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1.  Syk Activation in Dendritic Cells Is Essential for Airway Hyperresponsiveness and Inflammation 
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.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2005-0298OC
PMCID: PMC2644204  PMID: 16339999
AHR; dendritic cells; eosinophils; mice; Syk
2.  Inhibition of neutrophil elastase attenuates airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation in a mouse model of secondary allergen challenge: neutrophil elastase inhibition attenuates allergic airway responses 
Respiratory Research  2013;14(1):8.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-14-8
PMCID: PMC3570429  PMID: 23347423
Neutrophil; Elastase; Airway; Hyperresponsiveness; Asthma
3.  A specific sphingosine kinase 1 inhibitor attenuates airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation in a mast cell-dependent mouse model of allergic asthma 
Background
Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) produced by two sphingosine kinase isoenzymes, SphK1 and SphK2, has been implicated in IgE-mediated mast cell responses. However, studies of allergic inflammation in isotype-specific SphK knockout mice have not clarified their contribution and the role that S1P plays in vivo in a mast cell and IgE-dependent mouse model of allergic asthma has not yet been examined.
Objective
We used an isoenzyme-specific SphK1 inhibitor, SK1-I, to investigate the contributions of S1P and SphK1 to mast cell dependent airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and airway inflammation in mice.
Methods
Allergic airway inflammation and AHR were examined in a mast cell-dependent mouse model of ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthma. C57BL/6 mice received intranasal delivery of SK1-I prior to sensitization and challenge with OVA or only prior to challenge.
Results
SK1-I inhibited antigen-dependent activation of human and murine mast cells and suppressed activation of NF-κB, a master transcription factor that regulates expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. SK1-I treatment of mice sensitized to OVA in the absence of adjuvant, which develop mast cell-dependent allergic inflammation, significantly reduced OVA-induced AHR to methacholine; decreased numbers of eosinophils and levels of the cytokines IL-4, 5, 6, 13, IFN-γ, and TNF-α and the chemokines eotaxin, and CCL2 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid; and decreased pulmonary inflammation as well as activation of NF-κB in the lungs.
CONCLUSION
S1P and SphK1 play important roles in mast cell-dependent, OVA-induced allergic inflammation and AHR, in part by regulating the NF-κB pathway.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2012.07.014
PMCID: PMC3563730  PMID: 22939756
sphingosine-1-phosphate; sphingosine kinase; mast cells; NF-kB; airway hyperresponsiveness; asthma
4.  Importance of Myeloid Dendritic Cells in Persistent Airway Disease after Repeated Allergen Exposure 
Rationale: There is conflicting information about the development and resolution of airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) after repeated airway exposure to allergen in sensitized mice.
Methods: Sensitized BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were exposed to repeated allergen challenge on 3, 7, or 11 occasions. Airway function in response to inhaled methacholine was monitored; bronchoalveolar lavage fluid inflammatory cells were counted; and goblet cell metaplasia, peribronchial fibrosis, and smooth muscle hypertrophy were quantitated on tissue sections. Bone marrow–derived dendritic cells were generated after differentiation of bone marrow cells in the presence of growth factors.
Results: Sensitization to ovalbumin (OVA) in alum, followed by three airway exposures to OVA, induced lung eosinophilia, goblet cell metaplasia, mild peribronchial fibrosis, and peribronchial smooth muscle hypertrophy; increased levels of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, IL-13, granulocyte-macrophage colony–stimulating factor, transforming growth factor-β1, eotaxin-1, RANTES (regulated on activation, normal T-cell expressed and secreted), and OVA-specific IgG1 and IgE; and resulted in AHR. After seven airway challenges, development of AHR was markedly decreased as was the production of IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13. Levels of IL-10 in both strains and the level of IL-12 in BALB/c mice increased. After 11 challenges, airway eosinophilia and peribronchial fibrosis further declined and the cytokine and chemokine profiles continued to change. At this time point, the number of myeloid dendritic cells and expression of CD80 and CD86 in lungs were decreased compared with three challenges. After 11 challenges, intratracheal instillation of bone marrow–derived dendritic cells restored AHR and airway eosinophilia.
Conclusions: These data suggest that repeated allergen exposure leads to progressive decreases in AHR and allergic inflammation, through decreases in myeloid dendritic cell numbers.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200505-783OC
PMCID: PMC2662981  PMID: 16192450
airway hyperresponsiveness; chronic asthma; cytokine; dendritic cells; eosinophil
5.  Aldose Reductase Inhibition Prevents Allergic Airway Remodeling through PI3K/AKT/GSK3β Pathway in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57442.
