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.
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.
CC chemokines constitute a novel class of cytokines that attract and activate monocytes and lymphocytes, as well as basophil and eosinophil leukocytes, with distinct target cell profiles, and are believed to be involved in the regulation of different types of inflammation. The action of the recently identified monocyte chemotactic protein 3 (MCP- 3) on human basophil and eosinophil function was studied and compared with that of other CC chemokines. In basophils, MCP-3, MCP-1, RANTES, and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1 alpha all induced cytosolic- free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) changes and, with different efficacies, chemotaxis (RANTES = MCP-3 >> MCP-1 > MIP-1 alpha), histamine release (MCP-1 = MCP-3 >> RANTES > MIP-1 alpha), and leukotriene C4 formation, after IL-3 pretreatment (MCP-1 = MCP-3 >> RANTES > MIP-1 alpha). Thus, MCP-3 was as effective as MCP-1 as an inducer of mediator release, and as effective as RANTES as a stimulus of basophil migration. In contrast to MCP-1, MCP-3 was also a stimulus for eosinophils, and induced [Ca2+]i changes and chemotaxis as effectively as RANTES, which is the most potent chemotactic cytokine for these cells. Desensitization of the transient changes in [Ca2+]i was used to assess receptor usage. In basophils, stimulation with MCP-3 prevented responsiveness to MCP-1 and RANTES, but not to MIP-1 alpha. No single CC chemokine (except for MCP-3 itself) affected the response to MCP-3, however, which was prevented only when the cells were prestimulated with both MCP-1 and RANTES. In eosinophils, by contrast, cross-desensitization between RANTES and MCP-3 was obtained. RANTES and to a lesser extent MCP-3 also desensitized eosinophils toward MIP-1 alpha. The desensitization data suggest the existence of three chemokine receptors: (a) a MCP-1 receptor expressed on basophils but not eosinophils that is activated by MCP-1 and MCP-3; (b) a RANTES receptor in basophils and eosinophils that is activated by RANTES and MCP-3; and (c) a MIP-1 alpha receptor that is activated by MIP-1 alpha, RANTES and, more weakly, by MCP-3. This study shows that MCP-3 combines the properties of RANTES, a powerful chemoattractant, and MCP-1, a highly effective stimulus of mediator release, and thus has a particularly broad range of activities toward both human basophil and eosinophil leukocytes.
Airway mycoplasma infection may be associated with asthma pathophysiology. However, the direct effects of mycoplasma infection on asthma remain unknown. Using a murine allergic-asthma model, we evaluated the effects of different timing of airway Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection on bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), lung inflammation, and the protein levels of Th1 (gamma interferon [IFN-γ]) and Th2 (interleukin 4 [IL-4]) cytokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. When mycoplasma infection occurred 3 days before allergen (ovalbumin) sensitization and challenge, the infection reduced the BHR and inflammatory-cell influx into the lung. This was accompanied by a significant induction of Th1 responses (increased IFN-γ and decreased IL-4 production). Conversely, when mycoplasma infection occurred 2 days after allergen sensitization and challenge, the infection initially caused a temporary reduction of BHR and then increased BHR, lung inflammation, and IL-4 levels. Our data suggest that mycoplasma infection could modulate both physiological and immunological responses in the murine asthma model. Our animal models may also provide a new means to understand the role of infection in asthma pathogenesis and give evidence for the asthma hygiene hypothesis.
BACKGROUND/AIMS—Chemokines are a family of low molecular weight cytokines that attract and activate leucocytes. The CC chemokines act on eosinophils, basophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes, suggesting that they play an important part in allergic diseases. The aims of this study were to investigate the expression of the CC chemokines, RANTES, eotaxin, monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP) 1, MCP-2, and MCP-3 in the conjunctiva of patients with vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) and to determine the cellular source of these chemokines.
