Airway remodeling is the process of airway structural change that occurs in patients with asthma in response to persistent inflammation and leads to increasing disease severity. Drugs that decrease this persistent inflammation play a crucial role in managing asthma episodes. Mice sensitized (by intraperitoneal administration) and then challenged (by inhalation) with ovalbumin (OVA) develop an extensive eosinophilic inflammatory response, goblet cell hyperplasia, collagen deposition, airway smooth muscle thickening, and airway wall area increase, similar to pathologies observed in human asthma. We used OVA-sensitized/challenged mice as a murine model of chronic allergic airway inflammation with subepithelial fibrosis (i.e., asthma). In this OVA mouse model, mRNA and protein of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) are upregulated, a response similar to what has been observed in the pathogenesis of acute inflammation in human asthma. We hypothesized that MIF induces transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) synthesis, which has been shown to play an important role in asthma and airway remodeling. To explore the role of MIF in the development of airway remodeling, we evaluated the effects of an MIF small-molecule antagonist, (S,R)3-(4-hy-droxyphenyl)-4,5-dihydro-5-isoxazole acetic acid methyl ester (ISO-1), on pathologies associated with the airway-remodeling process in the OVA mouse model. We found that administration of ISO-1 significantly mitigated all symptoms caused by OVA treatment. In addition, the treatment of OVA-sensitized mice with the MIF antagonist ISO-1 significantly reduced TGF-β1 mRNA levels in pulmonary tissue and its protein level in bronchial alveolar lavage fluid supernatants. We believe the repression of MIF in the ISO-1 treatment group led to the significant suppression observed in the inflammatory responses associated with the allergen-induced lung inflammation and fibrosis in our murine asthma (OVA) model. Our results implicate a possible function of MIF in the pathogenesis of chronic asthma and suggest that MIF might be an important therapeutic target for airway remodeling.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of acute and chronic respiratory diseases. Antioxidants have been found to ameliorate airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in animal models employing short-term exposure to allergen. However, little data are available on the effect of antioxidants on airway remodeling and signaling pathways in chronic asthma.
In the present study, we used a long-term exposure murine model of allergic airway disease to evaluate the influence of an antioxidant, L-2-oxothiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid (OTC) or α-lipoic acid (LA) on airway remodeling and to explore possible transcription factors and kinases involved in this effect.
Long-term challenge of ovalbumin (OVA) increased ROS production, airway inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness, and developed features of airway remodeling such as excessive mucus secretion, subepithelial fibrosis, and thickening of the peribronchial smooth muscle layer. Administration of OTC or LA reduced these features of asthma including airway remodeling, which was accompanied by suppression of transforming growth factor-β1, vascular endothelial growth factor, and T-helper 2 cytokines. In addition, OVA-induced activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), nuclear factor erythroid 2p45-related factor-2 (Nrf2), hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α, and HIF-2α was reduced by OTC or LA. Our results also showed that OTC or LA down-regulated phosphoinositide 3-kinase activity and decreased phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase but not extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 or c-Jun N-terminal kinase.
These findings demonstrate that OTC and LA can inhibit activation of NF-κB, Nrf2, and HIF and thus attenuate allergen-induced airway remodeling, suggesting that antioxidants may provide therapeutic benefit in chronic asthma and other airway disorders.
The mechanisms underlying exacerbation of asthma induced by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection have been extensively studied in human and animal models. However, most of these studies focused on acute inflammation and little is known of its long-term consequences on remodelling of the airway tissue.
The aim of the study was to use a murine model of prolonged allergen-induced airway inflammation to investigate the effect of RSV infection on allergic airway inflammation and tissue remodelling.
We subjected mice to RSV infection before or during the chronic phase of airway challenges with OVA and compared parameters of airway inflammation and remodelling at the end-point of the prolonged allergen-induced airway inflammation protocol.
RSV infection did not affect the severity of airway inflammation in any of the groups studied. However, RSV infection provoked airway remodelling in non-sensitized, allergen-challenged mice that did not otherwise develop any of the features of allergic airways disease. Increased collagen synthesis in the lung and thickening of the bronchial basal membrane was observed in non-sensitized allergen-challenged mice only after prior RSV infection. In addition, fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2 but not TGF-β1 was increased in this group following RSV infection.
