Deficient suppression of T cell responses to allergen by CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells has been observed in patients with allergic disease. Our current experiments used a mouse model of airway inflammation to examine the suppressive activity of allergen-specific CD4+CD25+ T cells in vivo. Transfer of ovalbumin (OVA) peptide–specific CD4+CD25+ T cells to OVA-sensitized mice reduced airway hyperreactivity (AHR), recruitment of eosinophils, and T helper type 2 (Th2) cytokine expression in the lung after allergen challenge. This suppression was dependent on interleukin (IL) 10 because increased lung expression of IL-10 was detected after transfer of CD4+CD25+ T cells, and regulation was reversed by anti–IL-10R antibody. However, suppression of AHR, airway inflammation, and increased expression of IL-10 were still observed when CD4+CD25+ T cells from IL-10 gene–deficient mice were transferred. Intracellular cytokine staining confirmed that transfer of CD4+CD25+ T cells induced IL-10 expression in recipient CD4+ T cells, but no increase in IL-10 expression was detected in airway macrophages, dendritic cells, or B cells. These data suggest that CD4+CD25+ T cells can suppress the Th2 cell–driven response to allergen in vivo by an IL-10–dependent mechanism but that IL-10 production by the regulatory T cells themselves is not required for such suppression.
Rationale: Although there have been numerous studies on the development of allergen-induced inflammation, the mechanisms leading to resolution of inflammation remain poorly understood. This represents an important consideration because failure to resolve allergen driven inflammation potentially leads to irreversible airway remodeling, characteristic of chronic asthma.
Objectives: We investigated the resolution of allergic inflammation and identified the factors responsible.
Methods: BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were sensitized to ovalbumin and challenged through the airways to induce allergic inflammation. Mice were analyzed at 24 hours and 7 days after the final challenge.
Measurements and Main Results: Airway hyperreactivity (AHR) and increased mucus production were present 7 days after the cessation of allergen challenge in BALB/c mice. Persisting AHR correlated with the continued presence of Th2 cells but not eosinophils in the lungs. The role of Th2 cells in maintaining AHR was confirmed using blocking antibodies against T1/ST2, IL-4, and IL-13 during the resolution period. Moreover, AHR in the “Th1 type” C57BL/6 mouse strain was resolved 1 week after allergen challenge, concomitant with clearance of Th2 cells from the lung. Expression of the T1/ST2 ligand, IL-33, also correlated with maintenance of AHR.
Conclusions: We have used blockade of Th2 function and strain differences to show for the first time that resolution of allergic inflammation and AHR may be dependent on the T1/ST2-IL-33 pathway and the presence of Th2 cells, suggesting they are necessary not only for the development of an allergic response but also for its maintenance.
Th2 cells; IL-13; IL-4
Recent evidence suggests that IL-17 contributes to airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR); however, the mechanisms that suppress the production of this cytokine remain poorly defined.
We sought to understand the cellular and molecular basis for suppression of established, IL-17-dependent allergic airways disease.
Mice were sensitized by airway instillations of ovalbumin (OVA) together with low levels of lipopolysaccharide. Leukocyte recruitment to the lung and AHR were assessed following daily challenges with aerosolized OVA. Flow cytometry and gene targeted mice were used to identify naturally-arising subsets of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and their cytokines required for the suppression of established allergic airway disease.
Allergic sensitization through the airway primed both effector and regulatory responses. Effector responses were initially dominant and led to airway inflammation and IL-17-dependent AHR. However, after multiple daily allergen challenges, IL-17 production and AHR declined, even though pulmonary levels of Th17 cells remained high. This loss of AHR was reversible and required the expansion of a Treg subset expressing both Foxp3 and inducible co-stimulator (ICOS). These Tregs also expressed the regulatory cytokines, IL-10, TGF-beta and IL-35. Whereas IL-10 and TGF-beta were dispensable for suppression of airway hyperresponsiveness, IL-35 was required. Analysis of human ICOS+ Tregs revealed that they also selectively expressed IL-35.
