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
Dysfunctional expression of T-bet, a transcription factor that is critical for interferon (IFN)-γ production, has been implicated in the development of asthma. To investigate in detail the mechanisms responsible for exacerbated disease in the absence of T-bet expression, BALB/c wild-type (WT) and T-bet−/− mice were used in a murine model of ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergic lung inflammation. Following OVA challenge, T-bet−/− mice displayed increased histological inflammation in the lungs as well as greater thickening of the bronchiole linings, increased numbers eosinophils and neutrophils in the lung, and enhanced airway hyperresponsiveness, compared to WT mice. However, the production of Th2 cytokines in T-bet−/− mice did not appear to be significantly greater than in WT mice. Interestingly, a marked increase in the levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-17 was observed in T-bet−/− mice. Neutralization of pulmonary IL-17 in T-bet−/− mice by anti-IL-17 mAb treatment during OVA challenge resulted in decreased levels of neutrophilic infiltration into the airways and decreased airway inflammation, essentially reversing the development of allergic asthma development. These findings indicate that IL-17 is a key mediator of airway inflammation in the absence of T-bet. The results of this study suggest a possible target for therapeutic intervention of human asthma.
Allergy; Cytokines; Lung
Viral respiratory infections can predispose to the development of asthma by mechanisms that are presently undetermined. Using a murine model of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, acute infection is associated with airway hyperresponsiveness as well as enhanced responses to subsequent sensitization to allergen. We demonstrate that acute viral infection results in increased airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine and pulmonary neutrophilic and eosinophilic inflammation. This response is associated with predominant production of Th-1-type cytokines in peribronchial lymph node cells in vitro. Mice sensitized to ovalbumin via the airways after RSV infection developed increased airway responsiveness to methacholine and pulmonary eosinophilic and neutrophilic inflammation, associated with the predominant production of Th-2-type cytokines. Treatment of the mice with anti-IL-5 antibody abolished airway hyperresponsiveness and eosinophilic but not neutrophilic inflammation in both acutely infected mice and mice sensitized after infection. We conclude that RSV infection results in airway hyperresponsiveness in the acute phase and leads to changes in immune function that can enhance the effects of airway sensitization to antigen after infection. In both situations, airway hyperresponsiveness is closely associated with pulmonary eosinophilic inflammation. This model provides a means for further analyzing the influence of viral respiratory infections on airway sensitization and the development of altered airway responsiveness.
Allergic asthma is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness and pulmonary eosinophilia, and may be mediated by T helper (Th) lymphocytes expressing a Th2 cytokine pattern. Interleukin (IL) 12 suppresses the expression of Th2 cytokines and their associated responses, including eosinophilia, serum immunoglobulin E, and mucosal mastocytosis. We have previously shown in a murine model that antigen- induced increases in airway hyperresponsiveness and pulmonary eosinophilia are CD4+ T cell dependent. We used this model to determine the ability of IL-12 to prevent antigen-induced increases in airway hyperresponsiveness, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) eosinophils, and lung Th2 cytokine expression. Sensitized A/J mice developed airway hyperresponsiveness and increased numbers of BAL eosinophils and other inflammatory cells after single or repeated intratracheal challenges with sheep red blood cell antigen. Pulmonary mRNA and protein levels of the Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-5 were increased after antigen challenge. Administration of IL-12 (1 microgram/d x 5 d) at the time of a single antigen challenge abolished the airway hyperresponsiveness and pulmonary eosinophilia and promoted an increase in interferon (IFN) gamma and decreases in IL-4 and IL-5 expression. The effects of IL-12 were partially dependent on IFN-gamma, because concurrent treatment with IL-12 and anti-IFN-gamma monoclonal antibody partially reversed the inhibition of airway hyperresponsiveness and eosinophilia by IL-12. Treatment of mice with IL-12 at the time of a second antigen challenge also prevented airway hyperresponsiveness and significantly reduced numbers of BAL inflammatory cells, reflecting the ability of IL-12 to inhibit responses associated with ongoing antigen-induced pulmonary inflammation. These data show that antigen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation can be blocked by IL-12, which suppresses Th2 cytokine expression. Local administration of IL-12 may provide a novel immunotherapy for the treatment of pulmonary allergic disorders such as atopic asthma.
