Macrophages (Mθ) play a central role in the innate immune response and in the pathology of chronic inflammatory diseases. Macrophages treated with Th2-type cytokines such as Interleukin-4 (IL-4) and Interleukin-13 (IL-13) exhibit an altered phenotype and such alternatively activated macrophages are important in the pathology of diseases characterised by allergic inflammation including asthma and atopic dermatitis. The CC chemokine Thymus and Activation-Regulated Chemokine (TARC/CCL17) and its murine homologue (mTARC/ABCD-2) bind to the chemokine receptor CCR4, and direct T-cell and macrophage recruitment into areas of allergic inflammation. Delineating the molecular mechanisms responsible for the IL-4 induction of TARC expression will be important for a better understanding of the role of Th2 cytokines in allergic disease.
We demonstrate that mTARC mRNA and protein are potently induced by the Th2 cytokine, Interleukin-4 (IL-4), and inhibited by Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) in primary macrophages (Mθ). IL-4 induction of mTARC occurs in the presence of PI3 kinase pathway and translation inhibitors, but not in the absence of STAT6 transcription factor, suggesting a direct-acting STAT6-mediated pathway of mTARC transcriptional activation. We have functionally characterised eleven putative STAT6 sites identified in the mTARC proximal promoter and determined that five of these contribute to the IL-4 induction of mTARC. By in vitro binding assays and transient transfection of isolated sites into the RAW 264.7 Mθ cell-line, we demonstrate that these sites have widely different capacities for binding and activation by STAT6. Site-directed mutagenesis of these sites within the context of the mTARC proximal promoter revealed that the two most proximal sites, conserved between the human and mouse genes, are important mediators of the IL-4 response.
The induction of mTARC by IL-4 results from cooperative interactions between STAT6 sites within the mTARC gene promoter. Significantly, we have shown that transfer of the nine most proximal mTARC STAT6 sites in their endogenous conformation confers potent (up to 130-fold) IL-4 inducibility on heterologous promoters. These promoter elements constitute important and sensitive IL-4-responsive transcriptional units that could be used to drive transgene expression in sites of Th2 inflammation in vivo.
This study investigates the effect of Xiao-Qing-Long-Tang (XQLT) on neurotrophin in an established mouse model of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Der p)-induced acute allergic asthma and in a LA4 cell line model of lung adenoma. The effects of XQLT on the regulation of nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR) and immunoglobulin E were measured.
LA4 cells were stimulated with 100 μg/ml Der p 24 h and the supernatant was collected for ELISA analysis. Der p-stimulated LA4 cells with either XQLT pre-treatment or XQLT co-treatment were used to evaluate the XQLT effect on neurotrophin.
Balb/c mice were sensitized on days 0 and 7 with a base-tail injection of 50 μg Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Der p) that was emulsified in 50 μl incomplete Freund’s adjuvant (IFA). On day 14, mice received an intra-tracheal challenge of 50 μl Der p (2 mg/ml). XQLT (1g/Kg) was administered orally to mice either on days 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 as a preventive strategy or on day 15 as a therapeutic strategy.
XQLT inhibited expression of those NGF, BDNF and thymus-and activation-regulated cytokine (TARC) in LA4 cells that were subjected to a Der p allergen. Both preventive and therapeutic treatments with XQLT in mice reduced AHR. Preventive treatment with XQLT markedly decreased NGF in broncho-alveolar lavage fluids (BALF) and BDNF in serum, whereas therapeutic treatment reduced only serum BDNF level. The reduced NGF levels corresponded to a decrease in AHR by XQLT treatment. Reduced BALF NGF and TARC and serum BDNF levels may have been responsible for decreased eosinophil infiltration into lung tissue. Immunohistochemistry showed that p75NTR and TrkA levels were reduced in the lungs of mice under both XQLT treatment protocols, and this reduction may have been correlated with the prevention of the asthmatic reaction by XQLT.
XQLT alleviated allergic inflammation including AHR, IgE elevation and eosinophil infiltration in Der p stimulated mice by regulating neurotrophin and reducing TARC. These results revealed the potential pharmacological targets on which the XQLT decotion exerts preventive and therapeutic effects in an allergic asthma mouse model.
Asthma; Xiao-Qing-Long-Tang (XQLT); Nerve growth factor (NGF); Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF); p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR)
Over 40% of chronic stable asthma patients have evidence of respiratory Mycoplasma pneumoniae (Mp) infection as detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), but not by serology and culture, suggesting a low-level Mp involved in chronic asthma. However, the role of such a low-level Mp infection in regulation of allergic inflammation remains unknown.
To determine the impact of a low-level Mp infection in mice with established airway allergic inflammation on allergic responses such as eosinophilia and chemokine eotaxin-2, and the underlying mechanisms (i.e., prostaglandin E2 [PGE2] pathway) since PGE2 inhalation before allergen challenge suppressed eosinophil infiltration in human airways.
