Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are characterized by acute enhancement of airway neutrophilic inflammation under oxidative stress and can be involved in emphysema progression. However, pharmacotherapy against the neutrophilic inflammation and emphysema progression associated with exacerbation has not been established. Thioredoxin-1 has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties and it can ameliorate neutrophilic inflammation through anti-chemotactic effects and prevent cigarette smoke (CS)-induced emphysema. We aimed to determine whether thioredoxin-1 can suppress neutrophilic inflammation and emphysema progression in a mouse model of COPD exacerbation and if so, to reveal the underlying mechanisms.
Mice were exposed to CS and then challenged with polyinosine-polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)], an agonist for virus-induced innate immunity. Airway neutrophilic inflammation, oxidative stress and lung apoptosis were enhanced in smoke-sensitive C57Bl/6, but not in smoke-resistant NZW mice. Exposure to CS and poly(I:C) challenge accelerated emphysema progression in C57Bl/6 mice. Thioredoxin-1 suppressed neutrophilic inflammation and emphysema progression. Poly(I:C) caused early neutrophilic inflammation through keratinocyte-derived chemokine and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) release in the lung exposed to CS. Late neutrophilic inflammation was caused by persistent GM-CSF release, which thioredoxin-1 ameliorated. Thioredoxin-1 enhanced pulmonary mRNA expression of MAP kinase phosphatase 1 (MKP-1), and the suppressive effects of thioredoxin-1 on prolonged GM-CSF release and late neutrophilic inflammation disappeared by inhibiting MKP-1.
Using a mouse model of COPD exacerbation, we demonstrated that thioredoxin-1 ameliorated neutrophilic inflammation by suppressing GM-CSF release, which prevented emphysema progression. Our findings deepen understanding of the mechanisms underlying the regulation of neutrophilic inflammation by thioredoxin-1 and indicate that thioredoxin-1 could have potential as a drug to counteract COPD exacerbation.
Cigarette smoke exposure is the major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, only a minority of smokers develop significant COPD, and patients with asthma or asthma-like airway hyperresponsiveness or eosinophilia experience accelerated loss of lung function after cigarette smoke exposure. Pulmonary inflammation is a characteristic feature of lungs from patients with COPD. Surprisingly, the mediators of this inflammation and their contributions to the pathogenesis and varied natural history of COPD are not well defined. Here we show that IL-13, a critical cytokine in asthma, causes emphysema with enhanced lung volumes and compliance, mucus metaplasia, and inflammation, when inducibly overexpressed in the adult murine lung. MMP-2, -9, -12, -13, and -14 and cathepsins B, S, L, H, and K were induced by IL-13 in this setting. In addition, treatment with MMP or cysteine proteinase antagonists significantly decreased the emphysema and inflammation, but not the mucus in these animals. These studies demonstrate that IL-13 is a potent stimulator of MMP and cathepsin-based proteolytic pathways in the lung. They also demonstrate that IL-13 causes emphysema via a MMP- and cathepsin-dependent mechanism(s) and highlight common mechanisms that may underlie COPD and asthma.
Respiratory viral infections cause significant morbidity and increase the risk for chronic pulmonary graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Our overall hypothesis is that local innate immune activation potentiates adaptive alloimmunity. In this study, we hypothesized that a viral pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) alone can potentiate pulmonary GVHD after allogeneic HCT. We, therefore, examined the effect of pulmonary exposure to polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly I:C), a viral mimetic that activates innate immunity, in an established murine HCT model. Poly I:C induced a marked pulmonary T cell response in allogeneic HCT mice as compared to syngeneic HCT, with increased CD4+ cells in the lung fluid and tissue. This lymphocytic inflammation persisted at 2 weeks post poly I:C exposure in allogeneic mice and was associated with CD3+ cell infiltration into the bronchiolar epithelium and features of epithelial injury. In vitro, poly I:C enhanced allospecific proliferation in a mixed lymphocyte reaction. In vivo, poly I:C exposure was associated with an early increase in pulmonary monocyte recruitment and activation as well as a decrease in CD4+FOXP3+ regulatory T cells in allogeneic mice as compared to syngeneic. In contrast, intrapulmonary poly I:C did not alter the extent of systemic GVHD in either syngeneic or allogeneic mice. Collectively, our results suggest that local activation of pulmonary innate immunity by a viral molecular pattern represents a novel pathway that contributes to pulmonary GVHD after allogeneic HCT, through a mechanism that includes increased recruitment and maturation of intrapulmonary monocytes.
