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1.  TLR4 Is Necessary for Hyaluronan-mediated Airway Hyperresponsiveness after Ozone Inhalation 
Rationale: Ozone is a common environmental air pollutant that contributes to hospitalizations for respiratory illness. The mechanisms, which regulate ozone-induced airway hyperresponsiveness, remain poorly understood. We have previously reported that toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)–deficient animals are protected against ozone-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and that hyaluronan (HA) mediates ozone-induced AHR. However, the relation between TLR4 and hyaluronan in the airway response to ozone remains unexplored.
Objectives: We hypothesized that HA acts as an endogenous TLR4 ligand for the development of AHR after ozone-induced environmental airway injury.
Methods: TLR4-deficient and wild-type C57BL/6 mice were exposed to either inhaled ozone or intratracheal HA and the inflammatory and AHR response was measured.
Measurements and Main Results: TLR4-deficient mice have similar levels of cellular inflammation, lung injury, and soluble HA levels as those of C57BL/6 mice after inhaled ozone exposure. However, TLR4-deficient mice are partially protected from AHR after ozone exposure as well as after direct intratracheal instillation of endotoxin-free low molecular weight HA. Similar patterns of TLR4-dependent cytokines were observed in the bronchial alveolar lavage fluid after exposure to either ozone or HA. Exposure to ozone increased immunohistological staining of TLR4 on lung macrophages. Furthermore, in vitro HA exposure of bone marrow–derived macrophages induced NF-κB and production of a similar pattern of proinflammatory cytokines in a manner dependent on TLR4.
Conclusions: Our observations support the observation that extracellular matrix HA contributes to ozone-induced airways disease. Furthermore, our results support that TLR4 contributes to the biological response to HA by mediating both the production of proinflammatory cytokines and the development of ozone-induced AHR.
PMCID: PMC2868499  PMID: 20007931
environmental airways injury; asthma; toll-like receptor; macrophage; TNF-α
2.  Prolonged ozone exposure in an allergic airway disease model: Adaptation of airway responsiveness and airway remodeling 
Respiratory Research  2006;7(1):24.
Short-term exposure to high concentrations of ozone has been shown to increase airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR). Because the changes in AHR and airway inflammation and structure after chronic ozone exposure need to be determined, the goal of this study was to investigate these effects in a murine model of allergic airway disease.
We exposed BALB/c mice to 2 ppm ozone for 4, 8, and 12 weeks. We measured the enhanced pause (Penh) to methacholine and performed cell differentials in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. We quantified the levels of IL-4 and IFN-γ in the supernatants of the bronchoalveolar lavage fluids using enzyme immunoassays, and examined the airway architecture under light and electron microscopy.
The groups exposed to ozone for 4, 8, and 12 weeks demonstrated decreased Penh at methacholine concentrations of 12.5, 25, and 50 mg/ml, with a dose-response curve to the right of that for the filtered-air group. Neutrophils and eosinophils increased in the group exposed to ozone for 4 weeks compared to those in the filtered-air group. The ratio of IL-4 to INF-γ increased significantly after exposure to ozone for 8 and 12 weeks compared to the ratio for the filtered-air group. The numbers of goblet cells, myofibroblasts, and smooth muscle cells showed time-dependent increases in lung tissue sections from the groups exposed to ozone for 4, 8, and 12 weeks.
These findings demonstrate that the increase in AHR associated with the allergic airway does not persist during chronic ozone exposure, indicating that airway remodeling and adaptation following repeated exposure to air pollutants can provide protection against AHR.
PMCID: PMC1382218  PMID: 16472404
3.  Hyaluronan Signaling during Ozone-Induced Lung Injury Requires TLR4, MyD88, and TIRAP 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27137.
Ozone exposure is associated with exacerbation of reactive airways disease. We have previously reported that the damage-associated molecular pattern, hyaluronan, is required for the complete biological response to ambient ozone and that hyaluronan fragments signal through toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). In this study, we further investigated the role of TLR4 adaptors in ozone–induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and the direct response to hyaluronan fragments (HA). Using a murine model of AHR, C57BL/6J, TLR4−/−, MyD88−/−, and TIRAP−/− mice were characterized for AHR after exposure to either ozone (1 ppm×3 h) or HA fragments. Animals were characterized for AHR with methacholine challenge, cellular inflammation, lung injury, and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Ozone-exposed C57BL/6J mice developed cellular inflammation, lung injury, pro-inflammatory cytokines, and AHR, while mice deficient in TLR4, MyD88 or TIRAP demonstrated both reduced AHR and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines including TNFα, IL-1β, MCP-1, IL-6 and KC. The level of hyaluronan was increased after inhalation of ozone in each strain of mice. Direct challenge of mice to hyaluronan resulted in AHR in C57BL/6J mice, but not in TLR4−/−, MyD88−/−, or TIRAP−/− mice. HA-induced cytokine production in wild-type mice was significantly reduced in TLR4−/−, MyD88−/−, or TIRAP−/− mice. In conclusion, our findings support that ozone-induced airway hyperresponsiveness is dependent on the HA-TLR4-MyD88-TIRAP signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC3208559  PMID: 22073274
4.  Interleukin(IL)-1 Regulates Ozone-enhanced Tracheal Smooth Muscle Responsiveness by Increasing Substance P (SP) Production in Intrinsic Airway Neurons of Ferret 
Exposure to ozone induces airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) mediated partly by SP released from nerve terminals of intrinsic airway neurons. Our recent studies showed that IL-1, an important multifunctional proinflammatory cytokine, increases synthesis and release of SP from intrinsic airway neurons. The purpose of this study is to investigate the possible involvement of endogenous IL-1 in modulating neural responses associated with ozone-enhanced airway responsiveness. Ferrets were exposed to 2 ppm ozone or filtered air for 3 hrs. IL-1 in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid was significantly increased in ozone-exposed animals and responses of tracheal smooth muscle to methacholine (MCh) and electrical field stimulation (EFS) were elevated significantly. Both the SP nerve fiber density in tracheal smooth muscle and the number of SP-containing neurons in airway ganglia were significantly increased following ozone exposure. Pretreatment with IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1 Ra) significantly diminished ozone-enhanced airway responses to EFS as well as ozone-increased SP in the airway. To selectively investigate intrinsic airway neurons, segments of ferret trachea were maintained in culture conditions for 24 hrs to eliminate extrinsic contributions from sensory nerves. The segments were then exposed to 2 ppm ozone in vitro for 3 hrs. The changes of ozone-induced airway responses to MCh and EFS, and the SP levels in airway neurons paralleled those observed with in vivo ozone exposure. The ozone-enhanced airway responses and neuronal SP levels were inhibited by pretreatment with IL-1 Ra. These findings show that IL-1 is released during ozone exposure enhances airway responsiveness by modulating SP expression in airway neurons.