Background
Long-term and unresolved airway inflammation and airway remodeling, characteristic features of chronic asthma, if not treated could lead to permanent structural changes in the airways. Aldose reductase (AR), an aldo-sugar and lipid aldehyde metabolizing enzyme, mediates allergen-induced airway inflammation in mice, but its role in the airway remodeling is not known. In the present study, we have examined the role of AR on airway remodeling using ovalbumin (OVA)-induced chronic asthma mouse model and cultured human primary airway epithelial cells (SAECs) and mouse lung fibroblasts (mLFs).
Methods
Airway remodeling in chronic asthma model was established in mice sensitized and challenged twice a week with OVA for 6 weeks. AR inhibitor, fidarestat, was administered orally in drinking water after first challenge. Inflammatory cells infiltration in the lungs and goblet cell metaplasia, airway thickening, collagen deposition and airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR) in response to increasing doses of methacholine were assessed. The TGFβ1-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in SAECs and changes in mLFs were examined to investigate AR-mediated molecular mechanism(s) of airway remodeling.
Results
In the OVA-exposed mice for 6 wks inflammatory cells infiltration, levels of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, goblet cell metaplasia, collagen deposition and AHR were significantly decreased by treatment with AR inhibitor, fidarestat. Further, inhibition of AR prevented TGFβ1-induced altered expression of E-cadherin, Vimentin, Occludin, and MMP-2 in SAECs, and alpha-smooth muscle actin and fibronectin in mLFs. Further, in SAECs, AR inhibition prevented TGFβ1- induced activation of PI3K/AKT/GSK3β pathway but not the phosphorylation of Smad2/3.
Conclusion
Our results demonstrate that allergen-induced airway remodeling is mediated by AR and its inhibition blocks the progression of remodeling via inhibiting TGFβ1-induced Smad-independent and PI3K/AKT/GSK3β-dependent pathway.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057442
PMCID: PMC3584054  PMID: 23460857
6.  Effect of aging on pulmonary inflammation, airway hyperresponsiveness and T and B cell responses in antigen sensitized and challenged mice 
Background
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.
Objective
To evaluate lung inflammation, mucus-metaplasia and AHR in relationship to age in murine models of allergic-asthma comparing young and older mice.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2007.02775.x
PMCID: PMC2818115  PMID: 17845421
Aging; murine; asthma; airway hyperresponsiveness; eosinophil; inflammation
7.  Augmentation of arginase 1 expression by exposure to air pollution exacerbates the airways hyperresponsiveness in murine models of asthma 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):19.
Background
Arginase overexpression contributes to airways hyperresponsiveness (AHR) in asthma. Arginase expression is further augmented in cigarette smoking asthmatics, suggesting that it may be upregulated by environmental pollution. Thus, we hypothesize that arginase contributes to the exacerbation of respiratory symptoms following exposure to air pollution, and that pharmacologic inhibition of arginase would abrogate the pollution-induced AHR.
Methods
To investigate the role of arginase in the air pollution-induced exacerbation of airways responsiveness, we employed two murine models of allergic airways inflammation. Mice were sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) and challenged with nebulized PBS (OVA/PBS) or OVA (OVA/OVA) for three consecutive days (sub-acute model) or 12 weeks (chronic model), which exhibit inflammatory cell influx and remodeling/AHR, respectively. Twenty-four hours after the final challenge, mice were exposed to concentrated ambient fine particles plus ozone (CAP+O3), or HEPA-filtered air (FA), for 4 hours. After the CAP+O3 exposures, mice underwent tracheal cannulation and were treated with an aerosolized arginase inhibitor (S-boronoethyl-L-cysteine; BEC) or vehicle, immediately before determination of respiratory function and methacholine-responsiveness using the flexiVent®. Lungs were then collected for comparison of arginase activity, protein expression, and immunohistochemical localization.
Results
Compared to FA, arginase activity was significantly augmented in the lungs of CAP+O3-exposed OVA/OVA mice in both the sub-acute and chronic models. Western blotting and immunohistochemical staining revealed that the increased activity was due to arginase 1 expression in the area surrounding the airways in both models. Arginase inhibition significantly reduced the CAP+O3-induced increase in AHR in both models.
