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
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.
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.
TH2 mediated immune responses are induced upon infection with multicellular parasites and can be triggered by a variety of allergens. Mechanisms of induction and the antigen-presenting cells involved in activation of TH2 responses remain poorly defined and the innate immune sensing pathways activated by parasites and allergens are largely unknown. Basophils are required for the in vivo induction of TH2 responses by protease allergens. Here we show that basophils also function as antigen presenting cells. We show that, while dendritic cells were dispensable, antigen presentation by basophils was necessary and sufficient for allergen-induced activation of TH2 responses in vitro and in vivo. Thus, basophils function as antigen presenting cells for TH2 differentiation in response to protease allergens.
Barrier epithelial cells and airway dendritic cells (DC) make up the first line of defence against inhaled substances like house dust mite (HDM) allergen and endotoxin. We hypothesized that these cells need to communicate to cause allergic disease. Using irradiated chimeric mice, we demonstrate that TLR4 expression on radioresistant lung structural cells is required and sufficient for DC activation in the lung and for priming of effector T helper responses to HDM. TLR4 triggering on structural cells caused production of the innate proallergic cytokines thymic stromal lymphopoietin, granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor, interleukin-25 and IL-33. The absence of TLR4 on structural cells, but not on hematopoietic cells, abolished HDM driven allergic airway inflammation. Finally, inhalation of a TLR4 antagonist to target exposed epithelial cells suppressed the salient features of asthma including bronchial hyperreactivity. Our data identify an innate immune function of airway epithelial cells that drives allergic inflammation via activation of mucosal DCs.
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.
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
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.
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
Basophils are recognized as immune modulators through their ability to produce IL-4, a key cytokine required for Th2 immunity. It has also recently been reported that basophils are transiently recruited into the draining LN after allergen immunization and that the recruited basophils promote the differentiation of naïve CD4 T cells into Th2 effector cells. Using IL-3-/- and IL-3Rβ-/- mice, we report here that the IL-3/IL-3R system is absolutely required to recruit circulating basophils into the draining LN following helminth infection. Unexpectedly, the absence of IL-3 or of basophil LN recruitment played little role in helminth-induced Th2 immune responses. Moreover, basophil depletion in infected mice did not diminish the development of IL-4-producing CD4 T cells. Taken together, our results reveal a previously unknown role of IL-3 in recruiting basophils to the LN and demonstrate that basophils are not necessarily associated with the development of Th2 immunity during parasite infection.
basophils; CD4 T cells; IL-3; parasites; Th2 immunity
Common antigens between intestinal parasites and environmental allergens may play a role in the modulation of allergic immune responses. There is a growing interest in investigating cross-reactivity between common helminths and dust mites affecting humans, particularly in the tropics.
This study examined the cross-reactivity between the human roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides (Al) and three house dust mite (HDM) species.
Specific serum IgE levels to HDM species Blomia tropicalis (Bt), Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Dp), and Dermatophagoides farinae (Df ); and Al extracts among allergic (n=100) and ascariasis (n=60) subjects were measured through enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). IgE-reactive components of HDM and Al extracts were detected through Western-Blot Analysis. Cross-reactivity between HDMs and Al was determined by ELISA inhibition using HDM and Al-specific sera from allergic (n=15) and ascariasis (n=15) subjects. The IgE-binding capacity of a recombinant paramyosin peptide (Blo t 11-fD) to allergic (n=50) and ascariasis (n=50) subjects' sera were likewise determined.
Among allergic subjects, 70% exhibited Al-specific positive IgE-reactivity, while 20-28% of ascariasis subjects demonstrated HDM-specific positive IgE-reactivity. Multiple IgE-reactive components of HDM allergens (14-240 kDa) and Al antigens (15-250 kDa) were detected, indicating multi-allergen sensitization among the subjects tested. Al antigens can inhibit up to 92% of HDM-specific IgE-reactivity among allergic subjects, while up to 54% of Al-specific IgE-reactivity among ascariasis subjects was inhibited by HDM allergens. Positive rBlo t 11-fD-specific IgE reactivity was observed in 80% of the allergic subjects and 46% of the ascariasis subjects.
This study showed the presence of multiple cross-reactive antigens in HDM and Al extracts. Identification of these molecules may provide basis for designing novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. The potential role of paramyosin as a specific cross-reactive allergen present in HDMs and Al has been shown.