PMCID: PMC2630406  PMID: 18718561
airway smooth muscle contraction; muscarinic agonists; neurokinin receptor; airway innervation
5.  Ozone exposure in a mouse model induces airway hyperreactivity that requires the presence of natural killer T cells and IL-17 
Exposure to ozone, which is a major component of air pollution, induces a form of asthma that occurs in the absence of adaptive immunity. Although ozone-induced asthma is characterized by airway neutrophilia, and not eosinophilia, it is nevertheless associated with airway hyperreactivity (AHR), which is a cardinal feature of asthma. Because AHR induced by allergens requires the presence of natural killer T (NKT) cells, we asked whether ozone-induced AHR had similar requirements. We found that repeated exposure of wild-type (WT) mice to ozone induced severe AHR associated with an increase in airway NKT cells, neutrophils, and macrophages. Surprisingly, NKT cell–deficient (CD1d−/− and Jα18−/−) mice failed to develop ozone-induced AHR. Further, treatment of WT mice with an anti-CD1d mAb blocked NKT cell activation and prevented ozone-induced AHR. Moreover, ozone-induced, but not allergen-induced, AHR was associated with NKT cells producing interleukin (IL)-17, and failed to occur in IL-17−/− mice nor in WT mice treated with anti–IL-17 mAb. Thus, ozone exposure induces AHR that requires the presence of NKT cells and IL-17 production. Because NKT cells are required for the development of two very disparate forms of AHR (ozone- and allergen-induced), our results strongly suggest that NKT cells mediate a unifying pathogenic mechanism for several distinct forms of asthma, and represent a unique target for effective asthma therapy.
PMCID: PMC2271004  PMID: 18250191
6.  Vγ1+ T Cells and Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha in Ozone-Induced Airway Hyperresponsiveness 
γδ T cells regulate airway reactivity, but their role in ozone (O3)-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) is not known. Our objective was to determine the role of γδ T cells in O3-induced AHR. Different strains of mice, including those that were genetically manipulated or antibody-depleted to render them deficient in total γδ T cells or specific subsets of γδ T cells, were exposed to 2.0 ppm of O3 for 3 hours. Airway reactivity to inhaled methacholine, airway inflammation, and epithelial cell damage were monitored. Exposure of C57BL/6 mice to O3 resulted in a transient increase in airway reactivity, neutrophilia, and increased numbers of epithelial cells in the lavage fluid. TCR-δ−/− mice did not develop AHR, although they exhibited an increase in neutrophils and epithelial cells in the lavage fluid. Similarly, depletion of γδ T cells in wild-type mice suppressed O3-induced AHR without influencing airway inflammation or epithelial damage. Depletion of Vγ1+, but not of Vγ4+ T cells, reduced O3-induced AHR, and transfer of total γδ T cells or Vγ1+ T cells to TCR-δ−/− mice restored AHR. After transfer of Vγ1+ cells to TCR-δ−/− mice, restoration of AHR after O3 exposure was blocked by anti–TNF-α. However, AHR could be restored in TCR-δ−/−mice by transfer of γδ T cells from TNF-α–deficient mice, indicating that another cell type was the source of TNF-α. These results demonstrate that TNF-α and activation of Vγ1+ γδ T cells are required for the development of AHR after O3 exposure.
PMCID: PMC2660562  PMID: 18927346
ozone; airway responsiveness; γδ T cells; TNF-α
7.  Maternal Diesel Inhalation Increases Airway Hyperreactivity in Ozone-Exposed Offspring 
Air pollutant exposure is linked with childhood asthma incidence and exacerbations, and maternal exposure to airborne pollutants during pregnancy increases airway hyperreactivity (AHR) in offspring. To determine if exposure to diesel exhaust (DE) during pregnancy worsened postnatal ozone-induced AHR, timed pregnant C57BL/6 mice were exposed to DE (0.5 or 2.0 mg/m3) 4 hours daily from Gestation Day 9–17, or received twice-weekly oropharyngeal aspirations of the collected DE particles (DEPs). Placentas and fetal lungs were harvested on Gestation Day 18 for cytokine analysis. In other litters, pups born to dams exposed to air or DE, or to dams treated with aspirated diesel particles, were exposed to filtered air or 1 ppm ozone beginning the day after birth, for 3 hours per day, 3 days per week for 4 weeks. Additional pups were monitored after a 4-week recovery period. Diesel inhalation or aspiration during pregnancy increased levels of placental and fetal lung cytokines. There were no significant effects on airway leukocytes, but prenatal diesel augmented ozone-induced elevations of bronchoalveolar lavage cytokines at 4 weeks. Mice born to the high-concentration diesel–exposed dams had worse ozone-induced AHR, which persisted in the 4-week recovery animals. Prenatal diesel exposure combined with postnatal ozone exposure also worsened secondary alveolar crest development. We conclude that maternal inhalation of DE in pregnancy provokes a fetal inflammatory response that, combined with postnatal ozone exposure, impairs alveolar development, and causes a more severe and long-lasting AHR to ozone exposure.