poly I:C; pulmonary graft-versus-host disease; allogeneic; lymphocytic bronchiolitis; respiratory viral infection; monocytes
Increasing evidence indicates that chronic inflammatory and immune responses play key roles in the development and progression of COPD. Recent data provide evidence for a role in the NLRP3 inflammasome in the airway inflammation observed in COPD. Cigarette smoke activates innate immune cells by triggering pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) to release “danger signal”. These signals act as ligands to Toll-like receptors (TLRs), triggering the production of cytokines and inducing innate inflammation. In smokers who develop COPD there appears to be a specific pattern of inflammation in the airways and parenchyma as a result of both innate and adaptive immune responses, with the predominance of CD8+ and CD4+ cells, and in the more severe disease, with the presence of lymphoid follicles containing B lymphocytes and T cells. Furthermore, viral and bacterial infections interfere with the chronic inflammation seen in stable COPD and exacerbations via pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). Finally, autoimmunity is another novel aspect that may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of COPD. This review is un update of the currently discussed roles of inflammatory and immune responses in the pathogenesis of COPD.
A growing body of evidence indicates that oxidative stress plays a central role in the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Chronic oxidative stress caused by cigarette smoke generates damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), such as oxidatively or nitrosatively modified proteins and extracellular matrix fragments, which induce abnormal airway inflammation by activating innate and adaptive immune responses. Furthermore, oxidative stress–induced histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2) inactivity is implicated in amplifying inflammatory responses and corticosteroid resistance in COPD. Oxidative stress also mediates disruption of innate immune defenses, which is associated with acute exacerbation of COPD. Host defense transcription factor Nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (Nrf2) regulates a multifaceted cytoprotective response to counteract oxidative stress–induced pathological injuries. A decrease in Nrf2 signaling is associated with the progression of diseases. Recent evidence indicates that targeting Nrf2 can be a novel therapy to mitigate inflammation, improve innate antibacterial defenses, and restore corticosteroid responses in patients with COPD.
COPD; Nrf2; bacteria; exacerbation; therapeutics
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a prevalent smoking-related disease for which no disease-altering therapies currently exist. As dysregulated TGF-β signaling associates with lung pathology in patients with COPD and in animal models of lung injury induced by chronic exposure to cigarette smoke (CS), we postulated that inhibiting TGF-β signaling would protect against CS-induced lung injury. We first confirmed that TGF-β signaling was induced in the lungs of mice chronically exposed to CS as well as in COPD patient samples. Importantly, key pathological features of smoking-associated lung disease in patients, e.g., alveolar injury with overt emphysema and airway epithelial hyperplasia with fibrosis, accompanied CS-induced alveolar cell apoptosis caused by enhanced TGF-β signaling in CS-exposed mice. Systemic administration of a TGF-β–specific neutralizing antibody normalized TGF-β signaling and alveolar cell death, conferring improved lung architecture and lung mechanics in CS-exposed mice. Use of losartan, an angiotensin receptor type 1 blocker used widely in the clinic and known to antagonize TGF-β signaling, also improved oxidative stress, inflammation, metalloprotease activation and elastin remodeling. These data support our hypothesis that inhibition of TGF-β signaling through angiotensin receptor blockade can attenuate CS-induced lung injury in an established murine model. More importantly, our findings provide a preclinical platform for the development of other TGF-β–targeted therapies for patients with COPD.
Smoking is the most important cause for the development of COPD. Since not all smokers develop COPD, it is obvious that other factors must be involved in disease development. We hypothesize that heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), a protective enzyme against oxidative stress and inflammation, is insufficiently upregulated in COPD.
The effects of HO-1 modulation on cigarette smoke induced inflammation and emphysema were tested in a smoking mouse model.
Mice were either exposed or sham exposed to cigarette smoke exposure for 20 weeks. Cobalt protoporphyrin or tin protoporphyrin was injected during this period to induce or inhibit HO-1 activity, respectively. Afterwards, emphysema development, levels of inflammatory cells and cytokines, and the presence of B-cell infiltrates in lung tissue were analyzed.
Smoke exposure induced emphysema and increased the numbers of inflammatory cells and numbers of B-cell infiltrates, as well as the levels of inflammatory cytokines in lung tissue. HO-1 modulation had no effects on smoke induced emphysema development, or the increases in neutrophils and macrophages and inflammatory cytokines. Interestingly, HO-1 induction prevented the development of smoke induced B-cell infiltrates and increased the levels of CD4+CD25+ T cells and Foxp3 positive cells in the lungs. Additionally, the CD4+CD25+ T cells correlated positively with the number of Foxp3 positive cells in lung tissue, indicating that these cells were regulatory T cells.