IL-35 production by ICOS+ Tregs can suppress IL-17 production and thereby reverse established, IL-17-dependent AHR in mice. The production of IL-35 by human ICOS+ Tregs suggests that targeting this pathway might be of therapeutic value for treating allergic asthma in humans.
Asthma; airway hyperresponsiveness; AHR; IL-17; Th17; Th2; IL-35; ICOS; ovalbumin
Dendritic cells (DCs) are considered to be the most efficient antigen-presenting cells. Intratracheal administration of allergen-pulsed bone marrow–derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) before allergen challenge induces airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and inflammation. Ovalbumin (OVA)-pulsed BMDCs from wild-type (WT) mice were transferred into naive WT, CD4−/−, CD8−/−, or IL-13−/− mice. Two days (short protocol) or 10 days (long protocol) after BMDC transfer, mice were challenged with 1% OVA for 3 days and assayed 2 days later. Transfer of OVA-primed BMDCs into BALB/c or C57BL/6 mice elicited AHR in both protocols. Airway eosinophilia, Th2 cytokines, or goblet cell metaplasia were increased in the long but not short protocol. Lung T cells from both protocols produced Th2 cytokines in response to OVA in vitro. Carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidylester–labeled BMDCs were observed in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and lung parenchyma at early time points, and were detected in draining lymph nodes 48 hours after transfer. CD8−/− mice developed AHR comparable to WT mice in the short protocol, but decreased levels of AHR, airway eosinophilia, Th2 cytokines in BAL fluid, and goblet cell metaplasia compared with WT mice in the long protocol. CD4−/− or IL-13−/− mice did not develop AHR or airway inflammation in either protocol. These data suggest that allergen-pulsed BMDCs initiate development of AHR that is dependent initially on CD4+ T cells, and at later time periods on CD8+ T cells and IL-13. Thus, the timing of allergen challenge after transfer of allergen-pulsed BMDC affects the development of AHR and airway inflammation.
dendritic cells; CD8+ T cells; airway hyperresponsiveness
Background and Objective. The features of asthma are airway inflammation, reversible airflow obstruction, and an increased sensitivity to bronchoconstricting agents, termed airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), excess production of Th2 cytokines, and eosinophil accumulation in the lungs. To investigate the antiasthmatic potential of hesperidin as well as the underlying mechanism involved, we studied the inhibitory effect and anti-inflammatory effect of hesperidin (HPN) on the production of Th2 cytokines, eotaxin, IL-17, -OVA-specific IgE in vivo asthma model mice.
Methods. In this paper, BALB/c mice were systemically sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) followed intratracheally, intraperitoneally, and by aerosol allergen challenges. We investigated the effect of HPN on airway hyperresponsiveness, pulmonary eosinophilic infiltration, various immune cell phenotypes, Th2 cytokine production and OVA-specific IgE production in a mouse model of asthma. Results. In BALB/c mice, we found that HPN-treated groups had suppressed eosinophil infiltration, allergic airway inflammation, and AHR, and these occurred by suppressing the production of IL-5, IL-17, and OVA-specific IgE. Conclusions. Our data suggest that the therapeutic mechanism by which HPN effectively treats asthma is based on reductions of Th2 cytokines (IL-5), eotaxin, OVA-specific IgE production, and eosinophil infiltration via inhibition of GATA-3 transcription factor.
Astragali radix Antiasthmatic Decoction (AAD), a traditional Chinese medication, is found effective in treating allergic diseases and chronic cough. The purpose of this study is to determine whether this medication could suppress allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and remodeling in mice, and its possible mechanisms.
A mouse model of chronic asthma was used to investigate the effects of AAD on the airway lesions. Mice were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA), and the extent of AHR and airway remodeling were characterized. Cells and cytokines in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were examined.