PMCID: PMC3359947  PMID: 22052876
diesel; fetal inflammation; ozone; airway hyperreactivity
8.  IL-17A Modulates Oxidant Stress-Induced Airway Hyperresponsiveness but Not Emphysema 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58452.
IL-17A induces the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and of reactive oxygen species which could lead to neutrophilic inflammation. We determined the role of IL-17 receptor (IL-17R) signalling in oxidant-induced lung emphysema and airway hyperresponsiveness. IL-17R−/− and wild-type C57/BL6 mice were exposed to ozone (3 ppm; 3 hours) for 12 times over 6 weeks. Bronchial responsiveness to acetylcholine was measured, and lungs were retrieved. Mean linear intercept (Lm) and isometric contractile responses of intrapulmonary airways to acetylcholine were determined. In wild-type mice but not in IL-17R−/−, chronic ozone exposure caused airway hyperresponsiveness. The increase in Lm after chronic ozone exposure of wild-type mice was also observed in IL-17R−/− mice. The increased maximal contractile response to acetylcholine seen in airways of wild-type mice exposed to ozone was abolished in IL-17R−/− mice. p38-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and dexamethasone-dependent increase in contractile response was reduced in airways from IL-17R−/− ozone-exposed mice. Lung inflammation scores were not altered in IL-17R−/− mice exposed to ozone compared to wild-type mice. The increased release of IL-17 and IL-1β, and the activation of p38 MAPK in the lungs of ozone-exposed mice was reduced in IL-17R−/− mice. IL-17R signalling underlies the increase in airway hyperresponsiveness seen after ozone exposure, mediated by the increased contractility of airway smooth muscle. The emphysema and lung inflammation induced by ozone is not dependent on IL-17.
PMCID: PMC3594315  PMID: 23505509
9.  The Role of the Extracellular Matrix Protein Mindin in Airway Response to Environmental Airways Injury 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2011;119(10):1403-1408.
Background: Our previous work demonstrated that the extracellular matrix protein mindin contributes to allergic airways disease. However, the role of mindin in nonallergic airways disease has not previously been explored.
Objectives: We hypothesized that mindin would contribute to airways disease after inhalation of either lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or ozone.
Methods: We exposed C57BL/6J and mindin-deficient (–/–) mice to aerosolized LPS (0.9 μg/m3 for 2.5 hr), saline, ozone (1 ppm for 3 hr), or filtered air (FA). All mice were evaluated 4 hr after LPS/saline 
exposure or 24 hr after ozone/FA exposure. We characterized the physiological and biological responses by analysis of airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) with a computer-controlled small-animal ventilator (FlexiVent), inflammatory cellular recruitment, total protein in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), proinflammatory cytokine profiling, and ex vivo bronchial ring studies.
Results: After inhalation of LPS, mindin–/– mice demonstrated significantly reduced total cell and neutrophil recruitment into the airspace compared with their wild-type counterparts. Mindin–/– mice also exhibited reduced proinflammatory cytokine production and lower AHR to methacholine challenge by FlexiVent. After inhalation of ozone, mice had no detectible differences in cellular inflammation or total BALF protein dependent on mindin. However, mindin–/– mice were protected from increased proinflammatory cytokine production and AHR compared with their C57BL/6J counterparts. After ozone exposure, bronchial rings derived from mindin–/– mice demonstrated reduced constriction in response to carbachol.
Conclusions: These data demonstrate that the extracellular matrix protein mindin modifies the airway response to both LPS and ozone. Our data support a conserved role of mindin in production of proinflammatory cytokines and the development of AHR in two divergent models of reactive airways disease, as well as a role of mindin in airway smooth muscle contractility after exposure to ozone.
PMCID: PMC3230443  PMID: 21684833
airway smooth muscle; endotoxin; innate immunity; lipopolysaccharide; LPS; lung; mindin; ozone; Tlr4; toll-like receptor
10.  IL-1 Receptors Mediate Persistent, but Not Acute, Airway Hyperreactivity to Ozone in Guinea Pigs 
Ozone exposure in the lab and environment causes airway hyperreactivity lasting at least 3 days in humans and animals. In guinea pigs 1 day after ozone exposure, airway hyperreactivity is mediated by eosinophils that block neuronal M2 muscarinic receptor function, thus increasing acetylcholine release from airway parasympathetic nerves. However, mechanisms of ozone-induced airway hyperreactivity change over time, so that depleting eosinophils 3 days after ozone makes airway hyperreactivity worse rather than better. Ozone exposure increases IL-1β in bone marrow, which may contribute to acute and chronic airway hyperreactivity. To test whether IL-1β mediates ozone-induced airway hyperreactivity 1 and 3 days after ozone exposure, guinea pigs were pretreated with an IL-1 receptor antagonist (anakinra, 30 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) 30 minutes before exposure to filtered air or to ozone (2 ppm, 4 h). One or three days after exposure, airway reactivity was measured in anesthetized guinea pigs. The IL-1 receptor antagonist prevented ozone-induced airway hyperreactivity 3 days, but not 1 day, after ozone exposure. Ozone-induced airway hyperreactivity was vagally mediated, since bronchoconstriction induced by intravenous acetylcholine was not changed by ozone. The IL-1 receptor antagonist selectively prevented ozone-induced reduction of eosinophils around nerves and prevented ozone-induced deposition of extracellular eosinophil major basic protein in airways. These data demonstrate that IL-1 mediates ozone-induced airway hyperreactivity at 3 days, but not 1 day, after ozone exposure. Furthermore, preventing hyperreactivity was accompanied by decreased eosinophil major basic protein deposition within the lung, suggesting that IL-1 affects eosinophil activation 3 days after ozone exposure.