BALB/c mouse models of ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergic asthma with an ensuing low-dose or high-dose Mp were used to assess IL-4 expression, BAL eosinophil, eotaxin-2 and PGE2 levels, and lung mRNA levels of microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1). Primary alveolar macrophages (pAMs) from naïve BALB/c mice were cultured to determine if Mp-induced PGE2 or exogenous PGE2 down-regulates IL-4/IL-13-induced eotaxin-2.
Low-dose Mp in allergic mice significantly enhanced IL-4 and eotaxin-2, and moderately promoted lung eosinophilia, whereas high-dose Mp significantly reduced lung eosinophilia and tended to decrease IL-4 and eotaxin-2. Moreover, in both OVA-naïve and allergic mice, lung mPGES-1 mRNA and BAL PGE2 levels were elevated in mice infected with high-dose, but not low-dose Mp. In pAMs, IL-4/IL-13 significantly increased eotaxin-2, which was reduced by Mp infection accompanied by dose-dependent PGE2 induction. Exogenous PGE2 inhibited IL-4/IL-13-induced eotaxin-2 in a dose-dependent manner.
This study highlights a novel concept on how differing bacterial loads in the lung modify the established allergic airway inflammation, and thus interact with an allergen to further induce Th2 responses. That is: Unlike high-level Mp, low-level Mp fails to effectively induce PGE2 to down-regulate allergic responses (e.g., eotaxin-2), thus maintaining or even worsening allergic inflammation in asthmatic airways.
asthma; Mycoplasma pneumoniae; eotaxin-2; PGE2; alveolar macrophages
The mechanisms that initiate allergic lung inflammation are relevant to expression of diseases such as asthma, but the factors underlying resolution of inflammation are equally important. Previously, we demonstrated the importance of matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) for airway egression of lung eosinophils, a critical anti-inflammatory mechanism without which mice are rendered highly susceptible to lethal asphyxiation. Here we show that leukocyte MMP9 is the dominant airway MMP controlling inflammatory cell egression. The allergic lung phenotype of MMP9−/− mice was similar to WT and was not altered by concomitant deletion of the MMP2 gene (double knockout; dko). However, inflammatory cells accumulated aberrantly in the lungs of allergen-challenged MMP9−/− and dko mice and fewer eosinophils and neutrophils were present in bronchoalveolar lavage. These aberrant cellular trafficking patterns were explained by disruption of transepithelial chemokine gradients, in MMP2−/− mice affecting only eotaxin (CCL11), but in MMP9−/− and dko mice involving eotaxin, MARC (CCL7), and TARC (CCL17). Thus, by establishing multiple transepithelial chemokine gradients, MMP9 is broadly implicated in the resolution of allergic inflammation, an essential protective mechanism that overlaps with a more limited role played by MMP2.
chemotaxis; cytokines; gelatinase B; matrix metalloproteinase-9
Eosinophils have been implicated as playing a major role in allergic airway responses. However, the importance of these cells to the development of this disease has remained ambiguous despite many studies, partly because of lack of appropriate model systems. In this study, using transgenic murine models, we more clearly delineate a role for eosinophils in asthma. We report that, in contrast to results obtained on a BALB/c background, eosinophil-deficient C57BL/6 ΔdblGATA mice (eosinophil-null mice via the ΔDblGATA1 mutation) have reduced airway hyperresponsiveness, and cytokine production of interleukin (IL)-4, -5, and -13 in ovalbumin-induced allergic airway inflammation. This was caused by reduced T cell recruitment into the lung, as these mouse lungs had reduced expression of CCL7/MCP-3, CC11/eotaxin-1, and CCL24/eotaxin-2. Transferring eosinophils into these eosinophil-deficient mice and, more importantly, delivery of CCL11/eotaxin-1 into the lung during the development of this disease rescued lung T cell infiltration and airway inflammation when delivered together with allergen. These studies indicate that on the C57BL/6 background, eosinophils are integral to the development of airway allergic responses by modulating chemokine and/or cytokine production in the lung, leading to T cell recruitment.