The effect of aging on several pathologic features of allergic-asthma (pulmonary inflammation, eosinophilia, mucus-hypersecretion), and their relationship with airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) is not well characterized.
To evaluate lung inflammation, mucus-metaplasia and AHR in relationship to age in murine models of allergic-asthma comparing young and older mice.
Young (6-week) and older (6-, 12- 18-month) BALB/c mice were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA). AHR and bronchoalveolar fluid (BALF) total inflammatory cell count and differential were measured. To evaluate mucus-metaplasia, quantitative PCR for the major airway mucin-associated gene, MUC-5AC, from lung tissue was measured, and lung tissue sections stained with periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) for goblet-cell enumeration. Lung tissue cytokine gene expression was determined by qPCR, and systemic cytokine protein levels by ELISA from spleen-cell cultures. Antigen-specific serum IgE was determined by ELISA.
AHR developed in both aged and young OVA-sensitized/challenged mice (OVA-mice), and was more significantly increased in young OVA-mice than in aged OVA-mice. However, BALF eosinophil numbers were significantly higher, and lung histology showed greater inflammation in aged OVA-mice than in young OVA-mice. MUC-5AC expression and numbers of PAS+ staining bronchial epithelial cells were significantly increased in the aged OVA-mice. All aged OVA-mice had increased IL-5 and IFN-γ mRNA expression in the lung and IL-5 and IFN-γ protein levels from spleen cell cultures compared to young OVA-mice. OVA-IgE was elevated to a greater extent in aged OVA-mice.
Although pulmonary inflammation and mucus-metaplasia after antigen sensitization/challenge occurred to a greater degree in older mice, the increase in AHR was significantly less compared with younger OVA-mice. Antigen treatment produced a unique cytokine profile in older mice (elevated IFN-γ and IL-5) compared with young mice (elevated IL-4 and IL-13). Thus, the airway response to inflammation is lessened in aging animals, and may represent age-associated events leading to different phenotypes in response to antigen provocation.
Aging; murine; asthma; airway hyperresponsiveness; eosinophil; inflammation
Chronic airway inflammation is a hallmark of asthma, an immune-based disease with great societal impact. Honokiol (HNK), a phenolic neurotransmitter receptor (GABAA) agonist purified from magnolia, has anti-inflammatory properties, including stabilization of inflammation in experimentally-induced arthritis. The present study tested the prediction that HNK could inhibit the chronic inflammatory component of allergic asthma. C57Bl/6 mice sensitized to and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA) had increased airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine challenge and eosinophilia compared to naïve controls. HNK-treated mice showed a reduction in airway hyperresponsiveness as well as a significant decrease in lung eosinophilia. Histopathology studies revealed a marked drop in lung inflammation, goblet cell hyperplasia, and collagen deposition with HNK treatment. Antigen recall responses from HNK-treated mice showed decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines in response to OVA, including TNF-α, IL-6, Th1, and Th17-type cytokines, despite an increase in Th2-type cytokines. Regulatory cytokines IL-10 and TGF-β were also increased. Assessment of lung homogenates revealed a similar pattern of cytokines, with a noted increase in the number of FoxP3+ cells in the lung. HNK was able to alter B- and T-lymphocyte cytokine secretion in a GABAA dependent manner. These results indicate that symptoms and pathology of asthma can be alleviated even in the presence of increased Th2 cytokines, and that neurotransmitter agonists such as HNK have promise as a novel class of antiinflammatory agents in the treatment of chronic asthma.