PMCID: PMC2586048  PMID: 18617681
asthma; eosinophils; cytokines; parasympathetic nerves; lungs
11.  Hyaluronan Activation of the Nlrp3 Inflammasome Contributes to the Development of Airway Hyperresponsiveness 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2012;120(12):1692-1698.
Background: The role of the Nlrp3 inflammasome in nonallergic airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) has not previously been reported. Recent evidence supports both interleukin (IL) 1β and short fragments of hyaluronan (HA) as contributors to the biological response to inhaled ozone.
Objective: Because extracellular secretion of IL-1β requires activation of the inflammasome, we investigated the role of the inflammasome proteins ASC, caspase1, and Nlrp3 in the biological response to ozone and HA.
Methods: C57BL/6J wild-type mice and mice deficient in ASC, caspase1, or Nlrp3 were exposed to ozone (1 ppm for 3 hr) or HA followed by analysis of airway resistance, cellular inflammation, and total protein and cytokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). Transcription levels of IL-1β and IL-18 were determined in two populations of lung macrophages. In addition, we examined levels of cleaved caspase1 and cleaved IL-1β as markers of inflammasome activation in isolated alveolar macrophages harvested from BALF from HA-treated mice.
Results: We observed that genes of the Nlrp3 inflammasome were required for development of AHR following exposure to either ozone or HA fragments. These genes are partially required for the cellular inflammatory response to ozone. The expression of IL-1β mRNA in alveolar macrophages was up-regulated after either ozone or HA challenge and was not dependent on the Nlrp3 inflammasome. However, soluble levels of IL-1β protein were dependent on the inflammasome after challenge with either ozone or HA. HA challenge resulted in cleavage of macrophage-derived caspase1 and IL-1β, suggesting a role for alveolar macrophages in Nlrp3-dependent AHR.
Conclusions: The Nlrp3 inflammasome is required for the development of ozone-induced reactive airways disease.
PMCID: PMC3546367  PMID: 23010656
asthma; environment; extracellular matrix; innate immunity; ozone; toll-like receptor
12.  Protective Role of Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 in Ozone-Induced Airway Inflammation 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2007;115(11):1557-1563.
Exposure to ozone causes airway inflammation, hyperreactivity, lung hyper-permeability, and epithelial cell injury. An early inflammatory response induced by inhaled O3 is characterized primarily by release of inflammatory mediators such as cytokines, chemokines, and airway neutrophil accumulation. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of oxidative lung disorders including acute lung injury, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
We hypothesized that MMPs have an important role in the pathogenesis of O3-induced airway inflammation.
We compared the lung injury responses in either Mmp7- (Mmp7−/−) or Mmp9-deficient (Mmp9−/−) mice and their wild-type controls (Mmp7+/+, Mmp9+/+) after exposure to 0.3 ppm O3 or filtered air.
Relative to air-exposed controls, MMP-9 activity in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was significantly increased by O3 exposure in Mmp9+/+ mice. O3-induced increases in the concentration of total protein (a marker of lung permeability) and the numbers of neutrophils and epithelial cells in BALF were significantly greater in Mmp9−/− mice compared with Mmp9+/+ mice. Keratinocyte-derived chemokine (KC) and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-2 levels in BALF were also significantly higher in Mmp9−/− mice than in Mmp9+/+ mice after O3 exposure, although no differences in mRNA expression for these chemokines were found between genotypes. Mean BALF protein concentration and numbers of inflammatory cells were not significantly different between Mmp7+/+ and Mmp7−/− mice after O3 exposure.
Results demonstrated a protective role of MMP-9 but not of MMP-7, in O3-induced lung neutrophilic inflammation and hyperpermeability. The mechanism through which Mmp9 limits O3-induced airway injury is not known but may be via posttranscriptional effects on proinflammatory CXC chemokines including KC and MIP-2.
PMCID: PMC2072825  PMID: 18007984
chemokine; knockout mice; lung; MMP-9; O3; oxidant
13.  The effects of pycnogenol on antioxidant enzymes in a mouse model of ozone exposure 
Ozone is an environmentally reactive oxidant, and pycnogenol is a mixture of flavonoid compounds extracted from pine tree bark that have antioxidant activity. We investigated the effects of pycnogenol on reactive nitrogen species, antioxidant responses, and airway responsiveness in BALB/c mice exposed to ozone.
Antioxidant levels were determined using high performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. Nitric oxide (NO) metabolites in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid from BALB/c mice in filtered air and 2 ppm ozone with pycnogenol pretreatment before ozone exposure (n = 6) were quantified colorimetrically using the Griess reaction.