These results support the concept that HO-1 expression influences regulatory T cells and indicates that this mechanism is involved in the suppression of smoke induced B-cell infiltrates. The translation of this interaction to human COPD should now be pursued.
Chronic airway inflammation is a cardinal feature of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a destructive cigarette smoke-induced lung disease. Although it is apparent that dendritic cells (DCs) are an important constituent of the chronic inflammatory cell influx found in airways of COPD patients, the functional roles of DCs in the pathogenesis of smoking-induced emphysema are unknown. We postulated that DCs activated by cigarette smoke constituents directly participate in the chronic inflammation that characterizes COPD airways. Concordant with this hypothesis, we observed that incubation of DCs with cigarette smoke extract (CSE), and chronic exposure of mice to cigarette smoke, both augmented the generation of neutrophilic chemokines by immature and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or CD40L-matured DCs. The generation of interleukin-8 (CXCL8/IL-8) by human DCs conditioned with CSE was suppressed by the anti-oxidant n-acetyl cysteine (NAC), implying the involvement of oxidant sensitive pathways as a primary mechanism involved in the enhanced CXCL8/IL-8 generation. Cigarette smoke extract and nicotine also augment the production of secreted prostaglandin E2 and intracellular cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) in maturing DCs. Whereas NAC suppressed production of CXCL8 by CSE-conditioned DCs, it augmented production of PGE2 and cellular COX-2 levels in maturing DCs. These studies indicate that the stimulation of DCs by cigarette smoke-induced oxidative stress and nicotine promote the generation of pro-inflammatory responses that promote chronic inflammation in smokers. Certain pharmacologic strategies such as anti-oxidant therapy may be only partially effective in mitigating cigarette smoke-induced pro-inflammatory DC-mediated responses in smokers.
Smoking; dendritic cell; oxidative stress; neutrophil; chemokines; prostaglandins
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by chronic airway inflammation. Cigarette smoke has been considered a major player in the pathogenesis of COPD. The inflamed airways of COPD patients contain several inflammatory cells including neutrophils, macrophages,T lymphocytes, and dendritic cells (DCs). The relative contributions of these various inflammatory cells to airway injury and remodeling are not well documented. In particular, the potential role of DCs as mediators of inflammation in the smoker's airways and COPD patients is poorly understood. In the current study we analyzed the effects of cigarette smoke extract on mouse bone marrow derived DC and the production of chemokines and cytokines were studied. In addition, we assessed CSE-induced changes in cDC function in the mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) examining CD4+ and CD8+ T cell proliferation. Cigarette smoke extract induces the release of the chemokines CCL3 and CXCL2 (but not cytokines), via the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In a mixed-leukocyte reaction assay, cigarette smoke-primed DCs potentiate CD8+T cell proliferation via CCL3. In contrast, proliferation of CD4+T cells is suppressed via an unknown mechanism. The cigarette smoke-induced release of CCL3 and CXCL2 by DCs may contribute to the influx of CD8+T cells and neutrophils into the airways, respectively.
Human rhinovirus (HRV) triggers exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Cigarette smoking is the leading risk factor for the development of COPD and 25% of asthmatics smoke. Smoking asthmatics have worse symptoms and more frequent hospitalizations compared to non-smoking asthmatics. The degree of neutrophil recruitment to the airways correlates with disease severity in COPD and during viral exacerbations of asthma. We have previously shown that HRV and cigarette smoke, in the form of cigarette smoke extract (CSE), each induce expression of the neutrophil chemoattractant and activator, CXCL8, in human airway epithelial cells. Additionally, we demonstrated that the combination of HRV and CSE induces expression of levels of CXCL8 that are at least additive relative to induction by each stimulus alone, and that enhancement of CXCL8 expression by HRV+CSE is regulated, at least in part, via mRNA stabilization. Here we further investigate the mechanisms by which HRV+CSE enhances CXCL8 expression.
Primary human bronchial epithelial cells were cultured and treated with CSE alone, HRV alone or the combination of the two stimuli. Stabilizing/destabilizing proteins adenine/uridine-rich factor-1 (AUF-1), KH-type splicing regulatory protein (KHSRP) and human antigen R (HuR) were measured in cell lysates to determine expression levels following treatment. siRNA knockdown of each protein was used to assess their contribution to the induction of CXCL8 expression following treatment of cells with HRV and CSE.
