Inhalation of antigen in immunized mice induces an infiltration of eosinophils into the airways and increased bronchial hyperreactivity as are observed in human asthma. We employed a model of late-phase allergic pulmonary inflammation in mice to address the role of leukotrienes (LT) in mediating airway eosinophilia and hyperreactivity to methacholine. Allergen intranasal challenge in OVA-sensitized mice induced LTB4 and LTC4 release into the airspace, widespread mucus occlusion of the airways, leukocytic infiltration of the airway tissue and broncho-alveolar lavage fluid that was predominantly eosinophils, and bronchial hyperreactivity to methacholine. Specific inhibitors of 5- lipoxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase-activating protein (FLAP) blocked airway mucus release and infiltration by eosinophils indicating a key role for leukotrienes in these features of allergic pulmonary inflammation. The role of leukotrienes or eosinophils in mediating airway hyperresponsiveness to aeroallergen could not be established, however, in this murine model.
The molecular determinants of the severity and persistence of allergic asthma remain poorly understood. Suppressor Of Cytokine Signaling 1 (SOCS1) is a negative regulator of interleukin (IL)-4-dependent pathways in vitro and might therefore, control T helper type 2 (Th2) immunity associated traits, such as IgE levels, mucin production, IL-5 and IL-13 induction, and eosinophilic mucosal inflammation, which are implicated in allergic asthma.
To investigate the role of SOCS1 in regulating Th2-associated disease traits in a murine sub-chronic aeroallergen-driven asthma model.
Following sensitization and challenge with ovalbumin (OVA), bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and serum were collected from mice lacking the Socs1 gene on an interferon γ (IFN-γ) null background (Socs1−/−Ifnγ−/−). The composition of infiltrating cells in the lung, serum IgE and IgG1 levels and cytokine levels were analysed.
Serum IgE levels and infiltrating eosinophils were greatly increased in the lungs of OVA-treated Socs1−/−Ifnγ−/− mice compared to Ifnγ−/− and C57BL/6 controls. Expression of the Th2 cytokines, IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 was increased in CD4+ cells and lung tissue from OVA-treated Socs1−/−Ifnγ−/− mice. IgE, IL-5 levels and infiltrating eosinophils were also elevated in saline-treated Socs1−/−Ifnγ−/− mice, suggesting that in the absence of SOCS1, mice are already biased towards a Th2 response. It is at present unclear whether the elevated cytokine levels are sufficient to result in the exacerbated Th2-response to OVA challenge or whether enhanced intracellular signalling also contributes. Surprisingly, of the various IL-4/IL-13 responsive genes tested, only Arginase I appeared to be modestly up-regulated in the lungs of OVA-treated Socs1−/−Ifnγ−/− mice, suggesting that regulation by SOCS1 occurs primarily in hematopoietic cells and not in the airway epithelium.
Together these results indicate that SOCS1 is an important regulator of the Th2 response.
SOCS1; asthma; Th2 type cytokines; bronchoalveolar lavage; eosinophils
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.
Rationale: Asthma is a syndrome whose common pathogenic expression is inflammation of the airways. Plasminogen plays an important role in cell migration and is also implicated in tissue remodeling, but its role in asthma has not been defined.
Objectives: To test whether plasminogen is a critical component in the development of asthma.
Methods: We used a mouse model of ovalbumin-induced pulmonary inflammation in Plg+/+, Plg+/−, and Plg−/− mice.
Measurements and Main Results: The host responses measured included lung morphometry, and inflammatory mediators and cell counts were assessed in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Bronchoalveolar lavage demonstrated a marked increase in eosinophils and lymphocytes in ovalbumin-treated Plg+/+ mice, which were reduced to phosphate-buffered saline–treated control levels in Plg+/− or Plg−/− mice. Lung histology revealed peribronchial and perivascular leukocytosis, mucus production, and increased collagen deposition in ovalbumin-treated Plg+/+ but not in Plg+/− or Plg−/− mice. IL-5, tumor necrosis factor-α, and gelatinases, known mediators of asthma, were detected in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of ovalbumin-treated Plg+/+ mice, yet were reduced in Plg−/− mice. Administration of the plasminogen inhibitor, tranexamic acid, reduced eosinophil and lymphocyte numbers, mucus production, and collagen deposition in the lungs of ovalbumin-treated Plg+/+ mice.