AAD treatment effectively decreased OVA-induced AHR, eosinophilic airway inflammation, and collagen deposition around the airway. It significantly reduced the levels of IL-13 and TGF-β1, but exerted inconsiderable effect on INF-γ and IL-10.
AAD greatly improves the symptoms of allergic airway remodeling probably through inhibition of Th2 cytokines and TGF-β1.
Astragalus Antiasthmatic Decoction; Airway hyperresponsiveness; Airway remodeling
Allergic asthma is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to allergens, airway oedema, increased mucus secretion, excess production of T helper-2 (Th2) cytokines, and eosinophil accumulation in the lungs. Corni fructus (CF) is a fruit of Cornus officinalis Sieb. Et. Zucc. (Cornaceae) and has been used in traditional Korean medicine as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and diuretic agent. To investigate the anti-asthmatic effects of CF and their underlying mechanism, we examined the influence of CF on the development of pulmonary eosinophilic inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness in a mouse model of allergic asthma.
In this study, BALB/c mice were systemically sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) by intraperitoneal (i.p.), intratracheal (i.t.) injections and intranasal (i.n.) inhalation of OVA. We investigated the effect of CF on airway hyperresponsiveness, pulmonary eosinophilic infiltration, various immune cell phenotypes, Th2 cytokine production, and OVA-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) production.
The CF-treated groups showed suppressed eosinophil infiltration, allergic airway inflammation, and AHR via reduced production of interleuin (IL) -5, IL-13, and OVA-specific IgE.
Our data suggest that the therapeutic effects of CF in asthma are mediated by reduced production of Th2 cytokines (IL-5), eotaxin, and OVA-specific IgE and reduced eosinophil infiltration.
Corni fructus; Asthma; Eosinophil; IL-5; CCR3
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.
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 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.
Rationale: Spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) is important for Fc and B-cell receptor–mediated signaling.
Objective: To determine the activity of a specific Syk inhibitor (R406) on mast cell activation in vitro and on the development of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and inflammation in vivo.
Methods: AHR and inflammation were induced after 10 d of allergen (ovalbumin [OVA]) exposure exclusively via the airways and in the absence of adjuvant. This approach was previously established to be IgE, FcɛRI, and mast cell dependent. Alternatively, mice were passively sensitized with OVA-specific IgE, followed by limited airway challenge. In vitro, the inhibitor was added to cultures of IgE-sensitized bone marrow–derived mast cells (BMMCs) before cross-linking with allergen.
Results: The inhibitor prevented OVA-induced degranulation of passively IgE-sensitized murine BMMCs and inhibited the production of interleukin (IL)-13, tumor necrosis factor α, IL-2, and IL-6 in these sensitized BMMCs. When administered in vivo, R406 inhibited AHR, which developed in BALB/c mice exposed to aerosolized 1% OVA for 10 consecutive d (20 min/d), as well as pulmonary eosinophilia and goblet cell metaplasia. A similar inhibition of AHR was demonstrated in mice passively sensitized with OVA-specific IgE and exposed to limited airway challenge.
Conclusion: This study delineates a functional role for Syk in the development of mast cell– and IgE-mediated AHR and airway inflammation, and these results indicate that inhibition of Syk may be a target in the treatment of allergic asthma.
airway hyperresponsiveness; eosinophils; goblet cell metaplasia; mast cells; spleen tyrosine kinase
T-helper (Th)17 cell responses are important for the development of neutrophilic inflammatory disease. Recently, we found that acetyl salicylic acid (ASA) inhibited Th17 airway inflammation in an asthma mouse model induced by sensitization with lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-containing allergens. To investigate the mechanism(s) of the inhibitory effect of ASA on the development of Th17 airway inflammation, a neutrophilic asthma mouse model was generated by intranasal sensitization with LPS plus ovalbumin (OVA) and then challenged with OVA alone. Immunologic parameters and airway inflammation were evaluated 6 and 48 h after the last OVA challenge. ASA inhibited the production of interleukin (IL)-17 from lung T cells as well as in vitro Th17 polarization induced by IL-6. Additionally, ASA, but not salicylic acid, suppressed Th17 airway inflammation, which was associated with decreased expression of acetyl-STAT3 (downstream signaling of IL-6) in the lung. Moreover, the production of IL-6 from inflammatory cells, induced by IL-17, was abolished by treatment with ASA, whereas that induced by LPS was not. Altogether, ASA, likely via its acetyl moiety, inhibits Th17 airway inflammation by blockade of IL-6 and IL-17 positive feedback.