Our data show for the first time that RSV infection can prime the lung of mice that are not previously systemically sensitized, to develop airway remodelling in response to allergen upon sole exposure via the airways. Moreover, our results implicate RSV-induced FGF-2 in the remodelling process in vivo.
airway allergic inflammation; airway remodelling; asthma; RSV
Bronchial asthma is a chronic airway inflammatory disease that is usually accompanied by increased vascular leakage, resulting in plasma exudation. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays as a pro-inflammatory mediator as well as a vascular permeability factor in bronchial asthma. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I is also involved in the inflammatory process associated with bronchial asthma and it has been demonstrated to stimulate VEGF expression. The IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) are a complex family of proteins which bind IGFs with high affinity. IGFBPs, especially IGFBP-3, display distinctive properties and can interfere with various biological processes. However, there are little data on the effect and the molecular basis of IGFBP-3 on allergen-induced bronchial inflammation and airway hyper-responsiveness.
This study was aimed to investigate the related signaling regarding the action of IGFBP-3 on bronchial inflammation and airway hyper-responsiveness in allergic airway disease of mice.
In this study with an ovalbumin (OVA)-induced murine model of allergic airway disease, the increases of HIF-1a/HIF-2a activity and VEGF protein levels in lungs after OVA inhalation were blocked substantially by the administration of IGFBP-3. We also showed that the increased numbers of inflammatory cells of the airways, airway hyper-responsiveness, and increased levels of IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, and vascular permeability in lungs after OVA inhalation were significantly reduced by the administration of IGFBP-3.
These results indicate that IGFBP-3 may attenuate antigen-induced airway inflammation and hyper-responsiveness through the modulation of vascular leakage and VEGF expression mediated by HIF-1a/HIF-2a in allergic airway disease of mice.
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.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of acute and chronic respiratory diseases. Antioxidants have been found to ameliorate airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in animal models employing short-term exposure to allergen. However, little data are available on the effect of antioxidants on airway remodeling and signaling pathways in chronic asthma. In the present study, we used a long-term exposure murine model of allergic airway disease to evaluate the effects of an antioxidant, L-2-oxothiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid (OTC) or α-lipoic acid (LA) on airway remodeling, focusing on the ROS-related hypoxia-inducible signaling. Long-term challenge of ovalbumin (OVA) increased ROS production, airway inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness, and developed features of airway remodeling such as excessive mucus secretion, subepithelial fibrosis, and thickening of the peribronchial smooth muscle layer. Administration of OTC or LA reduced these features of asthma, including airway remodeling, which was accompanied by suppression of transforming growth factor-β1, vascular endothelial growth factor, and T-helper 2 cytokines. In addition, OVA-induced activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), nuclear factor erythroid 2p45-related factor-2 (Nrf2), hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α, and HIF-2α was reduced by OTC or LA. Our results also showed that OTC or LA down-regulated phosphoinositide 3-kinase activity and decreased phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase but not extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 or c-Jun N-terminal kinase. These findings demonstrate that OTC and LA can inhibit activation of NF-κB, Nrf2, and HIF, leading to attenuate allergen-induced airway remodeling.
airway remodeling; antioxidant; hypoxia-inducible factor; nuclear factor erythroid 2p45-related factor-2; nuclear factor-κB; oxidative stress
Chronic asthma is characterized by ongoing recruitment of inflammatory cells and airway hyperresponsiveness leading to structural airway remodeling. Although α4β1 and β2 integrins regulate leukocyte migration in inflammatory diseases and play decisive roles in acute asthma, their role has not been explored under the chronic asthma setting. To extend our earlier studies with α4Δ/Δ and β2−/− mice, which showed that both a4 and b2 integrins have nonredundant regulatory roles in acute ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthma, we explored to what extent these molecular pathways control development of structural airway remodeling in chronic asthma.
Materials and Methods
Control, α4Δ/Δ, and β2−/−mouse groups, sensitized by intraperitoneal OVA as allergen, received intratracheal OVA periodically over days 8 to 55 to induce a chronic asthma phenotype. Post-OVA assessment of inflammation and pulmonary function (airway hyperresponsiveness), together with airway modeling measured by goblet cell metaplasia, collagen content of lung, and transforming growth factor β1 expression in lung homogenates, were evaluated.
In contrast to control and β2−/− mice, α4Δ/Δ mice failed to develop and maintain the composite chronic asthma phenotype evaluated as mentioned and subepithelial collagen content was comparable to baseline. These data indicate that β2 integrins, although required for inflammatory migration in acute asthma, are dispensable for structural remodeling in chronic asthma.
α4 integrins appear to have a regulatory role in directing transforming growth factor β-induced collagen deposition and structural alterations in lung architecture likely through interactions of Th2 cells, eosinophils, or mast cells with endothelium, resident airway cells, and/or extracellular matrix.
