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1.  Toll-Like Receptor-9 Agonist Inhibits Airway Inflammation, Remodeling and Hyperreactivity in Mice Exposed to Chronic Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Allergen 
Background
As passive environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure in nonsmokers can increase both asthma symptoms and the frequency of asthma exacerbations, we utilized a mouse model, in which ovalbumin (OVA) + ETS induce significantly increased levels of eosinophilic airway inflammation and remodeling compared to either stimulus alone, to determine whether a Toll-like receptor-9 (TLR-9) agonist could reduce levels of airway inflammation, airway remodeling and airway hyperreactivity (AHR).
Methods
Mice treated with or without a TLR-9 agonist were sensitized to OVA and challenged with OVA + ETS for 1 month. AHR to methacholine was assessed in intubated and ventilated mice. Lung Th2 cytokines and TGF-β1 were measured by ELISA. Lungs were processed for histology and immunohistology to quantify eosinophils, mucus, peribronchial fibrosis and smooth muscle changes using image analysis.
Results
Administration of a TLR-9 agonist to mice coexposed to chronic ETS and chronic OVA allergen significantly reduced levels of eosinophilic airway inflammation, mucus production, peribronchial fibrosis, the thickness of the peribronchial smooth muscle layer, and AHR. The reduced airway remodeling in mice treated with the TLR-9 agonist was associated with significantly reduced numbers of peribronchial MBP+ and peribronchial TGF-β1+ cells, and with significantly reduced levels of lung Th2 cytokines [interleukin-5 and interleukin-13] and TGF-β1.
Conclusion
These studies demonstrate that TLR-9-based therapies inhibit airway inflammation, remodeling and AHR in mice coexposed to ETS and allergen who exhibit enhanced airway inflammation and remodeling.
doi:10.1159/000250437
PMCID: PMC2853586  PMID: 19851071
Toll-like receptor-9; Airway hyperreactivity; Airway inflammation; Airway remodeling; Eosinophils
2.  Post-allergen challenge inhibition of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase harbors therapeutic potential for treatment of allergic airway inflammation 
Summary
Background
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.
Objective
To evaluate the efficacy of the drug when it is given after OVA challenge for its possible therapeutic potential.
Methods
This study was conducted using a murine model of allergic airway inflammation.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2008.02943.x
PMCID: PMC2740645  PMID: 18261157
airway hyperresponsiveness; allergy; cytokines; eosinophils; inflammation; interleukin; lung; mucus; PARP; therapeutic potential
3.  A protective role for periostin and TGF-β in IgE-mediated allergy and airway hyperresponsiveness 
Clinical and Experimental Allergy  2011;42(1):144-155.
Summary
Background
The pathophysiology of asthma involves allergic inflammation and remodelling in the airway and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to cholinergic stimuli, but many details of the specific underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms remain unknown. Periostin is a matricellular protein with roles in tissue repair following injury in both the skin and heart. It has recently been shown to be up-regulated in the airway epithelium of asthmatics and to increase active TGF-β. Though one might expect periostin to play a deleterious role in asthma pathogenesis, to date its biological role in the airway is unknown.
Objective
To determine the effect of periostin deficiency on airway responses to inhaled allergen.
Methods
In vivo measures of airway responsiveness, inflammation, and remodelling were made in periostin deficient mice and wild-type controls following repeated intranasal challenge with Aspergillus fumigatus antigen. In vitro studies of the effects of epithelial cell-derived periostin on murine T cells were also performed.
Results
Surprisingly, compared with wild-type controls, periostin deficient mice developed increased AHR and serum IgE levels following allergen challenge without differences in two outcomes of airway remodelling (mucus metaplasia and peribronchial fibrosis). These changes were associated with decreased expression of TGF-β1 and Foxp3 in the lungs of periostin deficient mice. Airway epithelial cell-derived periostin-induced conversion of CD4+ CD25− cells into CD25+, Foxp3+ T cells in vitro in a TGF-β dependent manner.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance
Allergen-induced increases in serum IgE and bronchial hyperresponsiveness are exaggerated in periostin deficient mice challenged with inhaled aeroallergen. The mechanism of periostin’s effect as a brake on allergen-induced responses may involve augmentation of TGF-β-induced T regulatory cell differentiation.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2011.03840.x
PMCID: PMC3271792  PMID: 22093101
airway hyperresponsiveness; asthma; IgE; mouse model; mucus metaplasia, peribronchial fibrosis; periostin; TGF-β
4.  A protective role for periostin and TGF-β in IgE-mediated allergy and airway hyperresponsiveness 
Clinical and Experimental Allergy  2011;42(1):144-155.
