammation, and hypersecretion of mucus. Ellagic acid, a compound derived from medicinal plants and fruits, has shown anti-inflammatory activity in several experimental disease models. We used the classical experimental model, in BALB/c mice, of sensibilization with ovalbumin to determine the effect of ellagic acid (10 mg/kg; oral route) in the resolution of allergic airways response. Dexamethasone (1 mg/kg; subcutaneous route) was used as a positive control. The control group consisted of nonimmunized mice that received challenge with ovalbumin. Ellagic acid and dexamethasone or vehicle (water) were administered before or after intranasal allergen challenge. Ellagic acid accelerated the resolution of airways inflammation by decreasing total leukocytes and eosinophils numbers in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), the mucus production and lung inflammation in part by reducing IL-5 concentration, eosinophil peroxidase (EPO) activity, and P-selectin expression, but not activator protein 1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathways. In addition, ellagic acid enhanced alveolar macrophage phagocytosis of IgG-OVA-coated beads ex vivo, a new proresolving mechanism for the clearance of allergen from the airways. Together, these findings identify ellagic acid as a potential therapeutic agent for accelerating the resolution of allergic airways inflammation.
Airflow in the lungs of patients with allergic asthma is impaired by excessive mucus production and airway smooth muscle contractions. Elevated levels of the cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 are associated with this pathology. In vitro studies have suggested that IL-4 receptor alpha (IL-4Rα) signalling on smooth muscle cells is critical for airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness.
In order to define the contribution of IL-4 and IL-13 to the onset of asthmatic pathology the role of their key receptor IL-4Rα in smooth muscle cells was examined in vivo.
By using transgenic SMC-MHCcreIL-4Rα−/lox mice deficient for IL-4Rα in smooth muscle cells, in vivo effects of impaired IL-4Rα signalling in smooth muscle cells on the outcome of asthmatic disease were investigated for the first time. Allergic asthma was introduced in mice by repeated sensitisation with ovalbumin/aluminium hydroxide on days 0, 7 and 14 followed by intranasal allergen challenge on days 21–23. Mice were investigated for the presence of airway hyperresponsiveness, airway inflammation, allergen specific antibody production, Th2 type cytokine responses and lung pathology.
Airway hyperresponsiveness, airway inflammation, mucus production, Th2 cytokine production and specific antibody responses were unaffected in SMC-MHCcreIL-4Rα−/lox mice when compared to control animals.
The impairment of IL-4Rα on smooth muscle cells had no effect on major aetiological markers of allergic asthma. These findings suggest that IL-4Rα responsiveness in airway smooth muscle cells during the early phase of allergic asthma is not, as suggested, necessary for the outcome of the disease.
Therapies targeting the IL-4Rα might have no direct effect on smooth muscle cells in an allergic asthma response.
Smooth muscle cell; Allergy; Asthma; Cytokine Receptors; IL-4; IL-13; gene-deficient mice
Key features of asthma include bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), eosinophilic airway inflammation, and bronchial remodeling, characterized by subepithelial collagen deposition, airway fibrosis, and increased bronchial smooth muscle (BSM) mass. The calcium-activated K+ channel KCa3.1 is expressed by many cells implicated in the pathogenesis of asthma, and is involved in both inflammatory and remodeling responses in a number of tissues. The specific KCa3.1 blocker 5-[(2-chlorophenyl)(diphenyl)methyl]-1H-pyrazole (TRAM-34) attenuates BSM cell proliferation, and both mast cell and fibrocyte recruitment in vitro. We aimed to examine the effects of KCa3.1 blockade on BSM remodeling, airway inflammation, and BHR in a murine model of chronic asthma. BALB/c mice were sensitized with intraperitoneal ovalbumin (OVA) on Days 0 and 14, and then challenged with intranasal OVA during Days 14–75. OVA-sensitized/challenged mice received TRAM-34 (120 mg/kg/day, subcutaneous) from Days −7 to 75 (combined treatment), Days −7 to 20 (preventive treatment), or Days 21 to 75 (curative treatment). Untreated mice received daily injections of vehicle (n = 8 per group). Bronchial remodeling was assessed by histological and immunohistochemical analyses. Inflammation was evaluated using bronchoalveolar lavage and flow cytometry. We also determined BHR in both conscious and anesthetized mice via plethysmography. We demonstrated that curative treatment with TRAM-34 abolishes BSM remodeling and subbasement collagen deposition, and attenuates airway eosinophilia. Although curative treatment alone did not significantly reduce BHR, the combined treatment attenuated nonspecific BHR to methacholine. This study indicates that KCa3.1 blockade could provide a new therapeutic strategy in asthma.
