Chronic allergic asthma is characterized by Th2-typed inflammation, and contributes to airway remodeling and the deterioration of lung function. However, the initiating factor that links airway inflammation to remodeling is unknown. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), an epithelium-derived cytokine, can strongly activate lung dendritic cells (DCs) through the TSLP-TSLPR and OX40L-OX40 signaling pathways to promote Th2 differentiation. To determine whether TSLP is the underlying trigger of airway remodeling in chronic allergen-induced asthma, we induced allergic airway inflammation in mice by intranasal administration of house dust mite (HDM) extracts for up to 5 consecutive weeks. We showed that repeated respiratory exposure to HDM caused significant airway eosinophilic inflammation, peribronchial collagen deposition, goblet cell hyperplasia, and airway hyperreactivity (AHR) to methacholine. These effects were accompanied with a salient Th2 response that was characterized by the upregulation of Th2-typed cytokines, such as IL-4 and IL-13, as well as the transcription factor GATA-3. Moreover, the levels of TSLP and transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) were also increased in the airway. We further demonstrated, using the chronic HDM-induced asthma model, that the inhibition of Th2 responses via neutralization of TSLP with an anti-TSLP mAb reversed airway inflammation, prevented structural alterations, and decreased AHR to methacholine and TGF-β1 level. These results suggest that TSLP plays a pivotal role in the initiation and persistence of airway inflammation and remodeling in the context of chronic allergic asthma.
IL-1α promotes a cascade of cytokine production from epithelial cells culminating in Th2 immunity to house dust mite allergens.
House dust mite (HDM) is one of the most common allergens worldwide. In this study, we have addressed the involvement of IL-1 in the interaction between HDM and the innate immune response driven by lung epithelial cells (ECs) and dendritic cells (DCs) that leads to asthma. Mice lacking IL-1R on radioresistant cells, but not hematopoietic cells, failed to mount a Th2 immune response and did not develop asthma to HDM. Experiments performed in vivo and in isolated air–liquid interface cultures of bronchial ECs showed that TLR4 signals induced the release of IL-1α, which then acted in an autocrine manner to trigger the release of DC-attracting chemokines, GM-CSF, and IL-33. Consequently, allergic sensitization to HDM was abolished in vivo when IL-1α, GM-CSF, or IL-33 was neutralized. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) became important only when high doses of allergen were administered. These findings put IL-1α upstream in the cytokine cascade leading to epithelial and DC activation in response to inhaled HDM allergen.
House dust mite (HDM) induces allergic asthma in sensitized individuals, although the mechanisms by which HDM is sensed and recognized by the airway mucosa, leading to dendritic cell (DC) recruitment, activation, and subsequent TH2-mediated responses, are unknown.
We sought to define the pathways by which HDM activates respiratory epithelium to induce allergic airway responses.
Using a human airway epithelial cell line (16HBE14o-), we studied secretion of the DC chemokine CCL20 after exposure to HDM or other allergens, investigated components of the HDM responsible for the induction of chemokine release, and examined activation of signaling pathways. Central findings were also confirmed in primary human bronchial cells.
We demonstrate that exposure of airway epithelium to HDM results in specific and rapid secretion of CCL20, a chemokine attractant for immature DCs. The induction of CCL20 secretion is dose and time dependent and quite specific to HDM because other allergens, such as ragweed pollen and cockroach antigen, fail to significantly induce CCL20 secretion. Induction of CCL20 secretion is not protease or Toll-like receptor 2/4 dependent but, interestingly, relies on β-glucan moieties within the HDM extract, as evidenced by the ability of other β-glucans to competitively inhibit its secretion and by the fact that disruption of these structures by treatment of HDM with β-glucanase significantly reduces subsequent chemokine secretion.
Taken together, our results describe a novel mechanism for specific pattern recognition of HDM-derived β-glucan moieties, which initiates allergic airway inflammation and, through recruitment of DCs, might link innate pattern recognition at the airway surface with adaptive immune responses.