Pharmacologic evidence suggests that activation of A2B adenosine receptors results in proinflammatory effects relevant to the progression of asthma, a chronic lung disease associated with elevated interstitial adenosine concentrations in the lung. This concept has been challenged by the finding that genetic removal of A2B receptors leads to exaggerated responses in models of acute inflammation. Therefore, the goal of our study was to determine the effects of A2B receptor gene ablation in the context of ovalbumin-induced chronic pulmonary inflammation. We found that repetitive airway allergen challenge induced a significant increase in adenosine levels in fluid recovered by bronchoalveolar lavage. Genetic ablation of A2B receptors significantly attenuated allergen-induced chronic pulmonary inflammation, as evidenced by a reduction in the number of bronchoalveolar lavage eosinophils and in peribronchial eosinophilic infiltration. The most striking difference in the pulmonary inflammation induced in A2B receptor knockout (A2BKO) and wild-type mice was the lack of allergen-induced IL-4 release in the airways of A2BKO animals, in line with a significant reduction in IL-4 protein and mRNA levels in lung tissue. In addition, attenuation of allergen-induced transforming growth factor–β release in airways of A2BKO mice correlated with reduced airway smooth muscle and goblet cell hyperplasia/hypertrophy. In conclusion, genetic removal of A2B adenosine receptors in mice leads to inhibition of allergen-induced chronic pulmonary inflammation and airway remodeling. These findings are in agreement with previous pharmacologic studies suggesting a deleterious role for A2B receptor signaling in chronic lung inflammation.
adenosine; asthma; pulmonary inflammation; IL-4; transforming growth factor–β
Asthma is estimated to affect as many as 300 million people worldwide and its incidence and prevalence are rapidly increasing throughout the world, especially in children and within developing countries. Recently, there has been a growing interest in the use of potentially beneficial bacteria for allergic diseases. This study is aimed at exploring the therapeutic effects of long-term treatment with two different beneficial bacterial strains (Bifidobacterium breve M-16 V and Lactobacillus rhamnosus NutRes1) and a glucocorticoid (budesonide), as a reference treatment, on inflammatory response in a murine model for chronic allergic asthma.
To mimic the chronic disease in asthmatic patients, we used the murine ovalbumin-induced asthma model combined with prolonged allergen exposure. Airway function; pulmonary airway inflammation; airway remodelling, mRNA expression of pattern recognition receptors, Th-specific cytokines and transcription factors in lung tissue; mast cell degranulation; in vitro T cell activation; and expression of Foxp3 in blood Th cells were examined.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus reduced lung resistance to a similar extent as budesonide treatment in chronically asthmatic mice. Pulmonary airway inflammation, mast cell degranulation, T cell activation and airway remodelling were suppressed by all treatments. Beneficial bacteria and budesonide differentially modulated the expression of toll-like receptors (TLRs), nod-like receptors (NLRs), cytokines and T cell transcription factors. Bifidobacterium breve induced regulatory T cell responses in the airways by increasing Il10 and Foxp3 transcription in lung tissue as well as systemic by augmenting the mean fluorescence intensity of Foxp3 in blood CD4+ T cells.
These findings show that Bifidobacterium breve M-16 V and Lactobacillus rhamnosus NutRes1 have strong anti-inflammatory properties that are comparable to budesonide and therefore may be beneficial in the treatment of chronic asthma.
Allergic asthma; Beneficial bacteria; Glucocorticoids; Regulatory T cell
Overexpression of the transforming growth factor β family signalling molecule smad2 in the airway epithelium provokes enhanced allergen-induced airway remodelling in mice, concomitant with elevated levels of interleukin (IL)-25.
We investigated whether IL-25 plays an active role in driving this airway remodelling.
Anti-IL-25 antibody was given to mice exposed to either inhaled house dust mite (HDM) alone, or in conjunction with an adenoviral smad2 vector which promotes an enhanced remodelling phenotype.
Blocking IL-25 in allergen-exposed mice resulted in a moderate reduction in pulmonary eosinophilia and levels of T helper type 2 associated cytokines, IL-5 and IL-13. In addition, IL-25 neutralisation abrogated peribronchial collagen deposition, airway smooth muscle hyperplasia and airway hyperreactivity in control mice exposed to HDM and smad2-overexpressing mice. IL-25 was shown to act directly on human fibroblasts to induce collagen secretion. Recruitment of endothelial progenitor cells to the lung and subsequent neovascularisation was also IL-25 dependent, demonstrating a direct role for IL-25 during angiogenesis in vivo. Moreover, the secretion of innate epithelial derived cytokines IL-33 and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) was completely ablated.
In addition to modulating acute inflammation, we now demonstrate a role for IL-25 in orchestrating airway remodelling. IL-25 also drives IL-33 and TSLP production in the lung. These data delineate a wider role for IL-25 in mediating structural changes to the lung following allergen exposure and implicate IL-25 as a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of airway remodelling in asthma.