Background
The pathophysiology of asthma involves allergic inflammation and remodelling in the airway and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to cholinergic stimuli, but many details of the specific underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms remain unknown. Periostin is a matricellular protein with roles in tissue repair following injury in both the skin and heart. It has recently been shown to be up-regulated in the airway epithelium of asthmatics and to increase active TGF-β. Though one might expect periostin to play a deleterious role in asthma pathogenesis, to date its biological role in the airway is unknown.
Objective
To determine the effect of periostin deficiency on airway responses to inhaled allergen.
Methods
In vivo measures of airway responsiveness, inflammation, and remodelling were made in periostin deficient mice and wild-type controls following repeated intranasal challenge with Aspergillus fumigatus antigen. In vitro studies of the effects of epithelial cell-derived periostin on murine T cells were also performed.
Results
Surprisingly, compared with wild-type controls, periostin deficient mice developed increased AHR and serum IgE levels following allergen challenge without differences in two outcomes of airway remodelling (mucus metaplasia and peribronchial fibrosis). These changes were associated with decreased expression of TGF-β1 and Foxp3 in the lungs of periostin deficient mice. Airway epithelial cell-derived periostin-induced conversion of CD4+ CD25− cells into CD25+, Foxp3+ T cells in vitro in a TGF-β dependent manner.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance
Allergen-induced increases in serum IgE and bronchial hyperresponsiveness are exaggerated in periostin deficient mice challenged with inhaled aeroallergen. The mechanism of periostin's effect as a brake on allergen-induced responses may involve augmentation of TGF-β-induced T regulatory cell differentiation.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2011.03840.x
PMCID: PMC3271792  PMID: 22093101
airway hyperresponsiveness; asthma; IgE; mouse model; mucus metaplasia; peribronchial fibrosis; periostin; TGF-β
5.  508 Antioxidants Attenuate Airway Remodeling by Regulating NF-ÊB, NRF2, and HIF in a Murine Model of Chronic Asthma 
The World Allergy Organization Journal  2012;5(Suppl 2):S178-S179.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1097/01.WOX.0000411623.56054.8a
PMCID: PMC3512881
6.  Suppression of Murine Allergic Airway Disease by IL-2:Anti-IL-2 Monoclonal Antibody-Induced Regulatory T Cells1 
Regulatory T cells (Treg) play a decisive role in many diseases including asthma and allergen-induced lung inflammation. However, little progress has been made developing new therapeutic strategies for pulmonary disorders. In the current study we demonstrate that cytokine:antibody complexes of IL-2 and anti-IL-2 mAb reduce the severity of allergen-induced inflammation in the lung by expanding Tregs in vivo. Unlike rIL-2 or anti-IL-2 mAb treatment alone, IL-2:anti-IL-2 complexes dampened airway inflammation and eosinophilia while suppressing IL-5 and eotaxin-1 production. Mucus production, airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine, and parenchymal tissue inflammation were also dramatically reduced following IL-2:anti-IL-2 treatment. The suppression in allergic airway disease was associated with a marked expansion of Tregs (IL-10+CD4+CD25+ and Foxp3+CD4+CD25+) in the tissues, with a corresponding decrease in effector T cell responses. The ability of IL-2:anti-IL-2 complexes to suppress airway inflammation was dependent on Treg-derived IL-10, as IL-10+/+, but not IL-10-/- Tregs, were capable of mediating the suppression. Furthermore, a therapeutic protocol using a model of established airway allergy highlighted the ability of IL-2:anti-IL-2 complexes to expand Tregs and prevent successive airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness. This study suggests that endogenous Treg therapy may be a useful tool to combat the rising incidence of allergic airway disease.
PMCID: PMC2706157  PMID: 18981114
7.  Oesophagostomum dentatum Extract Modulates T Cell-Dependent Immune Responses to Bystander Antigens and Prevents the Development of Allergy in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67544.