We show that total expression of stabilizing/de-stabilizing proteins linked to CXCL8 regulation, including AUF-1, KHSRP and HuR, are not altered by CSE, HRV or the combination of the two stimuli. Importantly, however, siRNA-mediated knock-down of HuR, but not AUF-1 or KHSRP, abolishes the enhancement of CXCL8 by HRV+CSE. Data were analyzed using one-way ANOVA with student Newman-Keuls post hoc analysis and values of p≤ 0.05 were considered significant.
Induction of CXCL8 by the combination of HRV and CSE is regulated by mRNA stabilization involving HuR. Thus, targeting the HuR pathway may be an effective method of dampening CXCL8 production during HRV-induced exacerbations of lower airway disease, particularly in COPD patients and asthmatic patients who smoke.
Airway epithelium; Rhinovirus; Cigarette smoke; CXCL8; HuR; Post-transcriptional gene regulation; COPD; Asthma
Patients with COPD are associated with poor pulmonary anti-bacterial innate defenses, which increase the risk for frequent acute exacerbations caused by bacterial infection. Despite elevated numbers of phagocytes (macrophages and neutrophils), airways of patients with COPD show stable bacterial colonization. A defect in the phagocytic ability of alveolar macrophages (AMs) is one of the primary reasons for failure to clear the invading bacteria in airways of smokers and COPD patients and also in mice exposed to cigarette smoke (CS). Oxidative stress, as a result of CS exposure is implicated; however, the factors or mediators that inhibit phagocytic activity of AMs in lungs of smokers remain unclear. In the current study, we provide evidence that accumulation of oxidized phospholipids (Ox-PLs) mediate inhibition of phagocytic function of AMs in CS-exposed mice. Mice exposed to 6 months of CS showed impaired bacterial phagocytosis and clearance by AMs and elevated levels of Ox-PLs in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), compared to mice exposed to room air. Intratracheal instillation of oxidized 1-palmitoyl-2-arachidonoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphorylcholine (OX-PAPC) inhibited phagocytic activity of AMs and impaired pulmonary bacterial clearance in mice. In vitro studies demonstrated that exposure of J774 macrophages to OX-PAPC inhibited bacterial phagocytosis and clearance. However, pre-treatment of OX-PAPC with the monoclonal antibody EO6, which specifically binds to oxidized phospholipid but not native phospholipid, abolished OX-PAPC induced inhibition of bacterial phagocytosis and clearance. Incubation of BALF retrieved from CS-exposed mice impaired bacterial phagocytosis by J774 macrophages, which was abolished by pre-treatment of BALF with the EO6 antibody. In conclusion, our study shows that Ox-PLs generated following chronic CS exposure could play a crucial role in inhibiting phagocytic function of AMs and thus impair pulmonary anti-bacterial innate defenses in CS-exposed mice. Therapeutic approaches that augment pulmonary antioxidant defenses could be beneficial in reducing oxidative stress-driven impairment of phagocytosis by AMs in smokers and COPD patients.
COPD; macrophages; oxidized phospholipids; bacteria; phagocytosis; cigarette smoke
Mouse models of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) focus on airway inflammation and lung histology, but their use has been hampered by the lack of pulmonary function data in their assessment. Systemic effects such as muscle dysfunction are also poorly modeled in emphysematous mice. We aimed to develop a cigarette-smoke-induced emphysema mouse model in which serial lung function and muscular dysfunction could be assessed, allowing the disease to be monitored more appropriately. C57Bl6 mice were nose-only exposed to cigarette smoke or filtered air for 3–6 months. Lung function tests were repeated in the same mice after 3 and 6 months of cigarette smoke or air exposure and compared with lung histological changes. Contractile properties of skeletal muscles and muscle histology were also determined at similar time points in separate groups of mice. Serial lung function measurements documented hyperinflation after 3 and 6 months of cigarette smoke exposure, with a significant 31–37% increase in total lung capacity (TLC) and a significant 26–35% increase in compliance (Cchord) when compared with animals exposed to filtered air only (P<0.001 after 3 and after 6 months). These functional changes preceded the changes in mean linear intercept, which became only significant after 6 months of cigarette smoke exposure and which correlated very well with TLC (r=0.74, P=0.004) and Cchord (r=0.79, P=0.001). After 6 months of cigarette smoke exposure, a significant fiber-type shift from IIa to IIx/b was also observed in the soleus muscle (P<0.05), whereas a 20% reduction of force was present at high stimulation frequencies (80 Hz; P=0.09). The extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle was not affected by cigarette smoke exposure. These serial pulmonary function variables are sensitive outcomes to detect emphysema progression in a nose-only cigarette-smoke-exposed animal model of COPD. In this model, muscular changes became apparent only after 6 months, particularly in muscles with a mixed fiber-type composition.