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
Interleukin (IL)-22 is an effector cytokine, which acts primarily on epithelial cells in the skin, gut, liver and lung. Both pro- and anti-inflammatory properties have been reported for IL-22 depending on the tissue and disease model. In a murine model of allergic airway inflammation, we found that IL-22 is predominantly produced by innate lymphoid cells in the inflamed lungs, rather than TH cells. To determine the impact of IL-22 on airway inflammation, we used allergen-sensitized IL-22-deficient mice and found that they suffer from significantly higher airway hyperreactivity upon airway challenge. IL-22-deficiency led to increased eosinophil infiltration lymphocyte invasion and production of CCL17 (TARC), IL-5 and IL-13 in the lung. Mice treated with IL-22 before antigen challenge displayed reduced expression of CCL17 and IL-13 and significant amelioration of airway constriction and inflammation. We conclude that innate IL-22 limits airway inflammation, tissue damage and clinical decline in allergic lung disease.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) plays an important role in cell growth/differentiation, integrating environmental cues, and regulating immune responses. Our lab previously demonstrated that inhibition of mTOR with rapamycin prevented house dust mite (HDM)-induced allergic asthma in mice. Here, we utilized two treatment protocols to investigate whether rapamycin, compared to the steroid, dexamethasone, could inhibit allergic responses during the later stages of the disease process, namely allergen re-exposure and/or during progression of chronic allergic disease. In protocol 1, BALB/c mice were sensitized to HDM (three i.p. injections) and administered two intranasal HDM exposures. After 6 weeks of rest/recovery, mice were re-exposed to HDM while being treated with rapamycin or dexamethasone. In protocol 2, mice were exposed to HDM for 3 or 6 weeks and treated with rapamycin or dexamethasone during weeks 4–6. Characteristic features of allergic asthma, including IgE, goblet cells, airway hyperreactivity (AHR), inflammatory cells, cytokines/chemokines, and T cell responses were assessed. In protocol 1, both rapamycin and dexamethasone suppressed goblet cells and total CD4+ T cells including activated, effector, and regulatory T cells in the lung tissue, with no effect on AHR or total inflammatory cell numbers in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Rapamycin also suppressed IgE, although IL-4 and eotaxin 1 levels were augmented. In protocol 2, both drugs suppressed total CD4+ T cells, including activated, effector, and regulatory T cells and IgE levels. IL-4, eotaxin, and inflammatory cell numbers were increased after rapamycin and no effect on AHR was observed. Dexamethasone suppressed inflammatory cell numbers, especially eosinophils, but had limited effects on AHR. We conclude that while mTOR signaling is critical during the early phases of allergic asthma, its role is much more limited once disease is established.
Thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC) is a recently identified lymphocyte-directed CC chemokine which specifically chemoattracts T helper type 2 CD4(+) T cells in human. To establish the pathophysiological roles of TARC in vivo, we investigated whether a monoclonal antibody (mAb) against TARC could inhibit the induction of hepatic lesions in murine model using Propionibacterium acnes and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). P. acnes-induced intrahepatic granuloma formation in the priming phase is essential to the subsequent liver injury elicited by a low dose of LPS. The priming phase appears to be dominated by Th1 type immune responses determined by the profile of chemokine and chemokine receptor expression. TARC was selectively produced by granuloma-forming cells, and CC chemokine receptor 4 (CCR4)-expressing CD4(+) T cells migrated into the liver after LPS administration. In vivo injection of anti-TARC mAb just before LPS administration protected the mice from acute lethal liver damage, which was accompanied by a significant reduction of both CCR4 mRNA expression and IL-4 production by liver-infiltrating CD4(+) T cells. Moreover, both TNF-alpha and Fas ligand expressions in the liver were decreased by anti-TARC treatment. These results suggest that recruitment of IL-4-producing CCR4(+) CD4(+) T cells by granuloma-derived TARC into the liver parenchyma may be a key cause of massive liver injury after systemic LPS administration.
Eotaxin is a member of the C-C family of chemokines and is related during antigen challenge in a guinea pig model of allergic airway inflammation (asthma). Consistent with its putative role in eosinophilic inflammation, eotaxin induces the selective infiltration of eosinophils when injected into the lung and skin. Using a guinea pig lung cDNA library, we have cloned full-length eotaxin cDNA. The cDNA encodes a protein of 96 amino acids, including a putative 23-amino acid hydrophobic leader sequence, followed by 73 amino acids composing the mature active eotaxin protein. The protein-coding region of this cDNA is 73, 71, 50, and 48% identical in nucleic acid sequence to those of human macrophage chemoattractant protein (MCP) 3, MCP-1, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP) 1 alpha, and RANTES, respectively. Analysis of genomic DNA suggested that there is a single eotaxin gene in guinea pig which is apparently conserved in mice. High constitutive levels of eotaxin mRNA expression were observed in the lung, while the intestines, stomach, spleen, liver, heart, thymus, testes, and kidney expressed lower levels. To determine if eotaxin mRNA levels are elevated during allergen-induced eosinophilic airway inflammation, ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized guinea pigs were challenged with aerosolized antigen. Compared with the lungs from saline-challenged animals, eotaxin mRNA levels increased sixfold within 3 h and returned to baseline by 6 h. Thus, eotaxin mRNA levels are increased in response to allergen challenge during the late phase response. The identification of constitutive eotaxin mRNA expression in multiple tissues suggests that in addition to regulating airway eosinophilia, eotaxin is likely to be involved in eosinophil recruitment into other tissues as well as in baseline tissue homing.
T lymphocytes have been implicated in controlling the recruitment of eosinophils into the lung in murine models of allergic asthma. The mechanism by which T cells assist in the recruitment of eosinophils to the lung in these models is not completely understood. We hypothesized that eosinophil-active chemokines might be regulated by antigen (Ag)- induced T cell activation in vivo and thereby mediate T cell-dependent eosinophil recruitment. To test this hypothesis, we examined the effect of an anti-CD3 mAb on Ag-induced pulmonary eosinophilia and correlated this with the expression of three eosinophil-active chemokines: eotaxin, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1 alpha, and RANTES. We found that Ag-induced pulmonary eosinophilia was associated with the induction of eotaxin and MIP-1 alpha, but not RANTES mRNA. Prechallenge treatment with anti-CD3 mAb inhibited eotaxin, but not MIP-1 alpha and RANTES mRNA induction, and significantly reduced eosinophil accumulation in the lung. In addition, Ag-specific antibody responses and mast cell degranulation after Ag challenge in sensitized mice were not affected by T cell elimination, and were not sufficient to induce the expression of eotaxin and cause pulmonary eosinophilia. These findings suggest that eotaxin is one of the molecular links between Ag- specific T cell activation and the recruitment of eosinophils into the airways.