METHODS—Conjunctival biopsy specimens from nine subjects with active VKC, and six control subjects were studied by immunohistochemical techniques using a panel of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies directed against RANTES, eotaxin, MCP-1, MCP-2, and MCP-3. The phenotype of inflammatory cells expressing chemokines was examined by sequential double immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS—In the normal conjunctiva, superficial epithelial cells showed a constitutive, weak cytoplasmic expression of eotaxin. Few inflammatory cells in the perivascular areas expressed RANTES, MCP-1, MCP-2, and MCP-3. In VKC specimens, the epithelium showed intense cytoplasmic eotaxin staining in all cells, and cytoplasmic RANTES staining mainly in the superficial layers. Furthermore, RANTES and eotaxin were expressed on the vascular endothelium mainly in the upper substantia propria. Compared with normal controls, VKC specimens showed significantly more inflammatory cells expressing RANTES, eotaxin, MCP-1, and MCP-3 (p<0.001, 0.0028, 0.0092, and <0.001, respectively). In VKC specimens, the numbers of inflammatory cells expressing RANTES were significantly higher than the numbers of inflammatory cells expressing eotaxin, MCP-1, and MCP-2 (all p values <0.001). Colocalisation studies revealed that the majority of inflammatory cells expressing chemokines were CD68 positive monocytes/macrophages.
CONCLUSIONS—These results demonstrate an increase in the expression of RANTES, eotaxin, MCP-1, and MCP-3 in the conjunctiva of patients with VKC compared with control subjects. These data suggest a potential role for these chemokines in the pathogenesis of VKC. Antagonists of chemokine receptors may provide new therapeutic modalities in VKC.
Eosinophil leukocytes express high numbers of the chemokine receptor CCR3 which binds eotaxin, monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-4, and some other CC chemokines. In this paper we show that CCR3 is also highly expressed on human blood basophils, as indicated by Northern blotting and flow cytometry, and mediates mainly chemotaxis. Eotaxin and MCP-4 elicited basophil migration in vitro with similar efficacy as regulated upon activation normal T cells expressed and secreted (RANTES) and MCP-3. They also induced the release of histamine and leukotrienes in IL-3-primed basophils, but their efficacy was lower than that of MCP-1 and MCP-3, which were the most potent stimuli of exocytosis. Pretreatment of the basophils with a CCR3-blocking antibody abrogated the migration induced by eotaxin, RANTES, and by low to optimal concentrations of MCP-4, but decreased only minimally the response to MCP-3. The CCR3-blocking antibody also affected exocytosis: it abrogated histamine and leukotriene release induced by eotaxin, and partially inhibited the response to RANTES and MCP-4. In contrast, the antibody did not affect the responses induced by MCP-1, MCP-3, and macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha, which may depend on CCR1 and CCR2, two additional receptors detected by Northern blotting with basophil RNA. This study demonstrates that CCR3 is the major receptor for eotaxin, RANTES, and MCP-4 in human basophils, and suggests that basophils and eosinophils, which are the characteristic effector cells of allergic inflammation, depend largely on CCR3 for migration towards different chemokines into inflamed tissues.
Key features of asthma include bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), eosinophilic airway inflammation, and bronchial remodeling, characterized by subepithelial collagen deposition, airway fibrosis, and increased bronchial smooth muscle (BSM) mass. The calcium-activated K+ channel KCa3.1 is expressed by many cells implicated in the pathogenesis of asthma, and is involved in both inflammatory and remodeling responses in a number of tissues. The specific KCa3.1 blocker 5-[(2-chlorophenyl)(diphenyl)methyl]-1H-pyrazole (TRAM-34) attenuates BSM cell proliferation, and both mast cell and fibrocyte recruitment in vitro. We aimed to examine the effects of KCa3.1 blockade on BSM remodeling, airway inflammation, and BHR in a murine model of chronic asthma. BALB/c mice were sensitized with intraperitoneal ovalbumin (OVA) on Days 0 and 14, and then challenged with intranasal OVA during Days 14–75. OVA-sensitized/challenged mice received TRAM-34 (120 mg/kg/day, subcutaneous) from Days −7 to 75 (combined treatment), Days −7 to 20 (preventive treatment), or Days 21 to 75 (curative treatment). Untreated mice received daily injections of vehicle (n = 8 per group). Bronchial remodeling was assessed by histological and immunohistochemical analyses. Inflammation was evaluated using bronchoalveolar lavage and flow cytometry. We also determined BHR in both conscious and anesthetized mice via plethysmography. We demonstrated that curative treatment with TRAM-34 abolishes BSM remodeling and subbasement collagen deposition, and attenuates airway eosinophilia. Although curative treatment alone did not significantly reduce BHR, the combined treatment attenuated nonspecific BHR to methacholine. This study indicates that KCa3.1 blockade could provide a new therapeutic strategy in asthma.
asthma; KCa3.1; ion channel; remodeling; smooth muscle
Overactivation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) orchestrates airway eosinophilia, but does not dampen airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma. NF-κB repression by arsenic trioxide (As2O3) contributes to apoptosis of eosinophils (EOS) in airways. Here we provide evidence that As2O3 abrogates allergen (OVA)-induced airway eosinophilia by modulating the expression of IκBα, an NF-κB inhibitory protein, and decreases the airway hyperresponsiveness.