Conclusions
This study demonstrates that arginase is upregulated following environmental exposures in murine models of asthma, and contributes to the pollution-induced exacerbation of airways responsiveness. Thus arginase may be a therapeutic target to protect susceptible populations against the adverse health effects of air pollution, such as fine particles and ozone, which are two of the major contributors to smog.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-19
PMCID: PMC3037317  PMID: 21291525
8.  Chitosan IFN-γ-pDNA Nanoparticle (CIN) Therapy for Allergic Asthma 
Background
Allergic subjects produce relatively low amounts of IFN-γ, a pleiotropic Th-1 cytokine that downregulates Th2-associated airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness (AHR), the hallmarks of allergic asthma. Adenovirus-mediated IFN-γ gene transfer reduces AHR, Th2 cytokine levels and lung inflammation in mice, but its use would be limited by the frequency of gene delivery required; therefore, we tested chitosan/IFN-γ pDNA nanoparticles (CIN) for in situ production of IFN-γ and its in vivo effects.
Methods
CIN were administered to OVA-sensitized mice to investigate the possibility of using gene transfer to modulate ovalbumin (OVA)-induced inflammation and AHR.
Results
Mice treated with CIN exhibit significantly lower AHR to methacholine challenge and less lung histopathology. Production of IFN-γ is increased after CIN treatment while the Th2-cytokines, IL-4 and IL-5, and OVA-specific serum IgE are reduced compared to control mice. AHR and eosinophilia are also significantly reduced by CIN therapy administered therapeutically in mice with established asthma. CIN was found to inhibit epithelial inflammation within 6 hours of delivery by inducing apoptosis of goblet cells. Experiments performed on STAT4-defective mice do not show reduction in AHR with CIN treatment, thus implicating STAT4 signaling in the mechanism of CIN action.
Conclusion
These results demonstrate that mucosal CIN therapy can effectively reduce established allergen-induced airway inflammation and AHR.
doi:10.1186/1479-0556-1-3
PMCID: PMC280670  PMID: 14613519
9.  Differential Effects of Dendritic Cell Transfer on Airway Hyperresponsiveness and Inflammation 
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.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2008-0256OC
PMCID: PMC2742748  PMID: 19151321
dendritic cells; CD8+ T cells; airway hyperresponsiveness
10.  Development of Eosinophilic Airway Inflammation and Airway Hyperresponsiveness in Mast Cell–deficient Mice  
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.
PMCID: PMC2198995  PMID: 9236197
11.  Antigen-sensitized CD4+CD62Llow memory/effector T helper 2 cells can induce airway hyperresponsiveness in an antigen free setting 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):46.
Background
Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) is one of the most prominent features of asthma, however, precise mechanisms for its induction have not been fully elucidated. We previously reported that systemic antigen sensitization alone directly induces AHR before development of eosinophilic airway inflammation in a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation, which suggests a critical role of antigen-specific systemic immune response itself in the induction of AHR. In the present study, we examined this possibility by cell transfer experiment, and then analyzed which cell source was essential for this process.
Methods
BALB/c mice were immunized with ovalbumin (OVA) twice. Spleen cells were obtained from the mice and were transferred in naive mice. Four days later, AHR was assessed. We carried out bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) to analyze inflammation and cytokine production in the lung. Fluorescence and immunohistochemical studies were performed to identify T cells recruiting and proliferating in the lung or in the gut of the recipient. To determine the essential phenotype, spleen cells were column purified by antibody-coated microbeads with negative or positive selection, and transferred. Then, AHR was assessed.
Results
Transfer of spleen cells obtained from OVA-sensitized mice induced a moderate, but significant, AHR without airway antigen challenge in naive mice without airway eosinophilia. Immunization with T helper (Th) 1 elicited antigen (OVA with complete Freund's adjuvant) did not induce the AHR. Transferred cells distributed among organs, and the cells proliferated in an antigen free setting for at least three days in the lung. This transfer-induced AHR persisted for one week. Interleukin-4 and 5 in the BAL fluid increased in the transferred mice. Immunoglobulin E was not involved in this transfer-induced AHR. Transfer of in vitro polarized CD4+ Th2 cells, but not Th1 cells, induced AHR. We finally clarified that CD4+CD62Llow memory/effector T cells recruited in the lung and proliferated, thus induced AHR.