Asthma; allergy; house dust mite; epithelium; dendritic cell; chemokine; pattern recognition; innate immunity
Hypersensitivity to house dust mite (HDM; Dermatophagoides sp.) allergens is one of the most common allergic responses, affecting up to 85% of asthmatics. Sensitization to indoor allergens is the strongest independent risk factor associated with asthma. Additionally, >50% of children and adolescents with asthma are sensitized to HDM. Although allergen-specific CD4+ Th2 cells orchestrate the HDM allergic response through induction of IgE directed toward mite allergens, activation of innate immunity also plays a critical role in HDM-induced allergic inflammation. This review highlights the HDM components that lead to activation of the innate immune response. Activation may due to HDM proteases. Proteases may be recognized by protease-activation receptors (PARs), Toll-like receptors (TLRs), or C-type lectin receptors (CTRs), or act as a molecular mimic for PAMP activation signaling pathways. Understanding the role of mite allergen-induced innate immunity will facilitate the development of therapeutic strategies that exploit innate immunity receptors and associated signaling pathways for the treatment of allergic asthma.
House dust mites; innate immunity; toll-like receptors; C-type lectin receptors; dendritic cells
Inhaled house dust mite (HDM) results in T-helper (TH) 2 type pathology in unsensitized mice, in conjunction with airway hyperreactivity and airway remodelling.
However, the pulmonary cytokine and chemokine profile has not been reported.
We have performed a time course analysis of the characteristic molecular mediators and cellular influx in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and lung in order to define the pulmonary inflammatory response to inhaled HDM extract. Mice were exposed five times a week to soluble HDM extract for 3 weeks. Lung function was measured in groups of mice at intervals following the final HDM challenge. Recruitment of inflammatory cells and inflammatory mediator production was then assessed in BAL and lungs of individual mice.
We found that Th2 cytokines were significantly increased in BAL and lung after HDM challenge from as early as 2 h post-final challenge. The levels of cytokines and chemokines correlated with the influx of eosinophils and Th2 cells to the different compartments of the lung. However, the production of key cytokines such as IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 preceded the increase in airways resistance.
Inhaled HDM challenge induces a classical Th2 inflammatory mediator profile in the BAL and lung. These data are important for studies determining the efficacy of novel treatment strategies for allergic airways disease.
airway hyperreactivity; allergic inflammation; house dust mite; Th2 cytokines
Repeated airway challenges with House Dust Mite (HDM) allergen results in marked remodelling and mast cell hyperplasia in the small airways of allergic sheep. We now examine mast cell activation and its association with small airway function and remodelling in these sheep using a novel segmental allergen challenge approach.
Eight allergic sheep received weekly intra-lung challenges of HDM to the left caudal lung for 24 weeks. Eight separate sheep were used as controls. Baseline lung function was assessed in the left caudal segments of all sheep throughout the challenge regime using a wedged-bronchoscope technique. Airway tissue was collected from challenged segments from all sheep, 7 days following the final intra-lung challenge. The airway tissues were immunohistochemically labelled for chymase-mast cells and eosinophils. Collagen and airway smooth muscle content were assessed on Masson's Trichrome stained sections.
Resting lung function in the left caudal segment is elevated in 4 out of 8 sheep at the end of the repeated allergen challenge regime. Chymase mast cell density was significantly increased in the small bronchial walls of the HDM-challenged group compared to the control group (52 ± 8 vs 8 ± 4; P < 0.01). There were significant increases in bronchial collagen deposition in HDM-exposed segments compared to control segments (0.17 ± 0.02 vs 0.11 ± 0.02 mm2/BM, P < 0.05). A correlation analysis of individual sheep data showed that there was a trend for a direct association between the increases in bronchial collagen deposition and the density of chymase-labelled mast cells (rs = 0.71, P = 0.088). Eosinophil density in the small bronchial walls of HDM-challenged segments was also significantly increased compared to controls (65 ± 19 vs 11 ± 3 cells/mm2, P < 0.001), but not associated with collagen content. The bronchial smooth muscle content was not different between HDM-challenged and unexposed control segments.
The results show that repeated exposure to allergen results in significant increases in density of chymase-labelled mast cells, together with increased levels of collagen content in the small airways. The segmental challenge protocol allows for a novel approach to characterise the progressive remodelling events occurring in the small airways in chronic asthma.