Eosinophil accumulation is a distinctive feature of lung allergic inflammation. Here, we have used a mouse model of OVA (ovalbumin)-induced pulmonary eosinophilia to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms for this selective recruitment of eosinophils to the airways. In this model there was an early accumulation of infiltrating monocytes/macrophages in the lung during the OVA treatment, whereas the increase in infiltrating T-lymphocytes paralleled the accumulation of eosinophils. The kinetics of accumulation of these three leukocyte subtypes correlated with the levels of mRNA expression of the chemokines monocyte chemotactic peptide-1/JE, eotaxin, and RANTES (regulated upon activation in normal T cells expressed and secreted), suggesting their involvement in the recruitment of these leukocytes. Furthermore, blockade of eotaxin with specific antibodies in vivo reduced the accumulation of eosinophils in the lung in response to OVA by half. Mature CD4+ T-lymphocytes were absolutely required for OVA-induced eosinophil accumulation since lung eosinophilia was prevented in CD4+-deficient mice. However, these cells were neither the main producers of the major eosinophilic chemokines eotaxin, RANTES, or MIP-1alpha, nor did they regulate the expression of these chemokines. Rather, the presence of CD4+ T cells was necessary for enhancement of VCAM-1 (vascular cell adhesion molecule-1) expression in the lung during allergic inflammation induced by the OVA treatment. In support of this, mice genetically deficient for VCAM-1 and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 failed to develop pulmonary eosinophilia. Selective eosinophilic recruitment during lung allergic inflammation results from a sequential accumulation of certain leukocyte types, particularly T cells, and relies on the presence of both eosinophilic chemoattractants and adhesion receptors.
Eosinophils play important roles in asthma and lung infections. Murine models are widely used for assessing the functional significance and mechanistic basis for eosinophil involvements in these diseases. However, little is known about tissue eosinophils in homeostasis. In addition, little data on eosinophil chemokine production during allergic airway inflammation are available. In this study, the properties and functions of homeostatic and activated eosinophils were compared. Eosinophils from normal tissues expressed costimulation and adhesion molecules B7-1, B7-2 and ICAM-1 for Ag presentation but little major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II, and were found to be poor stimulators of T-cell proliferation. However, these eosinophils expressed high levels of chemokine mRNA including C10, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1α, MIP-1γ, MIP-2, eotaxin and monocyte chemoattractant protein-5 (MCP-5), and produced chemokine proteins. Eosinophil intracellular chemokines decreased rapidly with concomitant surface marker downregulation upon in vitro culturing consistent with piecemeal degranulation. Lung eosinophils from mice with induced allergic airway inflammation exhibited increased chemokines mRNA expression and chemokines protein production and upregulated MHC class II and CD11c expression. They were also found to be the predominant producers of the CCR1 ligands CCL6/C10 and CCL9/MIP-1γ in inflamed lungs. Eosinophil production of C10 and MIP-1γ correlated with the marked influx of CD11bhigh lung dendritic cells during allergic airway inflammation and the high of CCR1 on these dendritic cells (DCs). The study provided baseline information on tissue eosinophils, documented the upregulation of activation markers and chemokine production in activated eosinophils, and indicated that eosinophils were a key chemokine-producing cell type in allergic lung inflammation.
allergy; chemokines; eosinophils; lung; mouse
Eosinophils play important roles in asthma and lung infections. Murine models are widely used for assessing the functional significance and mechanistic basis for eosinophil involvements in these diseases. However, little is known about tissue eosinophils in homeostasis. In addition, little data on eosinophil chemokine production during allergic airway inflammation are available. In this study, the properties and functions of homeostatic and activated eosinophils were compared. Eosinophils from normal tissues expressed costimulation and adhesion molecules B7-1, B7-2 and ICAM-1 for Ag presentation but little major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II, and were found to be poor stimulators of T-cell proliferation. However, these eosinophils expressed high levels of chemokine mRNA including C10, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1α, MIP-1γ, MIP-2, eotaxin and monocyte chemoattractant protein-5 (MCP-5), and produced chemokine proteins. Eosinophil intracellular chemokines decreased rapidly with concomitant surface marker downregulation upon in vitro culturing consistent with piecemeal degranulation. Lung eosinophils from mice with induced allergic airway inflammation exhibited increased chemokines mRNA expression and chemokines protein production and upregulated MHC class II and CD11c expression. They were also found to be the predominant producers of the CCR1 ligands CCL6/C10 and CCL9/MIP-1γ in inflamed lungs. Eosinophil production of C10 and MIP-1γ correlated with the marked influx of CD11bhigh lung dendritic cells during allergic airway inflammation and the high expression of CCR1 on these dendritic cells (DCs). The study provided baseline information on tissue eosinophils, documented the upregulation of activation markers and chemokine production in activated eosinophils, and indicated that eosinophils were a key chemokine-producing cell type in allergic lung inflammation.
