Eosinophils are circulating granulocytes involved in pathogenesis of asthma. A cascade of processes directed by Th2 cytokine producing T-cells influence the recruitment of eosinophils into the lungs. Furthermore, multiple elements including interleukin (IL)-5, IL-13, chemoattractants such as eotaxin, Clara cells, and CC chemokine receptor (CCR)3 are already directly involved in recruiting eosinophils to the lung during allergic inflammation. Once recruited, eosinophils participate in the modulation of immune response, induction of airway hyperresponsiveness and remodeling, characteristic features of asthma. Various types of promising treatments for reducing asthmatic response are related to reduction in eosinophil counts both in human and experimental models of pulmonary allergic inflammation, showing that the recruitment of these cells really plays an important role in the pathophysiology of allergic diseases such asthma.
airway remodeling; asthma; eosinophils; experimental models of asthma; inflammation; respiratory hypersensitivity
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.
Alum, aluminum-hydroxide-containing compounds, long used as adjuvants in human vaccinations, functions by ill-defined, immunostimulatory mechanisms. Antigen-free alum has been shown to act via a previously unidentified, splenic Gr1+, IL-4-expressing myeloid cell population to stimulate early B cell priming. We demonstrate that the alum-elicited and -activated splenic myeloid cells are IL-4-expressing eosinophils that function to prime B cell responses. Eosinophils are the principal Gr1+, IL-4+ cells in the spleens 6 days following i.p. alum administration. Alum-elicited splenic B cell priming, as evidenced by MHC II cross-linking-mediated calcium mobilization developed in wild-type BALB/c mice, was absent in ΔdblGATA BALB/c eosinophil-deficient mice and could be reconstituted by adoptive eosinophil infusions into the eosinophil-deficient mice. Moreover, early antigen-specific IgM antibody responses in alum-antigen-immunized mice were impaired in eosinophil-deficient mice and were restored with adoptive transfers of eosinophils. Thus, eosinophils, leukocytes of the innate immune system that contain preformed cytokines, including IL-4, have novel, immunomodulatory roles in the initial priming of B cells elicited by the adjuvant alum and in the optimal early B cell generation of antigen-specific IgM.
BALB/c; MHC II; innate immunity
Eosinophilic inflammation is closely related to angiogenesis in asthmatic airway remodeling. In ovalbumin-sensitized mice, bone marrow-derived pro-angiogenic endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are rapidly recruited into the lungs after ovalbumin aerosol challenge, and promptly followed by mobilization and recruitment of eosinophils.
We hypothesized that bone marrow-derived EPCs initiate the recruitment of eosinophils through expression of eosinophil chemoattractant eotaxin-1.
EPCs were isolated from ovalbumin murine model of allergic airway inflammation and from asthma patients. Endothelial and smooth muscle cells were isolated from mice. Eotaxin-1 expression was analyzed by immunofluorescence, real-time PCR or by ELISA. In vivo recruitment of eosinophils by EPCs was analyzed in mice.
Circulating EPCs of asthmatic individuals had higher levels of eotaxin-1 as compared to controls. In the murine model, ovalbumin allergen exposure augmented eotaxin-1 mRNA and protein levels in EPCs. The EPCs from ovalbumin-sensitized and challenged mice released high levels of eotaxin-1 upon contact with lung endothelial cells from sensitized and challenged mice, but not from control animals, and not upon contact with cardiac or hepatic endothelial cells from sensitized and challenged mice. Intranasal administration of the eotaxin-rich media overlying cultures of EPCs caused recruitment into lungs, confirming functional chemoattractant activity.
Bone marrow-derived EPCs are early responders to environmental allergen exposures, and initiate a parallel switch to a pro-angiogenic and pro-eosinophilic environment in the asthmatic lungs.
eosinophils; allergy; airway inflammation; angiogenesis; bone marrow; eotaxin
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.
A previous study found that eosinophil infiltration and Th2 cell recruitment are important causes of chronic lung inflammation in asthma. The plant flavonoid acacetin is known to have an anti-inflammatory effect in vitro. This study aims to investigate the anti-inflammatory effect of orally administered acacetin in ovalbumin- (OVA-) sensitized asthmatic mice and its underlying molecular mechanism. BALB/c mice were sensitized by intraperitoneal OVA injection. OVA-sensitized mice were fed acacetin from days 21 to 27. Acacetin treatment attenuated airway hyperresponsiveness and reduced eosinophil infiltration and goblet cell hyperplasia in lung tissue. Additionally, eotaxin-1- and Th2-associated cytokines were inhibited in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and suppressed the level of OVA-IgE in serum. Human bronchial epithelial (BEAS-2B) cells were used to examine the effect of acacetin on proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and cell adhesion molecule production in vitro. At the molecular level, acacetin significantly reduced IL-6, IL-8, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and eotaxin-1 in activated BEAS-2B cells. Acacetin also significantly suppressed the ability of eosinophils to adhere to inflammatory BEAS-2B cells. These results suggest that dietary acacetin may improve asthma symptoms in OVA-sensitized mice.