Airway Epithelium; Allergic lung disease; Asthma; Asthma Mechanisms
Asthmatic responses involve a systemic component where activation of the bone marrow leads to mobilization and lung-homing of progenitor cells. This traffic may be driven by stromal cell derived factor-1 (SDF-1), a potent progenitor chemoattractant. We have previously shown that airway angiogenesis, an early remodeling event, can be inhibited by preventing the migration of endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) to the lungs. Given intranasally, AMD3100, a CXCR4 antagonist that inhibits SDF-1 mediated effects, attenuated allergen-induced lung-homing of EPC, vascularization of pulmonary tissue, airway eosinophilia and development of airway hyperresponsiveness. Since SDF-1 is also an eosinophil chemoattractant, we investigated, using a transgenic eosinophil deficient mouse strain (PHIL) whether EPC lung accumulation and lung vascularization in allergic airway responses is dependent on eosinophilic inflammation.
Wild-type (WT) BALB/c and eosinophil deficient (PHIL) mice were sensitized to house dust mite (HDM) using a chronic exposure protocol and treated with AMD3100 to modulate SDF-1 stimulated progenitor traffic. Following HDM challenge, lung-extracted EPCs were enumerated along with airway inflammation, microvessel density (MVD) and airway methacholine responsiveness (AHR).
Following Ag sensitization, both WT and PHIL mice exhibited HDM-induced increase in airway inflammation, EPC lung-accumulation, lung angiogenesis and AHR. Treatment with AMD3100 significantly attenuated outcome measures in both groups of mice. Significantly lower levels of EPC and a trend for lower vascularization were detected in PHIL versus WT mice.
This study shows that while allergen-induced lung-homing of endothelial progenitor cells, increased tissue vascularization and development lung dysfunction can occur in the absence of eosinophils, the presence of these cells worsens the pathology of the allergic response.
Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 produced in airway epithelia has been suggested as a contributor to the airway remodeling observed in asthma patients. The protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP2 is a demonstrable modulator of TGF-β1 production and thus a potential regulator of airway remodeling.
To define the signal event by which SHP2 regulates asthmatic responses in airway epithelial cells by using a mouse model of experimental OVA-induced airway remodeling.
The airways of Shp2flox/flox mice were infected with recombinant adenovirus vectors expressing a Cre recombinase–green fluorescence protein (GFP) fusion protein as part of allergen provocation studies using mice sensitized with ovalbumin (OVA) and repeatedly challenged with OVA. Several endpoint pathologies were assessed, including airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR), lung inflammatory score, peribronchial collagen deposition, and α-smooth muscle actin (SMA) hyperplasia. In vitro studies using airway epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) were used to investigate the role of SHP2 in the regulation of pulmonary remodeling events, including the expression of collagen, α-SMA, and TGF-β1.
Chronic OVA challenges in wild-type mice resulted in airway remodeling and lung dysfunction (e.g., increased inflammatory scores, collagen deposition (fibrosis), smooth muscle hyperplasia, and a significant increase in AHR). These endpoint pathology metrics were each significantly attenuated by conditional shp2 gene knockdown in airway epithelia. In vitro studies using BEAS-2B cells also demonstrated that the level of TGF-β1 production by these cells correlated with the extent of shp2 gene expression.
SHP2 activities in airway epithelial cells appear to modulate TGF-β1 production and, in turn, regulate allergic airway remodeling following allergen provocation.
Our findings identify SHP2 as a previously underappreciated contributor to the airway remodeling and lung dysfunction associated with allergen challenge. As such, SHP2 represents a potentially novel therapeutic target for the treatment of asthmatics.
airway epithelia; asthma; mice; protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP2; remodeling
Asthma is a chronic airway disorder characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, affecting 300 million people around the world (available at: www.who.int). To date, genetic factors associated with asthma susceptibility have been unable to explain the full etiology of asthma. Recent studies have demonstrated that the epigenetic disruption of gene expression plays an equally important role in the development of asthma through interaction with our environment. We sensitized 6-week-old C57BL/6J mice with house-dust-mite (HDM) extracts intraperitoneally followed by 5 weeks of exposure to HDM challenges (three times a week) intratracheally. HDM-exposed mice showed an increase in airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR) and inflammation together with structural remodeling of the airways. We applied methylated DNA immunoprecipitation-next generation sequencing (MeDIP-seq) for profiling of DNA methylation changes in the lungs in response to HDM. We observed about 20 million reads by a single-run of massive parallel sequencing. We performed bioinformatics and pathway analysis on the raw sequencing data to identify differentially methylated candidate genes in HDM-exposed mice. Specifically, we have revealed that the transforming growth factor beta signaling pathway is epigenetically modulated by chronic exposure to HDM. Here, we demonstrated that a specific allergen may play a role in AHR through an epigenetic mechanism by disrupting the expression of genes in lungs that might be involved in airway inflammation and remodeling. Our findings provide new insights into the potential mechanisms by which environmental allergens induce allergic asthma and such insights may assist in the development of novel preventive and therapeutic options for this debilitative disease.