Atopy; Immunity; Infection; Paramyosin; Parasitism
House dust mite (HDM) allergens are a major cause of allergic asthma. Most studies using animal models of allergic asthma have used rodents sensitized with the 'un-natural' allergen ovalbumin. It has only recently been recognized that the use of animal models based on HDM provide a more relevant insight into the allergen-induced mechanisms that underpin human allergic disease. We have previously described a sheep model of human allergic asthma that uses Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus HDM. The present study extends our understanding of the immune effects of HDM and the allergens Der p 1 and Der p 2 in the sheep model of asthma.
Peripheral blood sera from non-sensitized (control) sheep and sheep sensitized to HDM was collected to determine immunoglobulin (Ig) reactivities to HDM, Der p 1 and Der p 2 by ELISA. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid collected following allergen challenge was also assessed for the presence of HDM-specific antibodies. To examine the cellular immune response to HDM allergens, T cell proliferation and cutaneous responses were assessed in sensitized and control sheep.
Strong HDM- and Der p 1-specific IgE, IgG1, IgG2 and IgA serum responses were observed in sensitized sheep, while detectable levels of HDM-specific IgG1 and IgA were seen in BAL fluid of allergen-challenged lungs. In contrast, minimal antibody reactivity was observed to Der p 2. Marked T cell proliferation and late phase cutaneous responses, accompanied by the recruitment of eosinophils, indicates the induction of a cellular and delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) type II response by HDM and Der p 1 allergen, but not Der p 2.
This work characterizes the humoral and cellular immune effects of HDM extract and its major constituent allergens in sheep sensitized to HDM. The effects of allergen in HDM-sensitized sheep were detectable both locally and systemically, and probably mediated via enzymatic and immune actions of the major HDM allergen Der p 1. This study extends our understanding of the actions of this important allergen relevant to human allergic asthma and its effects in sheep experimentally sensitized to HDM 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
It has been proposed that activation of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) plays crucial roles in the polarization of adaptive immune responses. A synthetic Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) ligand, Pam3CSK4, has been reported to modulate the balance of Th1/Th2 responses. We evaluated the modulation effect of Pam3CSK4 on allergic immune response in a mouse rhinitis model sensitized to house dust mite allergen (HDM). Mice were sensitized and challenged with Dermatophagoides farinae allergen (Der f), and then the allergic mice were treated by Pam3CSK4. Nasal allergic symptoms and eosinophils were scored. Der f-specific cytokine responses were examined in the splenocytes and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). Serum level of total IgE was also detected. After establishing a mouse allergic rhinitis model with HDM, we have showed that Pam3CSK4 treatment not only ameliorated the nasal allergic symptoms remarkably but also decreased the eosinophils and total inflammation cells in BALF significantly. Analysis of cytokine profile found that IFN-γ released from either BALF or stimulated splenocytes increased markedly in Pam3CSK4-treated mice, while IL-13 decreased significantly. Moreover, serum level of total IgE was significantly lower in Pam3CSK4-treated mice than in the untreated. Thus, in an allergic rhinitis mouse model developed with HDM, Pam3CSK4 was shown to exhibit an antiallergic effect, indicating its potential application in allergic diseases.
Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2); Ligand; Allergic immune response; Mite 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.
Recent studies indicate that basophils perform essential functions in multiple models of Th2 cytokine-dependent immunity and inflammation. In addition to their role as late phase effector cells, basophil populations can express MHC class II and co-stimulatory molecules, migrate into draining lymph nodes, present antigen to naive CD4+ T cells and promote Th2 cell differentiation. In this context, basophils have been shown to contribute to the induction and propagation of Th2 cytokine responses following exposure to some helminth parasites or allergens. In this review, we discuss recent studies that provide new insights into basophil development, regulation and effector function. In addition, we discuss the ability of basophils to act both independently and cooperatively with dendritic cells to support Th2 cytokine-mediated inflammation.