Uric acid and ascorbic acid concentrations were significantly higher in BAL fluid following pretreatment with pycnogenol, whereas γ-tocopherol concentrations were higher in the ozone exposed group but were similar in the ozone and pycnogenol pretreatment groups. Retinol and γ-tocopherol concentrations tended to increase in the ozone exposure group but were similar in the ozone and pycnogenol pretreatment groups following ozone exposure. Malonylaldehyde concentrations increased in the ozone exposure group but were similar in the ozone and pycnogenol plus ozone groups. The nitrite and total NO metabolite concentrations in BAL fluid, which parallel the in vivo generation of NO in the airways, were significantly greater in the ozone exposed group than the group exposed to filtered air, but decreased with pycnogenol pretreatment.
Pycnogenol may increase levels of antioxidant enzymes and decrease levels of nitrogen species, suggesting that antioxidants minimize the effects of acute ozone exposure via a protective mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3604612  PMID: 23526176
Antioxidants; Nitric oxide; Reactive nitrogen species; Ozone
14.  Maternal Exposure to Particulate Matter Increases Postnatal Ozone-induced Airway Hyperreactivity in Juvenile Mice 
Rationale: Epidemiologic studies implicate air pollutant exposure during pregnancy as a risk factor for wheezing in offspring. Ozone exposure is linked to exacerbations of wheezing in children.
Objectives: To determine if maternal pulmonary exposure to traffic-related particles during pregnancy augments ozone–induced airway hyperresponsiveness in offspring.
Methods: C57BL6 time-mated mice were given NIST SRM#1648 (particulate matter [PM]) 0.48 mg, saline vehicle, or no treatment by tracheal insufflation twice weekly for 3 weeks. PM exposure augmented maternal lung inflammation and placental TNF-α, Keratinocyte-derived cytokine (KC), and IL-6 (measured at gestation Day 18). After parturition, dams and litters were exposed to air or ozone 1 ppm 3 h/d, every other day, thrice weekly for 4 weeks. Respiratory system resistance in pups was measured at baseline and after administration of nebulized methacholine.
Measurements and Main Results: Ozone increased airway hyperresponsiveness, but the increase was greatest in pups born to PM-treated dams. Whole-lung TNF-α, IL-1β, KC, IL-6, and MCP-1 were increased in ozone–treated pups, with the greatest increase in pups born to dams given PM. Airway epithelial mucous metaplasia estimated by periodic acid-Schiff Alcian blue staining was increased in ozone–exposed pups born to PM-treated dams. Alveolar development, determined by morphometry, and airway smooth muscle bulk, estimated using α-actin histochemistry, were unaffected by prenatal or postnatal treatment.
Conclusions: Maternal pulmonary exposure to PM during pregnancy augments placental cytokine expression and postnatal ozone–induced pulmonary inflammatory cytokine responses and ozone–induced airway hyperresponsiveness without altering airway structure.
PMCID: PMC2796733  PMID: 19762564
15.  Mast Cells Mediate Hyperoxia-Induced Airway Hyper-reactivity in Newborn Rats 
Pediatric research  2010;68(1):70-74.
Premature infants are at increased risk of developing airway hyper-reactivity following oxidative stress and inflammation. Mast cells contribute to airway hyper-reactivity partly by mediator release, so we sought to determine if blocking mast cell degranulation or recruitment prevents hyperoxia-induced airway hyper-reactivity, mast cell accumulation, and airway smooth muscle changes. Rats were exposed at birth to air or 60% O2 for 14 days, inducing significantly increased airway hyper-reactivity (AHR) in the latter group, induced by nebulized methacholine challenge, measured by forced oscillometry. Daily treatment (postnatal days 1-14) with intraperitoneal cromolyn prevented hyperoxia-induced AHR, as did treatment with imatinib on postnatal days 5-14, compared with vehicle treated controls. Cromolyn prevented mast cell degranulation in the trachea but not hilar airways, and blocked mast cell accumulation in the hilar airways. Imatinib treatment completely blocked mast cell accumulation in tracheal/hilar airway tissues. Hyperoxia-induced AHR in neonatal rats is mediated, at least in part, via the mast cell.
PMCID: PMC3061400  PMID: 20386143
16.  Augmented Pulmonary Responses to Acute Ozone Exposure in Obese Mice: Roles of TNFR2 and IL-13 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2013;121(5):551-557.
Background: Acute ozone (O3) exposure results in greater inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) in obese versus lean mice.
Objectives: We examined the hypothesis that these augmented responses to O3 are the result of greater signaling through tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFR2) and/or interleukin (IL)-13.
Methods: We exposed lean wild-type (WT) and TNFR2-deficient (TNFR2–/–) mice, and obese Cpefat and TNFR2-deficient Cpefat mice (Cpefat/TNFR2–/–), to O3 (2 ppm for 3 hr) either with or without treatment with anti–IL-13 or left them unexposed.
Results: O3-induced increases in baseline pulmonary mechanics, airway responsiveness, and cellular inflammation were greater in Cpefat than in WT mice. In lean mice, TNFR2 deficiency ablated O3-induced AHR without affecting pulmonary inflammation; whereas in obese mice, TNFR2 deficiency augmented O3-induced AHR but reduced inflammatory cell recruitment. O3 increased pulmonary expression of IL-13 in Cpefat but not WT mice. Flow cytometry analysis of lung cells indicated greater IL-13–expressing CD4+ cells in Cpefat versus WT mice after O3 exposure. In Cpefat mice, anti–IL-13 treatment attenuated O3-induced increases in pulmonary mechanics and inflammatory cell recruitment, but did not affect AHR. These effects of anti–IL-13 treatment were not observed in Cpefat/TNFR2–/– mice. There was no effect of anti–IL-13 treatment in WT mice.