Conclusion
These results suggest that antigen-sensitized memory/effector Th2 cells themselves play an important role for induction of basal AHR in an antigen free, eosinophil-independent setting. Therefore, regulation of CD4+ T cell-mediated immune response itself could be a critical therapeutic target for allergic asthma.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-6-46
PMCID: PMC1180472  PMID: 15921525
12.  Toll-Like Receptor-9 Agonist Inhibits Airway Inflammation, Remodeling and Hyperreactivity in Mice Exposed to Chronic Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Allergen 
Background
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).
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1159/000250437
PMCID: PMC2853586  PMID: 19851071
Toll-like receptor-9; Airway hyperreactivity; Airway inflammation; Airway remodeling; Eosinophils
13.  Cigarette smoke exacerbates mouse allergic asthma through Smad proteins expressed in mast cells 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):49.
Background
Many studies have found that smoking reduces lung function, but the relationship between cigarette smoke and allergic asthma has not been clearly elucidated, particularly the role of mast cells. This study aimed to investigate the effects of smoke exposure on allergic asthma and its association with mast cells.
Methods
BALB/c mice were sensitized and challenged by OVA to induce asthma, and bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs) were stimulated with antigen/antibody reaction. Mice or BMMCs were exposed to cigarette smoke or CSE solution for 1 mo or 6 h, respectively. The recruitment of inflammatory cells into BAL fluid or lung tissues was determined by Diff-Quik or H&E staining, collagen deposition by Sircol assay, penh values by a whole-body plethysmography, co-localization of tryptase and Smad3 by immunohistochemistry, IgE and TGF-β level by ELISA, expressions of Smads proteins, activities of signaling molecules, or TGF-β mRNA by immunoblotting and RT-PCR.
Results
Cigarette smoke enhanced OVA-specific IgE levels, penh values, recruitment of inflammatory cells including mast cells, expressions of smad family, TGF-β mRNA and proteins, and cytokines, phosphorylations of Smad2 and 3, and MAP kinases, co-localization of tryptase and Smad3, and collagen deposition more than those of BAL cells and lung tissues of OVA-induced allergic mice. CSE solution pretreatment enhanced expressions of TGF-β, Smad3, activities of MAP kinases, NF-κB/AP-1 or PAI-1 more than those of activated-BMMCs.
Conclusions
The data suggest that smoke exposure enhances antigen-induced mast cell activation via TGF-β/Smad signaling pathways in mouse allergic asthma, and that it exacerbates airway inflammation and remodeling.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-49
PMCID: PMC3098800  PMID: 21496353
14.  Airway hyperresponsiveness is associated with airway remodeling but not inflammation in aging Cav1-/- mice 
Respiratory Research  2013;14(1):110.
Background
Airway inflammation and airway remodeling are the key contributors to airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), a characteristic feature of asthma. Both processes are regulated by Transforming Growth Factor (TGF)-β. Caveolin 1 (Cav1) is a membrane bound protein that binds to a variety of receptor and signaling proteins, including the TGF-β receptors. We hypothesized that caveolin-1 deficiency promotes structural alterations of the airways that develop with age will predispose to an increased response to allergen challenge.
Methods
AHR was measured in Cav1-deficient and wild-type (WT) mice 1 to 12 months of age to examine the role of Cav1 in AHR and the relative contribution of inflammation and airway remodeling. AHR was then measured in Cav1-/- and WT mice after an ovalbumin-allergen challenge performed at either 2 months of age, when remodeling in Cav1-/- and WT mice was equivalent, and at 6 months of age, when the Cav1-/- mice had established airway remodeling.
Results
Cav1-/- mice developed increased thickness of the subepithelial layer and a correspondingly increased AHR as they aged. In addition, allergen-challenged Cav1-/- mice had an increase in AHR greater than WT mice that was largely independent of inflammation. Cav1-/- mice challenged at 6 months of age have decreased AHR compared to those challenged at 2 months with correspondingly decreased BAL IL-4 and IL-5 levels, inflammatory cell counts and percentage of eosinophils. In addition, in response to OVA challenge, the number of goblet cells and α-SMA positive cells in the airways were reduced with age in response to OVA challenge in contrast to an increased collagen deposition further enhanced in absence of Cav1.
Conclusion
A lack of Cav1 contributed to the thickness of the subepithelial layer in mice as they aged resulting in an increase in AHR independent of inflammation, demonstrating the important contribution of airway structural changes to AHR. In addition, age in the Cav1-/- mice is a contributing factor to airway remodeling in the response to allergen challenge.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-14-110
PMCID: PMC4015038  PMID: 24138138
15.  The AGC Kinase Inhibitor H89 Attenuates Airway Inflammation in Mouse Models of Asthma 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49512.