Conclusions: The decreased inflammation in the lungs of Plg−/− mice and its blockade with a plasminogen inhibitor indicate that plasminogen plays an important role in orchestrating the asthmatic response and suggests that plasminogen may be a therapeutic target for the treatment of asthma.
lung; knockout mice; pulmonary inflammation; fibrinolysis
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
Airway inflammation is believed to stimulate mucus production in asthmatic patients. Increased mucus secretion is an important clinical symptom and contributes to airway obstruction in asthma. Activated CD4 Th1 and Th2 cells have both been identified in airway biopsies of asthmatics but their role in mucus production is not clear. Using CD4 T cells from mice transgenic for the OVA-specific TCR, we studied the role of Th1 and Th2 cells in airway inflammation and mucus production. Airway inflammation induced by Th2 cells was comprised of eosinophils and lymphocytes; features found in asthmatic patients. Additionally, there was a marked increase in mucus production in mice that received Th2 cells and inhaled OVA, but not in mice that received Th1 cells. However, OVA-specific Th2 cells from IL-4–deficient mice were not recruited to the lung and did not induce mucus production. When this defect in homing was overcome by administration of TNF-α, IL-4 −/− Th2 cells induced mucus as effectively as IL-4 +/+ Th2 cells. These studies establish a role for Th2 cells in mucus production and dissect the effector functions of IL-4 in these processes. These data suggest that IL-4 is crucial for Th2 cell recruitment to the lung and for induction of inflammation, but has no direct role in mucus production.
Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) is one of the most prominent features of asthma, however, precise mechanisms for its induction have not been fully elucidated. We previously reported that systemic antigen sensitization alone directly induces AHR before development of eosinophilic airway inflammation in a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation, which suggests a critical role of antigen-specific systemic immune response itself in the induction of AHR. In the present study, we examined this possibility by cell transfer experiment, and then analyzed which cell source was essential for this process.
BALB/c mice were immunized with ovalbumin (OVA) twice. Spleen cells were obtained from the mice and were transferred in naive mice. Four days later, AHR was assessed. We carried out bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) to analyze inflammation and cytokine production in the lung. Fluorescence and immunohistochemical studies were performed to identify T cells recruiting and proliferating in the lung or in the gut of the recipient. To determine the essential phenotype, spleen cells were column purified by antibody-coated microbeads with negative or positive selection, and transferred. Then, AHR was assessed.
Transfer of spleen cells obtained from OVA-sensitized mice induced a moderate, but significant, AHR without airway antigen challenge in naive mice without airway eosinophilia. Immunization with T helper (Th) 1 elicited antigen (OVA with complete Freund's adjuvant) did not induce the AHR. Transferred cells distributed among organs, and the cells proliferated in an antigen free setting for at least three days in the lung. This transfer-induced AHR persisted for one week. Interleukin-4 and 5 in the BAL fluid increased in the transferred mice. Immunoglobulin E was not involved in this transfer-induced AHR. Transfer of in vitro polarized CD4+ Th2 cells, but not Th1 cells, induced AHR. We finally clarified that CD4+CD62Llow memory/effector T cells recruited in the lung and proliferated, thus induced AHR.
These results suggest that antigen-sensitized memory/effector Th2 cells themselves play an important role for induction of basal AHR in an antigen free, eosinophil-independent setting. Therefore, regulation of CD4+ T cell-mediated immune response itself could be a critical therapeutic target for allergic asthma.