Using a murine model of asthma, the airway hyperresponsiveness was conducted by barometric whole-body plethysmography. Airway eosinophilia, OVA-specific IgE in serum, and chemokine eotaxin and RANTES (regulated upon activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were measured by lung histology, Diff-Quick staining, and ELISA. Chemokine-induced EOS chemotactic activity was evaluated using EOS chemotaxis assay. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay and Western blot analysis were performed to assess pulmonary NF-κB activation and IκBα expression, respectively.
As2O3 attenuated the allergen-induced serum IgE, chemokine expression of eotaxin and RANTES, and the EOS recruitment in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, which is associated with an increased IκBα expression as well as a decreased NF-κB activation. Also, As2O3 suppressed the chemotaxis of EOS dose-dependently in vitro. Additionally, As2O3 significantly ameliorated the allergen-driven airway hyperresponsiveness, the cardinal feature underlying asthma.
These findings demonstrate an essential role of NF-κB in airway eosinophilia, and illustrate a potential dissociation between airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness. As2O3 likely exerts its broad anti-inflammatory effects by suppression of NF-κB activation through augmentation of IκBα expression in asthma.
BACKGROUND: Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) to methacholine has been reported to occur in most lung transplant recipients. BHR to physical stimuli such as exercise and non-isotonic aerosols has not been as extensively studied in this subject population. This report aims to assess the presence and degree of BHR to methacholine and hypertonic saline in stable lung transplant recipients and to relate it to the presence of airway inflammation. METHODS: Ten patients undergoing bilateral sequential lung transplantation and six heart-lung transplant recipients, all with stable lung function, were recruited 66- 1167 days following transplantation. Subjects underwent a methacholine challenge and bronchoscopy for sampling of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, transbronchial and endobronchial biopsy tissues. Hypertonic saline challenge was performed six days later. RESULTS: Nine of the 16 transplant recipients had positive methacholine challenges (geometric mean PD20 0.18 mg, interquartile range 0.058-0.509) and three of these subjects also had positive hypertonic saline challenges (PD15 = 2.3, 33.0, and 51.5 ml). No clear relationship was found between BHR to either methacholine or hypertonic saline and levels of mast cells, eosinophils or lymphocytes in samples of biopsy tissue or lavage fluid. CONCLUSIONS: Most of the lung transplant recipients studied were responsive to methacholine and unresponsive to hypertonic saline. BHR was not clearly related to airway inflammation, suggesting an alternative mechanism for BHR following lung transplantation from that usually assumed in asthma.
Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is typically measured by bronchial challenge tests that employ direct stimulation by methacholine or indirect stimulation by adenosine 5'-monophosphate (AMP). Some studies have shown that the AMP challenge test provides a better reflection of airway inflammation, but few studies have examined the relationship between the AMP and methacholine challenge tests in children with asthma. We investigated the relationship between AMP and methacholine testing in children and adolescents with atopic asthma.
The medical records of 130 children with atopic asthma (mean age, 10.63 years) were reviewed retrospectively. Methacholine and AMP test results, spirometry, skin prick test results, and blood tests for inflammatory markers (total IgE, eosinophils [total count, percent of white blood cells]) were analyzed.
The concentration of AMP that induces a 20% decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] (PC20) of methacholine correlated with the PC20 of AMP (r2=0.189, P<0.001). No significant differences were observed in the levels of inflammatory markers (total eosinophil count, eosinophil percentage, and total IgE) between groups that were positive and negative for BHR to methacholine. However, significant differences in inflammatory markers were observed in groups that were positive and negative for BHR to AMP (log total eosinophil count, P=0.023; log total IgE, P=0.020, eosinophil percentage, P<0.001). In contrast, body mass index (BMI) was significantly different in the methacholine positive and negative groups (P=0.027), but not in the AMP positive and negative groups (P=0.62). The PC20 of methacholine correlated with FEV1, FEV1/forced vital capacity (FVC), and maximum mid-expiratory flow (MMEF) (P=0.001, 0.011, 0.001, respectively), and the PC20 of AMP correlated with FEV1, FEV1/FVC, and MMEF (P=0.008, 0.046, 0.001, respectively).