One third of the human population is currently infected by one or more species of parasitic helminths. Certain helminths establish long-term chronic infections resulting in a modulation of the host’s immune system with attenuated responsiveness to “bystander” antigens such as allergens or vaccines. In this study we investigated whether parasite-derived products suppress the development of allergic inflammation in a mouse model. We show that extract derived from adult male Oesophagostomum dentatum (eMOD) induced Th2 and regulatory responses in BALB/c mice. Stimulation of bone marrow-derived dendritic cells induced production of regulatory cytokines IL-10 and TGF-beta. In a mouse model of birch pollen allergy, co-administration of eMOD with sensitizing allergen Bet v 1 markedly reduced the production of allergen-specific antibodies in serum as well as IgE-dependent basophil degranulation. Furthermore, eMOD prevented the development of airway inflammation, as demonstrated by attenuation of bronchoalveolar lavages eosinophil influx, peribronchial inflammatory infiltrate, and mucus secretion in lungs and IL-4 and IL-5 levels in lung cell cultures. Reduced secretion of Th2-related cytokines by birch pollen-re-stimulated splenocytes and mesenteric lymph node cells was observed in eMOD-treated/sensitized and challenged mice in comparison to sensitized and challenged controls. The suppressive effects of eMOD were heat-stable. Immunization with model antigens in the presence of eMOD reduced production of antibodies to thymus-dependent but not to thymus-independent antigen, suggesting that suppression of the immune responses by eMOD was mediated by interference with antigen presenting cell or T helper cell function but did not directly suppress B cell function. In conclusion, we have shown that eMOD possesses immunomodulatory properties and that heat-stable factors in eMOD are responsible for the dramatic suppression of allergic responses in a mouse model of type I allergy. The identification and characterization of parasite-derived immune-modulating molecules might have potential for designing novel prophylactic/therapeutic strategies for immune-mediated diseases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067544
PMCID: PMC3699627  PMID: 23844022
8.  Adoptive Transfer of Induced-Treg Cells Effectively Attenuates Murine Airway Allergic Inflammation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40314.
Both nature and induced regulatory T (Treg) lymphocytes are potent regulators of autoimmune and allergic disorders. Defects in endogenous Treg cells have been reported in patients with allergic asthma, suggesting that disrupted Treg cell-mediated immunological regulation may play an important role in airway allergic inflammation. In order to determine whether adoptive transfer of induced Treg cells generated in vitro can be used as an effective therapeutic approach to suppress airway allergic inflammation, exogenously induced Treg cells were infused into ovalbumin-sensitized mice prior to or during intranasal ovalbumin challenge. The results showed that adoptive transfer of induced Treg cells prior to allergen challenge markedly reduced airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophil recruitment, mucus hyper-production, airway remodeling, and IgE levels. This effect was associated with increase of Treg cells (CD4+FoxP3+) and decrease of dendritic cells in the draining lymph nodes, and with reduction of Th1, Th2, and Th17 cell response as compared to the controls. Moreover, adoptive transfer of induced Treg cells during allergen challenge also effectively attenuate airway inflammation and improve airway function, which are comparable to those by natural Treg cell infusion. Therefore, adoptive transfer of in vitro induced Treg cells may be a promising therapeutic approach to prevent and treat severe asthma.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040314
PMCID: PMC3392250  PMID: 22792275
9.  Compartmental and Temporal Dynamics of Chronic Inflammation and Airway Remodelling in a Chronic Asthma Mouse Model 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85839.
Background
Allergic asthma is associated with chronic airway inflammation and progressive airway remodelling. However, the dynamics of the development of these features and their spontaneous and pharmacological reversibility are still poorly understood. We have therefore investigated the dynamics of airway remodelling and repair in an experimental asthma model and studied how pharmacological intervention affects these processes.
Methods
Using BALB/c mice, the kinetics of chronic asthma progression and resolution were characterised in absence and presence of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) treatment. Airway inflammation and remodelling was assessed by the analysis of bronchoalveolar and peribronichal inflammatory cell infiltrate, goblet cell hyperplasia, collagen deposition and smooth muscle thickening.