The pulmonary innate immune system is heavily implicated in the perpetual airway inflammation and impaired host defense characterizing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The airways of patients suffering from COPD are infiltrated by various immune and inflammatory cells including macrophages, neutrophils, T lymphocytes, and dendritic cells. While the role of macrophages, neutrophils and T lymphocytes is well characterized, the contribution of dendritic cells to COPD pathogenesis is still the subject of emerging research. A paper by Botelho and colleagues in the current issue of Respiratory Research investigates the importance of dendritic cell recruitment in cigarette-smoke induced acute and chronic inflammation in mice. Dendritic cells of the healthy lung parenchyma and airways perform an important sentinel function and regulate immune homeostasis. During inflammatory responses the function and migration pattern of these cells is dramatically altered but the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. Botelho and colleagues demonstrate here the importance of IL-1R1/IL-1α related mechanisms including CCL20 production in cigarette-smoke induced recruitment of dendritic cells and T cell activation in the mouse lung.
COPD; Dendritic cells; IL-1R1; IL-1α; Cigarette smoke exposure; Mice
Cigarette smoking is the main risk factor for the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite this, the cellular and molecular mechanisms that contribute to COPD pathogenesis are still poorly understood.
Methodology and Principal Findings
The objective of this study was to assess IL-1 α and β expression in COPD patients and to investigate their respective roles in perpetuating cigarette smoke-induced inflammation. Functional studies were pursued in smoke-exposed mice using gene-deficient animals, as well as blocking antibodies for IL-1α and β. Here, we demonstrate an underappreciated role for IL-1α expression in COPD. While a strong correlation existed between IL-1α and β levels in patients during stable disease and periods of exacerbation, neutrophilic inflammation was shown to be IL-1α-dependent, and IL-1β- and caspase-1-independent in a murine model of cigarette smoke exposure. As IL-1α was predominantly expressed by hematopoietic cells in COPD patients and in mice exposed to cigarette smoke, studies pursued in bone marrow chimeric mice demonstrated that the crosstalk between IL-1α+ hematopoietic cells and the IL-1R1+ epithelial cells regulates smoke-induced inflammation. IL-1α/IL-1R1-dependent activation of the airway epithelium also led to exacerbated inflammatory responses in H1N1 influenza virus infected smoke-exposed mice, a previously reported model of COPD exacerbation.
Conclusions and Significance
This study provides compelling evidence that IL-1α is central to the initiation of smoke-induced neutrophilic inflammation and suggests that IL-1α/IL-1R1 targeted therapies may be relevant for limiting inflammation and exacerbations in COPD.
In this study, we evaluated the anti-inflammatory effect of PM014 on cigarette smoke induced lung disease in the murine animal model of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Mice were exposed to cigarette smoke (CS) for 2 weeks to induce COPD-like lung inflammation. Two hours prior to cigarette smoke exposure, the treatment group was administered PM014 via an oral injection. To investigate the effects of PM014, we assessed PM014 functions in vivo, including immune cell infiltration, cytokine profiles in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and histopathological changes in the lung. The efficacy of PM014 was compared with that of the recently developed anti-COPD drug, roflumilast.
PM014 substantially inhibited immune cell infiltration (neutrophils, macrophages, and lymphocytes) into the airway. In addition, IL-6, TNF-α and MCP-1 were decreased in the BAL fluid of PM014-treated mice compared to cigarette smoke stimulated mice. These changes were more prominent than roflumilast treated mice. The expression of PAS-positive cells in the bronchial layer was also significantly reduced in both PM014 and roflumilast treated mice.
These data suggest that PM014 exerts strong therapeutic effects against CS induced, COPD-like lung inflammation. Therefore, this herbal medicine may represent a novel therapeutic agent for lung inflammation in general, as well as a specific agent for COPD treatment.