The house-dust mite (HDM), commonly found in human dwellings, is an important source of inhalant and contact allergens. In this report, the importance of HDM allergy in Korea and the characteristics of allergens from dust mite are reviewed with an emphasis on investigations performed in Korea. In Korea, Dermatophagoides farinae is the dominant species of HDM, followed by D. pteronyssinus. Tyrophagus putrescentiae is also found in Korea, but its role in respiratory allergic disease in Korea is controversial. The relatively low densities of mite populations and concentrations of mite major allergens in dust samples from Korean homes, compared to westernized countries, are thought to reflect not only different climatic conditions, but also cultural differences, such as the use of 'ondol' under-floor heating systems in Korean houses. HDM are found in more than 90% of Korean houses, and the level of exposure to HDM is clinically significant. About 40%-60% of Korean patients suffering from respiratory allergies, and more than 40% of patients suffering from atopic dermatitis, are sensitized to HDM. Mite allergens can be summarized according to their inherent auto-adjuvant activities and/or their binding affinities to the adjuvant-like substances: proteolytic enzymes, lipid binding proteins, chitin binding proteins, and allergens not associated with adjuvant-like activity. In general, allergens with a strong adjuvant-like activity or adjuvant-binding activity elicit potent IgE reactivity. In Korea, Der f 2 is the most potent allergen, followed by Der f 1. Immune responses are modulated by the properties of the allergen itself and by the adjuvant-like substances that are concomitantly administered with the antigens. Characterization of allergenic molecules and elucidation of mechanisms by which adjuvant-like molecules modulate allergic reactions, not only in Korea but also worldwide, will provide valuable information on allergic diseases, and are necessary for the development of diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies.
Allergen; allergy; house dust mite; Korea
Increased mast cell (MC) density and changes in their distribution in airway tissues is thought to contribute significantly to the pathophysiology of asthma. However, the time sequence for these changes and how they impact small airway function in asthma is not fully understood. The aim of the current study was to characterise temporal changes in airway MC density and correlate these changes with functional airway responses in sheep chronically challenged with house dust mite (HDM) allergen.
MC density was examined on lung tissue from four spatially separate lung segments of allergic sheep which received weekly challenges with HDM allergen for 0, 8, 16 or 24 weeks. Lung tissue was collected from each segment 7 days following the final challenge. The density of tryptase-positive and chymase-positive MCs (MCT and MCTC respectively) was assessed by morphometric analysis of airway sections immunohistochemically stained with antibodies against MC tryptase and chymase.
MCT and MCTC density was increased in small bronchi following 24 weeks of HDM challenges compared with controls (P<0.05). The MCTC/MCT ratio was significantly increased in HDM challenged sheep compared to controls (P<0.05). MCT and MCTC density was inversely correlated with allergen-induced increases in peripheral airway resistance after 24 weeks of allergen exposure (P<0.05). MCT density was also negatively correlated with airway responsiveness after 24 challenges (P<0.01).
MCT and MCTC density in the small airways correlates with better lung function in this sheep model of chronic asthma. Whether this finding indicates that under some conditions mast cells have protective activities in asthma, or that other explanations are to be considered requires further investigation.
House dust mite allergens (HDM) cause bronchoconstriction in asthma patients and induce an inflammatory response in the lungs due to the release of cytokines, chemokines and additional mediators. The mechanism how HDM components achieve this is largely unknown. The objective of this study was to assess whether HDM components of Dermatophagoides pteronissinus with protease activity (Der p 1) and unknown enzymatic activity (Der p 2, Der p 5) induce biological responses in a human airway-derived epithelial cell line (A549), and if so, to elucidate the underlying mechanism(s) of action. A549 cells were incubated with HDM extract, Der p 1, recombinant Der p 2 and recombinant Der p 5. Cell desquamation was assessed by microscopy. The proinflammatory cytokines, IL-6 and IL-8, were measured by ELISA. Intracellular Ca2+ levels were assessed in A549 cells and in mouse fibroblasts expressing the human protease activated receptor (PAR)1, PAR2 or PAR4. HDM extract, Der p 1 and Der p 5 dose-dependently increased the production of IL-6 and IL-8. Added simultaneously, Der p 1 and Der p 5 further increased the production of IL-6 and IL-8. The action of Der p 1 was blocked by cysteine-protease inhibitors, while that of Der p 5 couldn't be blocked by either serine- or cysteine protease inhibitors. Der p 5 only induced cell shrinking, whereas HDM extract and Der p1 also induced cell desquamation. Der p 2 had no effect on A549 cells. Der p 1's protease activity causes desquamation and induced the release of IL6 and IL-8 by a mechanism independent of Ca2+ mobilisation and PAR activation. Der p 5 exerts a protease-independent activation of A549 that involves Ca2+ mobilisation and also leads to the production of these cytokines. Together, our data indicate that allergens present in HDM extracts can trigger protease-dependent and protease-independent signalling pathways in A549 cells.