Results
Chronic allergen exposure resulted in early (goblet cell hyperplasia) and late remodelling (collagen deposition and smooth muscle thickening). After four weeks of allergen cessation eosinophilic inflammation, goblet cell hyperplasia and collagen deposition were resolved, full resolution of lymphocyte inflammation and smooth muscle thickening was only observed after eight weeks. ICS therapy when started before the full establishment of chronic asthma reduced the development of lung inflammation, decreased goblet cell hyperplasia and collagen deposition, but did not affect smooth muscle thickening. These effects of ICS on airway remodelling were maintained for a further four weeks even when therapy was discontinued.
Conclusions
Utilising a chronic model of experimental asthma we have shown that repeated allergen exposure induces reversible airway remodelling and inflammation in mice. Therapeutic intervention with ICS was partially effective in inhibiting the transition from acute to chronic asthma by reducing airway inflammation and remodelling but was ineffective in preventing smooth muscle hypertrophy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085839
PMCID: PMC3897544  PMID: 24465740
10.  Neutralization of TSLP Inhibits Airway Remodeling in a Murine Model of Allergic Asthma Induced by Chronic Exposure to House Dust Mite 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e51268.
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051268
PMCID: PMC3534685  PMID: 23300949
11.  Neutralisation of Interleukin-13 in Mice Prevents Airway Pathology Caused by Chronic Exposure to House Dust Mite 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13136.
Background
Repeated exposure to inhaled allergen can cause airway inflammation, remodeling and dysfunction that manifests as the symptoms of allergic asthma. We have investigated the role of the cytokine interleukin-13 (IL-13) in the generation and persistence of airway cellular inflammation, bronchial remodeling and deterioration in airway function in a model of allergic asthma caused by chronic exposure to the aeroallergen House Dust Mite (HDM).
Methodology/Principal Findings
Mice were exposed to HDM via the intranasal route for 4 consecutive days per week for up to 8 consecutive weeks. Mice were treated either prophylactically or therapeutically with a potent neutralising anti-IL-13 monoclonal antibody (mAb) administered subcutaneously (s.c.). Airway cellular inflammation was assessed by flow cytometry, peribronchial collagen deposition by histocytochemistry and airway hyperreactivity (AHR) by invasive measurement of lung resistance (RL) and dynamic compliance (Cdyn). Both prophylactic and therapeutic treatment with an anti-IL-13 mAb significantly inhibited (P<0.05) the generation and maintenance of chronic HDM-induced airway cellular inflammation, peribronchial collagen deposition, epithelial goblet cell upregulation. AHR to inhaled methacholine was reversed by prophylactic but not therapeutic treatment with anti-IL-13 mAb. Both prophylactic and therapeutic treatment with anti-IL-13 mAb significantly reversed (P<0.05) the increase in baseline RL and the decrease in baseline Cdyn caused by chronic exposure to inhaled HDM.
Conclusions/Significance
These data demonstrate that in a model of allergic lung disease driven by chronic exposure to a clinically relevant aeroallergen, IL-13 plays a significant role in the generation and persistence of airway inflammation, remodeling and dysfunction.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013136
PMCID: PMC2948524  PMID: 20957211
12.  γδT cells regulate chronic airway inflammation and development of airway remodelling 
Clinical and Experimental Allergy  2014;44(11):1386-1398.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1111/cea.12395
PMCID: PMC4238847  PMID: 25146585
airway remodelling; allergic inflammation; Th2 cells; γδT cells
13.  Anti-Fas mAb-induced apoptosis and cytolysis of airway tissue eosinophils aggravates rather than resolves established inflammation 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):90.
Background
Fas receptor-mediated eosinophil apoptosis is currently forwarded as a mechanism resolving asthma-like inflammation. This view is based on observations in vitro and in airway lumen with unknown translatability to airway tissues in vivo. In fact, apoptotic eosinophils have not been detected in human diseased airway tissues whereas cytolytic eosinophils abound and constitute a major mode of degranulation of these cells. Also, Fas receptor stimulation may bypass the apoptotic pathway and directly evoke cytolysis of non-apoptotic cells. We thus hypothesized that effects of anti-Fas mAb in vivo may include both apoptosis and cytolysis of eosinophils and, hence, that established eosinophilic inflammation may not resolve by this treatment.
Methods
Weeklong daily allergen challenges of sensitized mice were followed by airway administration of anti-Fas mAb. BAL was performed and airway-pulmonary tissues were examined using light and electron microscopy. Lung tissue analysis for CC-chemokines, apoptosis, mucus production and plasma exudation (fibrinogen) were performed.