COPD; CS; PM014; Neutrophil; IL-6; TNF-α; MCP-1
Over the past few decades, neutrophils and macrophages had co-occupied center stage as the critical innate immune cells underlying the pathobiology of cigarette smoke-induced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung parenchymal destruction (i.e., emphysema). While chronic exposure to smoke facilitates the recruitment of innate immune cells into the lung, a clear role for adaptive immunity in emphysema has emerged. Evidence from human studies specifically point to a role for recruitment and activation of pathogenic lymphocytes and lung antigen-presenting cells in emphysema; similarly, animal models have confirmed a significant role for autoimumnity in progressive smoke-induced emphysema. Increased numbers of activated antigen-presenting cells, Th1 and Th17 cells, have been associated with smoke-induced lung inflammation and production of the canonical cytokines of these cells, IFN-γ and IL-17, correlates with disease severity. These exciting new breakthroughs could open new avenues for developing effective new therapies for smoke-induced emphysema.
adaptive immunity; antigen-presenting cells; cytokines; Th1; Th17
Innate immune responses appear to be partially responsible for maintaining inflammation and tissue destruction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In the early stages of the disease in smokers, the airways are bombarded with large quantities of particulate material, and activation of phagocytic cells results in the release of many of the mediators believed to remodel the airways. Ironically, failure of the innate immune defense system, either by inherited deficiency or as a result of chronic smoke inhalation, is likely to result in increased susceptibility to infectious disease and exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is well known that deficiencies in the production of collectins, pentraxins, and complement can lead to increased infections, and several studies indicate that deficiency in one or another innate defense component is associated with increased exacerbations. Corticosteroids reduce exacerbations in part because of their ability to boost the production of innate host-defense molecules. Therapeutic approaches that stimulate the generation of antimicrobial molecules in the lungs might be able to reduce disease exacerbations.
acute phase responses; corticosteroids; exacerbations; inflammation; opsonins
Cigarette smoking is the primary cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which is characterized by chronic inflammation of the airways and destruction of lung parenchyma. Repeated and sustained bacterial infections are clearly linked to disease pathogenesis (e.g., exacerbations) and a huge burden on health care costs. The airway epithelium constitutes the first line of host defense against infection and our previous study indicated that Fatty Acid Binding Protein 5 (FABP5) is down regulated in airway epithelial cells of smokers with COPD as compared to smokers without COPD. We hypothesized that cigarette smoke (CS) exposure down regulates FABP5, thus, contributing to a more sustained inflammation in response to bacterial infection. In this report, we show that FABP5 is increased following bacterial infection but decreased following CS exposure of primary normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cells. The goal of this study was to address FABP5 function by knocking down or overexpressing FABP5 in primary NHBE cells exposed to CS. Our data indicate that FABP5 down regulation results in increased P. aeruginosa bacterial load and inflammatory cytokine levels (e.g., IL-8) and decreased expression of the anti-bacterial peptide, β defensin-2. On the contrary, FABP5 overexpression exerts a protective function in airway epithelial cells against P. aeruginosa infection by limiting the production of IL-8 and increasing the expression of β defensin-2. Our study indicates that FABP5 exerts immunomodulatory functions in the airway epithelium against CS exposure and subsequent bacterial infection through its modulation of the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-γ activity. These findings support the development of FABP5/PPAR-γ-targeted therapeutic approach to prevent airway inflammation by restoring antimicrobial immunity during COPD exacerbations.
Viruses constitute a constant and renewed threat to humans. Not only do viruses cause disease directly due to their tissue tropism and pathogenicity, but they have also been linked to autoimmunity. In their study in this issue of the JCI, Kang et al. show that exposure to cigarette smoke induces alterations in the innate immune response to viral infection and that these changes hasten alveolar destruction characteristic of emphysema in mice (see the related beginning on page 2771). This study builds on evidence that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have clinical exacerbations associated with viral or bacterial infections, which lead to worsened lung function and increased mortality. This novel paradigm may aid related genetic, biomarker, and therapeutic developments and provides important insights into the pathogenesis of emphysematous lung destruction.
It has been reported that the degree of emphysema induced by chronic cigarette smoke (CS) is greater in female C3H/HeN mice as compared to other mouse strains. We hypothesized that these mice would develop the similar major characteristics seen in hypercapnic patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema, pulmonary inflammation, hypercapnia/hypoxemia, rapid breathing, and attenuated ventilatory response (AVR). Mice were exposed either to CS or filtered air (FA) for 16 wk. After exposure, arterial blood gases and minute ventilation were measured before and during chemical challenges in anesthetized and spontaneously breathing mice. We found that as compared to FA, CS exposure caused emphysema and pulmonary inflammation associated with: (1) hypercapnia and hypoxemia, (2) rapid breathing, and (3) AVR to 25 breaths of pure N2, 5% CO2 alone, and 5% CO2 coupled with 10% O2. The similarity of these pathophysiological characteristics between our mouse model and COPD patients suggests that this model could be effectively applied to study COPD pathophysiology, especially central mechanisms of the AVR genesis.