Acetyl salicylic acid; IL-6; IL-17A; STAT3; Th17
Asthma leads to structural changes in the airways, including the modification of extracellular matrix proteins such as tenascin-C. The role of tenascin-C is unclear, but it might act as an early initiator of airway wall remodelling, as its expression is increased in the mouse and human airways during allergic inflammation. In this study, we examined whether Th1 or Th2 cells are important regulators of tenascin-C in experimental allergic asthma utilizing mice with impaired Th1 (STAT4-/-) or Th2 (STAT6-/-) immunity.
Balb/c wildtype (WT), STAT4-/- and STAT6-/- mice were sensitized with intraperitoneally injected ovalbumin (OVA) followed by OVA or PBS airway challenge. Airway hyperreactivity (AHR) was measured and samples were collected. Real time PCR and immunohistochemistry were used to study cytokines and differences in the expression of tenascin-C. Tenascin-C expression was measured in human fibroblasts after treatment with TNF-α and IFN-γ in vitro.
OVA-challenged WT mice showed allergic inflammation and AHR in the airways along with increased expression of TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-4 and tenascin-C in the lungs. OVA-challenged STAT4-/- mice exhibited elevated AHR and pulmonary eosinophilia. The mRNA expression of TNF-α and IFN-γ was low, but the expression of IL-4 was significantly elevated in these mice. OVA-challenged STAT6-/- mice had neither AHR nor pulmonary eosinophilia, but had increased expression of mRNA for TNF-α, IFN-γ and IL-4. The expression of tenascin-C in the lungs of OVA-challenged STAT4-/- mice was weaker than in those of OVA-challenged WT and STAT6-/- mice suggesting that TNF-α and IFN-γ may regulate tenascin-C expression in vivo. The stimulation of human fibroblasts with TNF-α and IFN-γ induced the expression of tenascin-C confirming our in vivo findings.
Expression of tenascin-C is significantly attenuated in the airways of STAT4-/- mice, which may be due to the impaired secretion of TNF-α and IFN-γ in these mice.
Interleukin (IL)-22 is an effector cytokine, which acts primarily on epithelial cells in the skin, gut, liver and lung. Both pro- and anti-inflammatory properties have been reported for IL-22 depending on the tissue and disease model. In a murine model of allergic airway inflammation, we found that IL-22 is predominantly produced by innate lymphoid cells in the inflamed lungs, rather than TH cells. To determine the impact of IL-22 on airway inflammation, we used allergen-sensitized IL-22-deficient mice and found that they suffer from significantly higher airway hyperreactivity upon airway challenge. IL-22-deficiency led to increased eosinophil infiltration lymphocyte invasion and production of CCL17 (TARC), IL-5 and IL-13 in the lung. Mice treated with IL-22 before antigen challenge displayed reduced expression of CCL17 and IL-13 and significant amelioration of airway constriction and inflammation. We conclude that innate IL-22 limits airway inflammation, tissue damage and clinical decline in allergic lung disease.
An increasing prevalence of allergic diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis and bronchial asthma, has been noted worldwide. Allergic asthma strongly correlates with airway inflammation caused by the unregulated production of cytokines secreted by allergen-specific type-2 T helper (Th2) cells. This study aims to explore the therapeutic effect of the airway gene transfer of IL-12, IL-10 and TGF-β on airway inflammation in a mouse model of allergic asthma.