Results
Anti-Fas mAb evoked apoptosis of 28% and cytolysis of 4% of eosinophils present in allergen-challenged airway tissues. Furthermore, a majority of the apoptotic eosinophils remained unengulfed and eventually exhibited secondary necrosis. A striking histopathology far beyond the allergic inflammation developed and included degranulated eosinophils, neutrophilia, epithelial derangement, plasma exudation, mucus-plasma plugs, and inducement of 6 CC-chemokines. In animals without eosinophilia anti-Fas evoked no inflammatory response.
Conclusion
An efficient inducer of eosinophil apoptosis in airway tissues in vivo, anti-Fas mAb evoked unprecedented asthma-like inflammation in mouse allergic airways. This outcome may partly reflect the ability of anti-Fas to evoke direct cytolysis of non-apoptotic eosinophils in airway tissues. Additionally, since most apoptotic tissue eosinophils progressed into the pro-inflammatory cellular fate of secondary necrosis this may also explain the aggravated inflammation. Our data indicate that Fas receptor mediated eosinophil apoptosis in airway tissues in vivo may cause severe disease exacerbation due to direct cytolysis and secondary necrosis of eosinophils.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-6-90
PMCID: PMC1187926  PMID: 16086832
asthma; allergy; eosinophils; apoptosis; chemokines
14.  L-2-Oxothiazolidine-4-Carboxylic Acid or α-Lipoic Acid Attenuates Airway Remodeling: Involvement of Nuclear Factor-κB (NF-κB), Nuclear Factor Erythroid 2p45-Related Factor-2 (Nrf2), and Hypoxia-Inducible Factor (HIF) 
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.
doi:10.3390/ijms13077915
PMCID: PMC3430212  PMID: 22942681
airway remodeling; antioxidant; hypoxia-inducible factor; nuclear factor erythroid 2p45-related factor-2; nuclear factor-κB; oxidative stress
15.  The transfer of maternal antigen-specific IgG regulates the development of allergic airway inflammation early in life in an FcRn-dependent manner 
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory airway disease characterized by airway hyperreactivity, increased mucus production, and reversible airway contraction. Asthma is a complex genetic trait caused by environmental factors in genetically predisposed individuals. The transportation of maternal antigen-specific IgG via amniotic fluid, placenta and breast milk plays an important role in passive immunity. First, to examine whether maternal passive immunity by the transportation of antigen-specific IgG via FcRn regulates allergic airway inflammation, ovalbumin-immunized FcRn+/− female mice were bred with FcRn−/− male mice to evaluate the degree of ovalbumin-induced allergic airway inflammation of FcRn−/− offspring. Maternal passive immunity regulated allergic airway inflammation in an FcRn-dependent manner. Second, to examine the role of maternal antigen-specific IgG1 injection into mothers, we intravenously injected ovalbumin-specific IgG1 into wild-type or FcRn+/− mice immediately after they gave birth. The offspring were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin. Antigen-specific IgG1 administered to lactating mice reduced allergic airway inflammation in their offspring in an FcRn-dependent manner. Last, to exclude the factor of maternal passive immunity other than ovalbumin-specific IgG1, we administered ovalbumin-specific IgG1 orally to offspring after birth. Oral administration of ovalbu-min-specific IgG1 to offspring during the lactating period prevented the development of allergic airway inflammation in an FcRn-dependent manner. These data show that the transfer of maternal antigen-specific IgG regulates the development of allergic airway inflammation early in life in an FcRn-dependent manner.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2010.03.170
PMCID: PMC3990410  PMID: 20362552
Allergic airway inflammation; Asthma; IgG; FcRn; Breast milk
16.  Respiratory syncytial virus infection provokes airway remodelling in allergen–exposed mice in absence of prior allergen sensitization 
Summary
Background
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.
Objective
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2008.02974.x
PMCID: PMC3385350  PMID: 18498543
airway allergic inflammation; airway remodelling; asthma; RSV
17.  Reduced Lung Function in a Chronic Asthma Model Is Associated with Prolonged Inflammation, but Independent of Peribronchial Fibrosis 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(2):e1575.
Background
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.