Conclusions: Pulmonary responses to O3 are not just greater, but qualitatively different, in obese versus lean mice. In particular, in obese mice, O3 induces IL-13 and IL-13 synergizes with TNF via TNFR2 to exacerbate O3-induced changes in pulmonary mechanics and inflammatory cell recruitment but not AHR.
PMCID: PMC3673194  PMID: 23434795
airway responsiveness; bronchoalveolar lavage; IL-5; inflammation; MIP-3α
17.  Dual p38/JNK Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase Inhibitors Prevent Ozone-Induced Airway Hyperreactivity in Guinea Pigs 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75351.
Ozone exposure causes airway hyperreactivity and increases hospitalizations resulting from pulmonary complications. Ozone reacts with the epithelial lining fluid and airway epithelium to produce reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidation products, which then activate cell signaling pathways, including the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. Both p38 and c-Jun NH2 terminal kinase (JNK) are MAPK family members that are activated by cellular stress and inflammation. To test the contribution of both p38 and JNK MAPK to ozone-induced airway hyperreactivity, guinea pigs were pretreated with dual p38 and JNK MAPK inhibitors (30 mg/kg, ip) 60 minutes before exposure to 2 ppm ozone or filtered air for 4 hours. One day later airway reactivity was measured in anesthetized animals. Ozone caused airway hyperreactivity one day post-exposure, and blocking p38 and JNK MAPK completely prevented ozone-induced airway hyperreactivity. Blocking p38 and JNK MAPK also suppressed parasympathetic nerve activity in air exposed animals, suggesting p38 and JNK MAPK contribute to acetylcholine release by airway parasympathetic nerves. Ozone inhibited neuronal M2 muscarinic receptors and blocking both p38 and JNK prevented M2 receptor dysfunction. Neutrophil influx into bronchoalveolar lavage was not affected by MAPK inhibitors. Thus p38 and JNK MAPK mediate ozone-induced airway hyperreactivity through multiple mechanisms including prevention of neuronal M2 receptor dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3776780  PMID: 24058677
18.  Modulation of bronchial epithelial cell barrier function by in vitro ozone exposure. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  1994;102(12):1068-1072.
The epithelial cells lining the small, peripheral airways function as important targets for the action of inspired ozone. Loss of epithelial barrier integrity in these regions is a common element in ozone-induced airway inflammation. To investigate the direct effect of ozone on epithelial barrier function, canine bronchial epithelial (CBE) cells grown with an air interface were exposed for 3 hr to 0.2, 0.5, or 0.8 ppm ozone or to air. Mannitol flux, used as an index of paracellular permeability, increased above air controls by 461%, 774%, and 1172% at the three ozone concentrations, respectively. Transcellular electrical resistance exhibited a dose-related decrease. The immediate effect of 0.8 ppm ozone on permeability was significantly inhibited by preincubation for 48 hr in the presence of 1 ng/ml vitamin E (33%) or 1 microM vitamin A (34%). Responses to 0.5 ppm or 0.8 ppm were inhibited by pretreatment of the cells with 0.1 microM of the actin polymerizing agent phalloidin (34% and 25% inhibition, respectively). The increases in permeability induced by 0.2 and 0.5 ppm ozone were attenuated by 54% and 22%, respectively, at 18 hr after exposure, whereas that to 0.8 ppm was further enhanced by 42% at this time. The effects of ozone are modulated by the availability of antioxidants to the cells and appear to be associated with cytoskeletal dysfunction in CBE cells. The data are consistent with a loss of barrier function linked to a direct oxidative effect of ozone on individual CBE cells and indicate that the reversible or progressive nature of this effect is dose dependent.
PMCID: PMC1567478  PMID: 7713019
19.  Peripheral Blood Neutrophilia as a Biomarker of Ozone-Induced Pulmonary Inflammation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81816.
Ozone concentrations are predicted to increase over the next 50 years due to global warming and the increased release of precursor chemicals. It is therefore urgent that good, reliable biomarkers are available to quantify the toxicity of this pollutant gas at the population level. Such a biomarker would need to be easily performed, reproducible, economically viable, and reflective of ongoing pathological processes occurring within the lung.
We examined whether blood neutrophilia occurred following a controlled ozone challenge and addressed whether this could serve as a biomarker for ozone-induced airway inflammation. Three separate groups of healthy subjects were exposed to ozone (0.2 ppm, 2h) and filtered air (FA) on two separate occasions. Peripheral blood samples were collected and bronchoscopy with biopsy sampling and lavages was performed at 1.5h post exposures in group 1 (n=13), at 6h in group 2 (n=15) and at 18h in group 3 (n=15). Total and differential cell counts were assessed in blood, bronchial tissue and airway lavages.
In peripheral blood, we observed fewer neutrophils 1.5h after ozone compared with the parallel air exposure (-1.1±1.0x109 cells/L, p<0.01), at 6h neutrophil numbers were increased compared to FA (+1.2±1.3x109 cells/L, p<0.01), and at 18h this response had fully attenuated. Ozone induced a peak in neutrophil numbers at 6h post exposure in all compartments examined, with a positive correlation between the response in blood and bronchial biopsies.
These data demonstrate a systemic neutrophilia in healthy subjects following an acute ozone exposure, which mirrors the inflammatory response in the lung mucosa and lumen. This relationship suggests that blood neutrophilia could be used as a relatively simple functional biomarker for the effect of ozone on the lung.
