We evaluated the role of Syk, using an inhibitor, on allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and airway inflammation in a system shown to be B cell– and mast cell–independent. Sensitization of BALB/c mice with ovalbumin (OVA) and alum after three consecutive OVA challenges resulted in AHR to inhaled methacholine and airway inflammation. The Syk inhibitor R406 (30 mg/kg, administered orally, twice daily) prevented the development of AHR, increases in eosinophils and lymphocytes and IL-13 levels in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, and goblet cell metaplasia when administered after sensitization and before challenge with OVA. Levels of IL-4, IL-5, and IFN-γ in BAL fluid and allergen-specific antibody levels in serum were not affected by treatment. Because many of these responses may be influenced by dendritic cell function, we investigated the effect of R406 on bone marrow–derived dendritic cell (BMDC) function. Co-culture of BMDC with immune complexes of OVA and IgG anti-OVA together with OVA-sensitized spleen mononuclear cells resulted in increases in IL-13 production. IL-13 production was inhibited if the BMDCs were pretreated with the Syk inhibitor. Intratracheal transfer of immune complex-pulsed BMDCs (but not nonpulsed BMDCs) to naive mice before airway allergen challenge induced the development of AHR and increases in BAL eosinophils and lymphocytes. All of these responses were inhibited if the transferred BMDCs were pretreated with R406. These results demonstrate that Syk inhibition prevents allergen-induced AHR and airway inflammation after systemic sensitization and challenge, at least in part through alteration of DC function.
AHR; dendritic cells; eosinophils; mice; Syk
Dendritic cells (DCs) are considered to be the most efficient antigen-presenting cells. Intratracheal administration of allergen-pulsed bone marrow–derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) before allergen challenge induces airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and inflammation. Ovalbumin (OVA)-pulsed BMDCs from wild-type (WT) mice were transferred into naive WT, CD4−/−, CD8−/−, or IL-13−/− mice. Two days (short protocol) or 10 days (long protocol) after BMDC transfer, mice were challenged with 1% OVA for 3 days and assayed 2 days later. Transfer of OVA-primed BMDCs into BALB/c or C57BL/6 mice elicited AHR in both protocols. Airway eosinophilia, Th2 cytokines, or goblet cell metaplasia were increased in the long but not short protocol. Lung T cells from both protocols produced Th2 cytokines in response to OVA in vitro. Carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidylester–labeled BMDCs were observed in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and lung parenchyma at early time points, and were detected in draining lymph nodes 48 hours after transfer. CD8−/− mice developed AHR comparable to WT mice in the short protocol, but decreased levels of AHR, airway eosinophilia, Th2 cytokines in BAL fluid, and goblet cell metaplasia compared with WT mice in the long protocol. CD4−/− or IL-13−/− mice did not develop AHR or airway inflammation in either protocol. These data suggest that allergen-pulsed BMDCs initiate development of AHR that is dependent initially on CD4+ T cells, and at later time periods on CD8+ T cells and IL-13. Thus, the timing of allergen challenge after transfer of allergen-pulsed BMDC affects the development of AHR and airway inflammation.
dendritic cells; CD8+ T cells; airway hyperresponsiveness
Rationale: Airway inflammation in asthma is accompanied by structural changes, including goblet cell metaplasia, smooth muscle cell layer thickening, and subepithelial fibrosis. This allergen-induced airway remodeling can be replicated in a mouse asthma model.
Objectives: The study goal was to determine whether established airway remodeling in a mouse asthma model is reversible by administration of the cysteinyl leukotriene (CysLT)1 receptor antagonist montelukast, the corticosteroid dexamethasone, or the combination montelukast + dexamethasone.
Methods: BALB/c mice, sensitized by intraperitoneal ovalbumin (OVA) as allergen, received intranasal OVA periodically Days 14–73 and montelukast or dexamethasone or placebo from Days 73–163.