Inflammation; mouse; cytokines; asthma
Histamine, signaling via the type 1 receptor (H1R), has been shown to suppress Th2 cytokine production by in vitro cultured T cells. We examined the role of H1R in allergic inflammation in vivo using a murine asthma model. Allergen-stimulated splenic T cells from sensitized H1R–/– mice exhibited enhanced Th2 cytokine production. Despite this Th2 bias, allergen-challenged H1R–/– mice exhibited diminished lung Th2 cytokine mRNA levels, airway inflammation, goblet cell metaplasia, and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). Restoration of pulmonary Th2 cytokines in H1R–/– mice by intranasal IL-4 or IL-13 restored inflammatory lung responses and AHR. Further investigation revealed that histamine acts as a T cell chemotactic factor and defective T cell trafficking was responsible for the absence of lung inflammation. Cultured T cells migrated in response to histamine in vitro, but this was ablated by blockade of H1R but not H2R. In vivo, allergen-specific WT but not H1R–/– CD4+ T cells were recruited to the lungs of naive recipients following inhaled allergen challenge. H1R–/– T cells failed to confer airway inflammation or AHR observed after transfer of WT T cells. Our data establish a role for histamine and H1R in promoting the migration of Th2 cells into sites of allergen exposure.
Allergic asthma is a dysregulation of the immune system which leads to the development of Th2 responses to innocuous antigens (allergens). Some infections and microbial components can re-direct the immune response toward the Th1 response, or induce regulatory T cells to suppress the Th2 response, thereby inhibiting the development of allergic asthma. Since Acinetobacter baumannii infection can modulate lung cellular and cytokine responses, we studied the effect of A. baumannii in modulating airway eosinophilia in a mouse model of allergic asthma. Ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized mice were treated with live A. baumannii or phosphate buffered saline (PBS), then intranasally challenged with OVA. Compared to PBS, A. baumannii treatment significantly reduced pulmonary Th2 cytokine and chemokine responses to OVA challenge. More importantly, the airway inflammation in A. baumannii-treated mice was strongly suppressed, as seen by the significant reduction of the proportion and the total number of eosinophils in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. In addition, A. baumannii-treated mice diminished lung mucus overproduction and pathology. However, A. baumannii treatment did not significantly alter systemic immune responses to OVA. Serum OVA-specific IgE, IgG1 and IgG2a levels were comparable between A. baumannii- and PBS-treated mice, and tracheobronchial lymph node cells from both treatment groups produced similar levels of Th1 and Th2 cytokines in response to in vitro OVA stimulation. Moreover, it appears that TLR-4 and IFN-γ were not directly involved in the A. baumannii-induced suppression of airway eosinophilia. Our results suggest that A. baumannii inhibits allergic airway inflammation by direct suppression of local pulmonary Th2 cytokine responses to the allergen.
Oxidative stress has been postulated to play an important role in the pathogenesis of asthma; although a defect in antioxidant responses has been speculated to exacerbate asthma severity, this has been difficult to demonstrate with certainty. Nuclear erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a redox-sensitive basic leucine zipper transcription factor that is involved in the transcriptional regulation of many antioxidant genes. We show that disruption of the Nrf2 gene leads to severe allergen-driven airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in mice. Enhanced asthmatic response as a result of ovalbumin sensitization and challenge in Nrf2-disrupted mice was associated with more pronounced mucus cell hyperplasia and infiltration of eosinophils into the lungs than seen in wild-type littermates. Nrf2 disruption resulted in an increased expression of the T helper type 2 cytokines interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and in splenocytes after allergen challenge. The enhanced severity of the asthmatic response from disruption of the Nrf2 pathway was a result of a lowered antioxidant status of the lungs caused by lower basal expression, as well as marked attenuation, of the transcriptional induction of multiple antioxidant genes. Our studies suggest that the responsiveness of Nrf2-directed antioxidant pathways may act as a major determinant of susceptibility to allergen-mediated asthma.