We examined the role of the interleukin-8 (IL-8) receptor in a murine model of allergen-induced pulmonary inflammation using mice with a targeted deletion of the murine IL-8 receptor homologue (IL-8r–/–). Wild-type (Wt) and IL-8r–/– mice were systemically immunized to ovalbumin (OVA) and were exposed with either single or multiple challenge of aerosolized phosphate-buffered saline (OVA/PBS) or OVA (OVA/OVA). Analysis of cells recovered from bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) revealed a diminished recruitment of neutrophils to the airway lumen after single challenge in IL-8r–/– mice compared with Wt mice, whereas multiply challenged IL-8r–/– mice had increased B cells and fewer neutrophils compared with Wt mice. Both Wt and IL-8r–/– OVA/OVA mice recruited similar numbers of eosinophils to the BAL fluid and exhibited comparable degrees of pulmonary inflammation histologically. Both total and OVA-specific IgE levels were greater in multiply challenged IL-8r–/– OVA/OVA mice than in Wt mice. Both the IL-8r–/– OVA/OVA and OVA/PBS mice were significantly less responsive to methacholine than their respective Wt groups, but both Wt and IL-8r mice showed similar degrees of enhancement after multiple allergen challenge. The data demonstrate that the IL-8r modulates IgE production, airway responsiveness, and the composition of the cells (B cells and neutrophils) recruited to the airway lumen in response to antigen.
Background. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is induced in allergic skin and lung inflammation in man and mice. Methods. Allergic lung inflammation induced by two proteases allergens HDM and papain and a classical allergen ovalbumin was evaluated in vivo in mice deficient for TSLPR. Eosinophil recruitment, Th2 and Th17 cytokine and chemokine levels were determined in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, lung homogenates and lung mononuclear cells ex vivo. Results. Here we report that mice challenged with house dust mite extract or papain in the absence of TSLPR have a drastic reduction of allergic inflammation with diminished eosinophil recruitment in BAL and lung and reduced mucus overproduction. TSLPR deficient DCs displayed diminished OVA antigen uptake and reduced capacity to activate antigen specific T cells. TSLPR deficient mice had diminished proinflammatory IL-1β, IL-13, and IL-33 chemokines production, while IL-17A, IL-12p40 and IL-10 were increased. Together with impaired Th2 cytokines, IL-17A expressing TCRβ+ T cells were increased, while IL-22 expressing CD4+ T cells were diminished in the lung. Conclusion. Therefore, TSLPR signaling is required for the development of both Th2 and Th22 responses and may restrain IL-17A. TSLP may mediate its effects in part by increasing allergen uptake and processing by DCs resulting in an exacerbated asthma.
As an E3 ubiquitin ligase and a molecular adaptor, Cbl-b controls the activation threshold of the antigen receptor and negatively regulates CD28 co-stimulation, functioning as an intrinsic mediator of T cell anergy that maintains tolerance. However, the role of Cbl-b in the airway immune response to aeroallergens is unclear.
To determine the contribution of Cbl-b in tolerance to aeroallergens, we examined ovalbumin (OVA)-induced lung inflammation in Cbl-b deficient mice.
Cbl-b-/- mice and wildtype (WT) C57BL/6 mice were sensitized and challenged with OVA intranasally, a procedure normally tolerated by WT mice. We analyzed lung histology, BAL total cell counts and differential, cytokines and chemokines in the airway, and cytokine response by lymphocytes after re-stimulation by OVA antigen.
Compared with WT mice, OVA challenged Cbl-b-/- mice showed significantly increased neutrophilic and eosinophilic infiltration in the lung and mucus hyperplasia. The serum levels of IgG2a and IgG1, but not IgE, were increased. The levels of inflammatory mediators IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, IP-10, MCP-1, MIP-1α, Eotaxin, and RANTES, but not IL-17A or IL-6, were elevated in the airway of Cbl-b-/- mice. Lymphocytes from Cbl-b-/-mice released increased amount of IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-13, and IP-10 in response to OVA re-stimulation. However, no significant changes were noted in the CD4+CD25+ Treg cell populations in the lung tissues after OVA stimulation and there was no difference between WT and Cbl-b-/- mice.