allergy; chemokines; eosinophils; lung; mouse
Surfactant protein-A (SP-A) has well-established functions in reducing bacterial and viral infections but its role in chronic lung diseases such as asthma is unclear. Mycoplasma pneumoniae (Mp) frequently colonizes the airways of chronic asthmatics and is thought to contribute to exacerbations of asthma. Our lab has previously reported that during Mp infection of non-allergic airways, SP-A aides in maintaining airway homeostasis by inhibiting an overzealous TNF-alpha mediated response and, in allergic mice, SP-A regulates eosinophilic infiltration and inflammation of the airway. In the current study, we used an in vivo model with wild type (WT) and SP-A−/− allergic mice challenged with the model antigen ovalbumin (Ova) that were concurrently infected with Mp (Ova+Mp) to test the hypothesis that SP-A ameliorates Mp-induced stimulation of eosinophils. Thus, SP-A could protect allergic airways from injury due to release of eosinophil inflammatory products. SP-A deficient mice exhibit significant increases in inflammatory cells, mucus production and lung damage during concurrent allergic airway disease and infection (Ova+Mp) as compared to the WT mice of the same treatment group. In contrast, SP-A deficient mice have significantly decreased Mp burden compared to WT mice. The eosinophil specific factor, eosinophil peroxidase (EPO), which has been implicated in pathogen killing and also in epithelial dysfunction due to oxidative damage of resident lung proteins, is enhanced in samples from allergic/infected SP-A−/− mice as compared to WT mice. In vitro experiments using purified eosinophils and human SP-A suggest that SP-A limits the release of EPO from Mp-stimulated eosinophils thereby reducing their killing capacity. These findings are the first to demonstrate that although SP-A interferes with eosinophil-mediated biologic clearance of Mp by mediating the interaction of Mp with eosinophils, SP-A simultaneously benefits the airway by limiting inflammation and damage.
Glucocorticoids can either suppress gene transcription (transrepression) or activate it (transactivation). This latter process may contribute to certain side effects caused by these agents. Mapracorat (also known as BOL-303242-X or ZK 245186) is a novel selective glucocorticoid receptor agonist that maintains a beneficial anti-inflammatory activity but seems to be less effective in transactivation, resulting in a lower potential for side effects; it has been proposed for the topical treatment of inflammatory skin disorders. This study assessed the anti-allergic activity of mapracorat at the ocular level and whether eosinophils and mast cells are targets of its action.
With in vitro studies apoptosis was evaluated in human eosinophils by flow cytometry and western blot of caspase-3 fragments. Eosinophil migration toward platelet-activating factor was evaluated by transwell assays. Interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and the chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 5 (CCL5)/regulated upon activation normal T cell expressed, and presumably secreted (RANTES) were measured using a high-throughput multiplex luminex technology. Annexin I and the chemochine receptor C-X-C chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) were detected by flow cytometry. With in vivo studies, allergic conjunctivitis was induced in guinea pigs sensitized to ovalbumin by an ocular allergen challenge and evaluated by a clinical score. Conjunctival eosinophils were determined by microscopy or eosinophil peroxidase assay.
In cultured human eosinophils, mapracorat showed the same potency as dexamethasone but displayed higher efficacy in increasing spontaneous apoptosis and in counteracting cytokine-sustained eosinophil survival. These effects were prevented by the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist mifepristone. Mapracorat inhibited eosinophil migration and IL-8 release from eosinophils or the release of IL-6, IL-8, CCL5/RANTES, and TNF-α from a human mast cell line with equal potency as dexamethasone, whereas it was clearly less potent than this glucocorticoid in inducing annexin I and CXCR4 expression on the human eosinophil surface; this was taken as a possible sign of glucocorticoid-dependent transactivation. In the guinea pig, mapracorat or dexamethasone eye drops induced an analogous reduction in clinical symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis and conjunctival eosinophil accumulation.
Mapracorat appears to be a promising candidate for the topical treatment of allergic eye disorders. It maintains an anti-allergic profile similar to that of dexamethasone but seems to have fewer transactivation effects in comparison to this classical glucocorticoid. Some of its cellular targets may contribute to eosinophil apoptosis and/or to preventing their recruitment and activation and to inhibiting the release of cytokines and chemokines.