Our results suggest that the AMP and methacholine challenge test results correlated well with respect to determining BHR. The BHR to AMP more likely implicated airway inflammation in children with atopic asthma. In contrast, the BHR to methacholine was related to BMI.
AMP; atopic asthma; bronchial hyper-responsiveness; methacholine
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.
We have cloned a novel mouse CC chemokine cDNA from the lung during an allergic inflammatory reaction. The protein encoded by this cDNA is chemotactic for eosinophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes in vitro and in vivo. Based on its similarities in sequence and function with other CC chemokines, we have named it mouse monocyte chemotactic protein-5 (mMCP- 5). Under noninflammatory conditions, expression of mMCP-5 in the lymph nodes and thymus is constitutive and is generally restricted to stromal cells. Neutralization of mMCP-5 protein with specific antibodies during an allergic inflammatory reaction in vivo resulted in a reduction in the number of eosinophils that accumulated in the lung. Moreover, mMCP- 5 mRNA expression in vivo is regulated differently from that of other major CC chemokines in the lung during the allergic reaction, including Eotaxin. The presence of lymphocytes is essential for expression of mMCP-5 by alveolar macrophages and smooth muscle cells in the lung, and the induction of mMCP-5 RNA occurs earlier than that of the eosinophil chemokine Eotaxin during allergic inflammation. In contrast to Eotaxin, mRNA for mMCP-5 can be produced by mast cells. From these results, we postulate that mMCP-5 plays a pivotal role during the early stages of allergic lung inflammation.
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
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
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
Airway smooth muscle cells (ASMC) play a key role in bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR). A major component of the signaling cascade leading to ASMC contraction is calcium. So far, agonist-induced Ca2+-signaling in asthma has been studied by comparing innate properties of inbred rat or mouse strains, or by using selected mediators known to be involved in asthma. T-bet knock-out (KO) mice show key features of allergic asthma such as a shift towards TH2-lymphocytes and display a broad spectrum of asthma-like histological and functional characteristics. In this study, we aimed at investigating whether Ca2+-homeostasis of ASMC is altered in T-bet KO-mice as an experimental model of asthma.
Lung slices of 100 to 200 μm thickness were obtained from T-bet KO- and wild-type mice. Airway contraction in response to acetylcholine (ACH) was measured by video-microscopy and Ca2+-signaling in single ASMC of lung slices was assessed using two-photon-microscopy.
Airways from T-bet KO-mice showed increased baseline airway tone (BAT) and BHR compared to wild-type mice. This could be mimicked by incubation of lung slices from wild-type mice with IL-13. The increased BAT was correlated with an increased incidence of spontaneous changes in intracellular Ca2+-concentrations, whereas BHR correlated with higher ACH-induced Ca2+-transients and an increased proportion of ASMC showing Ca2+-oscillations. Emptying intracellular Ca2+-stores using caffeine or cyclopiazonic acid induced higher Ca2+-elevations in ASMC from T-bet KO- compared to wild-type mice.
Altered Ca2+-homeostasis of ASMC contributes to increased BAT and BHR in lung slices from T-bet KO-mice as a murine asthma model. We propose that a higher Ca2+-content of the intracellular Ca2+-stores is involved in the pathophysiology of these changes.
Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway is linked to the development of asthma. Anti-malarial drug artesunate is a semi-synthetic derivative of artemisinin, the principal active component of a medicinal plant Artemisia annua, and has been shown to inhibit PI3K/Akt activity. We hypothesized that artesunate may attenuate allergic asthma via inhibition of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.
Female BALB/c mice sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA) developed airway inflammation. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was assessed for total and differential cell counts, and cytokine and chemokine levels. Lung tissues were examined for cell infiltration and mucus hypersecretion, and the expression of inflammatory biomarkers. Airway hyperresponsiveness was monitored by direct airway resistance analysis. Artesunate dose-dependently inhibited OVA-induced increases in total and eosinophil counts, IL-4, IL-5, IL-13 and eotaxin levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. It attenuated OVA-induced lung tissue eosinophilia and airway mucus production, mRNA expression of E-selectin, IL-17, IL-33 and Muc5ac in lung tissues, and airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine. In normal human bronchial epithelial cells, artesunate blocked epidermal growth factor-induced phosphorylation of Akt and its downstream substrates tuberin, p70S6 kinase and 4E-binding protein 1, and transactivation of NF-κB. Similarly, artesunate blocked the phosphorylation of Akt and its downstream substrates in lung tissues from OVA-challenged mice. Anti-inflammatory effect of artesunate was further confirmed in a house dust mite mouse asthma model.