Measurements and Main Results: Allergen-induced trafficking of eosinophils into the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lung interstitium and airway goblet cell metaplasia, smooth muscle cell layer thickening, and subepithelial fibrosis present on Day 73 persisted at Day 163, 3 mo after the last allergen challenge. Airway hyperreactivity to methacholine observed on Day 73 in OVA-treated mice was absent on Day 163. In OVA-treated mice, airway eosinophil infiltration and goblet cell metaplasia were reduced by either montelukast or dexamethasone alone. Montelukast, but not dexamethasone, reversed the established increase in airway smooth muscle mass and subepithelial collagen deposition. By immunocytochemistry, CysLT1 receptor expression was significantly increased in airway smooth muscle cells in allergen-treated mice compared with saline-treated controls and was reduced by montelukast, but not dexamethasone, administration.
Conclusions: These data indicate that established airway smooth muscle cell layer thickening and subepithelial fibrosis, key allergen-induced airway structural changes not modulated by corticosteroids, are reversible by CysLT1 receptor blockade therapy.
eosinophils; fibrosis; mucus; smooth muscle
Ovarian cancer G protein-coupled receptor 1 (OGR1) stimulation by extracellular protons causes the activation of G proteins and subsequent cellular functions. However, the physiological and pathophysiological roles of OGR1 in airway responses remain largely unknown. In the present study, we show that OGR1-deficient mice are resistant to the cardinal features of asthma, including airway eosinophilia, airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), and goblet cell metaplasia, in association with a remarkable inhibition of Th2 cytokine and IgE production, in an ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthma model. Intratracheal transfer to wild-type mice of OVA-primed bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (DCs) from OGR1-deficient mice developed lower AHR and eosinophilia after OVA inhalation compared with the transfer of those from wild-type mice. Migration of OVA-pulsed DCs to peribronchial lymph nodes was also inhibited by OGR1 deficiency in the adoption experiments. The presence of functional OGR1 in DCs was confirmed by the expression of OGR1 mRNA and the OGR1-sensitive Ca2+ response. OVA-induced expression of CCR7, a mature DC chemokine receptor, and migration response to CCR7 ligands in an in vitro Transwell assay were attenuated by OGR1 deficiency. We conclude that OGR1 on DCs is critical for migration to draining lymph nodes, which, in turn, stimulates Th2 phenotype change and subsequent induction of airway inflammation and AHR.
As passive environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure in nonsmokers can increase both asthma symptoms and the frequency of asthma exacerbations, we utilized a mouse model, in which ovalbumin (OVA) + ETS induce significantly increased levels of eosinophilic airway inflammation and remodeling compared to either stimulus alone, to determine whether a Toll-like receptor-9 (TLR-9) agonist could reduce levels of airway inflammation, airway remodeling and airway hyperreactivity (AHR).
Mice treated with or without a TLR-9 agonist were sensitized to OVA and challenged with OVA + ETS for 1 month. AHR to methacholine was assessed in intubated and ventilated mice. Lung Th2 cytokines and TGF-β1 were measured by ELISA. Lungs were processed for histology and immunohistology to quantify eosinophils, mucus, peribronchial fibrosis and smooth muscle changes using image analysis.
Administration of a TLR-9 agonist to mice coexposed to chronic ETS and chronic OVA allergen significantly reduced levels of eosinophilic airway inflammation, mucus production, peribronchial fibrosis, the thickness of the peribronchial smooth muscle layer, and AHR. The reduced airway remodeling in mice treated with the TLR-9 agonist was associated with significantly reduced numbers of peribronchial MBP+ and peribronchial TGF-β1+ cells, and with significantly reduced levels of lung Th2 cytokines [interleukin-5 and interleukin-13] and TGF-β1.
These studies demonstrate that TLR-9-based therapies inhibit airway inflammation, remodeling and AHR in mice coexposed to ETS and allergen who exhibit enhanced airway inflammation and remodeling.