These results demonstrate that Cbl-b deficiency leads to a breakdown of tolerance to OVA allergen in the murine airways, probably through increased activation of T effector cells, indicating that Cbl-b is a critical factor in maintaining lung homeostasis upon environmental exposure to aeroallergens.
Cbl-b; Ubiquitin E3 Ligase; Aeroallergen; Allergic inflammation; Asthma
IL-13 is known to affect many processes that contribute to an asthmatic phenotype, including inflammation, fibrosis, and mucus production. Members of the aquaporin (AQP) family of transmembrane water channels are targets of regulation in models of lung injury and inflammation. Therefore, we examined AQP mRNA and protein expression in allergen and IL-13-induced mouse models of asthma. Lungs from ovalbumin sensitized and ovalbumin challenged (OVA/OVA) and IL-13 treated mice showed airway thickening, increased mucus production, and pulmonary eosinophilia. Pulmonary function tests showed a significant increase in methacholine-induced airway hyperreactivity in OVA/OVA and IL-13-treated mice as compared with controls. Quantitative PCR analysis revealed differential regulation of AQPs in these two models. AQP1 and AQP4 mRNA expression was downregulated in the OVA/OVA model, but not in the IL-13 model. AQP5 mRNA was reduced in both models, whereas AQP3 was upregulated only in the IL-13 model. Western analysis showed that diminished expression of an apically localized aquaporin, (AQP5), and concomitant upregulation of a basolateral aquaporin (AQP3 or AQP4) are characteristic features of both inducible asthma models. These results demonstrate that aquaporins are common targets of gene expression in both allergen and IL-13 induced mouse models of asthma.
IL-13; aquaporin; AHR; asthma; lung; inflammation
Fish oil (FO) is rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which have been suggested to be anti-inflammatory and are associated with improvement of several inflammatory diseases. In this study, we investigated the influence of FO on allergen-induced lung inflammation and airway hyperreactivity in mice.
Male A/J mice were fed either a standard-chow (SC) or a FO diet (FO) for 8 weeks. After 4 weeks, each group was further randomized for ovalbumin (SC-OVA and FO-OVA) or saline (SC-SAL and FO-SAL) challenge. Resistance and elastance were measured at baseline and after aerosolized methacholine, 24h after the last challenge. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) was performed for leukocyte counts. Lung tissue mucus deposition, peribronchiolar matrix deposition and eosinophil infiltration were quantified. Serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) and IgG1 (ref 2.2), lung IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IL-13, IL-17, INFγ and eotaxin-1 and 2 were detected by ELISA and nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB), GATA-3 and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) expression was measured by Western blot.
Levels of serum IgE and IgG1 were significantly higher in OVA sensitized mice. OVA challenge resulted in increased eosinophil infiltration, increased inflammatory cytokine production, peribronchiolar matrix and mucus deposition and airway hyperreactivity to aerosolized methacholine. Elevated lung NFκB and GATA-3 expression was noted in OVA-challenged mice. These changes were attenuated in mice fed with FO diet. Higher PPARγ expression was also detected in the lungs from the FO-fed groups.
Our results demonstrate that FO intake attenuated classical asthma features by suppressing the systemic sensitization, thus providing evidence that FO might be a prophylactic alternative for asthma prevention.