BALB/c mice were sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) by intraperitoneal injections with OVA and challenged by nebulized OVA. Different cytokine gene plasmids or non-coding vector plasmids were instilled daily into the trachea up to one day before the inhalatory OVA challenge phase.
Intratracheal administration of IL-10, IL-12 or TGF-β can efficiently inhibit antigen-induced airway hyper-responsiveness and is able to largely significantly lower the number of eosinophils and neutrophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of ovalbumin (OVA) sensitized and challenged mice during the effector phase. Furthermore, the effect of IL-10 plasmids is more remarkable than any other cytokine gene plasmid. On the other hand, local administration of IL-4 gene plasmids before antigen challenge can induce severe airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR) and airway eosinophilia.
Our data demonstrated that anti- inflammatory cytokines, particularly IL-10, have the therapeutic potential for the alleviation of airway inflammation in murine model of asthma.
To define the role of Sema4A in allergic response, we employed Sema4A−/− and WT mice in the experimental model of OVA-induced allergic airway inflammation. We observed a selective increase in eosinophilic airway infiltration accompanied by bronchial epithelial cell hyperplasia in allergen-treated Sema4A−/− mice relative to WT mice. This enhanced inflammatory response was associated with a selective increase in BAL IL-13 content, augmented airway hyperreactivity, and lower Treg numbers. In vivo allergen-primed Sema4A−/− CD4+ T cells were more effective in transferring Th2 response to naïve mice as compared to WT CD4+ T cells. T cell proliferation and IL-13 productions in OVA323–339 - restimulated Sema4A−/− cell cultures were upregulated. Generated bone marrow chimeras showed an equal importance of both lung resident cell and inflammatory cell Sema4A expression in optimal disease regulation. These data provide a new insight into Sema4A biology and define Sema4A as an important regulator of Th2-driven lung pathophysiology.
The current paradigm surrounding allergen-mediated T helper type 2 (Th2) immune responses in the lung suggests an almost hegemonic role for T cells. Our studies propose an alternative hypothesis implicating eosinophils in the regulation of pulmonary T cell responses. In particular, ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized/challenged mice devoid of eosinophils (the transgenic line PHIL) have reduced airway levels of Th2 cytokines relative to the OVA-treated wild type that correlated with a reduced ability to recruit effector T cells to the lung. Adoptive transfer of Th2-polarized OVA-specific transgenic T cells (OT-II) alone into OVA-challenged PHIL recipient mice failed to restore Th2 cytokines, airway histopathologies, and, most importantly, the recruitment of pulmonary effector T cells. In contrast, the combined transfer of OT-II cells and eosinophils into PHIL mice resulted in the accumulation of effector T cells and a concomitant increase in both airway Th2 immune responses and histopathologies. Moreover, we show that eosinophils elicit the expression of the Th2 chemokines thymus- and activation-regulated chemokine/CCL17 and macrophage-derived chemokine/CCL22 in the lung after allergen challenge, and blockade of these chemokines inhibited the recruitment of effector T cells. In summary, the data suggest that pulmonary eosinophils are required for the localized recruitment of effector T cells.
Listeria monocytogenes promotes the induction of the T-helper 1 (Th1) cell response, while ovalbumin (OVA) induces a Th2 cell response and allergic reactions, such as airway hyperreactivity and immunoglobulin E (IgE) production. When mice were immunized with OVA on day 7 after L. monocytogenes infection, eosinophilia in bronchoalveolar lavage and the production of total IgE, OVA-specific IgE, interleukin-4 (IL-4), and IL-5 in the circulation were markedly suppressed. Cytokine responses, including IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IL-13, and gamma interferon, to OVA were decreased in the spleen cell cultures obtained from OVA-immunized mice that had been infected with L. monocytogenes. Conversely, when OVA-immunized mice were infected with L. monocytogenes, conversion from the nonlethal infection to the lethal infection occurred. Host resistance to L. monocytogenes infection in OVA-immunized mice was enhanced by the administration of anti–IL-10 monoclonal antibody. The present study indicates that striking interference is observed between Th1-inducing L. monocytogenes infection and Th2-driven OVA-induced airway hyperreactivity.