Toll-like receptor-9; Airway hyperreactivity; Airway inflammation; Airway remodeling; Eosinophils
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of acute and chronic respiratory diseases. Antioxidants have been found to ameliorate airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in animal models employing short-term exposure to allergen. However, little data are available on the effect of antioxidants on airway remodeling and signaling pathways in chronic asthma. In the present study, we used a long-term exposure murine model of allergic airway disease to evaluate the effects of an antioxidant, L-2-oxothiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid (OTC) or α-lipoic acid (LA) on airway remodeling, focusing on the ROS-related hypoxia-inducible signaling. Long-term challenge of ovalbumin (OVA) increased ROS production, airway inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness, and developed features of airway remodeling such as excessive mucus secretion, subepithelial fibrosis, and thickening of the peribronchial smooth muscle layer. Administration of OTC or LA reduced these features of asthma, including airway remodeling, which was accompanied by suppression of transforming growth factor-β1, vascular endothelial growth factor, and T-helper 2 cytokines. In addition, OVA-induced activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), nuclear factor erythroid 2p45-related factor-2 (Nrf2), hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α, and HIF-2α was reduced by OTC or LA. Our results also showed that OTC or LA down-regulated phosphoinositide 3-kinase activity and decreased phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase but not extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 or c-Jun N-terminal kinase. These findings demonstrate that OTC and LA can inhibit activation of NF-κB, Nrf2, and HIF, leading to attenuate allergen-induced airway remodeling.
airway remodeling; antioxidant; hypoxia-inducible factor; nuclear factor erythroid 2p45-related factor-2; nuclear factor-κB; oxidative stress
Signal transducers and activators of transcription 6 (STAT6) is essential for interleukin 4–mediated responses, including class switching to IgE and induction of type 2 T helper cells. To investigate the role of STAT6 in allergic asthma in vivo, we developed a murine model of allergen-induced airway inflammation. Repeated exposure of actively immunized C57BL/6 mice to ovalbumin (OVA) aerosol increased the level of serum IgE, the number of eosinophils in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, and airway reactivity. Histological analysis revealed peribronchial inflammation with pulmonary eosinophilia in OVA-treated mice. In STAT6-deficient (STAT6−/−) C57BL/6 mice treated in the same fashion, there were no eosinophilia in BAL and significantly less peribronchial inflammation than in wild-type mice. Moreover STAT6−/− mice had much less airway reactivity than wild-type mice. These findings suggest that STAT6 plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of allergen-induced airway inflammation.
Chronic allergic asthma is characterized by Th2-typed inflammation, and contributes to airway remodeling and the deterioration of lung function. However, the initiating factor that links airway inflammation to remodeling is unknown. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), an epithelium-derived cytokine, can strongly activate lung dendritic cells (DCs) through the TSLP-TSLPR and OX40L-OX40 signaling pathways to promote Th2 differentiation. To determine whether TSLP is the underlying trigger of airway remodeling in chronic allergen-induced asthma, we induced allergic airway inflammation in mice by intranasal administration of house dust mite (HDM) extracts for up to 5 consecutive weeks. We showed that repeated respiratory exposure to HDM caused significant airway eosinophilic inflammation, peribronchial collagen deposition, goblet cell hyperplasia, and airway hyperreactivity (AHR) to methacholine. These effects were accompanied with a salient Th2 response that was characterized by the upregulation of Th2-typed cytokines, such as IL-4 and IL-13, as well as the transcription factor GATA-3. Moreover, the levels of TSLP and transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) were also increased in the airway. We further demonstrated, using the chronic HDM-induced asthma model, that the inhibition of Th2 responses via neutralization of TSLP with an anti-TSLP mAb reversed airway inflammation, prevented structural alterations, and decreased AHR to methacholine and TGF-β1 level. These results suggest that TSLP plays a pivotal role in the initiation and persistence of airway inflammation and remodeling in the context of chronic allergic asthma.
Rationale: Spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) is important for Fc and B-cell receptor–mediated signaling.
Objective: To determine the activity of a specific Syk inhibitor (R406) on mast cell activation in vitro and on the development of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and inflammation in vivo.
Methods: AHR and inflammation were induced after 10 d of allergen (ovalbumin [OVA]) exposure exclusively via the airways and in the absence of adjuvant. This approach was previously established to be IgE, FcɛRI, and mast cell dependent. Alternatively, mice were passively sensitized with OVA-specific IgE, followed by limited airway challenge. In vitro, the inhibitor was added to cultures of IgE-sensitized bone marrow–derived mast cells (BMMCs) before cross-linking with allergen.
