Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), an IL7-like cytokine produced by bronchial epithelial cells is upregulated in asthma and induces dendritic cell maturation supporting a Th2 response. Environmental pollutants, including tobacco smoke and diesel exhaust particles upregulate TSLP suggesting that TSLP may be an interface between environmental pollution and immune responses in asthma. Since asthma is prevalent in urban communities, variants in the TSLP gene may be important in asthma susceptibility in these populations.
To determine whether genetic variants in TSLP are associated with asthma in an urban admixed population.
Methodology and Main Results
Ten tag-SNPs in the TSLP gene were analyzed for association with asthma using 387 clinically diagnosed asthmatic cases and 212 healthy controls from an urban admixed population. One SNP (rs1898671) showed nominally significant association with asthma (odds ratio (OR) = 1.50; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.09–2.05, p = 0.01) after adjusting for age, BMI, income, education and population stratification. Association results were consistent using two different approaches to adjust for population stratification. When stratified by smoking status, the same SNP showed a significantly increased risk associated with asthma in ex-smokers (OR = 2.00, 95% CI: 1.04–3.83, p = 0.04) but not significant in never-smokers (OR = 1.34; 95% CI: 0.93–1.94, p = 0.11). Haplotype-specific score test indicated that an elevated risk for asthma was associated with a specific haplotype of TSLP involving SNP rs1898671 (OR = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.10–2.27, p = 0.01). Association of this SNP with asthma was confirmed in an independent large population-based cohort consortium study (OR = 1.15, 95% CI: 1.07–1.23, p = 0.0003) and the results stratified by smoking status were also validated (ex-smokers: OR = 1.21, 95% CI: 1.08–1.34, p = 0.003; never-smokers: OR = 1.06, 95% CI: 0.94–1.17, p = 0.33).
Genetic variants in TSLP may contribute to asthma susceptibility in admixed urban populations with a gene and environment interaction.
CD4+ T helper type 2 (Th2) cells characterized by their expression of IL-4, IL-5, IL-9 and IL-13 are required for immunity to helminth parasites1 and promote the pathological inflammation associated with asthma and allergic diseases2. Polymorphisms in the gene encoding the cytokine thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) are associated with the development of multiple allergic disorders in humans, suggesting that TSLP is a critical regulator of allergic diseases3-6. Supporting genetic analyses, exaggerated TSLP production is associated with asthma, atopic dermatitis and food allergies in patients, and studies in murine systems demonstrated that TSLP promotes Th2 cytokine-mediated immunity and inflammation5, 7-12. However, the mechanisms through which TSLP promotes Th2 cytokine responses remain poorly defined. Here we demonstrate that TSLP promotes systemic basophilia, that disruption of TSLP-TSLPR interactions results in defective basophil responses and that TSLPR-sufficient basophils can restore Th2 cell-dependent immunity in vivo. TSLP acted directly on bone marrow- resident progenitors to selectively promote basophil responses. Critically, TSLP could elicit basophil responses in both IL-3-sufficient and IL-3-deficient environments and genome-wide transcriptional profiling and functional analyses identified heterogeneity between TSLP-elicited versus IL-3-elicited basophils. Further, activated human basophils expressed the TSLPR and basophils isolated from eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) patients were heterogeneous. Collectively, these studies identify previously unrecognized heterogeneity within the basophil cell lineage and indicate that expression of TSLP may influence susceptibility to multiple allergic diseases by regulating basophil hematopoiesis and eliciting a population of functionally distinct basophils that promote Th2 cytokine-mediated inflammation.
TSLP; Th2 cytokine responses; innate immunity; basophils; hematopoiesis
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), a novel interleukin-7-like cytokine, triggers dendritic cell-mediated inflammatory responses ultimately executed by T helper cells of the Th2 subtype. TSLP emerged as a central player in the development of allergic symptoms, especially in the airways, and is a prime regulatory cytokine at the interface of virus- or antigen-exposed epithelial cells and dendritic cells (DCs). DCs activated by epithelium-derived TSLP can promote naïve CD4+ T cells to adopt a Th2 phenotype, which in turn recruite eosinophilic and basophilic granulocytes as well as mast cells into the airway mucosa. These different cells secrete inflammatory cytokines and chemokines operative in inducing an allergic inflammation and atopic asthma. TSLP is, thus, involved in the control of both an innate and an adaptive immune response. Since TSLP links contact of allergen with the airway epithelium to the onset and maintainance of the asthmatic syndrome, defining the signal transduction underlying TSLP expression and function is of profound interest for a better understandimg of the disease and for the development of new therapeutics.