Background
H89 is a potent inhibitor of Protein Kinase A (PKA) and Mitogen- and Stress-Activated protein Kinase 1 (MSK1) with some inhibitory activity on other members of the AGC kinase family. H89 has been extensively used in vitro but its anti-inflammatory potential in vivo has not been reported to date. To assess the anti-inflammatory properties of H89 in mouse models of asthma.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Mice were sensitized intraperitoneally (i.p.) to ovalbumin (OVA) with or without alum, and challenged intranasally with OVA. H89 (10 mg/kg) or vehicle was given i.p. two hours before each OVA challenge. Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) was assessed by whole-body barometric plethysmography. Inflammation was assessed by the total and differential cell counts and IL-4 and IL-5 levels in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid. Lung inflammation, mucus production and mast cell numbers were analyzed after histochemistry. We show that treatment with H89 reduces AHR, lung inflammation, mast cell numbers and mucus production. H89 also inhibits IL-4 and IL-5 production and infiltration of eosinophils, neutrophils and lymphocytes in BAL fluid.
Conclusions/Significance
Taken together, our findings implicate that blockade of AGC kinases may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of allergic airway inflammation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049512
PMCID: PMC3506657  PMID: 23189147
16.  Adjuvant-dependent regulation of interleukin-17 expressing γδ T cells and inhibition of Th2 responses in allergic airways disease 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):90.
Background
Th2 immune responses are linked primarily to mild and moderate asthma, while Th17 cells, Interleukin-17A (IL-17) and neutrophilia have been implicated in more severe forms of disease. How Th2-dependent allergic reactions are influenced by Th17 and IL-17-γδ T cells is poorly understood. In murine models, under some conditions, IL-17 promotes Th2-biased airway inflammatory responses. However, IL-17-γδ T cells have been implicated in the inhibition and resolution of allergic airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness (AHR).
Methods
We compared airway responses in Balb/c mice sensitized to OVA with (and without) a Th2-skewing aluminum-based adjuvant and the IL-17 skewing, complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA). AHR was measured invasively by flexiVent, while serum OVA-IgE was quantified by an enzyme immunoassay. Airway inflammatory and cytokine profiles, and cellular sources of IL-17 were assessed from bronchoalveolar lavage and/or lungs. The role of γδ T cells in these responses was addressed in OVA/CFA sensitized mice using a γδ T cell antibody.
Results
Following OVA challenge, all mice exhibited mixed eosinophilic/neutrophilic airway inflammatory profiles and elevated serum OVA-IgE. Whereas OVA/alum sensitized mice had moderate inflammation and AHR, OVA/CFA sensitized mice had significantly greater inflammation but lacked AHR. This correlated with a shift in IL-17 production from CD4+ to γδ T cells. Additionally, OVA/CFA sensitized mice, given a γδ TCR stimulatory antibody, showed increased frequencies of IL-17-γδ T cells and diminished airway reactivity and eosinophilia.
Conclusions
Thus, the conditions of antigen sensitization influence the profile of cells that produce IL-17, the balance of which may then modulate the airway inflammatory responses, including AHR. The possibility for IL-17-γδ T cells to reduce AHR and robust eosinophilic inflammation provides evidence that therapeutic approaches focused on stimulating and increasing airway IL-17-γδ T cells may be an effective alternative in treating steroid resistant, severe asthma.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-014-0090-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12931-014-0090-5
PMCID: PMC4151193  PMID: 25123451
Asthma; Interleukin-17; γδ T cell; Adjuvant; Complete Freund’s adjuvant
17.  Galangin Abrogates Ovalbumin-Induced Airway Inflammation via Negative Regulation of NF-κB 
Persistent activation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) has been associated with the development of asthma. Galangin, the active pharmacological ingredient from Alpinia galanga, is reported to have a variety of anti-inflammatory properties in vitro via negative regulation of NF-κB. This study aimed to investigate whether galangin can abrogate ovalbumin- (OVA-) induced airway inflammation by negative regulation of NF-κB. BALB/c mice sensitized and challenged with OVA developed airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and inflammation. Galangin dose dependently inhibited OVA-induced increases in total cell counts, eosinophil counts, and interleukin-(IL-) 4, IL-5, and IL-13 levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and reduced serum level of OVA-specific IgE. Galangin also attenuated AHR, reduced eosinophil infiltration and goblet cell hyperplasia, and reduced expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase and vascular cell adhesion protein-1 (VCAM-1) levels in lung tissue. Additionally, galangin blocked inhibitor of κB degradation, phosphorylation of the p65 subunit of NF-κB, and p65 nuclear translocation from lung tissues of OVA-sensitized mice. Similarly, in normal human airway smooth muscle cells, galangin blocked tumor necrosis factor-α induced p65 nuclear translocation and expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, eotaxin, CXCL10, and VCAM-1. These results suggest that galangin can attenuate ovalbumin-induced airway inflammation by inhibiting the NF-κB pathway.