COPD; Inflammation; Ventilatory responses
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is associated with a chronic inflammatory response of the host to chronic exposure to inhaled toxic gases and particles. Although inflammatory cells of both the innate and adaptive immune system infiltrate the lungs in pulmonary emphysema and form lymphoid follicles around the small airways, the exact role of the acquired immune system in the pathogenesis of emphysema is not known.
In this study, wild type Balb/c mice and immunodeficient scid mice – which lack functional B- and T-cells – were exposed to mainstream cigarette smoke (CS) for 5 weeks or 6 months.
Subacute CS-exposure for 5 weeks significantly increased innate inflammatory cells (neutrophils, macrophages and dendritic cells) in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid of wild type mice and scid mice, which correlated with the CS-induced upregulation of the chemokines Monocyte Chemotactic Protein-1, Macrophage Inflammatory Protein-3α and KC (= mouse Interleukin-8). Chronic CS-exposure for 6 months significantly increased the number of neutrophils, macrophages, dendritic cells, CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocytes in BAL fluid and lungs of wild type mice compared to air-exposed littermates, and augmented the size and number of peribronchial lymphoid follicles. In contrast, neither B-lymphocytes, nor T-lymphocytes, nor lymphoid follicles could be discerned in the lungs of air- or CS-exposed scid mice. Importantly, chronic CS-exposure induced pulmonary emphysema in both wild type animals and scid mice, as evidenced by a significant increase in the mean linear intercept and the destructive index of CS-exposed versus air-exposed animals. The CS-induced emphysema was associated with increased mRNA expression of matrix metalloproteinase-12 in the lungs and increased protein levels of Tumor Necrosis Factor-α in the BAL fluid of CS-exposed Balb/c and scid mice compared to air-exposed littermates.
This study suggests that the adaptive immune system is not required per se to develop pulmonary emphysema in response to chronic CS-exposure, since emphysema can be induced in scid mice, which lack lymphoid follicles as well as functional B- and T-cells.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. In addition to genetic abnormalities induced by cigarette smoke, several epidemiologic studies have found that smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an inflammatory disease of the lungs, have an increased risk of lung cancer (1.3- to 4.9-fold) compared to smokers without COPD. This suggests a link between chronic airway inflammation and lung carcinogenesis, independent of tobacco smoke exposure. We studied this association by assaying the inflammatory impact of products of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae, which colonizes the airways of patients with COPD, on lung cancer promotion in mice with an activated K-ras mutation in their airway epithelium. Two new mouse models of lung cancer were generated by crossing mice harboring the LSL–K-rasG12D allele with mice containing Cre recombinase inserted into the Clara cell secretory protein (CCSP) locus, with or without the neomycin cassette excised (CCSPCre and CCSPCre-Neo, respectively). Lung lesions in CCSPCre-Neo/LSL–K-rasG12D and CCSPCre/LSL–K-rasG12D mice appeared at 4 and 1 month of age, respectively, and were classified as epithelial hyperplasia of the bronchioles, adenoma, and adenocarcinoma. Weekly exposure of CCSPCre/LSL–K-rasG12D mice to aerosolized nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae lysate from age 6–14 weeks resulted in neutrophil/macrophage/CD8 T-cell–associated COPD-like airway inflammation, a 3.2-fold increase in lung surface tumor number (156 ± 9 versus 45 ± 7), and an increase in total lung tumor burden. We conclude that COPD-like airway inflammation promotes lung carcinogenesis in a background of a G12D-activated K-ras allele in airway secretory cells.