Allergic rhinitis (AR) affects up to 80% of children with asthma and increases asthma severity. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is a key mediator of allergic inflammation. The role of the TSLP gene (TSLP) in the pathogenesis of AR has not been studied.
To test for associations between variants in TSLP, TSLP-related genes, and AR in children with asthma.
We genotyped 15 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in TSLP, OX40L, IL7R, and RXRα in three independent cohorts: 592 asthmatic Costa Rican children and their parents, 422 nuclear families of North American children with asthma, and 239 Swedish children with asthma. We tested for associations between these SNPs and AR. As we previously reported sex-specific effects for TSLP, we performed overall and sex-stratified analyses. We additionally performed secondary analyses for gene-by-gene interactions.
Across the three cohorts, the T allele of TSLP SNP rs1837253 was undertransmitted in boys with AR and asthma as compared to boys with asthma alone. The SNP was associated with reduced odds for AR (odds ratios ranging from 0.56 to 0.63, with corresponding Fisher's combined P value of 1.2 × 10-4). Our findings were significant after accounting for multiple comparisons. SNPs in OX40L, IL7R, and RXRα were not consistently associated with AR in children with asthma. There were nominally significant interactions between gene pairs.
TSLP SNP rs1837253 is associated with reduced odds for AR in boys with asthma. Our findings support a role for TSLP in the pathogenesis of AR in children with asthma.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is elevated in asthma and triggers dendritic cell-mediated activation of Th2 inflammatory responses. Although TSLP has been shown to be produced mainly by airway epithelial cells, the regulation of epithelial TSLP expression has not been extensively studied. We investigated the expression of TSLP in cytokine- or TLR ligand-treated normal human bronchial epithelial cells (NHBE). The mRNA for TSLP was significantly up-regulated by stimulation with IL-4 (5.5-fold) and IL-13 (5.3-fold), weakly up-regulated by TNF-α, TGF-β, and IFN-β, and not affected by IFN-γ in NHBE. TSLP mRNA was only significantly up-regulated by the TLR3 ligand (dsRNA) among the TLR ligands tested (66.8-fold). TSLP was also induced by in vitro infection with rhinovirus. TSLP protein was detected after stimulation with dsRNA (120 ± 23 pg/ml). The combination of TNF-α and IL-4 produced detectable levels of TSLP protein (40 ± 13 pg/ml). In addition, TSLP was synergistically enhanced by a combination of IL-4 and dsRNA (mRNA; 207-fold, protein; 325 ± 75 pg/ml). The induction of TSLP by dsRNA was dependent upon NF-κB and IFN regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3) signaling via TLR3 as indicated by a study with small interfering RNA. The potent topical glucocorticoid fluticasone propionate significantly suppressed dsRNA-dependent TSLP production in NHBE. These results suggest that the expression of TSLP is induced in airway epithelial cells by stimulation with the TLR3 ligand and Th2 cytokines and that this response is suppressed by glucocorticoid treatment. This implies that respiratory viral infection and the recruitment of Th2 cytokine producing cells may amplify Th2 inflammation via the induction of TSLP in the asthmatic airway.
The OX40 receptor is preferentially expressed by T cells, and its cognate ligand OX40L is primarily expressed by antigen-presenting cells such as dendritic cells following activation by thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP). TSLP is released by the bronchial epithelium, airway smooth muscle, and some inflammatory cells in response to numerous insults such as allergens, viruses, and physical damage. OX40L is a costimulatory molecule that plays a sentinel role in the adaptive immune response by promoting T helper (Th) 2 polarization of naive T cells within the lymph node. These polarized T cells produce Th2 cytokines such as IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13, which have been implicated particularly in allergic eosinophilic asthma. Animal models have positioned both TSLP and OX40/OX40L as critical in the development of airway inflammation and hyperreactivity. In human disease, there is good evidence that TSLP is upregulated in asthma, but there are limited data to demonstrate overexpression of OX40 or OX40L in disease. Targeting the OX40/OX40L axis or TSLP presents a novel therapeutic strategy that has the potential of modifying the disease process and, therefore, impacting on its natural history. Whether this approach can demonstrate efficacy in established disease rather than at disease onset is unknown. Biologic therapies directed toward OX40/OX40L are in early phases of development, and results from these studies are eagerly awaited.
Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin (TSLP) is crucial for the development of atopic diseases in humans and mice. Mice that express a lung-specific TSLP transgene (SPC-TSLP) develop a spontaneous and progressive asthma-like disease, suggesting that TSLP expression alone was sufficient for disease development. Here we show that, in fact, TSLP alone only causes a weak innate response that is insufficient for development of full airway inflammatory disease. Complete disease development requires both TSLP and antigenic stimulation. These data suggest that the spontaneous lung inflammation observed in SPC-TSLP mice reflects a TSLP-driven predisposition towards the development of aberrant responses against innocuous environmental antigens. This provides evidence that TSLP may act directly to induce susceptibility to the inappropriate allergic responses that characterize atopy and asthma. We additionally show that disease development requires CD4 T cells but not B cells. Further, we reveal a TSLP-driven innate response involving mucus overproduction and goblet cell metaplasia. Taken together, these data suggest a multi-faceted model of TSLP-mediated airway inflammation, with an initial activation of resident innate immune cells, followed by activation of the adaptive immune system and full disease development. This study provides new insight into the unique features of the asthma pathology contributed by the innate and adaptive immune responses in response to TSLP stimulation.
Cytokines; Allergy; Inflammation; Lung
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is an interleukin (IL) 7–like cytokine that triggers dendritic cell–mediated T helper (Th)2 inflammatory responses. TSLP is highly expressed by keratinocytes in skin lesions of patients with atopic dermatitis and is associated with dendritic cell activation in situ, suggesting that TSLP might be a master switch for allergic inflammation at the epithelial cell–dendritic cell interface. New reports now establish a direct link between TSLP expression and the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis and asthma in vivo, and begin to reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying TSLP-induced allergic inflammation.
Compelling evidence suggests that the epithelial cell–derived cytokine thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) may initiate asthma or atopic dermatitis through a dendritic cell–mediated T helper (Th)2 response. Here, we describe how TSLP might initiate and aggravate allergic inflammation in the absence of T lymphocytes and immunoglobulin E antibodies via the innate immune system. We show that TSLP, synergistically with interleukin 1 and tumor necrosis factor, stimulates the production of high levels of Th2 cytokines by human mast cells (MCs). We next report that TSLP is released by primary epithelial cells in response to certain microbial products, physical injury, or inflammatory cytokines. Direct epithelial cell–mediated, TSLP-dependent activation of MCs may play a central role in “intrinsic” forms of atopic diseases and explain the aggravating role of infection and scratching in these diseases.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is an interleukin 7 (IL-7)-like cytokine originally characterized by its ability to promote the activation of B cells and dendritic cells (DCs). Subsequent studies have shown that TSLP promotes T helper type 2 (TH2) cell responses associated with immunity to some helminth parasites and the pathogenesis of many inflammatory diseases, including atopic dermatitis and asthma. This review will focus on recent findings indicating that in addition to influencing B cell and DC function, TSLP can promote TH2 cytokine–associated inflammation by directly promoting the effector functions of CD4+ TH2 cells, basophils and other granulocyte populations while simultaneously limiting the expression of DC-derived proinflammatory cytokines and promoting regulatory T cell responses in peripheral tissues.
The epithelial-derived cytokine thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) has been associated with the promotion of type 2 inflammation and the induction of allergic disease. In humans TSLP is elevated in the lungs of asthma patients and in the lesional skin of individuals with atopic dermatitis, whereas mice lacking TSLP responses are refractory to models of Th2-driven allergic disease. Although several cell types, including dendritic cells, basophils, and CD4 T cells, have been shown to respond to TSLP, its role in macrophage differentiation has not been studied. Type 2 cytokines (i.e., IL-4 and IL-13) can drive the differentiation of macrophages into alternatively activated macrophages (aaMϕs, also referred to as M2 macrophages). This population of macrophages is associated with allergic inflammation. We therefore reasoned that TSLP/TSLPR signaling may be involved in the differentiation and activation of aaMϕs during allergic airway inflammation. In this study, we report that TSLP changes the quiescent phenotype of pulmonary macrophages toward an aaMϕ phenotype during TSLP-induced airway inflammation. This differentiation of airway macrophages was IL-13–, but not IL-4–, dependent. Taken together, we demonstrate in this study that TSLP/TSLPR plays a significant role in the amplification of aaMΦ polarization and chemokine production, thereby contributing to allergic inflammation.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) have been associated with IgE (in girls) and asthma (in general). We sought to determine whether TSLP SNPs are associated with asthma in a sex-specific fashion.