doi:10.1155/2013/767689
PMCID: PMC3677671  PMID: 23762160
18.  120 The Features of Airway Remodeling Are More Severe in Female Mice 
Background
Epidemiological studies have already shown that females are dominant in terms of the sex ratio of adult asthma prevalence and severe asthma. It has also been reported that female mice are more susceptible to the development of allergic airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) than males. However, there have been few reports of studies on sex difference in the pathogenesis of severe asthma, especially airway remodeling in an animal model. In this study, we investigated sex difference in formation of airway remodeling using a long-term antigen challenged asthma model.
Methods
Following ovalbumin (OVA)/alum intraperitoneal injection, male or female mice (BALB/c) were challenged with aerosolized 1% OVA on 3 days/week for 5 weeks, and we investigated the sex difference in AHR, airway inflammation, as well as airway remodeling.
Results
In OVA-sensitized and -challenged (OVA/OVA) female mice, AHR, the number of eosinophils and lymphocytes, as well as Th2 cytokines and growth factors in BAL fluid were increased compared with OVA/OVA male mice. On the other hand, there is no significant difference in the level of eotaxin in BAL fluid. The histological features of airway remodeling, including goblet cell hyperplasia, subepithelial fibrosis and myofibroblast hypertrophy, were also increased in OVA/OVA female mice. Moreover, serum total and OVA-specific IgE were significantly elevated in OVA/OVA female mice.
Conclusions
These results indicate that female mice are dominant in terms of forming airway remodeling as compared with male mice. The involvement of sex difference for sensitization and growth factor release in lung tissue based on inflammatory cell infiltration is indicated for the mechanism of sex difference of airway remodeling.
doi:10.1097/01.WOX.0000411865.43631.44
PMCID: PMC3513133
19.  Development and transfer of immediate cutaneous hypersensitivity in mice exposed to aerosolized antigen. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1993;91(1):133-140.
We previously showed that BALB/c mice sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) by brief daily inhalations of antigen over 10 consecutive days exhibit elevated antigen-specific serum IgE antibody levels and increased airways responsiveness. For the first time, we now show that animals sensitized in this fashion to either OVA or ragweed (RGW) develop immediate hypersensitivity skin test reactions when challenged 2 d after completion of the sensitization protocol. Skin testing, performed by direct assessment of wheal formation after intradermal injection of allergen, was sensitive and specific, since animals exposed to RGW by inhalation only responded to RGW, and OVA-sensitized animals responded only to OVA. Positive reactions were associated with mast cell degranulation, whereas control injections were not. Since only sensitized IgE high responder BALB/c mice but neither nonsensitized BALB/c mice nor OVA-sensitized IgE low responder SJL/J mice exhibited wheal responses, induction of OVA-specific IgE appeared to be essential for the mediation of OVA-specific immediate hypersensitivity reactions of the skin in this model. Passive cutaneous anaphylaxis (PCA) testing confirmed the presence of antigen-specific IgE in the serum. Mice that developed IgG (predominantly IgG2b) anti-OVA antibodies did not respond to OVA injection, indicating that OVA-specific IgG was not involved in this system. Further support for the role of IgE in the immediate hypersensitivity response included the wheal response to intradermal injection of anti-IgE antibody that occurred in OVA- and RGW-sensitized mice at 10-fold lower concentrations than in nonsensitized BALB/c mice and not in sensitized SJL/J mice. After transfer of mononuclear cells from peribronchial lymph nodes of OVA- or RGW-sensitized BALB/c mice, naive, syngeneic recipients developed antigen-specific IgE and specific immediate hypersensitivity responses, indicating that the local lymphoid tissue at the site of sensitization can transfer responsiveness to these allergens. These results demonstrate for the first time the ability to elicit and study IgE-mediated immediate skin hypersensitivity responses in the mouse and illustrate the association of increased antigen-specific and total serum IgE levels, airways hyperresponsiveness, and antigen-specific immediate cutaneous reactivity after sensitization to allergen via the airways.