Results: The inhibitor prevented OVA-induced degranulation of passively IgE-sensitized murine BMMCs and inhibited the production of interleukin (IL)-13, tumor necrosis factor α, IL-2, and IL-6 in these sensitized BMMCs. When administered in vivo, R406 inhibited AHR, which developed in BALB/c mice exposed to aerosolized 1% OVA for 10 consecutive d (20 min/d), as well as pulmonary eosinophilia and goblet cell metaplasia. A similar inhibition of AHR was demonstrated in mice passively sensitized with OVA-specific IgE and exposed to limited airway challenge.
Conclusion: This study delineates a functional role for Syk in the development of mast cell– and IgE-mediated AHR and airway inflammation, and these results indicate that inhibition of Syk may be a target in the treatment of allergic asthma.
airway hyperresponsiveness; eosinophils; goblet cell metaplasia; mast cells; spleen tyrosine kinase
The role played by the β-galactoside-binding lectin galectin-3 (Gal-3) in airway remodeling, a characteristic feature of asthma that leads to airway dysfunction and poor clinical outcome in humans, was investigated in a murine model of chronic allergic airway inflammation. Wild-type (WT) and Gal-3 knock-out (KO) mice were subjected to repetitive allergen challenge with ovalbumin (OVA) up to 12 weeks and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lung tissue collected after the last challenge were evaluated for cellular features associated with airway remodeling. Compared to WT mice, chronic OVA challenge in Gal-3 KO mice resulted in diminished remodeling of the airways with significantly reduced mucus secretion, sub-epithelial fibrosis, smooth muscle thickness, and peribronchial angiogenesis. The higher degree of airway remodeling in WT mice was associated with higher Gal-3 expression in the BALF as well as lung tissue. Cell counts in BALF and lung immunohistology demonstrated that eosinophil infiltration in OVA-challenged Gal-3 KO mice was significantly reduced compared to WT mice. Evaluation of cellular mediators associated with eosinophil recruitment and airway remodeling revealed that levels of eotaxin-1, IL-5, IL-13, FIZZ1 and TGF-β were substantially lower in Gal-3 KO mice. Finally, leukocytes from Gal-3 KO mice demonstrated decreased trafficking (rolling) on vascular endothelial adhesion molecules compared to WT cells. Overall, these studies demonstrate that Gal-3 is an important lectin that promotes airway remodeling via airway recruitment of inflammatory cells, specifically eosinophils, and the development of a Th2 phenotype as well as increased expression of eosinophil-specific chemokines, pro-fibrogenic and angiogenic mediators.
In a proportion of atopic asthmatics, exposure to a relevant antigen is followed by chronic inflammation in the airways leading to altered airway responsiveness (AR). However, the mechanisms underlying the development of airway hyperresponsiveness still remain unclear. To elucidate the relationship between IgE-mediated reactions and airway hyperresponsiveness, a murine model of passive sensitization and airway challenge with ovalbumin (OVA) was developed using anti-OVA IgE and IgG antibodies from murine B cell hybridomas. Passive sensitization by intravenous injection of anti-OVA IgE resulted in immediate cutaneous hypersensitivity and, after airway challenge with OVA on two consecutive days, increased AR in BALB/c and SJL mice. Increased numbers of eosinophils were observed in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, in cells extracted from the lungs, and in the peribronchial areas of BALB/c mice passively sensitized with IgE and challenged through the airways compared with nonsensitized mice. Eosinophil peroxidase activity was also elevated in lung tissue from these mice. Passive sensitization with anti-OVA IgG1 but not IgG2a or IgG3 was similarly associated with development of skin test reactivity and increased AR after airway challenge, accompanied by an increase in eosinophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. These data suggest that IgE/IgG1-mediated reactions together with local challenge with antigen can result in allergic inflammation resulting in altered airway function.
Mast cells are the main effector cells of immediate hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis. Their role in the development of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) is controversial and based on indirect evidence. To address these issues, mast cell–deficient mice (W/W v) and their congenic littermates were sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) by intraperitoneal injection and subsequently challenged with OVA via the airways. Comparison of OVA-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels in the serum and numbers of eosinophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid or lung digests showed no differences between the two groups of mice. Further, measurements of airway resistance and dynamic compliance at baseline and after inhalation of methacholine were similar. These data indicate that mast cells or IgE–mast cell activation is not required for the development of eosinophilic inflammation and AHR in mice sensitized to allergen via the intraperitoneal route and challenged via the airways.