DNA methylation; house dust mite; airway hyperresponsiveness; asthma; next generation sequencing
Identifying therapeutic drugs that block the release or effects of T-helper type 2 (Th2) cytokines after allergen exposure is an important goal for the treatment of allergic inflammatory diseases including asthma. We recently showed, using a murine model of allergic airway inflammation, that poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of asthma-related lung inflammation. PARP inhibition, by single injection of a novel inhibitor, thieno[2,3-c]isoquinolin-5-one (TIQ-A), before ovalbumin (OVA) challenge, prevented airway eosinophilia in C57BL/6 mice with concomitant suppression of Th2 cytokine production and mucus secretion.
To evaluate the efficacy of the drug when it is given after OVA challenge for its possible therapeutic potential.
This study was conducted using a murine model of allergic airway inflammation.
A single injection of TIQ-A (6 mg/kg) one or 6 h post-allergen challenge conferred similar reduction in OVA challenge-induced eosinophilia. More significantly, post-allergen challenge administration of the drug exerted even better suppression on the production of IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, and IgE and prevented airway hyperresponsiveness to inhaled-methacholine. The significant decrease in IL-13 was accompanied by a complete absence of airways mucus production indicating a potential protection against allergen-induced airway remodelling.
The coincidence of the inflammation trigger and the time of drug administration appear to be important for the drug’s more pronounced protection. The observed time window for efficacy, 1 or 6 h after allergen challenge may be of great clinical interest. These findings may provide a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of allergic airway inflammation, including asthma.
airway hyperresponsiveness; allergy; cytokines; eosinophils; inflammation; interleukin; lung; mucus; PARP; therapeutic potential
Long-term and unresolved airway inflammation and airway remodeling, characteristic features of chronic asthma, if not treated could lead to permanent structural changes in the airways. Aldose reductase (AR), an aldo-sugar and lipid aldehyde metabolizing enzyme, mediates allergen-induced airway inflammation in mice, but its role in the airway remodeling is not known. In the present study, we have examined the role of AR on airway remodeling using ovalbumin (OVA)-induced chronic asthma mouse model and cultured human primary airway epithelial cells (SAECs) and mouse lung fibroblasts (mLFs).
Airway remodeling in chronic asthma model was established in mice sensitized and challenged twice a week with OVA for 6 weeks. AR inhibitor, fidarestat, was administered orally in drinking water after first challenge. Inflammatory cells infiltration in the lungs and goblet cell metaplasia, airway thickening, collagen deposition and airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR) in response to increasing doses of methacholine were assessed. The TGFβ1-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in SAECs and changes in mLFs were examined to investigate AR-mediated molecular mechanism(s) of airway remodeling.
In the OVA-exposed mice for 6 wks inflammatory cells infiltration, levels of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, goblet cell metaplasia, collagen deposition and AHR were significantly decreased by treatment with AR inhibitor, fidarestat. Further, inhibition of AR prevented TGFβ1-induced altered expression of E-cadherin, Vimentin, Occludin, and MMP-2 in SAECs, and alpha-smooth muscle actin and fibronectin in mLFs. Further, in SAECs, AR inhibition prevented TGFβ1- induced activation of PI3K/AKT/GSK3β pathway but not the phosphorylation of Smad2/3.
Our results demonstrate that allergen-induced airway remodeling is mediated by AR and its inhibition blocks the progression of remodeling via inhibiting TGFβ1-induced Smad-independent and PI3K/AKT/GSK3β-dependent pathway.
In asthma, mechanisms contributing to chronicity remain to be determined. Recent models of sensitisation with prolonged airway allergen challenges reproduce typical features of chronic asthma. However, the interplay between inflammation, structural changes and lung function is poorly understood. This study was performed to delineate functional, structural and immunological airway changes after cessation of long term challenges to elucidate factors contributing to the development of prolonged lung function changes.
Mice sensitised systemically were consecutively challenged intranasally with ovalbumin for two or eight weeks. After the end of challenges, lung function, airway inflammation, features of airway remodelling, local T-cell cytokines and systemic ovalbumin-specific antibodies were monitored. Long term challenges resulted in airway hyperresponsiveness lasting 2 weeks and reduced baseline lung function for 6 weeks after their cessation. In contrast, these changes resolved within one week after short term challenges. Prolonged transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β)1 production and marked peribronchial fibrosis were only induced by long term challenges. Importantly, fibrosis became apparent only after the onset of lung function changes and outlasted them. Further, long term challenges led to prolonged and intense airway inflammation with marked lymphocytosis, but moderate eosinophilia, sustained IL-5 production and ovalbumin-specific IgG2a antibodies, the latter suggesting a Th1 component to the immune response. In contrast, following short term challenges airway inflammation was dominated by eosinophils and associated with a strong, but transient IL-13 response.