basophile; Th2 cell; helminth; cytokine; immunity; inflammation
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
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
Epidemiology supports a causal link between air pollutant exposure and childhood asthma, but the mechanisms are unknown. We have previously reported that ozone exposure can alter the anatomic distribution of CD25+ lymphocytes in airways of allergen-sensitized infant rhesus monkeys. Here, we hypothesized that ozone may also affect eosinophil trafficking to allergen-sensitized infant airways. To test this hypothesis, we measured blood, lavage, and airway mucosa eosinophils in 3-month old monkeys following cyclical ozone and house dust mite (HDM) aerosol exposures. We also determined if eotaxin family members (CCL11, CCL24, CCL26) are associated with eosinophil location in response to exposures. In lavage, eosinophil numbers increased in animals exposed to ozone and/or HDM. Ozone + HDM animals showed significantly increased CCL24 and CCL26 protein in lavage, but the concentration of CCL11, CCL24, and CCL26 was independent of eosinophil number for all exposure groups. In airway mucosa, eosinophils increased with exposure to HDM alone; comparatively, ozone and ozone + HDM resulted in reduced eosinophils. CCL26 mRNA and immunofluorescence staining increased in airway mucosa of HDM alone animals and correlated with eosinophil volume. In ozone + HDM animal groups, CCL24 mRNA and immunofluorescence increased along with CCR3 mRNA, but did not correlate with airway mucosa eosinophils. Cumulatively, our data indicate that ozone exposure results in a profile of airway eosinophil migration that is distinct from HDM mediated pathways. CCL24 was found to be induced only by combined ozone and HDM exposure, however expression was not associated with the presence of eosinophils within the airway mucosa.
ozone; allergen; infant; lung; eosinophil; chemokine
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) modulates immune responses and cellular proliferation. The objective of this study was to assess whether inhibition of mTOR with rapamycin modifies disease severity in two experimental murine models of house dust mite (HDM)-induced asthma. In an induction model, rapamycin was administered to BALB/c mice coincident with nasal HDM challenges for 3 weeks. In a treatment model, nasal HDM challenges were performed for 6 weeks and rapamycin treatment was administered during weeks 4 through 6. In the induction model, rapamycin significantly attenuated airway inflammation, airway hyperreactivity (AHR) and goblet cell hyperplasia. In contrast, treatment of established HDM-induced asthma with rapamycin exacerbated AHR and airway inflammation, whereas goblet cell hyperplasia was not modified. Phosphorylation of the S6 ribosomal protein, which is downstream of mTORC1, was increased after 3 weeks, but not 6 weeks of HDM-challenge. Rapamycin reduced S6 phosphorylation in HDM-challenged mice in both the induction and treatment models. Thus, the paradoxical effects of rapamycin on asthma severity paralleled the activation of mTOR signaling. Lastly, mediastinal lymph node re-stimulation experiments showed that treatment of rapamycin-naive T cells with ex vivo rapamycin decreased antigen-specific Th2 cytokine production, whereas prior exposure to in vivo rapamycin rendered T cells refractory to the suppressive effects of ex vivo rapamycin. We conclude that rapamycin had paradoxical effects on the pathogenesis of experimental HDM-induced asthma. Thus, consistent with the context-dependent effects of rapamycin on inflammation, the timing of mTOR inhibition may be an important determinant of efficacy and toxicity in HDM-induced asthma.
Allergic asthma results from inappropriate Th2-mediated inflammation. Both IL-4 and IL-13 contribute to asthma pathogenesis, but IL-4 predominantly drives Th2 induction, while IL-13 is necessary and sufficient for allergen-induced AHR and goblet cell hyperplasia. Although these 2 cytokines share signaling components, the molecular mechanisms by which they mediate different phases of the allergic asthma response remain elusive.
We sought to clarify the role(s) of IL-4 and IL-13 in asthma pathogenesis.
We employed DNA Affymetrix microarrays to profile pulmonary gene expression in BALB/c mice inoculated intratracheally with ragweed pollen (RWP), house dust mite (HDM), IL-4, IL-13, or both cytokines. IL-13 dependence was confirmed by comparing pulmonary gene expression in HDM-inoculated WT and IL-13KO mice.
A signature gene expression profile consisting of 23 genes was commonly induced by inoculation with HDM, RWP, or IL-4 plus IL-13. Although rIL-4 and rIL-13 treatment induced an overlapping set of genes, IL-4 uniquely induced 21 genes, half of which were IFN response genes and half were genes important in immunoregulation. IL-13 uniquely induced 8 genes, most of which encode proteins produced by epithelial cells.
IL-4 and IL-13 together account for most allergen-induced pulmonary genes. Selective IL-4 induction of IFN-γ-response genes and other genes that may negatively regulate allergic inflammation may partially explain the greater importance of IL-13 in the effector phase of allergic airway disease.
The identification of genes selectively induced by individual cytokines, especially IL-13, may provide novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of asthma.