Notch signaling pathways govern immune function and the regulation of Th1 and Th2 differentiation. We previously demonstrated essential interactions between Notch on CD4+ T cells and Jagged1 on antigen-presenting cells in Th2 differentiation for the full development of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and allergic airway inflammation.
Bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) were differentiated and incubated with different preparations of ovalbumin (OVA), including lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-depleted and LPS-spiked preparations. In some experiments recipient mice also received soluble Jagged1-Fc in addition to allergen-pulsed BMDCs. Ten days following transfer of BMDCs, mice were exposed to three airway challenges with OVA, and airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine, airway inflammation and cytokine production were monitored 48 h later. Notch ligand expression was assessed by real-time PCR.
Induction of Jagged1 expression on antigen-pulsed BMDCs was dependent on low-dose endotoxin. In vivo, transfer of endotoxin-free, antigen-pulsed BMDCs failed to induce AHR or airway eosinophilia on allergen challenge. However, administration of exogenous Jagged1-Fc together with endotoxin-free, allergen-pulsed BMDCs fully restored the responses to allergen challenge.
These data demonstrate that LPS regulates the expression of Jagged1 on BMDCs, which is essential for the full development of lung allergic responses.
Asthma; Dendritic cells; Endotoxin; Notch ligands
To determine the role of IL-5 in airway remodeling, IL-5–deficient and WT mice were sensitized to OVA and challenged by repetitive administration of OVA for 3 months. IL-5–deficient mice had significantly less peribronchial fibrosis (total lung collagen content, peribronchial collagens III and V) and significantly less peribronchial smooth muscle (thickness of peribronchial smooth muscle layer, α-smooth muscle actin immunostaining) compared with WT mice challenged with OVA. WT mice had a significant increase in the number of peribronchial cells staining positive for major basic protein and TGF-β. In contrast, IL-5–deficient mice had a significant reduction in the number of peribronchial cells staining positive for major basic protein, which was paralleled by a similar reduction in the number of cells staining positive for TGF-β, suggesting that eosinophils are a significant source of TGF-β in the remodeled airway. OVA challenge induced significantly higher levels of airway epithelial αVβ6 integrin expression, as well as significantly higher levels of bioactive lung TGF-β in WT compared with IL-5–deficient mice. Increased airway epithelial expression of αVβ6 integrin may contribute to the increased activation of latent TGF-β. These results suggest an important role for IL-5, eosinophils, αVβ6, and TGF-β in airway remodeling.
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
Although dendritic cells (DCs) play an important role in sensitization to inhaled allergens, their function in ongoing T helper (Th)2 cell–mediated eosinophilic airway inflammation underlying bronchial asthma is currently unknown. Here, we show in an ovalbumin (OVA)-driven murine asthma model that airway DCs acquire a mature phenotype and interact with CD4+ T cells within sites of peribronchial and perivascular inflammation. To study whether DCs contributed to inflammation, we depleted DCs from the airways of CD11c-diphtheria toxin (DT) receptor transgenic mice during the OVA aerosol challenge. Airway administration of DT depleted CD11c+ DCs and alveolar macrophages and abolished the characteristic features of asthma, including eosinophilic inflammation, goblet cell hyperplasia, and bronchial hyperreactivity. In the absence of CD11c+ cells, endogenous or adoptively transferred CD4+ Th2 cells did not produce interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-13 in response to OVA aerosol. In CD11c-depleted mice, eosinophilic inflammation and Th2 cytokine secretion were restored by adoptive transfer of CD11c+ DCs, but not alveolar macrophages. These findings identify lung DCs as key proinflammatory cells that are necessary and sufficient for Th2 cell stimulation during ongoing airway inflammation.