Methodology/Principal Findings
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001575
PMCID: PMC2215329  PMID: 18253511
18.  Combined Sensitization of Mice to Extracts of Dust Mites, Ragweed and Aspergillus Breaks through Tolerance and Establishes Chronic Features of Asthma in Mice 
Background
Existing asthma models develop tolerance when chronically exposed to the same allergen.
Objective
To establish a chronic model that sustains features of asthma long after discontinuation of allergen exposure.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
Clinical Implications
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.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2009.02.009
PMCID: PMC2683988  PMID: 19348928
chronic asthma; mouse; inflammation; airway hyperreactivity; tolerance; dendritic cells
19.  Chronic OVA allergen challenged Siglec-F deficient mice have increased mucus, remodeling, and epithelial Siglec-F ligands which are up-regulated by IL-4 and IL-13 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):154.
Background
In this study we examined the role of Siglec-F, a receptor highly expressed on eosinophils, in contributing to mucus expression, airway remodeling, and Siglec-F ligand expression utilizing Siglec-F deficient mice exposed to chronic allergen challenge.
Methods
Wild type (WT) and Siglec-F deficient mice were sensitized and challenged chronically with OVA for one month. Levels of airway inflammation (eosinophils), Siglec-F ligand expresion and remodeling (mucus, fibrosis, smooth muscle thickness, extracellular matrix protein deposition) were assessed in lung sections by image analysis and immunohistology. Airway hyperreactivity to methacholine was assessed in intubated and ventilated mice.
Results
Siglec-F deficient mice challenged with OVA for one month had significantly increased numbers of BAL and peribronchial eosinophils compared to WT mice which was associated with a significant increase in mucus expression as assessed by the number of periodic acid Schiff positive airway epithelial cells. In addition, OVA challenged Siglec-F deficient mice had significantly increased levels of peribronchial fibrosis (total lung collagen, area of peribronchial trichrome staining), as well as increased numbers of peribronchial TGF-β1+ cells, and increased levels of expression of the extracellular matrix protein fibronectin compared to OVA challenged WT mice. Lung sections immunostained with a Siglec-Fc to detect Siglec-F ligand expression demonstrated higher levels of expression of the Siglec-F ligand in the peribronchial region in OVA challenged Siglec-F deficient mice compared to WT mice. WT and Siglec-F deficient mice challenged intranasally with IL-4 or IL-13 had significantly increased levels of airway epithelial Siglec-F ligand expression, whereas this was not observed in WT or Siglec-F deficient mice challenged with TNF-α. There was a significant increase in the thickness of the peribronchial smooth muscle layer in OVA challenged Siglec-F deficient mice, but this was not associated with significant increased airway hyperreactivity compared to WT mice.
Conclusions
Overall, this study demonstrates an important role for Siglec-F in modulating levels of chronic eosinophilic airway inflammation, peribronchial fibrosis, thickness of the smooth muscle layer, mucus expression, fibronectin, and levels of peribronchial Siglec-F ligands suggesting that Siglec-F may normally function to limit levels of chronic eosinophilic inflammation and remodeling. In addition, IL-4 and IL-13 are important regulators of Siglec-F ligand expression by airway epithelium.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-11-154
PMCID: PMC2988013  PMID: 21040544
20.  Allergen-induced airway remodeling is impaired in galectin-3 deficient mice1 
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.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1000039
PMCID: PMC2918241  PMID: 20543100
21.  Aeroallergen-induced eosinophilic inflammation, lung damage, and airways hyperreactivity in mice can occur independently of IL-4 and allergen-specific immunoglobulins. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1997;99(6):1329-1339.