We conducted regular and sex-stratified analyses of association between SNPs in TSLP and asthma in families of asthmatic children in Costa Rica. Significant findings were replicated in white and African-American participants in the Childhood Asthma Management Program, in African Americans in the Genomic Research on Asthma in the African Diaspora study, in whites and Hispanics in the Children’s Health Study, and in whites in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS).
Two SNPs in TSLP (rs1837253 and rs2289276) were significantly associated with a reduced risk of asthma in combined analyses of all cohorts (p values of 2×10−5 and 1×10−5, respectively). In a sex-stratified analysis, the T allele of rs1837253 was significantly associated with a reduced risk of asthma in males only (p= 3×10−6). Alternately, the T allele of rs2289276 was significantly associated with a reduced risk of asthma in females only (p= 2×10−4). Findings for rs2289276 were consistent in all cohorts except the FHS.
TSLP variants are associated with asthma in a sex-specific fashion.
asthma; genetic association; sex-specific; thymic stromal lymphopoietin; TSLP
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is produced by epithelial cells and triggers dendritic cell-mediated Th2-type inflammation. While TSLP is upregulated in epithelium of patients with asthma, the factors that control TSLP production have not been studied extensively. Because mouse models suggest roles for protease(s) in Th2-type immune responses, we hypothesized that proteases from airborne allergens may induce TSLP production in a human airway epithelial cell line, BEAS-2B. TSLP mRNA and protein were induced when BEAS-2B cells were exposed to prototypic proteases, namely trypsin and papain. TSLP induction by trypsin required intact protease activity and also a protease-sensing G protein-coupled receptor, protease-activated receptor (PAR)-2; TSLP induction by papain was partially dependent on PAR-2. In humans, exposure to ubiquitous airborne fungi, such as Alternaria, is implicated in the development and exacerbation of asthma. When BEAS-2B cells or normal human bronchial epithelial cells were exposed to Alternaria extract, TSLP was potently induced. The TSLP-inducing activity of Alternaria was partially blocked by treating the extract with a cysteine protease inhibitor, E64, or by infecting BEAS-2B cells with small interfering RNA for PAR-2. Protease-induced TSLP production by BEAS-2B cells was enhanced synergistically by IL-4 and abolished by IFN-γ. These findings demonstrate that TSLP expression is induced in airway epithelial cells by exposure to allergen-derived proteases and that PAR-2 is involved in the process. By promoting TSLP production in the airways, proteases associated with airborne allergens may facilitate the development and/or exacerbation of Th2-type airway inflammation, particularly in allergic individuals.
Humans; cytokines; allergy; inflammation; lung
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is an epithelial cell derived cytokine expressed in skin, gut, lungs and thymus. TSLP signals via TSLPR, a heterodimer of the IL-7 receptor alpha chain (IL-7Rα) and the TSLP receptor chain (TSLPR), which is closely related to the common receptor-γ chain (γc), expressed on a wide range of cell types in the adptaive and innate immune system. TSLP exerts profound influence on the polarization of dendritic cells (DCs) to drive T helper (Th) 2 cytokine production. It also directly promotes T cell proliferation in response to T cell receptor (TCR) activation, and Th2 cytokine production. TSLP also supports B cell expansion and differentiation. TSLP further amplifies Th2 cytokine production by mast cells and NKT cells. These properties confer on TSLP a critical role in driving Th2 mediated inflammation. This role is supported by the finding that TSLP expression is up-regulated in keratinocytes of atopic dermatitis (AD) skin lesions and in bronchial epithelial cells in asthma.
A skin-derived cytokine with high systemic availability provides a mechanistic explanation for atopic march and highlights a potential therapeutic target for preventing the development of asthma among people with atopic dermatitis.