The role of Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in contributing to allergen induced airway remodeling in asthma is unknown. In this study we have utilized a mouse model of chronic OVA allergen induced airway remodeling to determine whether TNF p55/p75 receptor deficient mice (abbreviated TNF-R KO) had reduced levels of airway remodeling. Chronic OVA challenged WT mice had significantly increased levels of lung eosinophilic inflammation as well as features of airway remodeling including increased peribronchial fibrosis, thickness of the peribronchial smooth muscle layer, mucus expression, and deposition of extracellular matrix proteins. In contrast, TNF-R KO mice had significantly reduced levels of major basic protein positive peribronchial eosinophils and significantly reduced peribronchial fibrosis assessed by quantitating the area of peribronchial trichrome staining and total lung collagen. In addition, TNF-R KO mice had significantly reduced thickness of the peribronchial smooth muscle layer, area of peribronchial α-smooth muscle actin immunostaining, and levels of the extracellular matrix protein fibronectin. There was a non-significant trend for reduced mucus expression in TNF-R KO mice. Levels of peribronchial cells immunostaining positive for TGF-β1 were significantly reduced in TNF-R KO mice suggesting that reduced levels of TGF-β1 expression in TNF-R KO mice may contribute to reduced airway remodeling. Overall, this study suggests an important role for TNF-α in contributing to many features of allergen induced airway remodeling including changes in levels of peribronchial smooth muscle, subepithelial fibrosis, and deposition of extracellular matrix.
eosinophil; fibronectin; smooth muscle
Inflammatory infiltrates, airway hyper-responsiveness, goblet cell hyperplasia and subepithelial thickening are characteristic of chronic asthma. Current animal models of allergen-induced airway inflammation generally concentrate on the acute inflammation following allergen exposure and fail to mimic all of these features.
The aim of this study was to use a murine model of prolonged allergen-induced airway inflammation in order to characterize the cells and molecules involved in the ensuing airway remodelling. Moreover, we investigated whether remodelling persists in the absence of continued allergen challenge.
Acute pulmonary eosinophilia and airways hyper-reactivity were induced after six serial allergen challenges in sensitized mice (acute phase). Mice were subsequently challenged three times a week with ovalbumin (OVA) (chronic phase) up to day 55. To investigate the persistence of pathology, one group of mice were left for another 4 weeks without further allergen challenge (day 80).
The extended OVA challenge protocol caused significant airway remodelling, which was absent in the acute phase. Specifically, remodelling was characterized by deposition of collagen as well as airway smooth muscle and goblet cell hyperplasia. Importantly, these airway changes, together with tissue eosinophilia were sustained in the absence of further allergen challenge. Examination of cytokines revealed a dramatic up-regulation of IL-4 and tumour growth factor-β1 during the chronic phase. Interestingly, while IL-4 levels were significantly increased during the chronic phase, levels of IL-13 fell. Levels of the Th1-associated cytokine IFN-γ also increased during the chronic phase.
In conclusion, we have demonstrated that prolonged allergen challenge results in persistent airway wall remodelling.
airway remodelling; allergic airway inflammation; asthma; eosinophils; Th2 cytokines
IL-4 and IL-13 are closely related cytokines that are produced by Th2 cells. However, IL-4 and IL-13 have different effects on the development of asthma phenotypes. Here, we evaluated downstream molecular mechanisms involved in the development of Th2 type asthma phenotypes. A murine model of Th2 asthma was used that involved intraperitoneal sensitization with an allergen (ovalbumin) plus alum and then challenge with ovalbumin alone. Asthma phenotypes, including airway-hyperresponsiveness (AHR), lung inflammation, and immunologic parameters were evaluated after allergen challenge in mice deficient in candidate genes. The present study showed that methacholine AHR and lung inflammation developed in allergen-challenged IL-4-deficient mice but not in allergen-challenged IL-13-deficient mice. In addition, the production of OVA-specific IgG2a and IFN-γ-inducible protein (IP)-10 was also impaired in the absence of IL-13, but not of IL-4. Lung-targeted IFN-γ over-expression in the airways enhanced methacholine AHR and non-eosinophilic inflammation; in addition, these asthma phenotypes were impaired in allergen-challenged IFN-γ-deficient mice. Moreover, AHR, non-eosinophilic inflammation, and IFN-γ expression were impaired in allergen-challenged IL-12Rβ2- and STAT4-deficient mice; however, AHR and non-eosinophilic inflammation were not impaired in allergen-challenged IL-4Rα-deficient mice, and these phenomena were accompanied by the enhanced expression of IL-12 and IFN-γ. The present data suggest that IL-13-mediated asthma phenotypes, such as AHR and non-eosinophilic inflammation, in the Th2 type asthma are dependent on the IL-12-STAT4-IFN-γ axis, and that these asthma phenotypes are independent of IL-4Ralpha-mediated signaling.