A positive relationship between obesity and asthma has been well documented. The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activator metformin reverses obesity-associated insulin resistance (IR) and inhibits different types of inflammatory responses. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of metformin on the exacerbation of allergic eosinophilic inflammation in obese mice. Male C57BL6/J mice were fed for 10 weeks with high-fat diet (HFD) to induce obesity. The cell infiltration and inflammatory markers in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and lung tissue were evaluated at 48 h after ovalbumin (OVA) challenge. HFD obese mice displayed peripheral IR that was fully reversed by metformin (300 mg/kg/day, two weeks). OVA-challenge resulted in higher influx of total cell and eosinophils in lung tissue of obese mice compared with lean group. As opposed, the cell number in BAL fluid of obese mice was reduced compared with lean group. Metformin significantly reduced the tissue eosinophil infiltration and prevented the reduction of cell counts in BAL fluid. In obese mice, greater levels of eotaxin, TNF-α and NOx, together with increased iNOS protein expression were observed, all of which were normalized by metformin. In addition, metformin nearly abrogated the binding of NF-κB subunit p65 to the iNOS promoter gene in lung tissue of obese mice. Lower levels of phosphorylated AMPK and its downstream target acetyl CoA carboxylase (ACC) were found in lung tissue of obese mice, which were restored by metformin. In separate experiments, the selective iNOS inhibitor aminoguanidine (20 mg/kg, 3 weeks) and the anti-TNF-α mAb (2 mg/kg) significantly attenuated the aggravation of eosinophilic inflammation in obese mice. In conclusion, metformin inhibits the TNF-α-induced inflammatory signaling and NF-κB-mediated iNOS expression in lung tissue of obese mice. Metformin may be a good pharmacological strategy to control the asthma exacerbation in obese individuals.
Rationale: Chitin is a ubiquitous polysaccharide in fungi, insects, allergens, and parasites that is released at sites of infection. Its role in the generation of tissue inflammation, however, is not fully understood.
Objectives: We hypothesized that chitin is an important adjuvant for adaptive immunity.
Methods: Mice were injected with a solution of ovalbumin and chitin.
Measurements and Main Results: We used in vivo and ex vivo/in vitro approaches to characterize the ability of chitin fragments to foster adaptive immune responses against ovalbumin and compared these responses to those induced by aluminum hydroxide (alum). In vivo, ovalbumin challenge caused an eosinophil-rich pulmonary inflammatory response, Th2 cytokine elaboration, IgE induction, and mucus metaplasia in mice that had been sensitized with ovalbumin plus chitin or ovalbumin plus alum. Toll-like receptor-2, MyD88, and IL-17A played critical roles in the chitin-induced responses, and MyD88 and IL-17A played critical roles in the alum-induced responses. In vitro, CD4+ T cells from mice sensitized with ovalbumin plus chitin were incubated with ovalbumin-stimulated bone marrow–derived dendritic cells. In these experiments, CD4+ T-cell proliferation, IL-5, IL-13, IFN-γ, and IL-17A production were appreciated. Toll-like receptor-2, MyD88, and IL-17A played critical roles in these in vitro adjuvant properties of chitin. TLR-2 was required for cell proliferation, whereas IL-17 and TLR-2 were required for cytokine elaboration. IL-17A also inhibited the generation of adaptive Th1 responses.
Conclusions: These studies demonstrate that chitin is a potent multifaceted adjuvant that induces adaptive Th2, Th1, and Th17 immune responses. They also demonstrate that the adjuvant properties of chitin are mediated by a pathway(s) that involves and is regulated by TLR-2, MyD88, and IL-17A.
chitin; adjuvant; ovalbumin; aluminum hydroxide; alum
Osteopontin (OPN) contributes to the development of T helper 1 (Th1)-mediated immunity and Th1-associated diseases. However, the role of OPN in bronchial asthma is unclear. Corticosteroids reduce airway inflammation, as reflected by the low eosinophil and T-cell counts, and the low level of cytokine expression. We investigated OPN production and the inhibitory effects of corticosteroids on OPN production in a murine model of allergic asthma.
BALB/c mice were sensitized by intraperitoneal injections of ovalbumin (OVA) with alum. Some mice received daily injections of dexamethasone (DEX) or phosphate-buffered saline for 1 week. All OVA-challenged mice were exposed to aerosolized 1% OVA for 30 min an hour after these injections. After the OVA challenge, the mice were killed, and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and lung tissue were examined.