Prolonged lung function changes after long term allergen challenges seem to develop and resolve independently of the persistent peribronchial fibrosis. They are more closely associated with intense airway inflammation, marked lymphocytosis, prolonged IL-5 and TGF-β1 production in the airways and a Th1 immune response.
Rationale: Although there have been numerous studies on the development of allergen-induced inflammation, the mechanisms leading to resolution of inflammation remain poorly understood. This represents an important consideration because failure to resolve allergen driven inflammation potentially leads to irreversible airway remodeling, characteristic of chronic asthma.
Objectives: We investigated the resolution of allergic inflammation and identified the factors responsible.
Methods: BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were sensitized to ovalbumin and challenged through the airways to induce allergic inflammation. Mice were analyzed at 24 hours and 7 days after the final challenge.
Measurements and Main Results: Airway hyperreactivity (AHR) and increased mucus production were present 7 days after the cessation of allergen challenge in BALB/c mice. Persisting AHR correlated with the continued presence of Th2 cells but not eosinophils in the lungs. The role of Th2 cells in maintaining AHR was confirmed using blocking antibodies against T1/ST2, IL-4, and IL-13 during the resolution period. Moreover, AHR in the “Th1 type” C57BL/6 mouse strain was resolved 1 week after allergen challenge, concomitant with clearance of Th2 cells from the lung. Expression of the T1/ST2 ligand, IL-33, also correlated with maintenance of AHR.
Conclusions: We have used blockade of Th2 function and strain differences to show for the first time that resolution of allergic inflammation and AHR may be dependent on the T1/ST2-IL-33 pathway and the presence of Th2 cells, suggesting they are necessary not only for the development of an allergic response but also for its maintenance.
Th2 cells; IL-13; IL-4
The role played by the β-galactoside-binding lectin galectin-3 (Gal-3) in airway remodeling, a characteristic feature of asthma that leads to airway dysfunction and poor clinical outcome in humans, was investigated in a murine model of chronic allergic airway inflammation. Wild-type (WT) and Gal-3 knock-out (KO) mice were subjected to repetitive allergen challenge with ovalbumin (OVA) up to 12 weeks and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lung tissue collected after the last challenge were evaluated for cellular features associated with airway remodeling. Compared to WT mice, chronic OVA challenge in Gal-3 KO mice resulted in diminished remodeling of the airways with significantly reduced mucus secretion, sub-epithelial fibrosis, smooth muscle thickness, and peribronchial angiogenesis. The higher degree of airway remodeling in WT mice was associated with higher Gal-3 expression in the BALF as well as lung tissue. Cell counts in BALF and lung immunohistology demonstrated that eosinophil infiltration in OVA-challenged Gal-3 KO mice was significantly reduced compared to WT mice. Evaluation of cellular mediators associated with eosinophil recruitment and airway remodeling revealed that levels of eotaxin-1, IL-5, IL-13, FIZZ1 and TGF-β were substantially lower in Gal-3 KO mice. Finally, leukocytes from Gal-3 KO mice demonstrated decreased trafficking (rolling) on vascular endothelial adhesion molecules compared to WT cells. Overall, these studies demonstrate that Gal-3 is an important lectin that promotes airway remodeling via airway recruitment of inflammatory cells, specifically eosinophils, and the development of a Th2 phenotype as well as increased expression of eosinophil-specific chemokines, pro-fibrogenic and angiogenic mediators.
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response participates in many chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. In the current study, we sought to examine the contribution of ER stress transducers in the pathogenesis of three principal facets of allergic asthma: inflammation, airway fibrosis, and airways hyperresponsiveness.
House Dust Mite (HDM) was used as an allergen for in vitro and in vivo challenge of primary human and murine airway epithelial cells. ER stress transducers were modulated using specific small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) in vivo. Inflammation, airway remodeling, and hyperresponsiveness were measured by total bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cell counts, determination of collagen, and methacholine responsiveness in mice, respectively.
Challenge of human bronchiolar and nasal epithelial cells with HDM extract induced the ER stress transducer, activating transcription factor 6 α (ATF6α) as well as protein disulfide isomerase, ERp57, in association with activation of caspase-3. SiRNA-mediated knockdown of ATF6α and ERp57 during HDM administration in mice resulted in a decrease in components of HDM-induced ER stress, disulfide mediated oligomerization of Bak, and activation of caspase-3. Furthermore, siRNA-mediated knockdown of ATF6α and ERp57 led to decreased inflammation, airway hyperresponsiveness and airway fibrosis.