Background and Objective. The features of asthma are airway inflammation, reversible airflow obstruction, and an increased sensitivity to bronchoconstricting agents, termed airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), excess production of Th2 cytokines, and eosinophil accumulation in the lungs. To investigate the antiasthmatic potential of hesperidin as well as the underlying mechanism involved, we studied the inhibitory effect and anti-inflammatory effect of hesperidin (HPN) on the production of Th2 cytokines, eotaxin, IL-17, -OVA-specific IgE in vivo asthma model mice.
Methods. In this paper, BALB/c mice were systemically sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) followed intratracheally, intraperitoneally, and by aerosol allergen challenges. We investigated the effect of HPN on airway hyperresponsiveness, pulmonary eosinophilic infiltration, various immune cell phenotypes, Th2 cytokine production and OVA-specific IgE production in a mouse model of asthma. Results. In BALB/c mice, we found that HPN-treated groups had suppressed eosinophil infiltration, allergic airway inflammation, and AHR, and these occurred by suppressing the production of IL-5, IL-17, and OVA-specific IgE. Conclusions. Our data suggest that the therapeutic mechanism by which HPN effectively treats asthma is based on reductions of Th2 cytokines (IL-5), eotaxin, OVA-specific IgE production, and eosinophil infiltration via inhibition of GATA-3 transcription factor.
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
Both nature and induced regulatory T (Treg) lymphocytes are potent regulators of autoimmune and allergic disorders. Defects in endogenous Treg cells have been reported in patients with allergic asthma, suggesting that disrupted Treg cell-mediated immunological regulation may play an important role in airway allergic inflammation. In order to determine whether adoptive transfer of induced Treg cells generated in vitro can be used as an effective therapeutic approach to suppress airway allergic inflammation, exogenously induced Treg cells were infused into ovalbumin-sensitized mice prior to or during intranasal ovalbumin challenge. The results showed that adoptive transfer of induced Treg cells prior to allergen challenge markedly reduced airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophil recruitment, mucus hyper-production, airway remodeling, and IgE levels. This effect was associated with increase of Treg cells (CD4+FoxP3+) and decrease of dendritic cells in the draining lymph nodes, and with reduction of Th1, Th2, and Th17 cell response as compared to the controls. Moreover, adoptive transfer of induced Treg cells during allergen challenge also effectively attenuate airway inflammation and improve airway function, which are comparable to those by natural Treg cell infusion. Therefore, adoptive transfer of in vitro induced Treg cells may be a promising therapeutic approach to prevent and treat severe asthma.
T helper (Th)17 cells producing interleukin (IL)-17 play a role in autoimmune and allergic inflammation. Here, we show that IL-23 induces IL-17 in the lung and IL-17 is required during antigen sensitization to develop allergic asthma, as shown in IL-17R–deficient mice. Since IL-17 expression increased further upon antigen challenge, we addressed its function in the effector phase. Most strikingly, neutralization of IL-17 augmented the allergic response in sensitized mice. Conversely, exogenous IL-17 reduced pulmonary eosinophil recruitment and bronchial hyperreactivity, demonstrating a novel regulatory role of IL-17. Mechanistically, IL-17 down modulated eosinophil-chemokine eotaxin (CCL11) and thymus- and activation-regulated chemokine/CCL17 (TARC) in lungs in vivo and ex vivo upon antigen restimulation. In vitro, IL-17 reduced TARC production in dendritic cells (DCs)—the major source of TARC—and antigen uptake by DCs and IL-5 and IL-13 production in regional lymph nodes. Furthermore, IL-17 is regulated in an IL-4–dependent manner since mice deficient for IL-4Rα signaling showed a marked increase in IL-17 concentration with inhibited eosinophil recruitment. Therefore, endogenous IL-17 is controlled by IL-4 and has a dual role. Although it is essential during antigen sensitization to establish allergic asthma, in sensitized mice IL-17 attenuates the allergic response by inhibiting DCs and chemokine synthesis.
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
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.
Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) is one of the most prominent features of asthma, however, precise mechanisms for its induction have not been fully elucidated. We previously reported that systemic antigen sensitization alone directly induces AHR before development of eosinophilic airway inflammation in a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation, which suggests a critical role of antigen-specific systemic immune response itself in the induction of AHR. In the present study, we examined this possibility by cell transfer experiment, and then analyzed which cell source was essential for this process.