PMCID: PMC3876972  PMID: 24391708
20.  Trichostatin A Abrogates Airway Constriction, but Not Inflammation, in Murine and Human Asthma Models 
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors may offer novel approaches in the treatment of asthma. We postulate that trichostatin A (TSA), a Class 1 and 2 inhibitor of HDAC, inhibits airway hyperresponsiveness in antigen-challenged mice. Mice were sensitized and challenged with Aspergillus fumigatus antigen (AF) and treated with TSA, dexamethasone, or vehicle. Lung resistance (RL) and dynamic compliance were measured, and bronchial alveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was analyzed for numbers of leukocytes and concentrations of cytokines. Human precision-cut lung slices (PCLS) were treated with TSA and their agonist-induced bronchoconstriction was measured, and TSA-treated human airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells were evaluated for the agonist-induced activation of Rho and intracellular release of Ca2+. The activity of HDAC in murine lungs was enhanced by antigen and abrogated by TSA. TSA also inhibited methacholine (Mch)-induced increases in RL and decreases in dynamic compliance in naive control mice and in AF-sensitized and -challenged mice. Total cell counts, concentrations of IL-4, and numbers of eosinophils in BALF were unchanged in mice treated with TSA or vehicle, whereas dexamethasone inhibited the numbers of eosinophils in BALF and concentrations of IL-4. TSA inhibited the carbachol-induced contraction of PCLS. Treatment with TSA inhibited the intracellular release of Ca2+ in ASM cells in response to histamine, without affecting the activation of Rho. The inhibition of HDAC abrogates airway hyperresponsiveness to Mch in both naive and antigen-challenged mice. TSA inhibits the agonist-induced contraction of PCLS and mobilization of Ca2+ in ASM cells. Thus, HDAC inhibitors demonstrate a mechanism of action distinct from that of anti-inflammatory agents such as steroids, and represent a promising therapeutic agent for airway disease.
PMCID: PMC3297166  PMID: 22298527
HDAC; asthma; allergen; mice; trichostatin A
21.  Role of Nerve Growth Factor in Ozone-Induced Neural Responses in Early Postnatal Airway Development 
Airway neural plasticity contributes to the process of airway remodeling in response to airway irritants. However, the mechanisms of neural remodeling in the airways during the early postnatal period, when responses to airway irritation may be most sensitive, have not been characterized. This study used a rat model to examine a possible mechanism of ozone (O3)-induced neural hyperresponsiveness during a critical period of developmental, postnatal day (PD) 6, that may be mediated by the neurotrophin nerve growth factor (NGF), resulting in an enhanced release of inflammatory neuropeptide substance P (SP) from airway nerves. Rat pups between PD6–PD28 were killed 24 hours after exposure to O3 (2 ppm, 3 hours) or filtered air (FA), to establish a timeline of NGF synthesis, or else they were exposed to O3 or NGF on PD6 or PD21 and re-exposed to O3 on PD28, and killed on PD29. Measurement endpoints included NGF mRNA in tracheal epithelial cells, NGF protein in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, airway SP–nerve fiber density (NFD), and SP-positive airway neurons in vagal ganglia. Acute exposure to O3 increased NGF in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid on PD10 and PD15, and mRNA expression in epithelial cells on PD6, compared with FA controls. NGF protein and mRNA expression in the O3–PD6/O3–PD28 groups were significantly higher than in the O3–PD21/O3–PD28 and O3–PD6/FA–PD28 groups. NGF–PD6/O3–PD28 increased the SP innervation of airway smooth muscle and SP-positive sensory neurons, compared with the NGF–PD21/O3–PD28 or NGF–PD6/FA–PD28 groups. NGF enhanced sensory innervation, which may mediate acute responses or prolong sensitivity to O3 during early life. The model may be relevant in O3 responses during early childhood.
PMCID: PMC3266062  PMID: 21075861
nerve growth factor; ozone; airway; substance P; development
22.  Pulmonary inflammation induced by subacute ozone is augmented in adiponectin deficient mice: role of IL-17A 
Pulmonary responses to ozone, a common air pollutant, are augmented in obese individuals. Adiponectin, an adipose derived hormone that declines in obesity, has regulatory effects on the immune system. To determine the role of adiponectin in the pulmonary inflammation induced by extended (48–72 h) low dose (0.3 ppm) exposure to ozone, adiponectin deficient (Adipo−/−) and wildtype mice were exposed to ozone or to room air. In wildtype mice, ozone exposure increased total bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) adiponectin. Ozone induced lung inflammation, including increases in BAL neutrophils, protein (an index of lung injury), IL-6, KC, LIX and G-CSF were augmented in Adipo−/− versus wildtype mice. Ozone also increased IL-17A mRNA expression to a greater extent in Adipo−/− versus wildtype mice. Moreover, compared to control antibody, anti-IL-17A antibody attenuated ozone-induced increases in BAL neutrophils and G-CSF in Adipo−/− but not in wildtype mice, suggesting that IL-17A, by promoting G-CSF release, contributed to augmented neutrophilia in Adipo−/− mice. Flow-cytometric analysis of lung cells revealed that the number of CD45+/F4/80+/IL-17A+ macrophages and γδ T cells expressing IL-17A increased after ozone exposure in wildtype mice, and further increased in Adipo−/− mice. The IL-17+ macrophages were CD11c− (interstitial macrophages), whereas CD11c+ macrophages (alveolar macrophages) did not express IL-17A. Taken together, the data are consistent with the hypothesis that adiponectin protects against neutrophil recruitment induced by extended, low dose ozone exposure by inhibiting the induction and/or recruitment of IL-17A in interstitial macrophages and/or γδ T cells.