Images
PMCID: PMC330006  PMID: 8423213
20.  LAT and NTAL Mediate Immunoglobulin E-Induced Sustained Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase Activation Critical for Mast Cell Survival▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(12):4406-4415.
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) induces mast cell survival in the absence of antigen (Ag) through the high-affinity IgE receptor, Fcɛ receptor I (FcɛRI). Although we have shown that protein tyrosine kinase Syk and sustained extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) activation are required for IgE-induced mast cell survival, how Syk couples with sustained Erk activation is still unclear. Here, we report that the transmembrane adaptors LAT and NTAL are phosphorylated slowly upon IgE stimulation and that sustained but not transient Erk activation induced by IgE was inhibited in LAT−/− NTAL−/− bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs). IgE-induced survival requires Ras activation, and both were impaired in LAT−/− NTAL−/− BMMCs. Sos was preferentially required for FcɛRI signals by IgE rather than IgE plus Ag. Survival impaired in LAT−/− NTAL−/− BMMCs was restored to levels comparable to those of the wild type by membrane-targeted Sos, which bypasses the Grb2-mediated membrane recruitment of Sos. The IgE-induced survival of BMMCs lacking Gads, an adaptor critical for the formation of the LAT-SLP-76-phospholipase Cγ (PLCγ) complex, was observed to be normal. IgE stimulation induced the membrane retention of Grb2-green fluorescent protein fusion proteins in wild-type but not LAT−/− NTAL−/− BMMCs. These results suggest that LAT and NTAL contribute to the maintenance of Erk activation and survival through the membrane retention of the Ras-activating complex Grb2-Sos and, further, that the LAT-Gads-SLP-76-PLCγ and LAT/NTAL-Grb2-Sos pathways are differentially required for degranulation and survival, respectively.
doi:10.1128/MCB.02109-06
PMCID: PMC1900065  PMID: 17420272
21.  Estrogen Determines Sex Differences in Airway Responsiveness after Allergen Exposure 
The female hormone estrogen is an important factor in the regulation of airway function and inflammation, and sex differences in the prevalence of asthma are well described. Using an animal model, we determined how sex differences may underlie the development of altered airway function in response to allergen exposure. We compared sex differences in the development of airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) after allergen exposure exclusively via the airways. Ovalbumin (OVA) was administered by nebulization on 10 consecutive days in BALB/c mice. After methacholine challenge, significant AHR developed in male mice but not in female mice. Ovariectomized female mice showed significant AHR after 10-day OVA inhalation. ICI182,780, an estrogen antagonist, similarly enhanced airway responsiveness even when administered 1 hour before assay. In contrast, 17β-estradiol dose-dependently suppressed AHR in male mice. In all cases, airway responsiveness was inhibited by the administration of a neurokinin 1 receptor antagonist. These results demonstrate that sex differences in 10-day OVA-induced AHR are due to endogenous estrogen, which negatively regulates airway responsiveness in female mice. Cumulatively, the results suggest that endogenous estrogen may regulate the neurokinin 1–dependent prejunctional activation of airway smooth muscle in allergen-exposed mice.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2007-0298OC
PMCID: PMC2335333  PMID: 18063836
estrogen; sex; airway hyperresponsiveness; EFS; neuronal activation
22.  Transforming Growth Factor-β1 Suppresses Airway Hyperresponsiveness in Allergic Airway Disease 
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.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200702-334OC
PMCID: PMC2078678  PMID: 17761617
lung; mice; hypersensitivity; cytokines
23.  Exaggerated IL-17 response to epicutaneous sensitization mediates airway inflammation in the absence of IL-4 and IL-13 
Background
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is characterized by local and systemic Th2 responses to cutaneously introduced allergens and is a risk factor for asthma. Blockade of Th2 cytokines has been suggested as therapy for AD.
Objectives
To examine the effect of the absence of IL-4 and IL-13 on the Th-17 response to epicutaneous (EC) sensitization in a mouse model of allergic skin inflammation with features of AD.
Methods
Wild-type (WT), IL-4KO, IL-13KO and IL-4/13 double KO (DKO) mice were subjected to EC sensitization with ovalbumin (OVA) or saline and airway challenged with OVA. Systemic immune responses to OVA, skin and airway inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) were examined.