Asthma is a common allergic lung disease frequently affecting individuals with a prior history of eczema/atopic dermatitis (AD); however, the mechanism underlying the progression from AD to asthma (the so-called “atopic march”) is unclear. Here we show that, like humans with AD, mice with skin-barrier defects develop AD-like skin inflammation and are susceptible to allergic asthma. Furthermore, we show that thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), overexpressed by skin keratinocytes, is the systemic driver of this bronchial hyper-responsiveness. As an AD-like model, we used mice with keratinocyte-specific deletion of RBP-j that sustained high systemic levels of TSLP. Antigen-induced allergic challenge to the lung airways of RBP-j–deficient animals resulted in a severe asthmatic phenotype not seen in similarly treated wild-type littermates. Elimination of TSLP signaling in these animals blocked the atopic march, demonstrating that high serum TSLP levels were required to sensitize the lung to allergic inflammation. Furthermore, we analyzed outbred K14-TSLPtg mice that maintained high systemic levels of TSLP without developing any skin pathology. Importantly, epidermal-derived TSLP was sufficient to trigger the atopic march, sensitizing the lung airways to inhaled allergens in the absence of epicutaneous sensitization. Based on these findings, we propose that in addition to early treatment of the primary skin-barrier defects, selective inhibition of systemic TSLP may be the key to blocking the development of asthma in AD patients.
Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a common allergic skin inflammation that has a particularly high prevalence among children. Importantly, a large proportion of people suffering from eczema go on to develop asthma later in life. Although the susceptibility of eczema patients to asthma is well documented, the mechanism that mediates “atopic march”—the progression from eczema to asthma—is unclear. We used genetic engineering to generate mice with chronic skin-barrier defects and a subsequent eczema-like disorder. With these mice, we were able to investigate how skin-specific defects predisposed the lungs to allergic asthma. We identified thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), a cytokine that is secreted by barrier-defective skin into the systemic circulation, as the agent sensitizing the lung to allergens. We demonstrated that high systemic levels of skin-derived TSLP were both required and sufficient to render lung airways hypersensitive to allergens. Thus, these data suggest that early treatment of skin-barrier defects to prevent TSLP overexpression, and systemic inhibition of TSLP, may be crucial in preventing the progression from eczema to asthma.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is a mucosal tissue-associated cytokine that has been widely studied in the context of T helper type 2 (Th2)-driven inflammatory disorders. Although TSLP is also produced upon viral infection in vitro, the role of TSLP in antiviral immunity is unknown. In this study we report a novel role for TSLP in promoting viral clearance and virus-specific CD8+ T-cell responses during influenza A infection. Comparing the immune responses of wild-type and TSLP receptor (TSLPR)-deficient mice, we show that TSLP was required for the expansion and activation of virus-specific effector CD8+ T cells in the lung, but not the lymph node. The mechanism involved TSLPR signaling on newly recruited CD11b+ inflammatory dendritic cells (DCs) that acted to enhance interleukin-15 production and expression of the costimulatory molecule CD70. Taken together, these data highlight the pleiotropic activities of TSLP and provide evidence for its beneficial role in antiviral immunity.
The epithelial-derived cytokine thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) has important roles in the initiation of allergic airway inflammation and activation of dendritic cells. We have shown that the human TSLP gene is regulated in an NFκB-dependent manner; however the factors that negatively regulate TSLP expression are not known. In this paper we demonstrate that 9-cis retinoic acid (9-cisRA) is a negative regulator of TSLP expression in airway epithelial cells. This inhibition is manifested as a block in the IL-1β-mediated recruitment of NFκB to the human TSLP promoter. 9-cisRA-mediated inhibition is not restricted to TSLP gene expression, but rather reflected a general inhibition of NFκB activation as other NFκB-regulated-genes were also inhibited in a similar manner by 9-cisRA treatment. Taken as a whole, these data demonstrate that inhibition of IL-1β-dependent genes by active RXR involves antagonism of NFκB signaling.
Chronic allergic asthma is characterized by Th2-typed inflammation, and contributes to airway remodeling and the deterioration of lung function. However, the initiating factor that links airway inflammation to remodeling is unknown. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), an epithelium-derived cytokine, can strongly activate lung dendritic cells (DCs) through the TSLP-TSLPR and OX40L-OX40 signaling pathways to promote Th2 differentiation. To determine whether TSLP is the underlying trigger of airway remodeling in chronic allergen-induced asthma, we induced allergic airway inflammation in mice by intranasal administration of house dust mite (HDM) extracts for up to 5 consecutive weeks. We showed that repeated respiratory exposure to HDM caused significant airway eosinophilic inflammation, peribronchial collagen deposition, goblet cell hyperplasia, and airway hyperreactivity (AHR) to methacholine. These effects were accompanied with a salient Th2 response that was characterized by the upregulation of Th2-typed cytokines, such as IL-4 and IL-13, as well as the transcription factor GATA-3. Moreover, the levels of TSLP and transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) were also increased in the airway. We further demonstrated, using the chronic HDM-induced asthma model, that the inhibition of Th2 responses via neutralization of TSLP with an anti-TSLP mAb reversed airway inflammation, prevented structural alterations, and decreased AHR to methacholine and TGF-β1 level. These results suggest that TSLP plays a pivotal role in the initiation and persistence of airway inflammation and remodeling in the context of chronic allergic asthma.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is an epithelial cell-derived cytokine, implicated in the development and progression of allergic diseases. Recent studies have demonstrated significantly increased expression and synthesis of TSLPin nasal mucosa of patients with allergic rhinitis (AR), compared with nonallergic control subjects. Also, there is significant correlation between the level of TSLP mRNA and symptom severity in AR patients. In this study, we investigated whether polymorphisms in the TSLP gene were associated with increased risk of AR in the Chinese population.