Asthma is a triad of intermittent airway obstruction, bronchial smooth muscle cell hyperreactivity to bronchoconstrictors, and chronic bronchial inflammation. From an aetiological standpoint, asthma is a heterogenous disease, but often appears as a form of immediate hypersensitivity. Many patients with asthma have other manifestations of atopy, such as rhinitis or eczema. Even among non-atopic patients with asthma, the pathophysiology of airway constriction is similar, raising the hypothesis that alternative mechanisms of mast cell degranulation may underlie the disease. The primary inflammatory lesion of asthma consists of accumulation of CD4+ T helper type 2 (TH2) lymphocytes and eosinophils in the airway mucosa. TH2 cells orchestrate the asthmatic inflammation through the secretion of a series of cytokines, particularly interleukin 4 (IL-4), IL-13, IL-5, and IL-9. IL-4 is the major factor regulating IgE production by B cells, and is required for optimal TH2 differentiation. However, blocking IL-4 is not sufficient to inhibit the development of asthma in experimental models. In contrast, inhibition of IL-13, another TH2 cytokine whose signal transduction pathway overlaps with that of IL-4, completely blocks airway hyperreactivity in mouse asthma models. IL-5 is a key factor for eosinophilia and could therefore be responsible for some of the tissue damage seen in chronic asthma. IL-9 has pleiotropic activities on allergic mediators such as mast cells, eosinophils, B cells and epithelial cells, and might be a good target for therapeutic interventions. Finally, chemokines, which can be produced by many cell types from inflamed lungs, play a major role in recruiting the mediators of asthmatic inflammation. Genetic studies have demonstrated that multiple genes are involved in asthma. Several genome wide screens point to chromosome 5q31–33 as a major susceptibility locus for asthma and high IgE values. This region includes a cluster of cytokine genes, and genes encoding IL-3, IL-4, IL-5, IL-9, IL-13, granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor, and the ß chain of IL-12. Interestingly, for some of these cytokines, a linkage was also established between asthma and their receptor. Another susceptibility locus has been mapped on chromosome 12 in a region that contains other potential candidate cytokine genes, including the gene encoding interferon γ, the prototypical TH1 cytokine with inhibitory activities for TH2 lymphocytes. Taken together, both experimental and genetic studies point to TH2 cytokines, such as IL-4, IL-13, IL-5, and IL-9, as important targets for therapeutic applications in patients with asthma.
Key Words: asthma • cytokines • interleukins • treatment of asthma • interferon γ
Steroid treatment of allergic eosinophilic airway diseases is considered to attenuate cell recruitment by inhibiting several chemokines and to cause eosinophil clearance through inducement of apoptosis of these cells. However, roles of these mechanisms in the actions of steroids in vivo have not been fully established. Also, as regards clearance of tissue eosinophils other mechanisms than apoptosis may operate in vivo.
This study explores anti-inflammatory effects of steroids instituted during either development or resolution of airway allergic inflammation.
Immunized mice were subjected to week-long daily allergen challenges (ovalbumin). Steroid treatment was instituted either amidst the challenges or exclusively post-allergen challenge. CC chemokines, goblet cell hyperplasia, occurrence of eosinophil apoptosis, and airway tissue as well as lumen eosinophilia were examined at different time-points.
Daily steroids instituted amid the allergen challenges non-selectively attenuated a range of chemokines, permitted egression of tissue eosinophils into airway lumen to increase, and reduced development of lung tissue eosinophilia. Steroid treatment instituted post-challenge selectively inhibited the CC-chemokine regulation upon activation, normal T cell expressed and secrted (RANTES), permitted continued egression of eosinophils into airway lumen, and resolved the tissue eosinophilia. Eosinophil apoptosis rarely occurred at development and resolution of the allergic eosinophilic inflammation whether the animals were steroid treated or not. However, anti-Fas monoclonal antibodies given to mice with established eosinophilia post-challenge produced apoptosis of the tissue eosinophils indicating that apoptotic eosinophils, if they occur, are well detectible in vivo.
Airway tissue eosinophils are likely eliminated through egression into airway lumen with little involvement of apoptosis and phagocytosis. Our data further suggest that therapeutic steroids may resolve airway inflammation by permitting clearance of tissue eosinophils through egression and inhibiting RANTES-dependent cell recruitment to lung tissues.
apoptosis; asthma; chemokines; glucocorticoids
Interleukin (IL)-5 and IL-13 are thought to play key roles in the pathogenesis of asthma. Although both cytokines use eotaxin to regulate eosinophilia, IL-13 is thought to operate a separate pathway to IL-5 to induce airways hyperreactivity (AHR) in the allergic lung. However, identification of the key pathway(s) used by IL-5 and IL-13 in the disease process is confounded by the failure of anti–IL-5 or anti–IL-13 treatments to completely inhibit the accumulation of eosinophils in lung tissue. By using mice deficient in both IL-5 and eotaxin (IL-5/eotaxin−/−) we have abolished tissue eosinophilia and the induction of AHR in the allergic lung. Notably, in mice deficient in IL-5/eotaxin the ability of CD4+ T helper cell (Th)2 lymphocytes to produce IL-13, a critical regulator of airways smooth muscle constriction and obstruction, was significantly impaired. Moreover, the transfer of eosinophils to IL-5/eotaxin−/− mice overcame the intrinsic defect in T cell IL-13 production. Thus, factors produced by eosinophils may either directly or indirectly modulate the production of IL-13 during Th2 cell development. Our data show that IL-5 and eotaxin intrinsically modulate IL-13 production from Th2 cells and that these signaling systems are not necessarily independent effector pathways and may also be integrated to regulate aspects of allergic disease.