The levels of OPN protein in BAL fluid and OPN mRNA in lung tissue increased after OVA challenge. Most OPN-expressing cells were CD11c+ cells and some were T cells. DEX decreased the levels of OPN protein in the BAL fluid, and those of OPN mRNA and OPN protein in lung tissue.
OPN may play an important role in allergic bronchial asthma. Corticosteroids inhibit OPN production in mice with allergic asthma. The beneficial effect of corticosteroids in bronchial asthma is partly due to their inhibitory effects on OPN production.
Osteopontin; Corticosteroid; Mouse; Dendritic cells; CD11c; Bronchial asthma
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent stimulator of vascular angiogenesis, permeability, and remodeling that also plays important roles in wound healing and tissue cytoprotection. To begin to define the roles of VEGF in diseases like asthma and COPD, we characterized the effects of lung-targeted transgenic VEGF165 and defined the innate immune pathways that regulate VEGF tissue responses. The former studies demonstrated that VEGF plays an important role in Th2 inflammation because, in addition to stimulating angiogenesis and edema, VEGF induced eosinophilic inflammation, mucus metaplasia, subepithelial fibrosis, myocyte hyperplasia, dendritic cell activation, and airways hyperresponsiveness via IL-13–dependent and -independent mechanisms. VEGF was also produced at sites of aeroallergen-induced Th2 inflammation, and VEGF receptor blockade ameliorated adaptive Th2 inflammation and Th2 cytokine elaboration. The latter studies demonstrated that activation of the RIG-like helicase (RLH) innate immune pathway using viral pathogen–associated molecular patterns such as Poly(I:C) or viruses ameliorated VEGF-induced tissue responses. In accord with these findings, Poly(I:C)-induced RLH activation also abrogated aeroallergen-induced Th2 inflammation. When viewed in combination, these studies suggest that VEGF excess can contribute to the pathogenesis of Th2 inflammatory disorders such as asthma and that abrogation of VEGF signaling via RLH activation can contribute to the pathogenesis of viral disorders such as virus-induced COPD exacerbations. They also suggest that RLH activation may be a useful therapeutic strategy in asthma and related disorders.
asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; virus; RIG-like helicase; mitochondrial antiviral signaling molecule
Airways inflammation is thought to play a central role in the pathogenesis of asthma. However, the precise role that individual inflammatory cells and mediators play in the development of airways hyperreactivity and the morphological changes of the lung during allergic pulmonary inflammation is unknown. In this investigation we have used a mouse model of allergic pulmonary inflammation and interleukin (IL) 5-deficient mice to establish the essential role of this cytokine and eosinophils in the initiation of aeroallergen-induced lung damage and the development of airways hyperreactivity. Sensitization and aerosol challenge of mice with ovalbumin results in airways eosinophilia and extensive lung damage analogous to that seen in asthma. Aeroallergen-challenged mice also display airways hyperreactivity to beta-methacholine. In IL-5-deficient mice, the eosinophilia, lung damage, and airways hyperreactivity normally resulting from aeroallergen challenge were abolished. Reconstitution of IL-5 production with recombinant vaccinia viruses engineered to express this factor completely restored aeroallergen-induced eosinophilia and airways dysfunction. These results indicate that IL-5 and eosinophils are central mediators in the pathogenesis of allergic lung disease.
The functional role of nitric oxide (NO) and various nitric oxide synthase (NOS) isoforms in asthma remains unclear.
This study investigated the effects of ozone and ovalbumin (OVA) exposure on NOS isoforms.
The expression of inducible NOS (iNOS), neuronal NOS (nNOS), and endothelial NOS (eNOS) in lung tissue was measured. Enhanced pause (Penh) was measured as a marker of airway obstruction. Nitrate and nitrite in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid were measured using a modified Griess reaction.