In a candidate gene association study, we tested 11 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TSLP gene in 368 AR and 325 control adult Han Chinese subjects from Beijing. The 11 SNPs were selected from the Chinese HapMap genotyping dataset to ensure complete genetic coverage. AR was established by questionnaire and clinical examination, and blood was drawn from all subjects for DNA extraction. The PLINK software package was used to perform statistical testing.
In the single-locus analysis of AR risk, no significant differences in allele and genotype frequencies were found between AR and control subjects. Further logistic regression analyses adjusted for age and gender also failed to reveal significant associations between AR and the selected SNPs. Similarly, analysis stratified by gender, and haplotype or diplotype did not reveal any association with AR risk.
Although TSLP presents itself as a good candidate for contributing to allergy, this study failed to find an association between specific SNPs in the TSLP gene and AR susceptibility in the Han Chinese population.
Allergic rhinitis; Chinese subjects; Genotyping; Thymic stromal lymphopoietin; Single nucleotide polymorphism
Airway epithelial cells provide mechanical and immune protection against pathogens and allergens. Following activation, these cells produce a wide range of cytokines including thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP). Recently it was established that a high level of TSLP is associated with asthma in mice and in humans. These findings suggest that interfering with the ability of cells to respond to TSLP might prevent the development of airway inflammation. Our review presents current knowledge on mediators that induce TSLP production and on the actions of TSLP on different populations of cells that are related to airway inflammation. TSLP affects dendritic cells, T cells, NKT cells, and mast cells, indicative of the broad role of TSLP in the regulation of inflammatory/allergic processes.
Allergic diseases, including asthma, are characterized by T helper type 2 (Th2) cell-mediated inflammations, coupled with tissue infiltration by eosinophils. In this study, we demonstrate that multiple protease allergens, including papain and DerP1, efficiently induce interleukin (IL)-25 and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) gene expression, and this phenomenon is dependent on the protease activities of these allergens. The IL-25 cytokine level in bronchial alveolar lavage (BAL) was also profoundly and significantly increased after treatment with papain. Additionally, the levels of Th2 cytokines were significantly increased, as compared to those in the OVA-only treatment group. The various protease allergens triggered the expression of IL-25 and TSLP mRNA in mouse lung epithelial cells (MLE12) and primary mouse lung epithelial cells; these effects were inhibited by the deactivation of the protease activity of papain. The allergen papain activates the ErK and p38 MAP pathways; the inhibition of these pathways, but not the NFκB or PI-3 kinase pathways, impairs the induction of IL-25 and TSLP expression by proteases. In this study, we demonstrate that the protease allergens induce IL-25 and TSLP via the MAP kinase signal pathways, and their protease activities are essential to this pathway.
L-25; Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin; Protease Allergen; Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
Skin fibrotic remodeling is a major feature in human atopic dermatitis (AD). Inflammation and tissue fibrosis are common consequences of Th2 responses. Elevated IL-13 and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) have been found in the AD skin lesions. Fibrocytes can be recruited to inflamed tissues to promote wound healing and fibrosis. Dermal transgenic expression of IL-13 causes an AD-like phenotype with fibrosis and increased TSLP. However, the role of TSLP in fibrotic remodeling is unknown. In this study, we investigated the role of TSLP and fibrocytes in the generation of IL-13–induced skin fibrosis. In AD lesion, cessation of IL-13 transgene expression resulted in reduced skin inflammation but with no effect on further progression of fibrosis. This was accompanied by markedly increased CD34+/procollagen 1+ fibrocytes. Furthermore, fibrocytes express TSLP receptor (TSLPR), and TSLP directly promotes PBMC-derived fibrocytes to produce collagen. Neutralization of TSLP or genetic deletion of TSLPR in IL-13 transgenic mice resulted in a significant reduction in fibrocytes and in skin fibrosis. Furthermore, reduction of fibrosis by depletion of TSLP was independent of IL-13. Interestingly, the number of fibrocytes was highly increased in the skin samples of AD patients. These data indicate that the progression of skin fibrosis in IL-13–induced AD occurs via TSLP/TSLPR-dependent but IL-13–independent novel mechanisms by promoting fibrocyte functions.