asthma; interferon-γ; interleukin-12; interleukin-13; respiratory hypersensitivity; Th2 cells
Existing asthma models develop tolerance when chronically exposed to the same allergen.
To establish a chronic model that sustains features of asthma long after discontinuation of allergen exposure.
We immunized and exposed mice to a combination of single, double or triple allergens (dust-mite, ragweed, and Aspergillus) intranasally for 8 weeks. Airway hyperreactivity and morphological features of asthma were studied 3 weeks after the allergen exposure. Signaling effects of the allergens were studied on dendritic cells.
Sensitization and repeated exposure to a single allergen induced tolerance. Sensitization to double, and especially triple allergens broke through tolerance and established AHR, eosinophilic inflammation, mast cell and smooth muscle hyperplasia, mucus production and airway remodeling that persisted at least 3 weeks after allergen exposure. Mucosal exposure to triple allergens in the absence of an adjuvant was sufficient to induce chronic airway inflammation. Anti-IL5 and -IL13 antibodies inhibited inflammation and AHR in the acute asthma model but not in the chronic triple allergen model. Multiple allergens produce a synergy in p38 MAPK signaling and maturation of dendritic cells, which provides a heightened T cell co-stimulation at a level that cannot be achieved with a single allergen.
Sensitivity to multiple allergens leads to chronic asthma in mice. Multiple allergens synergize in dendritic cell signaling and T cell stimulation that allows escape from the single allergen-associated tolerance development.
We have developed a model of chronic asthma that allows for the study and treatment of long-lasting features of asthma obviating the need for acute de novo allergen challenges.
chronic asthma; mouse; inflammation; airway hyperreactivity; tolerance; dendritic cells
Compounds which activate the innate immune system, such as lipopolysaccharide, are significant components of ambient air, and extremely difficult to remove from the environment. It is currently unclear how prior inhalation of endotoxin affects allergen sensitization. We examined whether lung-specific endotoxin tolerance induction prior to sensitization can modulate the response to allergen.
Endotoxin tolerance was induced by repeated intratracheal exposure to endotoxin. All mice were then sensitized and challenged by direct intratracheal instillation of cockroach allergen.
After allergen sensitization and challenge, endotoxin tolerant mice had significantly decreased airways hyperresponsiveness to methacholine challenge, which was confirmed by invasive lung function tests. Decreased goblet cell hyperplasia and mucus production were also found by histological assessment. Tolerant mice were protected from airway eosinophilia through the mechanism of reduced CCL11 and CCL24. Interestingly, endotoxin tolerant mice had only a modest reduction in cockroach-specific IgE; however, total IgE was significantly reduced.
These data show that induction of endotoxin tolerance prior to sensitization protects against the hallmark features of asthma-like inflammation, and that transient modulation of innate immunity can have long-lasting effects on adaptive responses.
Lipopolysaccharide; Tolerance; Cockroach allergen; Airway hyperresponsiveness; Cytokines; IgE
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.
In this study we examined the role of Siglec-F, a receptor highly expressed on eosinophils, in contributing to mucus expression, airway remodeling, and Siglec-F ligand expression utilizing Siglec-F deficient mice exposed to chronic allergen challenge.
Wild type (WT) and Siglec-F deficient mice were sensitized and challenged chronically with OVA for one month. Levels of airway inflammation (eosinophils), Siglec-F ligand expresion and remodeling (mucus, fibrosis, smooth muscle thickness, extracellular matrix protein deposition) were assessed in lung sections by image analysis and immunohistology. Airway hyperreactivity to methacholine was assessed in intubated and ventilated mice.