asthma; KCa3.1; ion channel; remodeling; smooth muscle
The relative contributions of large and small airways to hyperresponsiveness in asthma have yet to be fully assessed. This study used a mouse model of chronic allergic airways disease to induce inflammation and remodelling and determine whether in vivo hyperresponsiveness to methacholine is consistent with in vitro reactivity of trachea and small airways. Balb/C mice were sensitised (days 0, 14) and challenged (3 times/week, 6 weeks) with ovalbumin. Airway reactivity was compared with saline-challenged controls in vivo assessing whole lung resistance, and in vitro measuring the force of tracheal contraction and the magnitude/rate of small airway narrowing within lung slices. Increased airway inflammation, epithelial remodelling and fibrosis were evident following allergen challenge. In vivo hyperresponsiveness to methacholine was maintained in isolated trachea. In contrast, methacholine induced slower narrowing, with reduced potency in small airways compared to controls. In vitro incubation with IL-1/TNFα did not alter reactivity. The hyporesponsiveness to methacholine in small airways within lung slices following chronic ovalbumin challenge was unexpected, given hyperresponsiveness to the same agonist both in vivo and in vitro in tracheal preparations. This finding may reflect the altered interactions of small airways with surrounding parenchymal tissue after allergen challenge to oppose airway narrowing and closure.
L-selectin is a cell adhesion molecule, which mediates leukocyte rolling on bronchopulmonary endothelium. Previous studies in a murine model of allergic airways disease have shown that L-selectin plays a role in the regulation of airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma via mechanisms independent of inflammation. Airway remodeling has been shown to modulate airway hyperresponsiveness independently of inflammation.
Our aim was to determine if L-selectin influenced airway hyperresponsiveness via modulation of structural changes as a result of airway remodeling.
A chronic ovalbumin-induced allergic airways disease model was applied to L-selectin-deficient mice and wild-type control mice. The development of airway inflammation was assessed by examining leukocyte influx into bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Airway remodeling changes were determined via histology and morphometric analysis of lung tissue sections, and the development of airway hyperresponsiveness was assessed by invasive plethysmography.
Total cell counts, but not individual differential cell counts, were reduced in the ovalbumin-treated L-selectin-deficient mice compared to wildtype ovalbumin-treated mice. L-selectin-deficient mice had significantly reduced epithelial thickness and smooth muscle thickness. Airway hyperresponsiveness was abrogated in ovalbumin treated L-selectin-deficient mice compared to wild-type controls.
L-selectin plays an important role in regulating airway remodeling in an animal model of chronic allergic airways disease. Abrogated airway hyperresponsiveness may be related to reduced remodeling changes in L-selectin-deficient mice. L-selectin represents a potential target for novel asthma treatment for airway remodeling and airway hyperresponsiveness.