Nasal polyposis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the upper airways often associated with asthma and characterized by markedly increased numbers of eosinophils, Th2 type lymphocytes, fibroblasts, goblet cells and mast cells. Previous studies have shown elevated levels of thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) in atopic diseases like asthma, atopic dermatitis and mainly in animal models of allergic rhinitis (AR). Here, we investigated the expression of TSLP in nasal polyps from atopics and non-atopics in comparison with the nasal mucosa and its potential role in nasal polyposis.
Messenger RNA expression for TSLP, thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC) and macrophage derived chemokine (MDC) in nasal polyps and nasal mucosa of atopics and non-atopics was analyzed by real time PCR. Immunoreactivity for TSLP in nasal polyps and in the nasal mucosa of patients with AR and non-allergic rhinitis (NAR) was analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Eosinophil counts was analyzed by Wright-Giemsa staining and nasal polyp tissue IgE, by ELISA.
Messenger RNA expression for TSLP,TARC and MDC was markedly higher in nasal polyps as compared to the allergic nasal mucosa. Immunoreactivity for TSLP was detected in epithelial cells, endothelial cells, fibroblasts and inflammatory cells of the nasal mucosa and nasal polyps. The number of TSLP+ cells was significantly greater in the nasal mucosa of AR than NAR patients. The number of TSLP+ cells in nasal polyps from atopics was significantly greater than that of non-atopics and that in the allergic nasal mucosa. The number of TSLP+ cells correlated well with the number of eosinophils and the levels of IgE in nasal polyps.
The high expression of TSLP in nasal polyps and its strong correlation to eosinophils and IgE suggest a potential role for TSLP in the pathogenesis of nasal polyps by regulating the Th2 type and eosinophilic inflammation.
Nasal polyps; Th2 cytokines; TSLP; eosinophils; IgE
TSLP released from human breast cancer cells promotes OX40L expression on DCs, and these OX40L-expressing DCs drive development of inflammatory Th2 cells which promote breast tumor development.
The human breast tumor microenvironment can display features of T helper type 2 (Th2) inflammation, and Th2 inflammation can promote tumor development. However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms contributing to Th2 inflammation in breast tumors remain unclear. Here, we show that human breast cancer cells produce thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP). Breast tumor supernatants, in a TSLP-dependent manner, induce expression of OX40L on dendritic cells (DCs). OX40L+ DCs are found in primary breast tumor infiltrates. OX40L+ DCs drive development of inflammatory Th2 cells producing interleukin-13 and tumor necrosis factor in vitro. Antibodies neutralizing TSLP or OX40L inhibit breast tumor growth and interleukin-13 production in a xenograft model. Thus, breast cancer cell–derived TSLP contributes to the inflammatory Th2 microenvironment conducive to breast tumor development by inducing OX40L expression on DCs.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) potently induces deregulation of Th2 responses, a hallmark feature of allergic inflammatory diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis, and allergic rhinitis. However, direct downstream in vivo mediators in the TSLP-induced atopic immune cascade have not been identified. In our current study, we have shown that OX40 ligand (OX40L) is a critical in vivo mediator of TSLP-mediated Th2 responses. Treating mice with OX40L-blocking antibodies substantially inhibited immune responses induced by TSLP in the lung and skin, including Th2 inflammatory cell infiltration, cytokine secretion, and IgE production. OX40L-blocking antibodies also inhibited antigen-driven Th2 inflammation in mouse and nonhuman primate models of asthma. This treatment resulted in both blockade of the OX40-OX40L receptor-ligand interaction and depletion of OX40L-positive cells. The use of a blocking, OX40L-specific mAb thus presents a promising strategy for the treatment of allergic diseases associated with pathologic Th2 immune responses.