Allergic asthmatic responses in the airway are associated with airway hyperreactivity, eosinophil accumulation in the lung, and cytokine production by allergen-specific, T helper cell type 2 (Th2) lymphocytes. Here, we show that in a cockroach antigen (CA) model of allergic pulmonary inflammation, the chemokine macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-3α is expressed in the lung within hours of allergen challenge. To determine the biologic relevance of this expression, mice lacking CCR6, the only known receptor for MIP-3α, were studied for their response to CA. CCR6-deficient mice were immunized to the same extent as their wild-type counterparts, as judged by cytokine production in antigen-challenged lymphocytes. However, compared with CA-challenged wild-type mice, challenged CCR6-deficient mice had reduced airway resistance, fewer eosinophils around the airway, lower levels of interleukin 5 in the lung, and reduced serum levels of immunoglobulin E. Together, these data demonstrate that MIP-3α and CCR6 function in allergic pulmonary responses and suggest that these molecules might represent novel therapeutic targets for treatment of asthma.
CCR6; MIP-3α; chemokine; asthma; lung
As passive environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure in nonsmokers can increase both asthma symptoms and the frequency of asthma exacerbations, we utilized a mouse model, in which ovalbumin (OVA) + ETS induce significantly increased levels of eosinophilic airway inflammation and remodeling compared to either stimulus alone, to determine whether a Toll-like receptor-9 (TLR-9) agonist could reduce levels of airway inflammation, airway remodeling and airway hyperreactivity (AHR).
Mice treated with or without a TLR-9 agonist were sensitized to OVA and challenged with OVA + ETS for 1 month. AHR to methacholine was assessed in intubated and ventilated mice. Lung Th2 cytokines and TGF-β1 were measured by ELISA. Lungs were processed for histology and immunohistology to quantify eosinophils, mucus, peribronchial fibrosis and smooth muscle changes using image analysis.
Administration of a TLR-9 agonist to mice coexposed to chronic ETS and chronic OVA allergen significantly reduced levels of eosinophilic airway inflammation, mucus production, peribronchial fibrosis, the thickness of the peribronchial smooth muscle layer, and AHR. The reduced airway remodeling in mice treated with the TLR-9 agonist was associated with significantly reduced numbers of peribronchial MBP+ and peribronchial TGF-β1+ cells, and with significantly reduced levels of lung Th2 cytokines [interleukin-5 and interleukin-13] and TGF-β1.
These studies demonstrate that TLR-9-based therapies inhibit airway inflammation, remodeling and AHR in mice coexposed to ETS and allergen who exhibit enhanced airway inflammation and remodeling.
Toll-like receptor-9; Airway hyperreactivity; Airway inflammation; Airway remodeling; Eosinophils
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.
airway hyperresponsiveness; chronic asthma; cytokine; dendritic cells; eosinophil
IL-4 and IL-13 are closely related cytokines that are produced by Th2 cells. However, IL-4 and IL-13 have different effects on the development of asthma phenotypes. Here, we evaluated downstream molecular mechanisms involved in the development of Th2 type asthma phenotypes. A murine model of Th2 asthma was used that involved intraperitoneal sensitization with an allergen (ovalbumin) plus alum and then challenge with ovalbumin alone. Asthma phenotypes, including airway-hyperresponsiveness (AHR), lung inflammation, and immunologic parameters were evaluated after allergen challenge in mice deficient in candidate genes. The present study showed that methacholine AHR and lung inflammation developed in allergen-challenged IL-4-deficient mice but not in allergen-challenged IL-13-deficient mice. In addition, the production of OVA-specific IgG2a and IFN-γ-inducible protein (IP)-10 was also impaired in the absence of IL-13, but not of IL-4. Lung-targeted IFN-γ over-expression in the airways enhanced methacholine AHR and non-eosinophilic inflammation; in addition, these asthma phenotypes were impaired in allergen-challenged IFN-γ-deficient mice. Moreover, AHR, non-eosinophilic inflammation, and IFN-γ expression were impaired in allergen-challenged IL-12Rβ2- and STAT4-deficient mice; however, AHR and non-eosinophilic inflammation were not impaired in allergen-challenged IL-4Rα-deficient mice, and these phenomena were accompanied by the enhanced expression of IL-12 and IFN-γ. The present data suggest that IL-13-mediated asthma phenotypes, such as AHR and non-eosinophilic inflammation, in the Th2 type asthma are dependent on the IL-12-STAT4-IFN-γ axis, and that these asthma phenotypes are independent of IL-4Ralpha-mediated signaling.