Immunized mice after inhalation of specific antigen have the following characteristic features of human asthma: airway eosinophilia, mucus and Th2 cytokine release, and hyperresponsiveness to methacholine. A model of late-phase allergic pulmonary inflammation in ovalbumin-sensitized mice was used to address the role of the alpha4 integrin (CD49d) in mediating the airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness. Local, intrapulmonary blockade of CD49d by intranasal administration of CD49d mAb inhibited all signs of lung inflammation, IL-4 and IL-5 release, and hyperresponsiveness to methacholine. In contrast, CD49d blockade on circulating leukocytes by intraperitoneal CD49d mAb treatment only prevented the airway eosinophilia. In this asthma model, a CD49d-positive intrapulmonary leukocyte distinct from the eosinophil is the key effector cell of allergen-induced pulmonary inflammation and hyperresponsiveness.
NF-kB is a critical transcription factor for the production of many inflammatory cytokines. It is activated in the airway epithelium of human asthmatics and in mice after allergic stimulation. To examine the role of NF-kB activation in allergic inflammation we generated transgenic mouse lines that allowed for the inducible stimulation of NF-kB in airway epithelial cells. After allergic sensitization with ovalbumin and alum, mice were challenged daily with ovalbumin aerosols and NF-kB was activated in airway epithelium by administration of doxycycline. Enhancement of airway epithelial NF-kB expression alone did not lead to increased airway responsiveness to methacholine. However induction of epithelial NF-kB during allergic inflammation caused airway hyperresponsiveness, increased airway neutrophilic and lymphocytic inflammation and goblet cell hyperplasia. Accompanying the exaggerated inflammation was an increase in the cytokines, G-CSF, IL-15, and KC. Interestingly, the counter regulatory interleukin, IL-10, was suppressed by NF-kB activation. The epithelial NF-kB dependent modulation of these cytokines provides a plausible explanation for the increased inflammation seen with overexpression of NF-kB. Modulation of airway epithelial NF-kB activation enhances the airway hyperresponsiveness and mucus secretion found in the mouse lung during allergic inflammation. NF-kB represents a potential target for pharmacologic intervention in human asthma.
Asthma is frequently caused and/or exacerbated by sensitization to fungal allergens, which are ubiquitous in many indoor and outdoor environments. Severe asthma with fungal sensitization is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness and bronchial constriction in response to an inhaled allergen that is worsened by environmental exposure to airborne fungi and which leads to a disease course that is often very difficult to treat with standard asthma therapies. As a result of complex interactions among inflammatory cells, structural cells, and the intercellular matrix of the allergic lung, patients with sensitization to fungal allergens may experience a greater degree of airway wall remodeling and progressive, accumulated pulmonary dysfunction as part of the disease sequela. From their development in the bone marrow to their recruitment to the lung via chemokine and cytokine networks, eosinophils form an important component of the inflammatory milieu that is associated with this syndrome. Eosinophils are recognized as complex multi-factorial leukocytes with diverse functions in the context of allergic fungal asthma. In this review, we will consider recent advances in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that are associated with eosinophil development and migration to the allergic lung in response to fungal inhalation, along with the eosinophil’s function in the immune response to and the immunopathology attributed to fungus-associated allergic pulmonary disease.
allergic asthma; inflammation; eosinophils; fungus
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.
Allergic airway inflammation is characterized by elaboration of cytokines and chemokines leading to recruitment of inflammatory leukocytes, predominantly eosinophils, to the airways. Granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is generated in the lungs of human subjects with asthma in response to allergen challenge and is necessary for the development of allergen-induced bronchial eosinophilia in mice. The effect of GM-CSF on human eosinophil and neutrophil interactions with the vascular endothelium under conditions of blood flow was investigated in post-capillary venules of the rabbit mesentery by intravital microscopy.
While GM-CSF significantly reduced the rolling fraction of neutrophils in vivo and induced consistent shedding of neutrophil L-selectin in vitro, its effect on eosinophil rolling was variable. Eosinophils from 57% of the donors demonstrated inhibition of rolling, while eosinophils from the remaining 43% of donors demonstrated no inhibition or increased rolling. The variable effect of GM-CSF on inhibition of eosinophil rolling was associated with variable shedding of L-selectin in vitro. In contrast to the differential effect of GM-CSF on neutrophils versus eosinophils, stimulation with phorbol myristate acetate demonstrated a similar degree of inhibition of rolling and L-selectin shedding by neutrophils and eosinophils suggesting that there was no defect in L-selectin shedding in the eosinophil donors who did not respond to GM-CSF.