allergy; cytokines; eosinophils; lung; inflammation
Key intracytosolic pattern recognition receptors of innate immunity against bacterial infections are nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NOD)-like receptors (NLRs). We elucidated the NOD1 and NOD2-mediated activation of human eosinophils, the principal effector cells for allergic inflammation, upon interacting with human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells in allergic asthma. Eosinophils constitutively expressed NOD1,2 but exhibited nonsignificant responses to release chemokines upon the stimulation by NOD1 ligand γ-D-glutamyl-meso-diaminopimelic acid (iE-DAP) and NOD2 ligand muramyl dipeptide (MDP). However, iE-DAP and MDP could significantly upregulate cell surface expression of CD18 and intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 on eosinophils and ICAM-1 on BEAS-2B cells, as well as induce chemokines CCL2 and CXCL8 release in the coculture system (all P<0.05). Both eosinophils and BEAS-2B cells were the main source for CXCL8 and CCL2 release in the coculture system upon iE-DAP or MDP stimulation. Direct interaction between eosinophils and BEAS-2B cells is responsible for CCL2 release, and soluble mediators are implicated in CXCL8 release. ERK and NF-κB play regulatory roles for the expression of adhesion molecules and chemokines in coculture. Treatment with NOD1,2 ligand could induce the subepithelial fibrosis and significantly enhance the serum concentration of total IgE, chemokine CCL5 for eosinophils and T helper type 2 (Th2) cells and asthma Th2 cytokine IL-13 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of ovalbumin-sensitized allergic asthmatic mice (all P<0.05). This study provides further evidence of bacterial infection-mediated activation of NOD1,2 in triggering allergic asthma via the activation of eosinophils interacting with bronchial epithelial cells at inflammatory airway.
allergy; bronchial epithelial cells; chemokines; eosinophils; signal transduction
In vitro polarized human Th2 cells preferentially express the chemokine receptors CCR3, CCR4, and CCR8 and migrate to their ligands: eotaxin, monocyte-derived chemokine (MDC), thymus- and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC), and I-309. We have studied the expression of chemokines and chemokine receptors in the airway mucosa of atopic asthmatics. Immunofluorescent analysis of endobronchial biopsies from six asthmatics, taken 24 hours after allergen challenge, demonstrates that virtually all T cells express IL-4 and CCR4. CCR8 is coexpressed with CCR4 on 28% of the T cells, while CCR3 is expressed on eosinophils but not on T cells. Expression of the CCR4-specific ligands MDC and TARC is strongly upregulated on airway epithelial cells upon allergen challenge, suggesting an involvement of this receptor/ligand axis in the regulation of lymphocyte recruitment into the asthmatic bronchi. In contrast to asthma, T cells infiltrating the airways of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary sarcoidosis produce IFN-γ and express high levels of CXCR3, while lacking CCR4 and CCR8 expression. These data support the role of CCR4, of its ligands MDC and TARC, and of CCR8 in the pathogenesis of allergen-induced late asthmatic responses and suggest that these molecules could be considered as targets for therapeutic intervention.
Aeroallergens such as house dust mite (HDM), cockroach, and grass or tree pollen are innocuous substances that can induce allergic sensitization upon inhalation. The serine proteases present in these allergens are thought to activate the protease-activated receptor (PAR)-2, on the airway epithelium, thereby potentially inducing allergic sensitization at the expense of inhalation tolerance. We hypothesized that the proteolytic activity of allergens may play an important factor in the allergenicity to house dust mite and is essential to overcome airway tolerance. Here, we aimed to investigate the role of PAR-2 activation in allergic sensitization and HDM-induced allergic airway inflammation. In our study, Par-2 deficient mice were treated with two different HDM extracts containing high and low serine protease activities twice a week for a period of 5 weeks. We determined airway inflammation through quantification of percentages of mononuclear cells, eosinophils and neutrophils in the bronchial alveolar lavage fluid and measured total IgE and HDM-specific IgE and IgG1 levels in serum. Furthermore, Th2 and pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-5, IL-13, Eotaxin-1, IL-17, KC, Chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 17 (CCL17) and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), were measured in lung tissue homogenates. We observed that independent of the serine protease content, HDM was able to induce elevated levels of eosinophils and neutrophils in the airways of both wild-type (WT) and Par-2 deficient mice. Furthermore, we show that induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines by HDM exposure is independent of Par-2 activation. In contrast, serine protease activity of HDM does contribute to enhanced levels of total IgE, but not HDM-specific IgE. We conclude that, while Par-2 activation contributes to the development of IgE responses, it is largely dispensable for the HDM-induced induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines and airway inflammation in an experimental mouse model of HDM-driven allergic airway disease.