Artesunate ameliorates experimental allergic airway inflammation probably via negative regulation of PI3K/Akt pathway and the downstream NF-κB activity. These findings provide a novel therapeutic value for artesunate in the treatment of allergic asthma.
Selective eosinophil recruitment into tissues is a characteristic feature of allergic diseases. Chemokines are effective leukocyte chemoattractants and may play an important role in mediating eosinophil recruitment in various allergic conditions in man. Here, we describe a novel mouse model of eosinophil recruitment in which we have compared the in vivo chemoattractant activity of different C-C chemokines. Furthermore, we describe the use of antibodies to chemokines and receptor blockade to address the endogenous mechanisms involved in eosinophil recruitment in a late-phase allergic reaction in mouse skin. Intradermal injection of mEotaxin and mMIP-1alpha, but not mMCP-1, mRANTES, mMCP-5, or mMIP-1beta, induced significant 111In-eosinophil recruitment in mouse skin. Significant 111In-eosinophil recruitment was also observed in an active cutaneous anaphylactic reaction. Pretreatment of skin sites with antieotaxin antiserum, but not an antiMIP-1alpha antibody, suppressed 111In-eosinophil recruitment in this delayed-onset allergic reaction. Similarly, desensitization of the eosinophil eotaxin receptor CCR3 with mEotaxin, or blockade of the receptor with metRANTES, significantly inhibited 111In-eosinophil recruitment in the allergic reaction. These results demonstrate an important role for endogenous eotaxin in mediating the 111In-eosinophil recruitment in allergic inflammation, and suggest that blockade of the CCR3 receptor is a valid strategy to inhibit eosinophil migration in vivo.
Tissue eosinophil infiltration, which is a hallmark of allergic and helminthic diseases, is mainly coordinated by T lymphocytes, via the production of eosinophilotactic chemokines. Among T lymphocyte subsets, lymphocytes expressing γδ T cell receptor have been determined as a key factor for eosinophil accumulation via direct and indirect mechanisms. This knowledge is strongly supported by the fact that, in different experimental models of eosinophilic airway inflammation and helminth-induced Th2 lung inflammation, an evident tissue accumulation of γδ T lymphocytes is observed. In addition, the depletion of γδ T lymphocytes is correlated with the impairment of eosinophil accumulation in inflamed tissue. γδ T lymphocytes are non-conventional T lymphocytes, which comprise a minor T lymphocyte subset, mainly distributed in the tissue, and present crucial roles in innate and acquired immune responses. γδ T lymphocytes recognize several danger- and pathogen-associated molecular pattern molecules and stress antigens in a MHC-independent fashion and can provide rapid tissue-specific responses, via the production of a wide range of chemical mediators capable to modulate other cell populations. These mediators include chemoattractant cytokines and chemokines that attract eosinophils into the tissue by either direct recognition (such as IL-5, CCL11/eotaxin), or indirect mechanisms via the modulation of αβ T lymphocytes and macrophages (through the production of interferon-γ, IL-4, and CCL2/Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, MCP-1, for example). The present review presents an overview of how γδ T lymphocytes coordinate eosinophil accumulation in allergy, by focusing on their role in airway inflammation and by discussing the involvement of cytokines and chemokines in this phenomenon.
integrin α4β1; selectins; MCP-1; IL-17; leukotriene B4
Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is an important pathophysiological feature of asthma. In addition to the diagnostic significance, BHR is associated with the severity of airway inflammation and BHR- based treatment approaches has been shown to be effective. Nevertheless, challenge tests are time consuming, inconvenient to patients, and are not accessible in every primary care physicians. We aimed to develop a questionnaire for the assessment of BHR in Korean subjects.
From the 24 University-affiliated hospitals, we recruited 149 adults between age 20 and 40 years with more than one asthmatic symptom (cough, sputum or dyspnea) and who had bronchial provocation test. A list of 33 symptoms, past history of allergy or smoking and 10 provoking stimuli were selected for the BHR questionnaire. After a methacholine challenge test patients were asked to complete each questionnaire. For each item of questionnaire, diagnostic odds ratios for the presence of BHR were calculated and multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to select final questionnaire items. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the selected questionnaire items.