PMCID: PMC3345205  PMID: 22474022
23.  Susceptibility to ozone-induced airway inflammation is associated with decreased levels of surfactant protein D 
Respiratory Research  2006;7(1):85.
Ozone (O3), a common air pollutant, induces exacerbation of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Pulmonary surfactant protein (SP)-D modulates immune and inflammatory responses in the lung. We have shown previously that SP-D plays a protective role in a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation. Here we studied the role and regulation of SP-D in O3-induced inflammatory changes in the lung.
To evaluate the effects of O3 exposure in mouse strains with genetically different expression levels of SP-D we exposed Balb/c, C57BL/6 and SP-D knockout mice to O3 or air. BAL cellular and cytokine content and SP-D levels were evaluated and compared between the different strains. The kinetics of SP-D production and inflammatory parameters were studied at 0, 2, 6, 12, 24, 48, and 72 hrs after O3 exposure. The effect of IL-6, an O3-inducible cytokine, on the expression of SP-D was investigated in vitro using a primary alveolar type II cell culture.
Ozone-exposed Balb/c mice demonstrated significantly enhanced acute inflammatory changes including recruitment of inflammatory cells and release of KC and IL-12p70 when compared with age- and sex-matched C57BL/6 mice. On the other hand, C57BL/6 mice had significantly higher levels of SP-D and released more IL-10 and IL-6. Increase in SP-D production coincided with the resolution of inflammatory changes. Mice deficient in SP-D had significantly higher numbers of inflammatory cells when compared to controls supporting the notion that SP-D has an anti-inflammatory function in our model of O3 exposure. IL-6, which was highly up-regulated in O3 exposed mice, was capable of inducing the expression of SP-D in vitro in a dose dependent manner.
Our data suggest that IL-6 contributes to the up-regulation of SP-D after acute O3 exposure and elevation of SP-D in the lung is associated with the resolution of inflammation. Absence or low levels of SP-D predispose to enhanced inflammatory changes following acute oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC1488844  PMID: 16740162
24.  Inhibition of p38 MAPK-dependent bronchial contraction after ozone by corticosteroids 
The European respiratory journal  2010;37(4):933-942.
We determined the role of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in the increased airway smooth muscle (ASM) contractile responses following ozone and modulation by corticosteroids.
Mice were exposed to air or ozone (3 ppm for 3 h) and isometric contractile responses of bronchial rings to acetylcholine (ACh) were measured using a myograph in the presence of p38 MAPK inhibitor, SB239063 (10−6 M) or dexamethasone (10−6 M). Because MAPK phosphatase (MKP)-1 is a negative regulator of p38 MAPK, we also studied these effects in MKP-1-/- mice.
Bronchial rings from ozone-exposed wild-type and MKP-1-/- mice showed increased contractile responses, with a leftward shift of the dose–response curve in MKP-1-/- mice. SB239063 inhibited bronchial contraction equally in air- and ozone-exposed C57/BL6 and MKP-1-/- mice. Dexamethasone inhibited ACh-induced bronchial contraction in both air- and ozone-exposed C57/BL6 mice, but not in air- or ozone-exposed MKP-1-/- mice. ACh-stimulated p38 MAPK and heat shock protein (HSP)27 phosphorylation, as measured by Western blotting, and this effect was suppressed by SB239063 in C57/BL6 and MKP-1-/- mice, but not by dexamethasone in either air- or ozone-exposed MKP-1-/- mice.
p38 MAPK plays a role in maximal ACh-induced isometric contractile responses and increased contractility induced by ozone. Dexamethasone inhibits ACh-induced ASM contraction through phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and HSP27.
PMCID: PMC3331993  PMID: 20693246
Acetylcholine; airway smooth muscle; dexamethasone; heat shock protein 27; p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase; mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1
25.  Ozone and Allergen Exposure During Postnatal Development Alters the Frequency and Airway Distribution of CD25+ cells in Infant Rhesus Monkeys 
The epidemiologic link between air pollutant exposure and asthma has been supported by experimental findings, but the mechanisms are not understood. In this study, we evaluated the impact of combined ozone and house dust mite (HDM) exposure on the immunophenotype of peripheral blood and airway lymphocytes from rhesus macaque monkeys during the postnatal period of development. Starting at 30 days of age, monkeys were exposed to 11 cycles of filtered air, ozone, HDM aerosol, or ozone + HDM aerosol. Each cycle consisted of ozone delivered at 0.5 ppm for 5 days (8h/day), followed by 9 days of filtered air; animals received HDM aerosol during the last 3 days of each ozone exposure period. Between 2–3 months of age, animals co-exposed to ozone + HDM exhibited a decline in total circulating leukocyte numbers and increased total circulating lymphocyte frequency. At 3 months of age, blood CD4+/CD25+ lymphocytes were increased with ozone + HDM. At 6 months of age, CD4+/CD25+ and CD8+/CD25+ lymphocyte populations increased in both blood and lavage of ozone + HDM animals. Overall volume of CD25+ cells within airway mucosa increased with HDM exposure. Ozone did not have an additive effect on volume of mucosal CD25+ cells in HDM-exposed animals, but did alter the anatomical distribution of this cell type throughout the proximal and distal airways. We conclude that a window of postnatal development is sensitive to air pollutant and allergen exposure, resulting in immunomodulation of peripheral blood and airway lymphocyte frequency and trafficking.
PMCID: PMC2670960  PMID: 19371618
lung; development; house dust mite; ozone; CD25; lymphocyte

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