It is widely assumed that apoptosis of eosinophils is a central component of resolution of allergic airway disease. However, this has not been demonstrated in human allergic airways in vivo. Based on animal in vivo observations we hypothesised that steroid-induced resolution of human airway eosinophilic inflammation involves inhibition of CCL5 (RANTES), a CC-chemokine regulating eosinophil and lymphocyte traffic, and elimination of eosinophils without evident occurrence of apoptotic eosinophils in the diseased tissue.
To determine mucosal eosinophilia, apoptotic eosinophils, general cell apoptosis and cell proliferation, and expression of CCL5 and CCL11 (eotaxin) in human allergic airway tissues in vivo at resolution of established symptomatic eosinophilic inflammation.
Twenty-one patients with intermittent (birch and/or grass) allergic rhinitis received daily nasal allergen challenges for two seven days' periods separated by more than two weeks washout. Five days into these "artificial pollen seasons", nasal treatment with budesonide was instituted and continued for six days in a double blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, and crossover design. This report is a parallel group comparison of nasal biopsy histochemistry data obtained on the final day of the second treatment period.
Treatments were instituted when clinical rhinitis symptoms had been established. Compared to placebo, budesonide reduced tissue eosinophilia, and subepithelial more than epithelial eosinophilia. Steroid treatment also attenuated tissue expression of CCL5, but CCL11 was not reduced. General tissue cell apoptosis and epithelial cell proliferation were reduced by budesonide. However, apoptotic eosinophils were not detected in any biopsies, irrespective of treatment.
Inhibition of CCL5-dependent recruitment of cells to diseased airway tissue, and reduced cell proliferation, reduced general cell apoptosis, but not increased eosinophil apoptosis, are involved in early phase steroid-induced resolution of human allergic rhinitis.
The complex pathophysiology of lung allergic inflammation and bronchial hyperresponsiveness
(BHR) that characterize asthma is achieved by the regulated accumulation and activation of
different leukocyte subsets in the lung. The development and maintenance of these processes
correlate with the coordinated production of chemokines. Here, we have assessed the role that
different chemokines play in lung allergic inflammation and BHR by blocking their activities
in vivo. Our results show that blockage of each one of these chemokines reduces both lung
leukocyte infiltration and BHR in a substantially different way. Thus, eotaxin neutralization reduces specifically BHR and lung eosinophilia transiently after each antigen exposure. Monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-5 neutralization abolishes BHR not by affecting the accumulation of inflammatory leukocytes in the airways, but rather by altering the trafficking of the
eosinophils and other leukocytes through the lung interstitium. Neutralization of RANTES
(regulated upon activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted) receptor(s) with a receptor
antagonist decreases significantly lymphocyte and eosinophil infiltration as well as mRNA expression of eotaxin and RANTES. In contrast, neutralization of one of the ligands for RANTES receptors, macrophage-inflammatory protein 1α, reduces only slightly lung eosinophilia and BHR.
Finally, MCP-1 neutralization diminishes drastically BHR and inflammation, and this correlates
with a pronounced decrease in monocyte- and lymphocyte-derived inflammatory mediators.
These results suggest that different chemokines activate different cellular and molecular pathways
that in a coordinated fashion contribute to the complex pathophysiology of asthma, and that their
individual blockage results in intervention at different levels of these processes.
chemokines; allergic inflammation; bronchial hyperresponsiveness; eosinophilia; leukocytes
Human rhinovirus is responsible for the majority of virus-induced asthma exacerbations. To determine the immunologic mechanisms underlying rhinovirus-induced asthma exacerbations, we combined mouse models of allergic airways disease and human rhinovirus infection. We inoculated ovalbumin-sensitized and challenged BALB/c mice with rhinovirus serotype 1B, a minor group strain capable of infecting mouse cells. Compared to sham-infected, ovalbumin-treated mice, virus-infected mice showed increased lung infiltration with neutrophils, eosinophils and macrophages, airway cholinergic hyperresponsiveness, and increased lung expression of cytokines including eotaxin-1/CCL11, IL-4, IL-13 and IFN-γ. Administration of anti-eotaxin-1 attenuated rhinovirus-induced airway eosinophilia and responsiveness. Immunohistochemistry showed eotaxin-1 in the lung macrophages of virus-infected, ovalbumin-treated mice, and confocal fluorescence microscopy revealed co-localization of rhinovirus, eotaxin-1 and IL-4 in CD68-positive cells. RV inoculation of lung macrophages from ovalbumin-treated, but not PBS-treated, mice induced expression of eotaxin-1, IL-4, and IL-13 ex vivo. Macrophages from ovalbumin-treated mice showed increased expression of arginase-1, Ym-1, Mgl-2 and IL-10, indicating a shift in macrophage activation status. Depletion of macrophages from ovalbumin-sensitized and -challenged mice reduced eosinophilic inflammation and airway hyperreactivity following RV infection. We conclude that augmented airway eosinophilic inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in RV-infected mice with allergic airways disease is directed in part by eotaxin-1. Airway macrophages from mice with allergic airways disease demonstrate a change in activation state characterized in part by altered eotaxin and IL-4 production in response to RV infection. These data provide a new paradigm to explain RV-induced asthma exacerbations.