It is unclear how Th2 immunity is induced in response to allergens like house dust mite (HDM). Here, we show that HDM inhalation leads to the TLR4/MyD88-dependent recruitment of IL-4 competent basophils and eosinophils, and of inflammatory DCs to the draining mediastinal nodes. Depletion of basophils only partially reduced Th2 immunity, and depletion of eosinophils had no effect on the Th2 response. Basophils did not take up inhaled antigen, present it to T cells, or express antigen presentation machinery, whereas a population of FceRI+ DCs readily did. Inflammatory DCs were necessary and sufficient for induction of Th2 immunity and features of asthma, whereas basophils were not required. We favor a model whereby DCs initiate and basophils amplify Th2 immunity to HDM allergen.
House dust mites (HDM; Dermatophagoides sp.) are one of the commonest aeroallergens worldwide and up to 85% of asthmatics are typically HDM allergic. Allergenicity is associated both with the mites themselves and with ligands derived from mite-associated bacterial and fungal products. Murine models of allergic airways disease for asthma research have recently switched from the use of surrogate allergen ovalbumin together with adjuvant to use of the HDM extract. This has accelerated understanding of how adaptive and innate immunity generate downstream pathology. We review the myriad ways in which HDM allergic responses are orchestrated. Understanding the molecular pathways that elicit HDM-associated pathology is likely to reveal novel targets for therapeutic intervention.
Polymorphisms within innate immunity genes are associated with allergic phenotypes but results are variable. These associations were not analyzed with respect to allergen exposure. We investigated associations of TLR and CD14 polymorphisms with allergy phenotypes in the context of house dust mite (HDM) exposure.
Material and methods
Children, aged 12-16 years (n=326), were recruited from downtown and rural locations and assessed by allergist. Skin prick tests, total and HDM-specific sIgE measurements were done. HDM allergen concentrations in dust were measured. Genetic polymorphisms were identified using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP).
Allergic rhinitis, asthma and atopy were more prevalent in urban area. Although HDM allergen concentrations were higher in rural households, sIgE were present more frequently in urban children. In the whole population no association was found between HDM exposure and sensitization. In children with CD14/−159CC, CD14/−159TT and TLR9/2848GA genotypes increased exposure to HDM was associated with reduced incidence of allergic rhinitis. Significant associations of increased HDM exposure with reduced incidence of atopy were found for the whole population and subjects with CD14/−159CC, CD14/−1359GT, TLR4/896AA and TLR9/2848GA genotypes. Among children with CD14/−159CC and CD14/−1359GG significant positive correlation between HDM allergen concentrations in household and sensitization to HDM was observed. In contrast, protective effect of high HDM allergen exposure against specific sensitization was seen in subjects with TLR4/896 AG.
Development of specific sensitization and allergy may be associated with innate immune response genes polymorphisms and is modified by allergen exposure.
allergy; CD14; toll-like receptors; house dust mite exposure; polymorphism
Antigen-specific CD4+ T cells play an important role in the allergic immune response to house dust mite (HDM) allergens in humans. The group 1 allergen of Dermatophagoides spp. is a major target antigen in both B and T cell recognition of HDM. In vitro studies have shown that the presentation of peptides to human T cells under appropriate conditions may lead to a state of specific nonresponsiveness. Therefore, to determine if peptides are able to modulate the function of allergen- reactive T cells in vivo, we have used a murine model of T cell recognition of the HDM allergen Der p 1. The results demonstrate that inhalation of low concentrations of peptide containing the major T cell epitope of Der p 1 (residues 111-139), induces tolerance in naive C57BL/6J mice such that they become profoundly unresponsive to an immunogenic challenge with the intact allergen. When restimulated in vitro with antigen, lymph node T cells isolated from tolerant mice secrete very low levels of interleukin 2, proliferative poorly, and are unable to provide cognate help to stimulate specific antibody production. Furthermore, intranasal peptide therapy was able to inhibit an ongoing immune response to the allergen in mice and this has potential implications in the development of allergen-based immunotherapy.