asthma; L-selectin; airway hyperresponsiveness; airway remodeling
Each year, approximately 20% of asthmatics in the United States experience acute symptom exacerbations, which commonly result from pulmonary viral infections. The majority of asthma exacerbations in very young children follow infection with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). However, pathogenic mechanisms underlying induction of asthma exacerbations by RSV are not well understood. We therefore investigated the effect of post-sensitization RSV infection on lung function in ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized BALB/c mice as a model of RSV asthma exacerbations. OVA sensitization of uninfected female BALB/c mice increased bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) eosinophil levels and induced airway hyperresponsiveness to the muscarinic agonist methacholine, as measured by the forced-oscillation technique. In contrast, intranasal infection with replication-competent RSV strain A2 for 2–8 days reduced BALF eosinophil counts and reversed airway hyperresponsiveness in a pertussis toxin-sensitive manner. BALF levels of the chemokine keratinocyte cytokine (KC; a murine homolog of interleukin-8) were elevated in OVA-sensitized, RSV-infected mice and reversal of methacholine hyperresponsiveness in these animals was rapidly inhibited by KC neutralization. Hyporesponsiveness could be induced in OVA-sensitized, uninfected mice by recombinant KC or the Gαi agonist melittin. These data suggest that respiratory syncytial virus induces KC-mediated activation of Gαi, resulting in cross-inhibition of Gαq-mediated M3-muscarinic receptor signaling and reversal of airway hyperresponsiveness. As in unsensitized mice, KC therefore appears to play a significant role in induction of airway dysfunction by respiratory syncytial virus. Hence, interleukin-8 may be a promising therapeutic target to normalize lung function in both asthmatics and non-asthmatics with bronchiolitis. However, the OVA-sensitized, RSV-infected mouse may not be an appropriate model for investigating the pathogenesis of viral asthma exacerbations.
Eosinophils and T lymphocytes are thought to be involved in allergic airway inflammation. Both cells express the alpha 4 beta 1-integrin, very late antigen-4 (VLA-4, CD49d/CD29); alpha 4-integrins can promote cellular adhesion and activation. Therefore, we examined the in vivo effects of a blocking anti-alpha 4 monoclonal antibody, HP 1/2, on antigen-induced early and late bronchial responses, airway hyperresponsiveness, inflammatory cell influx, and peripheral leukocyte counts in allergic sheep. Sheep blood lymphocytes, monocytes, and eosinophils expressed alpha 4 and bound HP 1/2. In control sheep, Ascaris antigen challenge produced early and late increases in specific lung resistance of 380 +/- 42% and 175 +/- 16% over baseline immediately and 7 h after challenge, respectively, as well as airway hyperresponsiveness continuing for 14 d after antigen challenge. Treatment with HP 1/2 (1 mg/kg, i.v.) 30 min before antigen challenge did not affect the early increase in specific lung resistance but inhibited the late-phase increase at 5-8 h by 75% (P < 0.05) and inhibited the post-antigen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness at 1, 2, 7, and 14 d (P < 0.05, for each time). Intravenous HP 1/2 given 2 h after antigen challenge likewise blocked late-phase airway changes and postchallenge airway hyperresponsiveness. Airway administration of HP 1/2 (16-mg dose) was also effective in blocking these antigen-induced changes. Response to HP 1/2 was specific since an isotypic monoclonal antibody, 1E6, was ineffective by intravenous and aerosol administration. Inhibition of leukocyte recruitment did not totally account for the activity of anti-alpha 4 antibody since HP 1/2 neither diminished the eosinopenia or lymphopenia that followed antigen challenge nor consistently altered the composition of leukocytes recovered by bronchoalveolar lavage. Because airway administration of HP 1/2 was also active, HP 1/2 may have inhibited cell activation. Reduction of platelet-activating factor-induced eosinophil peroxidase release from HP 1/2-treated eosinophils supports such a mechanism. These findings indicate a role for alpha 4-integrins in processes that lead to airway late phase responses and persisting airway hyperresponsiveness after antigen challenge.
Asthma is associated with airway hyperresponsiveness and enhanced T-cell number/activity on one hand and increased levels of exhaled nitric oxide (NO) with expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) on the other hand. These findings are in paradox, as NO also relaxes airway smooth muscle and has immunosuppressive properties. The exact role of the endothelial NOS (eNOS) isoform in asthma is still unknown. We hypothezised that a delicate regulation in the production of NO and its bioactive forms by eNOS might be the key to the pathogenesis of asthma.