Collectively, our work indicates that HDM induces ER stress in airway epithelial cells and that ATF6α and ERp57 play a significant role in the development of cardinal features of allergic airways disease. Inhibition of ER stress responses may provide a potential therapeutic avenue in chronic asthma and sub-epithelial fibrosis associated with loss of lung function.
Allergen; HDM; Unfolded protein response; ER stress; Apoptosis; Asthma; Airway fibrosis
Rationale: Asthma is characterized by increases in airway resistance, pulmonary remodeling, and lung inflammation. The cytokine transforming growth factor (TGF)-β has been shown to have a central role in asthma pathogenesis and in mouse models of allergic airway disease.
Objectives: To determine the contribution of TGF-β to airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), we examined the time course, source, and isoform specificity of TGF-β production in an in vivo mouse asthma model. To then elucidate the function of TGF-β in AHR, inflammation, and pulmonary fibrosis, we examined the effects of blocking TGF-β signaling with neutralizing antibody.
Methods: Mice were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA) to establish allergic airway disease. TGF-β activity was neutralized by intranasal administration of monoclonal antibody.
Measurements and Main Results: TGF-β1 protein levels were increased in OVA-challenged lungs versus naive controls, and airway epithelial cells were shown to be a likely source of TGF-β1. In addition, TGF-β1 levels were elevated in OVA-exposed IL-5–null mice, which fail to recruit eosinophils into the airways. Neutralization of TGF-β1 with specific antibody had no significant effect on airway inflammation and eosinophilia, although anti–TGF-β1 antibody enhanced OVA-induced AHR and suppressed pulmonary fibrosis.
Conclusions: These data show that TGF-β1 is the main TGF-β isoform produced after OVA challenge, with a likely cellular source being the airway epithelium. The effects of blocking TGF-β1 signaling had differential effects on AHR, fibrosis, and inflammation. While TGF-β neutralization may be beneficial to abrogating airway remodeling, it may be detrimental to lung function by increasing AHR.
lung; mice; hypersensitivity; cytokines
Inflammatory infiltrates, airway hyper-responsiveness, goblet cell hyperplasia and subepithelial thickening are characteristic of chronic asthma. Current animal models of allergen-induced airway inflammation generally concentrate on the acute inflammation following allergen exposure and fail to mimic all of these features.
The aim of this study was to use a murine model of prolonged allergen-induced airway inflammation in order to characterize the cells and molecules involved in the ensuing airway remodelling. Moreover, we investigated whether remodelling persists in the absence of continued allergen challenge.
Acute pulmonary eosinophilia and airways hyper-reactivity were induced after six serial allergen challenges in sensitized mice (acute phase). Mice were subsequently challenged three times a week with ovalbumin (OVA) (chronic phase) up to day 55. To investigate the persistence of pathology, one group of mice were left for another 4 weeks without further allergen challenge (day 80).
The extended OVA challenge protocol caused significant airway remodelling, which was absent in the acute phase. Specifically, remodelling was characterized by deposition of collagen as well as airway smooth muscle and goblet cell hyperplasia. Importantly, these airway changes, together with tissue eosinophilia were sustained in the absence of further allergen challenge. Examination of cytokines revealed a dramatic up-regulation of IL-4 and tumour growth factor-β1 during the chronic phase. Interestingly, while IL-4 levels were significantly increased during the chronic phase, levels of IL-13 fell. Levels of the Th1-associated cytokine IFN-γ also increased during the chronic phase.
In conclusion, we have demonstrated that prolonged allergen challenge results in persistent airway wall remodelling.
airway remodelling; allergic airway inflammation; asthma; eosinophils; Th2 cytokines
γδT cells play a crucial immunoregulatory role in the lung, maintaining normal airway tone and preventing hyperresponsiveness to innocuous allergen. During acute inflammatory episodes, γδT cells promote resolution of acute inflammation. However, their contribution to inflammation-associated airway remodelling remains unexplored. Here we investigate the effects of γδT cell blockade on established allergic airway inflammation and development of remodelling.
Sensitised mice were exposed to prolonged ovalbumin challenge or continuous house-dust mite exposure to induce chronic inflammation and remodelling. Functional blocking anti-TCRδ antibody was administered therapeutically, and parameters of airway inflammation and remodelling were examined.
Therapeutic blockade of γδT cells prevented the typical resolution of acute airway inflammation characterised by elevated eosinophil and Th2 cell numbers. Moreover, the lung displayed exacerbated airway remodelling, typified by excess peribronchiolar collagen deposition.