K-ras; lung cancer; inflammation
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by peribronchial and perivascular inflammation and largely irreversible airflow obstruction. Acute disease exacerbations, due frequently to viral infections, lead to enhanced disease symptoms and contribute to long-term progression of COPD pathology. Previously, we demonstrated that NK cells from cigarette smoke (CS)-exposed mice exhibit enhanced effector functions in response to stimulating cytokines or toll-like receptor ligands. Here, we show that the activating receptor NKG2D is a key mediator for CS stimulated NK cell hyperresponsiveness as CS-exposed NKG2D-deficient mice (Klrk1-/-) did not exhibit enhanced effector functions as assessed by cytokine responsiveness. NK cell cytotoxicity against MHC class I-deficient targets was not affected in a COPD model. However, NK cells from CS-exposed mice exhibit greater cytotoxic activity towards cells that express the NKG2D ligand RAET1ε. We also demonstrate that NKG2D-deficent mice exhibit diminished airway damage and reduced inflammation in a model of viral COPD exacerbation without affecting viral clearance. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of NKG2D+ NK cells into CS-exposed, influenza-infected NKG2D-deficient mice recapitulated the phenotypes observed in CS-exposed, influenza-infected WT mice. Our findings indicate that NKG2D stimulation during long term CS-exposure is a central pathway in the development of NK cell hyperresponsiveness and influenza-mediated exacerbations of COPD.
Patients with bronchitis type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have raised vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels in induced sputum. This has been associated with the pathogenesis of COPD through apoptotic and oxidative stress mechanisms. Since, chronic airway inflammation is an important pathological feature of COPD mainly initiated by cigarette smoking, aim of this study was to assess smoking as a potential cause of raised airway VEGF levels in bronchitis type COPD and to test the association between VEGF levels in induced sputum and airway inflammation in these patients.
14 current smokers with bronchitis type COPD, 17 asymptomatic current smokers with normal spirometry and 16 non-smokers were included in the study. VEGF, IL-8, and TNF-α levels in induced sputum were measured and the correlations between these markers, as well as between VEGF levels and pulmonary function were assessed.
The median concentrations of VEGF, IL-8, and TNF-α were significantly higher in induced sputum of COPD patients (1,070 pg/ml, 5.6 ng/ml and 50 pg/ml, respectively) compared to nonsmokers (260 pg/ml, 0.73 ng/ml, and 15.4 pg/ml, respectively, p < 0.05) and asymptomatic smokers (421 pg/ml, 1.27 ng/ml, p < 0.05, and 18.6 pg/ml, p > 0.05, respectively). Significant correlations were found between VEGF levels and pack years (r = 0.56, p = 0.046), IL-8 (r = 0.64, p = 0.026) and TNF-α (r = 0.62, p = 0.031) levels both in asymptomatic and COPD smokers (r = 0.66, p = 0.027, r = 0.67, p = 0.023, and r = 0.82, p = 0.002, respectively). No correlation was found between VEGF levels in sputum and pulmonary function parameters.
VEGF levels are raised in the airways of both asymptomatic and COPD smokers. The close correlation observed between VEGF levels in the airways and markers of airway inflammation in healthy smokers and in smokers with bronchitis type of COPD is suggestive of VEGF as a marker reflecting the inflammatory process that occurs in smoking subjects without alveolar destruction.
RIG-I (Retinoic acid Inducible Gene - I) is a cytoplasmic pathogen recognition receptor that recognizes pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) motifs to differentiate between viral and cellular RNAs. RIG-I is activated by blunt-ended double-stranded (ds) RNA with or without a 5′-triphosphate (ppp), single-stranded (ss) RNA marked by 5′-ppp1 and poly-uridine sequence2,3. Upon binding to such PAMP motifs, RIG-I initiates a signaling cascade that induces innate immune defenses and inflammatory cytokines to establish an antiviral state. The RIG-I pathway is highly regulated and aberrant signaling leads to apoptosis, altered cell differentiation, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and cancer4,5. The helicase and repressor domain (RD) of RIG-I recognize dsRNA and 5′-ppp RNA to activate the amino-terminal two CAspase Recruitment Domains (CARDs) for signaling. To understand the synergy between helicase and RD for RNA binding and the contribution of ATP hydrolysis to RIG-I activation, we determined the structure of human RIG-I helicase-RD in complex with dsRNA and an ATP-analog. The helicase-RD organizes into a ring around dsRNA, capping one end, while contacting both strands utilizing previously uncharacterized motifs to recognize dsRNA. Small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), limited proteolysis, and differential scanning fluorimetry (DSF) suggest that RIG-I is in an extended and flexible conformation that compacts upon binding RNA. These results provide a detailed view of the helicase role in dsRNA recognition, the synergy between RD and the helicase for RNA binding, organization of full-length RIG-I bound to dsRNA, and evidence of a conformational change upon RNA binding. The RIG-I helicase-RD structure is consistent with dsRNA translocation without unwinding and cooperative binding to RNA. The structure yields unprecedented insight into innate immunity and has broader impact into other areas of biology, including RNA interference and DNA repair, which utilize homologous helicase domains within Dicer and FANCM.