Overall, these studies demonstrate that GM-CSF consistently inhibits interaction of neutrophils with endothelium in vivo, whereas its effect on eosinophil-endothelial interactions is variable. GM-CSF may thus be one factor accounting for the varying percentage of eosinophils and neutrophils recruited to sites of allergic inflammation in different individuals.
Allergic Inflammation; Cytokines; Leukocyte Rolling; L-selectin
Chronic asthma is often associated with neutrophilic infiltration in the airways. Neutrophils contain elastase, a potent secretagogue in the airways, nonetheless the role for neutrophil elastase as well as neutrophilic inflammation in allergen-induced airway responses is not well defined. In this study, we have investigated the impact of neutrophil elastase inhibition on the development of allergic airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) in previously sensitized and challenged mice.
BALB/c mice were sensitized and challenged (primary) with ovalbumin (OVA). Six weeks later, a single OVA aerosol (secondary challenge) was delivered and airway inflammation and airway responses were monitored 6 and 48 hrs later. An inhibitor of neutrophil elastase was administered prior to secondary challenge.
Mice developed a two-phase airway inflammatory response after secondary allergen challenge, one neutrophilic at 6 hr and the other eosinophilic, at 48 hr. PAR-2 expression in the lung tissues was enhanced following secondary challenge, and that PAR-2 intracellular expression on peribronchial lymph node (PBLN) T cells was also increased following allergen challenge of sensitized mice. Inhibition of neutrophil elastase significantly attenuated AHR, goblet cell metaplasia, and inflammatory cell accumulation in the airways following secondary OVA challenge. Levels of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13, and eotaxin in BAL fluid 6 hr after secondary allergen challenge were significantly suppressed by the treatment. At 48 hr, treatment with the neutrophil elastase inhibitor significantly reduced the levels of IL-13 and TGF-β1 in the BAL fluid. In parallel, in vitro IL-13 production was significantly inhibited in spleen cells from sensitized mice.
These data indicate that neutrophil elastase plays an important role in the development of allergic airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness, and would suggest that the neutrophil elastase inhibitor reduced AHR to inhaled methacholine indicating the potential for its use as a modulator of the immune/inflammatory response in both the neutrophil- and eosinophil-dominant phases of the response to secondary allergen challenge.
Neutrophil; Elastase; Airway; Hyperresponsiveness; Asthma
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.
Regulatory T cells (Treg) play a decisive role in many diseases including asthma and allergen-induced lung inflammation. However, little progress has been made developing new therapeutic strategies for pulmonary disorders. In the current study we demonstrate that cytokine:antibody complexes of IL-2 and anti-IL-2 mAb reduce the severity of allergen-induced inflammation in the lung by expanding Tregs in vivo. Unlike rIL-2 or anti-IL-2 mAb treatment alone, IL-2:anti-IL-2 complexes dampened airway inflammation and eosinophilia while suppressing IL-5 and eotaxin-1 production. Mucus production, airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine, and parenchymal tissue inflammation were also dramatically reduced following IL-2:anti-IL-2 treatment. The suppression in allergic airway disease was associated with a marked expansion of Tregs (IL-10+CD4+CD25+ and Foxp3+CD4+CD25+) in the tissues, with a corresponding decrease in effector T cell responses. The ability of IL-2:anti-IL-2 complexes to suppress airway inflammation was dependent on Treg-derived IL-10, as IL-10+/+, but not IL-10-/- Tregs, were capable of mediating the suppression. Furthermore, a therapeutic protocol using a model of established airway allergy highlighted the ability of IL-2:anti-IL-2 complexes to expand Tregs and prevent successive airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness. This study suggests that endogenous Treg therapy may be a useful tool to combat the rising incidence of allergic airway disease.
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.