BALB/c mice were immunized with ovalbumin (OVA) twice. Spleen cells were obtained from the mice and were transferred in naive mice. Four days later, AHR was assessed. We carried out bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) to analyze inflammation and cytokine production in the lung. Fluorescence and immunohistochemical studies were performed to identify T cells recruiting and proliferating in the lung or in the gut of the recipient. To determine the essential phenotype, spleen cells were column purified by antibody-coated microbeads with negative or positive selection, and transferred. Then, AHR was assessed.
Transfer of spleen cells obtained from OVA-sensitized mice induced a moderate, but significant, AHR without airway antigen challenge in naive mice without airway eosinophilia. Immunization with T helper (Th) 1 elicited antigen (OVA with complete Freund's adjuvant) did not induce the AHR. Transferred cells distributed among organs, and the cells proliferated in an antigen free setting for at least three days in the lung. This transfer-induced AHR persisted for one week. Interleukin-4 and 5 in the BAL fluid increased in the transferred mice. Immunoglobulin E was not involved in this transfer-induced AHR. Transfer of in vitro polarized CD4+ Th2 cells, but not Th1 cells, induced AHR. We finally clarified that CD4+CD62Llow memory/effector T cells recruited in the lung and proliferated, thus induced AHR.
These results suggest that antigen-sensitized memory/effector Th2 cells themselves play an important role for induction of basal AHR in an antigen free, eosinophil-independent setting. Therefore, regulation of CD4+ T cell-mediated immune response itself could be a critical therapeutic target for allergic asthma.
Epidemiological studies suggest an inverse relationship between helminth infections and allergic disease, and several helminth-derived products have been shown to suppress allergic responses in animals. This study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of a crude extract of Caenorhabditis elegans on allergic airway inflammation in a murine model of asthma. Allergic airway inflammation was induced in BALB/c mice by sensitization with ovalbumin. The effect of the C. elegans crude extract on the development of asthma and on established asthma was evaluated by analyzing airway hyperresponsiveness, serum antibody titers, lung histology and cell counts and cytokine levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. The role of IFN-γ in the suppression of asthma by the C. elegans crude extract was investigated in IFN-γ knockout and wild-type mice. When mice were sensitized with ovalbumin together with the crude extract of C. elegans, cellular infiltration into the lung was dramatically reduced in comparison with the ovalbumin-treated group. Treatment of mice with the C. elegans crude extract significantly decreased methacholine-induced airway hyperresponsiveness and the total cell counts and levels of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid but increased the levels of IFN-γ and IL-12. Sensitization with the C. elegans crude extract significantly diminished the IgE and IgG1 responses but provoked elevated IgG2a levels. However, the suppressive effect of the C. elegans crude extract was abolished in IFN-γ knockout mice, and the Th2 responses in these mice were as strong as those in wild-type mice sensitized with ovalbumin. The crude extract of C. elegans also suppressed the airway inflammation associated with established asthma. This study provides new insights into immune modulation by the C. elegans crude extract, which suppressed airway inflammation in mice not only during the development of asthma but also after its establishment by skewing allergen-induced Th2 responses to Th1 responses.
Short palate, lung and nasal epithelium clone 1 (SPLUNC1) is enriched in normal airway lining fluid, but is significantly reduced in airway epithelium exposed to a Th2 cytokine milieu. The role of SPLUNC1 in modulating airway allergic inflammation (e.g., eosinophils) remains unknown. We used SPLUNC1 knockout (KO) and littermate wild-type (C57BL/6 background) mice and recombinant SPLUNC1 protein to determine the impact of SPLUNC1 on airway allergic/eosinophilic inflammation, and to investigate the underlying mechanisms. An acute ovalbumin (OVA) sensitization and challenge protocol was used to induce murine airway allergic inflammation (e.g., eosinophils, eotaxin-2, and Th2 cytokines). Our results showed that SPLUNC1 in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of OVA-challenged wild-type mice was significantly reduced (P < 0.05), which was negatively correlated with levels of lung eosinophilic inflammation. Moreover, SPLUNC1 KO mice demonstrated significantly higher numbers of eosinophils in the lung after OVA challenges than did wild-type mice. Alveolar macrophages isolated from OVA-challenged SPLUNC1 KO versus wild-type mice had higher concentrations of baseline eotaxin-2 that was amplified by LPS (a known risk factor for exacerbating asthma). Human recombinant SPLUNC1 protein was applied to alveolar macrophages to study the regulation of eotaxin-2 in the context of Th2 cytokine and LPS stimulation. Recombinant SPLUNC1 protein attenuated LPS-induced eotaxin-2 production in Th2 cytokine–pretreated murine macrophages. These findings demonstrate that SPLUNC1 inhibits airway eosinophilic inflammation in allergic mice, in part by reducing eotaxin-2 production in alveolar macrophages.