In this investigation we have used a mouse model containing certain phenotypic characteristics consistent with asthma and IL-4- and CD40-deficient mice to establish the role of this cytokine and allergen-specific immunoglobulins in the initiation of airways hyperreactivity and morphological changes to the airways in responses to aeroallergen challenge. Sensitization and aerosol challenge of mice with ovalbumin resulted in a severe airways inflammatory response which directly correlated with the induction of extensive airways damage and airways hyperreactivity to beta-methacholine. Inflammatory infiltrates were primarily characterized by the presence of CD4+ T cells and eosinophils. In IL-4-deficient mice, the recruitment of airways eosinophils was impaired, but not abolished in response to aeroallergen. Moreover, the characteristic airways damage and hyperreactivity normally resulting from allergen inhalation were not attenuated. Induction of these structural and functional changes to the airways occurred in the absence of ovalbumin-specific IgE and IgG1, but IgG2a and IgG3 were detected in the sera of IL-4-deficient mice. CD4+ T cells isolated from both wild-type and IL-4-deficient mice given ovalbumin produced significant levels of IL-5 after in vitro stimulation. Treatment of IL-4-deficient mice with anti-IL-5 mAb before aeroallergen challenge abolished blood and airways eosinophilia, lung damage, and airways hyperreactivity. These results indicate that IL-4 is not essential for the development of IL-5-producing CD4+ T cells or for the induction of eosinophilic inflammation and airways damage and hyperreactivity. In response to sensitization and aerosol challenge, CD40-deficient mice did not produce ovalbumin-specific IgE, IgG isotypes, or IgA, and airways inflammation and hyperreactivity were not attenuated. Our results suggest that allergic airways disease can occur via pathways which operate independently of IL-4 and allergen-specific immunoglobulins. Activation of these pathways is intimately associated with IL-5 and eosinophilic inflammation. Such pathways may play a substantive role in the etiology of asthma.
PMCID: PMC507949  PMID: 9077543
22.  Prolonged allergen challenge in mice leads to persistent airway remodelling 
Summary
Background
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.
Objective
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.
Methods
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).
Results
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.
Conclusion
In conclusion, we have demonstrated that prolonged allergen challenge results in persistent airway wall remodelling.
PMCID: PMC3428844  PMID: 15005746
airway remodelling; allergic airway inflammation; asthma; eosinophils; Th2 cytokines
23.  Down-regulation of 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase 1 expression in the airway epithelium ameliorates allergic lung inflammation 
DNA repair  2012;12(1):18-26.
Allergic airway inflammation is characterized by increased expression of pro-inflammatory mediators, inflammatory cell infiltration, mucus hypersecretion, and airway hyperresponsiveness, in parallel with oxidative DNA base and strand damage, whose etiological role is not understood. Our goal was to establish the role of 8-oxoguanine (8-oxoG), a common oxidatively damaged base, and its repair by 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase 1 (Ogg1) in allergic airway inflammatory processes. Airway inflammation was induced by intranasally administered ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) pollen grain extract (RWPE) in sensitized BALB/c mice. We utilized siRNA technology to deplete Ogg1 from airway epithelium; 8-oxoG and DNA strand break levels were quantified by Comet assays. Inflammatory cell infiltration and epithelial methaplasia were determined histologically, mucus and cytokines levels biochemically and enhanced pause was used as the main index of airway hyperresponsiveness. Decreased Ogg1 expression and thereby 8-oxoG repair in the airway epithelium conveyed a lower inflammatory response after RWPE challenge of sensitized mice, as determined by expression of Th2 cytokines, eosinophilia, epithelial methaplasia, and airway hyperresponsiveness. In contrast, 8-oxoG repair in Ogg1-proficient airway epithelium was coupled to an increase in DNA single-strand break (SSB) levels and exacerbation of allergen challenge-dependent inflammation. Decreased expression of the Nei-like glycosylases Neil1 and Neil2 that preferentially excise ring-opened purines and 5-hydroxyuracil, respectively, did not alter the above parameters of allergic immune responses to RWPE. These results show that DNA SSBs formed during Ogg1-mediated repair of 8-oxoG augment antigen-driven allergic immune responses. A transient modulation of OGG1 expression/activity in airway epithelial cells could have clinical benefits.
doi:10.1016/j.dnarep.2012.10.002
PMCID: PMC3678389  PMID: 23127499
allergic inflammation; DNA repair; oxidative DNA damage; oxidative stress; 8-oxoguanine; 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase 1
24.  Resolution of Allergic Inflammation and Airway Hyperreactivity Is Dependent upon Disruption of the T1/ST2–IL-33 Pathway 
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.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200805-666OC
PMCID: PMC2675564  PMID: 19179489
Th2 cells; IL-13; IL-4
25.  IL-25 drives remodelling in allergic airways disease induced by house dust mite 
Thorax  2012;68(1):82-90.
Background
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.
Objective
We investigated whether IL-25 plays an active role in driving this airway remodelling.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2012-202003
PMCID: PMC3534261  PMID: 23093652
Airway Epithelium; Allergic lung disease; Asthma; Asthma Mechanisms

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