Cyclic AMP (cAMP) signaling modulates functions of inflammatory cells involved in the pathogenesis of asthma, and type 4 cAMP-specific phosphodiesterases (PDE4s) are essential components of this pathway. Induction of the PDE4 isoform PDE4B is necessary for Toll-like receptor signaling in monocytes and macrophages and is associated with T cell receptor/CD3 in T cells; however, its exact physiological function in the development of allergic asthma remains undefined.
We investigated the role of PDE4B in the development of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and TH2-driven inflammatory responses.
Wild-type and PDE4B−/− mice were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin and AHR measured in response to inhaled methacholine. Airway inflammation was characterized by analyzing leukocyte infiltration and cytokine accumulation in the airways. Ovalbumin-stimulated cell proliferation and TH2 cytokine production were determined in cultured bronchial lymph node cells.
Mice deficient in PDE4B do not develop AHR. This protective effect was associated with a significant decrease in eosinophils recruitment to the lungs and decreased TH2 cytokine levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Defects in T-cell replication, TH2 cytokine production, and dendritic cell migration were evident in cells from the airway-draining lymph nodes. Conversely, accumulation of the TH1 cytokine IFN-γ was not affected in PDE4B−/− mice. Ablation of the orthologous PDE4 gene PDE4A has no impact on airway inflammation.
By relieving a cAMP-negative constraint, PDE4B plays an essential role in TH2-cell activation and dendritic cell recruitment during airway inflammation. These findings provide proof of concept that PDE4 inhibitors with PDE4B selectivity may have efficacy in asthma treatment.
Asthma; PDE4B; TH2 cytokines; airway hyperresponsiveness; airway inflammation; cAMP signaling
Allergic asthmatic responses in the airway are associated with airway hyperreactivity, eosinophil accumulation in the lung, and cytokine production by allergen-specific, T helper cell type 2 (Th2) lymphocytes. Here, we show that in a cockroach antigen (CA) model of allergic pulmonary inflammation, the chemokine macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-3α is expressed in the lung within hours of allergen challenge. To determine the biologic relevance of this expression, mice lacking CCR6, the only known receptor for MIP-3α, were studied for their response to CA. CCR6-deficient mice were immunized to the same extent as their wild-type counterparts, as judged by cytokine production in antigen-challenged lymphocytes. However, compared with CA-challenged wild-type mice, challenged CCR6-deficient mice had reduced airway resistance, fewer eosinophils around the airway, lower levels of interleukin 5 in the lung, and reduced serum levels of immunoglobulin E. Together, these data demonstrate that MIP-3α and CCR6 function in allergic pulmonary responses and suggest that these molecules might represent novel therapeutic targets for treatment of asthma.
CCR6; MIP-3α; chemokine; asthma; lung
Chemically modified mRNA is capable of inducing therapeutic levels of protein expression while circumventing the threat of genomic integration often associated with viral vectors. We utilized this novel therapeutic tool to express the regulatory T cell transcription factor, FOXP3, in a time- and site-specific fashion in murine lung, in order to prevent allergic asthma in vivo. We show that modified Foxp3 mRNA rebalanced pulmonary T helper cell responses and protected from allergen-induced tissue inflammation, airway hyperresponsiveness, and goblet cell metaplasia in 2 asthma models. This protection was conferred following delivery of modified mRNA either before or after the onset of allergen challenge, demonstrating its potential as both a preventive and a therapeutic agent. Mechanistically, FOXP3 induction controlled Th2 and Th17 inflammation by regulating innate immune cell recruitment through an IL-10–dependent pathway. The protective effects of FOXP3 could be reversed by depletion of IL-10 or administration of recombinant IL-17A or IL-23. Delivery of Foxp3 mRNA to sites of inflammation may offer a novel, safe therapeutic tool for the treatment of allergic asthma and other diseases driven by an imbalance in helper T cell responses.