Th2 cytokines; microarrays; allergic asthma; mouse
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
Although animal models with ovalbumin have been used to study chronic asthma, there are difficulties in inducing recurrence as well as in maintaining chronic inflammation in this system. Using a murine model of house dust mite (HDM)-induced bronchial asthma, we examined the airway remodeling process in response to the chronic exposure to HDM. During the seventh and twelfth weeks of study, HDM were inhaled through the nose for three consecutive days and airway responsiveness was measured. Twenty-four hours later, bronchoalveolar lavage and histological examination were performed. The degree of overproduction of mucus, subepithelial fibrosis, and the thickness of the peribronchial smooth muscle in the experimental group was clearly increased compared to the control group. In addition, HDM-exposed mice demonstrated severe airway hyperreactivity to methacholine. In the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, the number of total cells and eosinophils was increased; during the twelfth week, the number of neutrophils increased in the experimental group. With regard to changes in cytokines, the concentrations of IL-4, IL-13, and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) were increased in the experimental group. The data suggest that eosinophils, IL-4, IL-13, and TGF-β might play an important role in the airway remodeling process and that neutrophils may be involved with increased exposure time.
Asthma; Fibrosis; Dermatophagoides farinae; Models
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway integrates environmental cues, promotes cell growth / differentiation and regulates immune responses. While inhibition of mTOR with rapamycin has potent immunosuppressive activity, mixed effects have been reported in ovalbumin-induced models of allergic asthma. We investigated the impact of two different rapamycin treatment protocols on the major characteristics of allergic asthma induced by the clinically relevant allergen, house dust mite (HDM). In protocol 1, Balb/c mice were exposed to 10 intranasal HDM doses over a period of 24 days and treated with rapamycin simultaneously during the sensitization/exposure period. In protocol 2, rapamycin was administered after the mice had been sensitized to HDM (I.P. injection) and prior to initiation of two intranasal HDM challenges over 4 days. Airway hyperreactivity (AHR), IgE, inflammatory cells, cytokines, leukotrienes, goblet cells, and activated T cells were assessed. In protocol 1, rapamycin blocked HDM-induced increases in AHR, inflammatory cell counts, IgE, and attenuated goblet cell metaplasia. In protocol 2, rapamycin blocked increases in AHR, IgE, T cell activation, and reduced goblet cell metaplasia, but had no effect on inflammatory cell counts. Increases in IL-13 and leukotrienes were also blocked by rapamycin, although increases in IL-4 were unaffected. These data demonstrate that rapamycin can inhibit cardinal features of allergic asthma including increases in AHR, IgE, and goblet cells most likely due to its ability to reduce the production of two key mediators of asthma, IL-13 and leukotrienes. These findings highlight the importance of the mTOR pathway in allergic airway disease.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) plays an important role in cell growth/differentiation, integrating environmental cues, and regulating immune responses. Our lab previously demonstrated that inhibition of mTOR with rapamycin prevented house dust mite (HDM)-induced allergic asthma in mice. Here, we utilized two treatment protocols to investigate whether rapamycin, compared to the steroid, dexamethasone, could inhibit allergic responses during the later stages of the disease process, namely allergen re-exposure and/or during progression of chronic allergic disease. In protocol 1, BALB/c mice were sensitized to HDM (three i.p. injections) and administered two intranasal HDM exposures. After 6 weeks of rest/recovery, mice were re-exposed to HDM while being treated with rapamycin or dexamethasone. In protocol 2, mice were exposed to HDM for 3 or 6 weeks and treated with rapamycin or dexamethasone during weeks 4–6. Characteristic features of allergic asthma, including IgE, goblet cells, airway hyperreactivity (AHR), inflammatory cells, cytokines/chemokines, and T cell responses were assessed. In protocol 1, both rapamycin and dexamethasone suppressed goblet cells and total CD4+ T cells including activated, effector, and regulatory T cells in the lung tissue, with no effect on AHR or total inflammatory cell numbers in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Rapamycin also suppressed IgE, although IL-4 and eotaxin 1 levels were augmented. In protocol 2, both drugs suppressed total CD4+ T cells, including activated, effector, and regulatory T cells and IgE levels. IL-4, eotaxin, and inflammatory cell numbers were increased after rapamycin and no effect on AHR was observed. Dexamethasone suppressed inflammatory cell numbers, especially eosinophils, but had limited effects on AHR. We conclude that while mTOR signaling is critical during the early phases of allergic asthma, its role is much more limited once disease is established.