These results demonstrate a unique role for γδT cells in constraining allergen-induced airway remodelling. Manipulating the γδT cell compartment may therefore contribute to strategies to prevent and treat remodelling.
airway remodelling; allergic inflammation; Th2 cells; γδT cells
Allergic rhinitis and asthma are conditions of airway inflammation that often coexist.
In susceptible individuals, exposure of the nose and lungs to allergen elicits early phase and late phase responses. Contact with antigen by mast cells results in their degranulation, the release of selected mediators, and the subsequent recruitment of other inflammatory cell phenotypes. Additional proinflammatory mediators are released, including histamine, prostaglandins, cysteinyl leukotrienes, proteases, and a variety of cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors. Nasal biopsies in allergic rhinitis demonstrate accumulations of mast cells, eosinophils, and basophils in the epithelium and accumulations of eosinophils in the deeper subepithelium (that is, lamina propria). Examination of bronchial tissue, even in mild asthma, shows lymphocytic inflammation enriched by eosinophils. In severe asthma, the predominant pattern of inflammation changes, with increases in the numbers of neutrophils and, in many, an extension of the changes to involve smaller airways (that is, bronchioli). Structural alterations (that is, remodeling) of bronchi in mild asthma include epithelial fragility and thickening of its reticular basement membrane. With increasing severity of asthma there may be increases in airway smooth muscle mass, vascularity, interstitial collagen, and mucus-secreting glands. Remodeling in the nose is less extensive than that of the lower airways, but the epithelial reticular basement membrane may be slightly but significantly thickened.
Inflammation is a key feature of both allergic rhinitis and asthma. There are therefore potential benefits for application of anti-inflammatory strategies that target both these anatomic sites.
Existing asthma models develop tolerance when chronically exposed to the same allergen.
To establish a chronic model that sustains features of asthma long after discontinuation of allergen exposure.
We immunized and exposed mice to a combination of single, double or triple allergens (dust-mite, ragweed, and Aspergillus) intranasally for 8 weeks. Airway hyperreactivity and morphological features of asthma were studied 3 weeks after the allergen exposure. Signaling effects of the allergens were studied on dendritic cells.
Sensitization and repeated exposure to a single allergen induced tolerance. Sensitization to double, and especially triple allergens broke through tolerance and established AHR, eosinophilic inflammation, mast cell and smooth muscle hyperplasia, mucus production and airway remodeling that persisted at least 3 weeks after allergen exposure. Mucosal exposure to triple allergens in the absence of an adjuvant was sufficient to induce chronic airway inflammation. Anti-IL5 and -IL13 antibodies inhibited inflammation and AHR in the acute asthma model but not in the chronic triple allergen model. Multiple allergens produce a synergy in p38 MAPK signaling and maturation of dendritic cells, which provides a heightened T cell co-stimulation at a level that cannot be achieved with a single allergen.
Sensitivity to multiple allergens leads to chronic asthma in mice. Multiple allergens synergize in dendritic cell signaling and T cell stimulation that allows escape from the single allergen-associated tolerance development.
We have developed a model of chronic asthma that allows for the study and treatment of long-lasting features of asthma obviating the need for acute de novo allergen challenges.
chronic asthma; mouse; inflammation; airway hyperreactivity; tolerance; dendritic cells
Infection with Mycoplasma pneumoniae in asthma can occur both acutely and chronically with an associated Th2 inflammatory response and/or increased numbers of bronchial mast cells. Mast cells have previously been shown to promote mycoplasma clearance in mice; however, it is unknown whether mast cells would aid M. pneumoniae clearance under allergic conditions.
Our aim was to determine the impact of allergic inflammation on mast cell-mediated lung M. pneumoniae clearance. Furthermore, as we have previously demonstrated an essential role for IL-6 in lung M. pneumoniae clearance we also investigated the role of mast cell-derived IL-6.
Mast cell deficient WBB6F1/J-KitW/KitW-v mice were challenged with ovalbumin to induce airway inflammation prior to M. pneumoniae infection. The role of mast cell-derived IL-6 in bacterial clearance was further investigated by reconstitution of mast cell deficient mice with IL-6-/- mast cells.
Allergic mast cell deficient mice exhibited increased lung M. pneumoniae burden compared to control littermates. Intravenous adoptive transfer of wild type and IL-6-/- mast cells significantly improved M. pneumoniae clearance in mast cell deficient mice. Acutely after M. pneumoniae infection, allergen-challenged mast cell deficient mice had increased levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α in the BAL fluid. The total number of neutrophils was also increased in mast cell deficient mice.
Our results establish that mast cells aid host defense against M. pneumoniae in an allergic setting and that while IL-6 is necessary for lung M. pneumoniae clearance, mast cell-derived IL-6 is not required.
Asthma; host defense; innate immunity; mast cells; Mycoplasma pneumoniae