asthma; interferon-γ; interleukin-12; interleukin-13; respiratory hypersensitivity; Th2 cells
Allergic asthma is characterized by Th2 type inflammation, leading to airway hyperresponsivenes, mucus hypersecretion and tissue remodeling. S-Nitrosoglutathione reductase (GSNOR) is an alcohol dehydrogenase involved in the regulation of intracellular levels of S-nitrosothiols. GSNOR activity has been shown to be elevated in human asthmatic lungs, resulting in diminished S-nitrosothiols and thus contributing to increased airway hyperreactivity. Using a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation, we report that intranasal administration of a new selective inhibitor of GSNOR, SPL-334, caused a marked reduction in airway hyperreactivity, allergen-specific T cells and eosinophil accumulation, and mucus production in the lungs in response to allergen inhalation. Moreover, SPL-334 treatment resulted in a significant decrease in the production of the Th2 cytokines IL-5 and IL-13 and the level of the chemokine CCL11 (eotaxin-1) in the airways. Collectively, these observations reveal that GSNOR inhibitors are effective not only in reducing airway hyperresponsiveness but also in limiting lung inflammatory responses mediated by CD4+ Th2 cells. These findings suggest that the inhibition of GSNOR may provide a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of allergic airway inflammation.
Background: Humans with asthma display considerable heterogeneity with regard to T helper (Th) 2–associated eosinophilic and Th17-associated neutrophilic inflammation, but the impact of the environment on these different forms of asthma is poorly understood.
Objective: We studied the nature and longevity of asthma-like responses triggered by inhalation of allergen together with environmentally relevant doses of inhaled lipopolysaccharide (LPS).
Methods: Ovalbumin (OVA) was instilled into the airways of mice together with a wide range of LPS doses. Following a single OVA challenge, or multiple challenges, animals were assessed for pulmonary cytokine production, airway inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR).
Results: Mice instilled with OVA together with very low doses (≤ 10–3 μg) of LPS displayed modest amounts of Th2 cytokines, with associated airway eosinophilia and AHR after a single challenge, and these responses were sustained after multiple OVA challenges. When the higher but still environmentally relevant dose of 10–1 μg LPS was used, mice initially displayed similar Th2 responses, as well as Th17-associated neutrophilia. After multiple OVA challenges, however, the 10–1 μg LPS animals also accumulated large numbers of allergen-specific T regulatory (Treg) cells with high levels of inducible co-stimulatory molecule (ICOS). As a result, asthma-like features in these mice were shorter-lived than in mice sensitized using lower doses of LPS.
Conclusions: The nature and longevity of Th2, Th17, and Treg immune responses to inhaled allergen are dependent on the quantity of LPS inhaled at the time of allergic sensitization. These findings might account in part for the heterogeneity of inflammatory infiltrates seen in lungs of asthmatics.
Citation: Whitehead GS, Thomas SY, Cook DN. 2014. Modulation of distinct asthmatic phenotypes in mice by dose-dependent inhalation of microbial products. Environ Health Perspect 122:34–42; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1307280
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.