House dust mite (HDM) allergens are important factors in the increasing prevalence of asthma. The lung epithelium forms a barrier that allergens must cross before they can cause sensitization. However, the mechanisms involved are unknown. Here we show that the cysteine proteinase allergen Der p 1 from fecal pellets of the HDM Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus causes disruption of intercellular tight junctions (TJs), which are the principal components of the epithelial paracellular permeability barrier. In confluent airway epithelial cells, Der p 1 led to cleavage of the TJ adhesion protein occludin. Cleavage was attenuated by antipain, but not by inhibitors of serine, aspartic, or matrix metalloproteinases. Putative Der p 1 cleavage sites were found in peptides from an extracellular domain of occludin and in the TJ adhesion protein claudin-1. TJ breakdown nonspecifically increased epithelial permeability, allowing Der p 1 to cross the epithelial barrier. Thus, transepithelial movement of Der p 1 to dendritic antigen-presenting cells via the paracellular pathway may be promoted by the allergen’s own proteolytic activity. These results suggest that opening of TJs by environmental proteinases may be the initial step in the development of asthma to a variety of allergens.
Specific immunotherapy is the only treatment with the potential to prevent progression of the allergic disease and the potential to cure patients. The immunomodulatory ability of SQ-standardized house dust mite (HDM) subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) was investigated in patients with allergic asthma.
Fifty-four adults with HDM-allergic asthma were randomized 1 : 1 to receive SQ-standardized HDM SCIT (ALK) or placebo for 3 years. At baseline, and after 1, 2 and 3 years of treatment, the lowest possible inhaled corticosteroid dose required to maintain asthma control was determined, followed by determinations of nonspecific and HDM-allergen-specific bronchial hyperresponsiveness, late asthmatic reaction (LAR), immediate and late-phase skin reactions, and immunological response.
SQ-standardized HDM SCIT provided a statistically significantly higher HDM-allergen tolerance (P < 0.05 vs placebo) in terms of a 1.6-fold increase in PD20 (HDM-allergen inhalation challenge), a 60-fold increase in skin test histamine equivalent HDM-allergen concentrations, reduced immediate- and reduced or abolished late-phase skin reactions, as well as fewer patients with LAR. PD20 (methacholine inhalation challenge) increased initially and was similar between groups. House dust mite SCIT induced an initial increase in serum HDM-allergen-specific IgE (P = 0.028 vs placebo), which then declined to baseline value. House dust mite SCIT induced an increase in components blocking IgE binding to allergen [ΔIgE-blocking factor: 0.31; 95% CI of (0.26; 0.37)] after 1 year that remained constant after 2 and 3 years (P < 0.0001 vs placebo).
SQ-standardized HDM SCIT induced a consistent immunomodulatory effect in adults with HDM-allergic asthma; the humoral immune response was changed and the HDM-allergen tolerance in lung and skin increased.
allergic asthma; bronchial hyperresponsiveness; house dust mite; immune response; immunotherapy
Repeated exposure to inhaled allergen can cause airway inflammation, remodeling and dysfunction that manifests as the symptoms of allergic asthma. We have investigated the role of the cytokine interleukin-13 (IL-13) in the generation and persistence of airway cellular inflammation, bronchial remodeling and deterioration in airway function in a model of allergic asthma caused by chronic exposure to the aeroallergen House Dust Mite (HDM).
Mice were exposed to HDM via the intranasal route for 4 consecutive days per week for up to 8 consecutive weeks. Mice were treated either prophylactically or therapeutically with a potent neutralising anti-IL-13 monoclonal antibody (mAb) administered subcutaneously (s.c.). Airway cellular inflammation was assessed by flow cytometry, peribronchial collagen deposition by histocytochemistry and airway hyperreactivity (AHR) by invasive measurement of lung resistance (RL) and dynamic compliance (Cdyn). Both prophylactic and therapeutic treatment with an anti-IL-13 mAb significantly inhibited (P<0.05) the generation and maintenance of chronic HDM-induced airway cellular inflammation, peribronchial collagen deposition, epithelial goblet cell upregulation. AHR to inhaled methacholine was reversed by prophylactic but not therapeutic treatment with anti-IL-13 mAb. Both prophylactic and therapeutic treatment with anti-IL-13 mAb significantly reversed (P<0.05) the increase in baseline RL and the decrease in baseline Cdyn caused by chronic exposure to inhaled HDM.