Results
OVA sensitized DKO mice exhibited impaired Th2 driven responses with undetectable OVA specific IgE and severely diminished eosinophil infiltration at sensitized skin sites, but intact dermal infiltration with CD4+ cells. DKO mice mounted an exaggerated IL-17A, but normal IFN-γ and IL-5 systemic responses. Airway challenge of these mice with OVA caused marked upregulation of IL-17 mRNA expression in the lungs, increased neutrophilia in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), airway inflammation characterized by mononuclear cell infiltration with no detectable eosinophils, and bronchial hyperresponsiveness to methacholine that were reversed by IL-17 blockade. IL-4, but not IL-13, was identified as the major Th2 cytokine that downregulates the IL-17 response in EC sensitized mice.
Conclusion
EC sensitization in the absence of IL-4/IL-13 induces an exaggerated Th17 response systemically, and in lungs following antigen challenge that results in airway inflammation and AHR.
Clinical implications
Blockade of IL-4 may promote IL-17-mediated airway inflammation in AD.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2009.07.040
PMCID: PMC2895457  PMID: 19815118
IL-17; Th2 cytokines; atopic dermatitis; asthma
24.  In Utero Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke Potentiates Adult Responses to Allergen in BALB/c Mice 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2007;115(4):548-555.
Background
Fetal stress has been linked to adult atherosclerosis, obesity, and diabetes. Epidemiology studies have associated fetal exposure to maternal smoking and postnatal exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) with increased asthma risk.
Objective
We tested the hypothesis, in a mouse model of asthma, that in utero ETS exposure alters airway function and respiratory immune responses in adults.
Methods
Pregnant Balb/c mice were exposed daily to ETS or HEPA-filtered air (AIR). Offspring inhaled aerosolized ovalbumin (OVA) or saline in weeks 7–8. Regardless of whether they inhaled OVA or saline, mice were sensitized by OVA injections in weeks 11 and 13 followed by OVA aerosol challenge in weeks 14–15. At three time points, we assessed OVA-specific serum immunoglobins, bronchoalveolar lavage cells and cytokines, lung and nasal histopathology, and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR).
Results
At 6 weeks, we found no significant differences between in utero ETS and AIR mice. At 10 weeks, following OVA aerosol, ETS mice displayed greater AHR than AIR mice (α = 0.05), unaccompanied by changes in histopathology, cytokine profile, or antibody levels. At 15 weeks, mice that had inhaled saline in weeks 7–8 developed airway inflammation: eosinophilia (α = 0.05), interleukin-5 (α = 0.05), and AHR (α = 0.05) were greater in ETS mice than in AIR mice. Mice that had inhaled OVA in weeks 7–8 demonstrated no airway inflammation after sensitization and challenge.
Conclusion
In utero ETS exposure exacerbates subsequent adult responses to initial allergen exposure.
doi:10.1289/ehp.9780
PMCID: PMC1852677  PMID: 17450223
airway hyperresponsiveness; allergens; asthma; environmental tobacco smoke (ETS); in utero; tolerance
25.  Suppression of airway hyperresponsiveness induced by ovalbumin sensitisation and RSV infection with Y-27632, a Rho kinase inhibitor 
Thorax  2002;57(6):524-527.
Background: Smooth muscle contraction is one of the hallmarks of asthma. A recently developed pyridine derivative, Y-27632, a selective Rho kinase inhibitor, has been reported to inhibit the smooth muscle contraction of human and animal trachea in ex vivo systems but its effect in animal models of airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) has not been examined. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of Y-27632 in a murine model of allergic and virally induced AHR.
Methods: Baseline lung resistance and methacholine induced AHR were measured in mice sensitised to ovalbumin (OVA) and also in mice infected with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) following ovalbumin sensitisation (OVA/RSV).
Results: Time course and dose ranging experiments indicated that 30 mg/kg Y-27632 given by gavage 2 hours before methacholine challenge significantly reduced baseline lung resistance and prevented AHR in OVA sensitised mice. Y-27632 also suppressed AHR induced by the bronchospastic agent serotonin in OVA sensitised mice and prevented methacholine induced AHR in OVA/RSV mice.
Conclusions: These results suggest that the signalling pathway mediated through Rho kinase may have an important role in bronchial smooth muscle tone in allergen induced and virus induced AHR and should be considered as a novel target for asthma treatment.
doi:10.1136/thorax.57.6.524
PMCID: PMC1746359  PMID: 12037228

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