Maladaptive, Th2-polarized inflammatory responses are integral to the pathogenesis of allergic asthma. As regulators of T cell activation, dendritic cells (DCs) are important mediators of allergic asthma, yet the precise signals which render endogenous DCs “pro-asthmatic”, and the extent to which these signals are regulated by the pulmonary environment and host genetics, remains unclear. Comparative phenotypic and functional analysis of pulmonary DC populations in mice susceptible (A/J), or resistant (C3H) to experimental asthma, revealed that susceptibility to airway hyperresponsiveness is associated with preferential myeloid DC (mDC) allergen uptake, and production of Th17-skewing cytokines (IL-6, IL-23), whereas resistance is associated with increased allergen uptake by plasmacytoid DCs. Surprisingly, adoptive transfer of syngeneic HDM-pulsed bone marrow derived mDCs (BMDCs) to the lungs of C3H mice markedly enhanced lung IL-17A production, and rendered them susceptible to allergen-driven airway hyperresponsiveness. Characterization of these BMDCs revealed levels of antigen uptake, and Th17 promoting cytokine production similar to that observed in pulmonary mDCs from susceptible A/J mice. Collectively these data demonstrate that the lung environment present in asthma-resistant mice promotes robust pDC allergen uptake, activation, and limits Th17-skewing cytokine production responsible for driving pathologic T cell responses central to the development of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness.
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.
Rationale: Asthma is characterized by increases in airway resistance, pulmonary remodeling, and lung inflammation. The cytokine transforming growth factor (TGF)-β has been shown to have a central role in asthma pathogenesis and in mouse models of allergic airway disease.
Objectives: To determine the contribution of TGF-β to airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), we examined the time course, source, and isoform specificity of TGF-β production in an in vivo mouse asthma model. To then elucidate the function of TGF-β in AHR, inflammation, and pulmonary fibrosis, we examined the effects of blocking TGF-β signaling with neutralizing antibody.
Methods: Mice were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA) to establish allergic airway disease. TGF-β activity was neutralized by intranasal administration of monoclonal antibody.
Measurements and Main Results: TGF-β1 protein levels were increased in OVA-challenged lungs versus naive controls, and airway epithelial cells were shown to be a likely source of TGF-β1. In addition, TGF-β1 levels were elevated in OVA-exposed IL-5–null mice, which fail to recruit eosinophils into the airways. Neutralization of TGF-β1 with specific antibody had no significant effect on airway inflammation and eosinophilia, although anti–TGF-β1 antibody enhanced OVA-induced AHR and suppressed pulmonary fibrosis.
Conclusions: These data show that TGF-β1 is the main TGF-β isoform produced after OVA challenge, with a likely cellular source being the airway epithelium. The effects of blocking TGF-β1 signaling had differential effects on AHR, fibrosis, and inflammation. While TGF-β neutralization may be beneficial to abrogating airway remodeling, it may be detrimental to lung function by increasing AHR.
lung; mice; hypersensitivity; cytokines
This study investigates the role of Smad3 signalling for the T-helper2 (Th2) cytokine homeostasis in normal lungs and in a mouse model of asthma.
We used mice deficient for Smad3, a central part of the major signal transduction pathway for TGF-β and other related cytokines, and a mouse model for allergic asthma with ovalbumin (OVA) as the antigen.
Compared to wild type mice, naive (unmanipulated) Smad3-/- mice exhibited significantly increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines and IL-4 as well as the Th2 associated transcription factor GATA-3 in the lung tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). In the asthma model, mucin secretion and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) after allergen exposure was significantly increased in the Smad3-/- mice as compared to wild type (WT) mice. IL-4 levels in Smad3-/- were similar to those encountered in WT mice but IL-13 levels were decreased in the airways of OVA sensitized Smad3-/- mice compared to corresponding WT mice.
The results indicate that a lack of Smad3 dependent signalling in the normal state will lead to an increase in the GATA-3 levels and as a result of this the levels of IL-4 increase. However, the lack of Smad3 also seems to inhibit expression of some cytokines, especially IL-13. Our results also indicate that in the inflammatory state TGF-β or related cytokines functions to counterbalance the effects of IL-4 rather than to critically regulate its expression.
Smad3; TGF-β; Asthma.