These data demonstrate that in a model of allergic lung disease driven by chronic exposure to a clinically relevant aeroallergen, IL-13 plays a significant role in the generation and persistence of airway inflammation, remodeling and dysfunction.
Respiratory epithelial cells are the first site of interaction of allergens with the immune system. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of epithelial cells, which were stimulated with house dust mite (HDM) extracts, on the immune response of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
Primary nasal polyp epithelial cells were exposed to dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and dermatophagoides farina for 48 hr, and then the supernatant and cells were collected. After stimulation with HDM extract, the epithelial cells were co-cultured with PBMCs for 72 hr and then the supernatant was collected. We measured the interleukin (IL)-8 and granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor to determine the activation of the epithelial cells. The tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, IL-5 and interferon-γ were measured to evaluate the interaction between the epithelial cells and the PBMCs. The mRNA expression of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) was assessed using the anti-ICAM-1 antibody.
The HDM extracts activated the nasal epithelial cells and enhanced the expression of ICAM-1 mRNA and cell membrane ICAM-1. When the activated epithelial cells were co-cultured with PBMCs, the PBMCs produced lager amounts of TNF-α and IL-5. However the cytokine production was not inhibited by pretreatment with ICAM-1 antibody.
HDM allergens induce allergic inflammation by activating nasal epithelial cells, yet the interaction of the epitheila cells and the PBMCs may not be associated with an ICAM-1 medicated mechanism.
House dust mite; Nasal epithelial cell; Peripheral blood mononuclear cell; Cytokine; Intercellular adhesion molecule
There is increasing evidence that the small airways contribute significantly to the pathophysiology of asthma. However, due to the difficulty in accessing distal lung regions in clinical settings, functional changes in the peripheral airways are often overlooked in studies of asthmatic patients. The aim of the current study was to characterize progressive changes in small airway function in sheep repeatedly challenged with house dust mite (HDM) allergen.
Four spatially separate lung segments were utilized for HDM challenges. The right apical, right medial, right caudal and left caudal lung segments received 0, 8, 16 and 24 weekly challenges with HDM respectively. A wedged-bronchoscope technique was used to assess changes in peripheral resistance (Rp) at rest, and in response to specific and non-specific stimuli throughout the trial. Allergen induced inflammatory cell infiltration into bronchoalveolar lavage and increases in Rp in response to HDM and methacholine were localized to treated lung segments, with no changes observed in adjacent lung segments. The acute response to HDM was variable between sheep, and was significantly correlated to airway responsiveness to methacholine (rs = 0.095, P<0.01). There was no correlation between resting Rp and the number of weeks of HDM exposure. Nor was there a correlation between the magnitude of early-phase airway response and the number of HDM-challenges.
Our findings indicate that airway responses to allergic and non-allergic stimuli are localized to specific treated areas of the lung. Furthermore, while there was a decline in peripheral airway function with HDM exposure, this decrease was not correlated with the length of allergen challenge.
TLRs are a family of receptors that mediate immune system pathogen recognition. In the respiratory system, TLR activation has both beneficial and deleterious effects in asthma. For example, clinical data indicate that TLR6 activation exerts protective effects in asthma. Here, we explored the mechanism or mechanisms through which TLR6 mediates this effect using mouse models of Aspergillus fumigatus–induced and house dust mite antigen–induced (HDM antigen–induced) chronic asthma. Tlr6–/– mice with fungal- or HDM antigen–induced asthma exhibited substantially increased airway hyperresponsiveness, inflammation, and remodeling compared with WT asthmatic groups. Surprisingly, whole-lung levels of IL-23 and IL-17 were markedly lower in Tlr6–/– versus WT asthmatic mice. Tlr6–/– DCs generated less IL-23 upon activation with lipopolysaccharide, zymosan, or curdlan. Impaired IL-23 generation in Tlr6–/– mice also corresponded with lower levels of expression of the pathogen-recognition receptor dectin-1 and expansion of Th17 cells both in vivo and in vitro. Exogenous IL-23 treatment of asthmatic Tlr6–/– mice restored IL-17A production and substantially reduced airway hyperresponsiveness, inflammation, and lung fungal burden compared with that in untreated asthmatic Tlr6–/– mice. Together, our data demonstrate that TLR6 activation is critical for IL-23 production and Th17 responses, which both regulate the allergic inflammatory response in chronic fungal-induced asthma. Thus, therapeutics targeting TLR6 activity might prove efficacious in the treatment of clinical asthma.