Methacholine challenge test was positive in 36 patients (24.2%). Eleven symptoms and 2 provoking stimuli items were statistically significant by the results of diagnostic odds ratio. According to the result of multiple logistic regression analysis, 4 items were finally selected for the significant BHR questionnaire: the presence of wheezing episode, past history of physician-diagnosed asthma, family history of asthma. The psychiatric stress was negatively associated provoking stimuli item for the presence of BHR. The area under the ROC curve was 0.80 (95% CI, 0.72-0.86). Sensitivity was 84.9% (95% CI, 68.1-94.9) and specificity was 65.5% (95% CI, 55.8-74.3).
Four BHR questionnaire items including wheezing episode, past history of physician-diagnosed asthma, family history of asthma and psyachiatric stress stimuli were able to assess the presence of BHR in Korean adults.
There are increasing evidences that allergic rhinitis (AR) may influence the clinical course of asthma. We conducted methacholine challenge test and nasal eosinophils on nasal smear to patients with allergic rhinitis in order to investigate the mechanism of connecting upper and lower airway inflammation in 35 patients with AR during exacerbation. The methacholine concentration causing a 20% fall in FEV1 (PC20) was used as thresholds of bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR). Thresholds of 25 mg/dL or less were assumed to indicate BHR. All patients had normal pulmonary function. Significant differences in BHR were detected in the comparison of patients with cough or postnasal drip and without cough or postnasal drip. There were significant differences of PC20 between patients with cough or postnasal drip and those without cough or postnasal drip (3.41+/-3.59 mg/mL vs 10.2+/-1.2 mg/mL, p=0.001). The levels of total IgE were higher in patients with seasonal AR than in patients with perennial AR with exacerbation (472.5+/-132.5 IU/L vs. 389.0+/-70.9 IU/L, p<0.05). Nasal eosinophils were closely related to log PC20 (r=-0.65, p<0.01). These findings demonstrated that nasal eosinophilic inflammation might contribute to BHR in patients with AR.
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
Pulmonary eosinophilia is one of the most consistent hallmarks of asthma. Infiltration of eosinophils into the lung in experimental asthma is dependent on the adhesion molecule vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) on endothelial cells. Ligation of VCAM-1 activates endothelial cell NADPH oxidase, which is required for VCAM-1-dependent leukocyte migration in vitro. To examine whether endothelial-derived NADPH oxidase modulates eosinophil recruitment in vivo, mice deficient in NADPH oxidase (CYBB mice) were irradiated and received wild-type hematopoietic cells to generate chimeric CYBB mice. In response to ovalbumin (OVA) challenge, the chimeric CYBB mice had increased numbers of eosinophils bound to the endothelium as well as reduced eosinophilia in the lung tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage. This occurred independent of changes in VCAM-1 expression, cytokine/chemokine levels (IL-5, IL-10, IL-13, IFNγ, or eotaxin), or numbers of T cells, neutrophils, or mononuclear cells in the lavage fluids or lung tissue of OVA-challenged mice. Importantly, the OVA-challenged chimeric CYBB mice had reduced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). The AHR in OVA-challenged chimeric CYBB mice was restored by bypassing the endothelium with intratracheal administration of eosinophils. These data suggest that VCAM-1 induction of NADPH oxidase in the endothelium is necessary for the eosinophil recruitment during allergic inflammation. Moreover, these studies provide a basis for targeting VCAM-1-dependent signaling pathways in asthma therapies.
endothelium; gp91 phox; eosinophils; VCAM-1
Both atopy and bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) are characteristic features of asthma. They are also found among non-asthmatic subjects, including allergic rhinitis patients and the general population. Atopy and BHR in asthma are closely related. Atopy induces airway inflammation as an IgE response to a specific allergen, which causes or amplifies BHR. Moreover, significant evidence of the close relationship between atopy and BHR has been found in non-asthmatic subjects. In this article, we discuss the relationship between atopy and BHR in the general population, asthmatic subjects, and those with allergic rhinitis. This should widen our understanding of the pathophysiology of atopy and BHR.
Allergic rhinitis; asthma; atopy; bronchial hyperresponsiveness; patients; population
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.