SPLUNC1; asthma; alveolar macrophage; Th2 cytokines; eotaxin-2
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 are an important source of leukotriene (LT)C4, which can be synthesized within lipid bodies—cytoplasmic organelles where eicosanoid formation may take place. Allergy-driven lipid body formation and function have never been investigated. Here, we studied the in vivo induction and role of lipid bodies within eosinophils recruited to sites of allergic inflammation. Using two murine models of allergic inflammation (asthma and pleurisy), we verified that parallel to the eosinophil influx, allergic challenge also induced lipid body formation within recruited eosinophils. Neutralizing antibodies to eotaxin/CCL11, RANTES/CCL5, or CCR3 partially inhibited lipid body formation within recruited eosinophils in the allergic pleurisy model. Likewise, intrapleural administration of RANTES or eotaxin also induced significant influx of eosinophils loaded with lipid bodies. By immunolabeling, we detected the presence of a key enzyme involved in the leukotriene metabolism—5-lipoxygenase—within eosinophil lipid bodies formed in vivo after allergen challenge. Furthermore, specific immunolocalization of newly formed LTC4 demonstrated that lipid bodies were the sites of formation of this eicosanoid within infiltrating eosinophils. Therefore, allergic inflammation triggers in vivo formation of new lipid bodies within infiltrating eosinophils, a phenomenon largely mediated by eotaxin/RANTES acting via CCR3 receptors. Such in vivo allergen-driven lipid bodies function as intracellular compartments of LTC4 synthesis.
allergy; CCR3; eosinophils; lipid bodies; LTC4
Vitamin D may be essential for restricting the development and severity of allergic diseases and asthma, but a direct causal link between vitamin D deficiency and asthma has yet to be established. We have developed a ‘low dose’ model of allergic airway disease induced by intraperitoneal injection with ovalbumin (1 µg) and aluminium hydroxide (0.2 mg) in which characteristics of atopic asthma are recapitulated, including airway hyperresponsiveness, antigen-specific immunoglobulin type-E and lung inflammation. We assessed the effects of vitamin D deficiency throughout life (from conception until adulthood) on the severity of ovalbumin-induced allergic airway disease in vitamin D-replete and -deficient BALB/c mice using this model. Vitamin D had protective effects such that deficiency significantly enhanced eosinophil and neutrophil numbers in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of male but not female mice. Vitamin D also suppressed the proliferation and T helper cell type-2 cytokine-secreting capacity of airway-draining lymph node cells from both male and female mice. Supplementation of initially vitamin D-deficient mice with vitamin D for four weeks returned serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D to levels observed in initially vitamin D-replete mice, and also suppressed eosinophil and neutrophil numbers in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of male mice. Using generic 16 S rRNA primers, increased bacterial levels were detected in the lungs of initially vitamin D-deficient male mice, which were also reduced by vitamin D supplementation. These results indicate that vitamin D controls granulocyte levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in an allergen-sensitive manner, and may contribute towards the severity of asthma in a gender-specific fashion through regulation of respiratory bacteria.
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
Eosinophils are traditionally thought to form part of the innate immune response against parasitic helminths acting through the release of cytotoxic granule proteins. However, they are also a central feature in asthma. From their development in the bone marrow to their recruitment to the lung via chemokines and cytokines, they form an important component of the inflammatory milieu observed in the asthmatic lung following allergen challenge. A wealth of studies has been performed in both patients with asthma and in mouse models of allergic pulmonary inflammation to delineate the role of eosinophils in the allergic response. Although the long-standing association between eosinophils and the induction of airway hyper-responsiveness remains controversial, recent studies have shown that eosinophils may also promote airway remodelling. In addition, emerging evidence suggests that the eosinophil may also serve to modulate the immune response. Here we review the highly co-ordinated nature of eosinophil development and trafficking and the evolution of the eosinophil as a multi-factoral leukocyte with diverse functions in asthma.