The nitrate concentration in BAL fluid from the OVA-sensitized/ozone-exposed/OVA-challenged group was greater than that of the OVA-sensitized/saline-challenged group. Methacholine-induced Penh was increased in the OVA-sensitized/ozone-exposed/OVA-challenged group, with a shift in the dose-response curve to the left, compared with the OVA-sensitized/saline-challenged group. The levels of nNOS and eNOS were increased significantly in the OVA-sensitized/ozone-exposed/OVA-challenged group and the iNOS levels were reduced compared with the OVA-sensitized/saline-challenged group.
In mice, ozone is associated with increases in lung eNOS and nNOS, and decreases in iNOS. None of these enzymes are further affected by allergens, suggesting that the NOS isoforms play different roles in airway inflammation after ozone exposure.
Nitric oxide synthase; Ozone; Asthma
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by airway remodeling, which includes changes in the extracellular matrix (ECM). However the role of the ECM in mediating these changes is poorly understood. Hyaluronan (HA), a major component of the ECM, has been implicated in asthma as well as in many other biological processes. Our study investigates the processes involved in HA synthesis, deposition, localization and degradation during an acute and chronic murine model of ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergic pulmonary inflammation. Mice were sensitized, challenged to OVA and sacrificed at various time points during an 8-week challenge protocol. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluids, blood, and lung tissue were collected for study. RNA, HA, protein and histopathology were analyzed. Analyses of lung sections and BAL fluids revealed an early deposition and an increase in HA levels within 24 hours of antigen exposure. HA levels peaked at day 8 in BAL, while inflammatory cell recovery peaked at day 6. Hyaluronan synthase (HAS)1 and HAS2 on RNA levels peaked within 2 hours of antigen exposure, while hyaluronidase (HYAL)1 and HYAL2 on RNA levels decreased. Both inflammatory cell infiltrates and collagen deposition co-localized with HA deposition within the lungs. These data support a role for HA in the pathogenesis of inflammation and airway remodeling in a murine model of asthma. HA deposition appears largely due to up regulation of HAS1 and HAS2. In addition, HA appears to provide the scaffolding for inflammatory cell accumulation as well as for new collagen synthesis and deposition.
hyaluronan; inflammation; asthma; extracellular matrix
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
Crataegus pinnatifida (Chinese hawthorn) has long been used as a herbal medicine in Asia and Europe. It has been used for the treatment of various cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial weakness, tachycardia, hypertension and arteriosclerosis. In this study, we investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of Crataegus pinnatifida ethanolic extracts (CPEE) on Th2-type cytokines, eosinophil infiltration, expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, and other factors, using an ovalbumin (OVA)-induced murine asthma model.
Airways of OVA-sensitized mice exposed to OVA challenge developed eosinophilia, mucus hypersecretion and increased cytokine levels. CPEE was applied 1 h prior to OVA challenge. Mice were administered CPEE orally at doses of 100 and 200 mg/kg once daily on days 18–23. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was collected 48 h after the final OVA challenge. Levels of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-5 in BALF were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent (ELISA) assays. Lung tissue sections 4 µm in thickness were stained with Mayer’s hematoxylin and eosin for assessment of cell infiltration and mucus production with PAS staining, in conjunction with ELISA, and Western blot analyses for the expression of MMP-9, intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 protein expression. CPEE significantly decreased the Th2 cytokines including IL-4 and IL-5 levels, reduced the number of inflammatory cells in BALF and airway hyperresponsiveness, suppressed the infiltration of eosinophil-rich inflammatory cells and mucus hypersecretion and reduced the expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and MMP-9 and the activity of MMP-9 in lung tissue of OVA-challenged mice.
These results showed that CPEE can protect against allergic airway inflammation and can act as an MMP-9 modulator to induce a reduction in ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression. In conclusion, we strongly suggest the feasibility of CPEE as a therapeutic drug for allergic asthma.
The effect of aging on several pathologic features of allergic-asthma (pulmonary inflammation, eosinophilia, mucus-hypersecretion), and their relationship with airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) is not well characterized.
To evaluate lung inflammation, mucus-metaplasia and AHR in relationship to age in murine models of allergic-asthma comparing young and older mice.