Siglec-F deficient mice challenged with OVA for one month had significantly increased numbers of BAL and peribronchial eosinophils compared to WT mice which was associated with a significant increase in mucus expression as assessed by the number of periodic acid Schiff positive airway epithelial cells. In addition, OVA challenged Siglec-F deficient mice had significantly increased levels of peribronchial fibrosis (total lung collagen, area of peribronchial trichrome staining), as well as increased numbers of peribronchial TGF-β1+ cells, and increased levels of expression of the extracellular matrix protein fibronectin compared to OVA challenged WT mice. Lung sections immunostained with a Siglec-Fc to detect Siglec-F ligand expression demonstrated higher levels of expression of the Siglec-F ligand in the peribronchial region in OVA challenged Siglec-F deficient mice compared to WT mice. WT and Siglec-F deficient mice challenged intranasally with IL-4 or IL-13 had significantly increased levels of airway epithelial Siglec-F ligand expression, whereas this was not observed in WT or Siglec-F deficient mice challenged with TNF-α. There was a significant increase in the thickness of the peribronchial smooth muscle layer in OVA challenged Siglec-F deficient mice, but this was not associated with significant increased airway hyperreactivity compared to WT mice.
Overall, this study demonstrates an important role for Siglec-F in modulating levels of chronic eosinophilic airway inflammation, peribronchial fibrosis, thickness of the smooth muscle layer, mucus expression, fibronectin, and levels of peribronchial Siglec-F ligands suggesting that Siglec-F may normally function to limit levels of chronic eosinophilic inflammation and remodeling. In addition, IL-4 and IL-13 are important regulators of Siglec-F ligand expression by airway epithelium.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of acute and chronic respiratory diseases. Antioxidants have been found to ameliorate airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in animal models employing short-term exposure to allergen. However, little data are available on the effect of antioxidants on airway remodeling and signaling pathways in chronic asthma.
In the present study, we used a long-term exposure murine model of allergic airway disease to evaluate the influence of an antioxidant, L-2-oxothiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid (OTC) or α-lipoic acid (LA) on airway remodeling and to explore possible transcription factors and kinases involved in this effect.
Long-term challenge of ovalbumin (OVA) increased ROS production, airway inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness, and developed features of airway remodeling such as excessive mucus secretion, subepithelial fibrosis, and thickening of the peribronchial smooth muscle layer. Administration of OTC or LA reduced these features of asthma including airway remodeling, which was accompanied by suppression of transforming growth factor-β1, vascular endothelial growth factor, and T-helper 2 cytokines. In addition, OVA-induced activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), nuclear factor erythroid 2p45-related factor-2 (Nrf2), hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α, and HIF-2α was reduced by OTC or LA. Our results also showed that OTC or LA down-regulated phosphoinositide 3-kinase activity and decreased phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase but not extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 or c-Jun N-terminal kinase.
These findings demonstrate that OTC and LA can inhibit activation of NF-κB, Nrf2, and HIF and thus attenuate allergen-induced airway remodeling, suggesting that antioxidants may provide therapeutic benefit in chronic asthma and other airway disorders.
Although animal models with ovalbumin have been used to study chronic asthma, there are difficulties in inducing recurrence as well as in maintaining chronic inflammation in this system. Using a murine model of house dust mite (HDM)-induced bronchial asthma, we examined the airway remodeling process in response to the chronic exposure to HDM. During the seventh and twelfth weeks of study, HDM were inhaled through the nose for three consecutive days and airway responsiveness was measured. Twenty-four hours later, bronchoalveolar lavage and histological examination were performed. The degree of overproduction of mucus, subepithelial fibrosis, and the thickness of the peribronchial smooth muscle in the experimental group was clearly increased compared to the control group. In addition, HDM-exposed mice demonstrated severe airway hyperreactivity to methacholine. In the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, the number of total cells and eosinophils was increased; during the twelfth week, the number of neutrophils increased in the experimental group. With regard to changes in cytokines, the concentrations of IL-4, IL-13, and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) were increased in the experimental group. The data suggest that eosinophils, IL-4, IL-13, and TGF-β might play an important role in the airway remodeling process and that neutrophils may be involved with increased exposure time.
Asthma; Fibrosis; Dermatophagoides farinae; Models