Eosinophil; asthma; airway hyper-responsiveness; remodelling
Eosinophil infiltration into the esophagus is observed in diverse diseases including gastroesophageal reflux and allergic gastroenteritis, but the processes involved are largely unknown. We now report an original model of experimental esophagitis induced by exposure of mice to respiratory allergen. Allergen-challenged mice develop marked levels of esophageal eosinophils, free eosinophil granules, and epithelial cell hyperplasia, features that mimic the human disorders. Interestingly, exposure of mice to oral or intragastric allergen does not promote eosinophilic esophagitis, indicating that hypersensitivity in the esophagus occurs with simultaneous development of pulmonary inflammation. Furthermore, in the absence of eotaxin, eosinophil recruitment is attenuated, whereas in the absence of IL-5, eosinophil accumulation and epithelial hyperplasia are ablated. These results establish a pathophysiological connection between allergic hypersensitivity responses in the lung and esophagus and demonstrate an etiologic role for inhaled allergens and eosinophils in gastrointestinal inflammation.
Allergic asthma is a debilitating disease of the airways characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophilic inflammation, goblet cell metaplasia with associated mucus hypersecretion, and airway wall remodelling events, particularly subepithelial fibrosis and smooth muscle cell hyperplasia. Animal models that accurately mimic these hallmarks of allergic airways disease are critical for studying mechanisms associated with the cellular and structural changes that lead to disease pathogenesis. Aspergillus fumigatus, is a common aeroallergen of human asthmatics. The intratracheal (IT) delivery of A. fumigatus conidia into the airways of sensitized mice has been described as a model of allergic disease. Here, we compared the IT model with a newly developed inhalation (IH) challenge model. The IH model allowed multiple fungal exposures, which resulted in an exacerbation to the allergic asthma phenotype. Increased recruitment of eosinophils and lymphocytes, the hallmark leukocytes of asthma, were noted with the IH model as compared to the IT model in which macrophages and neutrophils were more prominent. Immunoglobulin E (IgE) production was significantly greater after IH challenge, while that of IgG2a was higher after IT challenge. Airway wall remodelling was pronounced in IH-treated mice, particularly after multiple allergen challenges. Although the IT model may be appropriate for the examination of the played by innate cells in the acute response to fungus, it fails to consistently reproduce the chronic remodelling hallmarks of allergic asthma. The ability of the IH challenge to mimic these characteristics recommends it as a model suited to study these important events.
Aspergillus fumigatus; Allergic asthma; Inhalation challenge model
Airways inflammation is thought to play a central role in the pathogenesis of asthma. However, the precise role that individual inflammatory cells and mediators play in the development of airways hyperreactivity and the morphological changes of the lung during allergic pulmonary inflammation is unknown. In this investigation we have used a mouse model of allergic pulmonary inflammation and interleukin (IL) 5-deficient mice to establish the essential role of this cytokine and eosinophils in the initiation of aeroallergen-induced lung damage and the development of airways hyperreactivity. Sensitization and aerosol challenge of mice with ovalbumin results in airways eosinophilia and extensive lung damage analogous to that seen in asthma. Aeroallergen-challenged mice also display airways hyperreactivity to beta-methacholine. In IL-5-deficient mice, the eosinophilia, lung damage, and airways hyperreactivity normally resulting from aeroallergen challenge were abolished. Reconstitution of IL-5 production with recombinant vaccinia viruses engineered to express this factor completely restored aeroallergen-induced eosinophilia and airways dysfunction. These results indicate that IL-5 and eosinophils are central mediators in the pathogenesis of allergic lung disease.
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.
IL-18 plays a key role in the pathogenesis of pulmonary inflammatory diseases including pulmonary infection, pulmonary fibrosis, lung injury and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, it is unknown whether IL-18 plays any role in the pathogenesis of asthma. We hypothesized that overexpression of mature IL-18 protein in the lungs may exacerbate disease activities of asthma. We established lung-specific IL-18 transgenic mice on a Balb/c genetic background. Female mice sensitized– and challenged– with antigen (ovalbumin) were used as a mouse asthma model. Pulmonary inflammation and emphysema were not observed in the lungs of naïve transgenic mice. However, airway hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammatory cells accompanied with CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, eosinophils, neutrophils, and macrophages were significantly increased in ovalbumin-sensitized and challenged transgenic mice, as compared to wild type Balb/c mice. We also demonstrate that IL-18 induces IFN-γ, IL-13, and eotaxin in the lungs of ovalbumin-sensitized and challenged transgenic mice along with an increase in IL-13 producing CD4+ T cells. Treatment with anti-CD4 monoclonal antibody or deletion of the IL-13 gene improves ovalbumin-induced airway hyperresponsiveness and reduces airway inflammatory cells in transgenic mice. Overexpressing the IL-18 protein in the lungs induces type 1 and type 2 cytokines and airway inflammation, and results in increasing airway hyperresponsiveness via CD4+ T cells and IL-13 in asthma.