The airway epithelium is thought to play an important role in the pathogenesis of asthmatic disease. However, much of our understanding of airway epithelial cell function in asthma has been derived from in vitro studies that may not accurately reflect the interactive cellular and molecular pathways active between different tissue constituents in vivo.
Using a sheep model of allergic asthma, tracheal explants from normal sheep and allergic sheep exposed to house dust mite (HDM) allergen were established to investigate airway mucosal responses ex vivo. Explants were cultured for up to 48 h and tissues were stained to identify apoptotic cells, goblet cells, mast cells and eosinophils. The release of cytokines (IL-1α, IL-6 and TNF-α) by cultured tracheal explants, was assessed by ELISA.
The general morphology and epithelial structure of the tracheal explants was well maintained in culture although evidence of advanced apoptosis within the mucosal layer was noted after culture for 48 h. The number of alcian blue/PAS positive mucus-secreting cells within the epithelial layer was reduced in all cultured explants compared with pre-cultured (0 h) explants, but the loss of staining was most evident in allergic tissues. Mast cell and eosinophil numbers were elevated in the allergic tracheal tissues compared to naïve controls, and in the allergic tissues there was a significant decline in mast cells after 24 h culture in the presence or absence of HDM allergen. IL-6 was released by allergic tracheal explants in culture but was undetected in cultured control explants.
Sheep tracheal explants maintain characteristics of the airway mucosa that may not be replicated when studying isolated cell populations in vitro. There were key differences identified in explants from allergic compared to control airways and in their responses in culture for 24 h. Importantly, this study establishes the potential for the application of tracheal explant cultures in relevant ex vivo investigations on the therapeutic and mechanistic modalities of asthmatic disease.
Nocturnal bronchoconstriction is a common symptom of asthma in humans, but is poorly documented in animal models. Thoracoabdominal asynchrony (TAA) is a noninvasive clinical indication of airway obstruction. In this study, respiratory inductive plethysmography (RIP) was used to document nocturnal TAA in house dust mite (HDM)-sensitive Cynomolgus macaques. Dynamic compliance (Cdyn) and lung resistance (RL) measured in anesthetized animals at rest and following exposure to HDM allergen, methacholine, and albuterol were highly correlated with three RIP parameters associated with TAA, ie, phase angle of the rib cage and abdomen waveforms (PhAng), baseline effort phase relation (eBPRL) and effort phase relation (ePhRL). Twenty-one allergic subjects were challenged with HDM early in the morning, and eBPRL and ePhRL were monitored for 20 hours after provocation. Fifteen of the allergic subjects exhibited gradual increases in eBPRL and ePhRL between midnight and 6 am, with peak activity at 4 am. However, as in humans, this nocturnal response was highly variable both between subjects and within subjects over time. The results document that TAA in this nonhuman primate model of asthma is highly correlated with Cdyn and RL, and demonstrate that animals exhibiting acute responses to allergen exposure during the day also exhibit nocturnal TAA.
nocturnal asthma; late phase asthmatic response; respiratory inductive plethysmography
Chronic allergic asthma is characterized by Th2-polarized inflammation and leads to airway remodeling and fibrosis but the mechanisms involved are not clear. To determine whether epithelial-mesenchymal transition contributes to airway remodeling in asthma, we induced allergic airway inflammation in mice by intranasal administration of house dust mite (HDM) extract for up to 15 consecutive weeks. We report that respiratory exposure to HDM led to significant airway inflammation and thickening of the smooth muscle layer in the wall of the large airways. Transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGF-β1) levels increased in mouse airways while epithelial cells lost expression of E-cadherin and occludin and gained expression of the mesenchymal proteins vimentin, alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and pro-collagen I. We also observed increased expression and nuclear translocation of Snail1, a transcriptional repressor of E-cadherin and a potent inducer of EMT, in the airway epithelial cells of HDM-exposed mice. Furthermore, fate-mapping studies revealed migration of airway epithelial cells into the sub-epithelial regions of the airway wall. These results show the contribution of EMT to airway remodeling in chronic asthma-like inflammation and suggest that Th2-polarized airway inflammation can trigger invasion of epithelial cells into the subepithelial regions of the airway wall where they contribute to fibrosis, demonstrating a previously unknown plasticity of the airway epithelium in allergic airway disease.