The contribution of eNOS on the development of asthmatic features was examined. We used transgenic mice that overexpress eNOS and measured characteristic features of allergic asthma after sensitisation and challenge of these mice with the allergen ovalbumin.
eNOS overexpression resulted in both increased eNOS activity and NO production in the lungs. Isolated thoracic lymph nodes cells from eNOS overexpressing mice that have been sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin produced significantly less of the cytokines IFN-γ, IL-5 and IL-10. No difference in serum IgE levels could be found. Further, there was a 50% reduction in the number of lymphocytes and eosinophils in the lung lavage fluid of these animals. Finally, airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine was abolished in eNOS overexpressing mice.
These findings demonstrate that eNOS overexpression attenuates both airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness in a model of allergic asthma. We suggest that a delicate balance in the production of bioactive forms of NO derived from eNOS might be essential in the pathophysiology of asthma.
Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) produced by two sphingosine kinase isoenzymes, SphK1 and SphK2, has been implicated in IgE-mediated mast cell responses. However, studies of allergic inflammation in isotype-specific SphK knockout mice have not clarified their contribution and the role that S1P plays in vivo in a mast cell and IgE-dependent mouse model of allergic asthma has not yet been examined.
We used an isoenzyme-specific SphK1 inhibitor, SK1-I, to investigate the contributions of S1P and SphK1 to mast cell dependent airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and airway inflammation in mice.
Allergic airway inflammation and AHR were examined in a mast cell-dependent mouse model of ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthma. C57BL/6 mice received intranasal delivery of SK1-I prior to sensitization and challenge with OVA or only prior to challenge.
SK1-I inhibited antigen-dependent activation of human and murine mast cells and suppressed activation of NF-κB, a master transcription factor that regulates expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. SK1-I treatment of mice sensitized to OVA in the absence of adjuvant, which develop mast cell-dependent allergic inflammation, significantly reduced OVA-induced AHR to methacholine; decreased numbers of eosinophils and levels of the cytokines IL-4, 5, 6, 13, IFN-γ, and TNF-α and the chemokines eotaxin, and CCL2 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid; and decreased pulmonary inflammation as well as activation of NF-κB in the lungs.
S1P and SphK1 play important roles in mast cell-dependent, OVA-induced allergic inflammation and AHR, in part by regulating the NF-κB pathway.
sphingosine-1-phosphate; sphingosine kinase; mast cells; NF-kB; airway hyperresponsiveness; asthma
Cyclic AMP (cAMP) signaling modulates functions of inflammatory cells involved in the pathogenesis of asthma, and type 4 cAMP-specific phosphodiesterases (PDE4s) are essential components of this pathway. Induction of the PDE4 isoform PDE4B is necessary for Toll-like receptor signaling in monocytes and macrophages and is associated with T cell receptor/CD3 in T cells; however, its exact physiological function in the development of allergic asthma remains undefined.
We investigated the role of PDE4B in the development of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and TH2-driven inflammatory responses.
Wild-type and PDE4B−/− mice were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin and AHR measured in response to inhaled methacholine. Airway inflammation was characterized by analyzing leukocyte infiltration and cytokine accumulation in the airways. Ovalbumin-stimulated cell proliferation and TH2 cytokine production were determined in cultured bronchial lymph node cells.
Mice deficient in PDE4B do not develop AHR. This protective effect was associated with a significant decrease in eosinophils recruitment to the lungs and decreased TH2 cytokine levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Defects in T-cell replication, TH2 cytokine production, and dendritic cell migration were evident in cells from the airway-draining lymph nodes. Conversely, accumulation of the TH1 cytokine IFN-γ was not affected in PDE4B−/− mice. Ablation of the orthologous PDE4 gene PDE4A has no impact on airway inflammation.
By relieving a cAMP-negative constraint, PDE4B plays an essential role in TH2-cell activation and dendritic cell recruitment during airway inflammation. These findings provide proof of concept that PDE4 inhibitors with PDE4B selectivity may have efficacy in asthma treatment.
Asthma; PDE4B; TH2 cytokines; airway hyperresponsiveness; airway inflammation; cAMP signaling