Young (6-week) and older (6-, 12- 18-month) BALB/c mice were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA). AHR and bronchoalveolar fluid (BALF) total inflammatory cell count and differential were measured. To evaluate mucus-metaplasia, quantitative PCR for the major airway mucin-associated gene, MUC-5AC, from lung tissue was measured, and lung tissue sections stained with periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) for goblet-cell enumeration. Lung tissue cytokine gene expression was determined by qPCR, and systemic cytokine protein levels by ELISA from spleen-cell cultures. Antigen-specific serum IgE was determined by ELISA.
AHR developed in both aged and young OVA-sensitized/challenged mice (OVA-mice), and was more significantly increased in young OVA-mice than in aged OVA-mice. However, BALF eosinophil numbers were significantly higher, and lung histology showed greater inflammation in aged OVA-mice than in young OVA-mice. MUC-5AC expression and numbers of PAS+ staining bronchial epithelial cells were significantly increased in the aged OVA-mice. All aged OVA-mice had increased IL-5 and IFN-γ mRNA expression in the lung and IL-5 and IFN-γ protein levels from spleen cell cultures compared to young OVA-mice. OVA-IgE was elevated to a greater extent in aged OVA-mice.
Although pulmonary inflammation and mucus-metaplasia after antigen sensitization/challenge occurred to a greater degree in older mice, the increase in AHR was significantly less compared with younger OVA-mice. Antigen treatment produced a unique cytokine profile in older mice (elevated IFN-γ and IL-5) compared with young mice (elevated IL-4 and IL-13). Thus, the airway response to inflammation is lessened in aging animals, and may represent age-associated events leading to different phenotypes in response to antigen provocation.
Aging; murine; asthma; airway hyperresponsiveness; eosinophil; inflammation
Asthma is a disease of airway inflammation characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophilic inflammation, and hypersecretion of mucus. Ellagic acid, a compound derived from medicinal plants and fruits, has shown anti-inflammatory activity in several experimental disease models. We used the classical experimental model, in BALB/c mice, of sensibilization with ovalbumin to determine the effect of ellagic acid (10 mg/kg; oral route) in the resolution of allergic airways response. Dexamethasone (1 mg/kg; subcutaneous route) was used as a positive control. The control group consisted of nonimmunized mice that received challenge with ovalbumin. Ellagic acid and dexamethasone or vehicle (water) were administered before or after intranasal allergen challenge. Ellagic acid accelerated the resolution of airways inflammation by decreasing total leukocytes and eosinophils numbers in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), the mucus production and lung inflammation in part by reducing IL-5 concentration, eosinophil peroxidase (EPO) activity, and P-selectin expression, but not activator protein 1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathways. In addition, ellagic acid enhanced alveolar macrophage phagocytosis of IgG-OVA-coated beads ex vivo, a new proresolving mechanism for the clearance of allergen from the airways. Together, these findings identify ellagic acid as a potential therapeutic agent for accelerating the resolution of allergic airways inflammation.
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.
T helper 2 (Th2) cells play a critical role in the pathogenesis of asthma, but the precise immunological mechanisms that inhibit Th2 cell function in vivo are not well understood. Using gene therapy, we demonstrated that ovalbumin-specific (OVA-specific) Th cells engineered to express latent TGF-β abolished airway hyperreactivity and airway inflammation induced by OVA-specific Th2 effector cells in SCID and BALB/c mice. These effects correlated with increased concentrations of active TGF-β in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, demonstrating that latent TGF-β was activated in the inflammatory environment. In contrast, OVA-specific Th1 cells failed to inhibit airway hyperreactivity and inflammation in this system. The inhibitory effect of TGF-β–secreting Th cells was antigen-specific and was reversed by neutralization of TGF-β. Our results demonstrate that T cells secreting TGF-β in the respiratory mucosa can indeed regulate Th2-induced airway hyperreactivity and inflammation and suggest that TGF-β–producing T cells play an important regulatory role in asthma.