Vaccination with naked DNA encoding antigen induces cellular and humoral immunity characterized by the activation of specific Th1 cells.
To evaluate the effects of vaccination with mixed naked DNA plasmids encoding Der p 1, Der p 2, Der p 3, Der f 1, Der f 2, and Der f 3, the major house dust mite allergens on the allergic inflammation to the whole house dust mites (HDM) crude extract.
Three hundred micrograms of these gene mixtures were injected into muscle of BALB/c mice. Control mice were injected with the pcDNA 3.1 blank vector. After 3 weeks, the mice were actively sensitized and inhaled with the whole house dust mite extract intranasally.
The vaccinated mice showed a significantly decreased synthesis of total and HDM-specific IgE compared with controls. Analysis of the cytokine profile of lymphocytes after challenge with HDM crude extract revealed that mRNA expression of interferon-γ was higher in the vaccinated mice than in the controls. Reduced infiltration of inflammatory cells and the prominent infiltration of CD8+ T cells were observed in histology of lung tissue from the vaccinated mice.
Vaccination with DNA encoding the major house dust mite allergens provides a promising approach for treating allergic responses to whole house dust mite allergens.
Background: The relationship between cough receptor sensitivity and eosinophilic inflammation of the airway in patients with asthma remains unclear.
Methods: Eighteen patients with asthma sensitised to house dust mite (HDM) were enrolled in a randomised parallel group study. Patients with asthma whose main symptom was cough were not enrolled in the study. Half the patients were randomly assigned to inhale saline and the other half to inhale HDM allergen. Cough receptor sensitivity to capsaicin, airway responsiveness to histamine, and sputum eosinophils analysed with hypertonic saline inhalation were investigated before and 24 hours after saline or HDM allergen bronchoprovocation.
Results: Patients inhaling saline showed no significant changes in sputum eosinophils (from 7.87% (95% confidence interval (CI) 5.08 to 12.19) to 8.60% (95% CI 3.03 to 14.18); p=0.97), airway responsiveness to histamine (from 726.68 µg/ml (95% CI 251.90 to 2096.36) to 773.01 µg/ml (95% CI 251.36 to 2377.23); p=0.96), or capsaicin sensitivity (from 7.23 µM (95% CI 2.45 to 21.31) to 7.24 µM (95% CI 2.46 to 21.31); p=0.96). Early asthmatic response was induced in all patients, and late asthmatic response was observed in six of nine patients inhaling HDM allergen. Although there were significant increases in sputum eosinophils (from 9.83% (95% CI 6.78 to 14.27) to 21.00% (95% CI 13.85 to 28.15); p<0.01) and airway responsiveness to histamine (from 784.16 µg/ml (95% CI 318.24 to 1932.24) to 377.81 µg/ml (95% CI 118.43 to 1205.24); p<0.05) 24 hours after HDM allergen inhalation compared with baseline levels, capsaicin sensitivity did not change significantly (from 5.75 µM (95% CI 1.91 to 17.30) to 6.20 µM (95% CI 2.21 to 17.38); p=0.77).
Conclusions: These findings suggest that cough receptor sensitivity to capsaicin is not associated with eosinophilic inflammation of the airway in patients with allergic asthma whose main symptoms are wheezing and dyspnoea but not cough.
TSLP is a type 1 cytokine that contributes to lymphopoiesis and the development of asthma and atopic dermatitis. TSLP acts on multiple lineages, including dendritic cells (DCs), T cells, NKT cells, eosinophils, and mast cells, mediating proliferation and survival, and linking innate and adaptive immune responses. TSLP is produced by a range of cells, including epithelial cells, fibroblasts, stromal cells, and keratinocytes. DCs are important primary targets of TSLP, and we now unexpectedly demonstrate that DCs also produce TSLP in response to Toll-like receptor (TLR) stimulation and that this is augmented by IL-4. Moreover, we demonstrate that when mice are challenged with house dust-mite (HDM) extract, lung CD11c+ DCs express TSLP mRNA at an even higher level than epithelial cells. These data suggest that DCs not only respond to TSLP but also are a source of TSLP during pathogen and/or allergen encounter.