Peptides with broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity are found in the mucosal surfaces at many sites in the body, including the airway, the oral cavity, and the digestive tract. Based on their in vitro antimicrobial and other immunomodulatory activities, these host defense peptides have been proposed to play an important role in the innate defense against pathogenic microbial colonization. The genes that encode these peptides are up-regulated by pathogens, further supporting their role in innate immune defense. However, the differences in the local microbial environments between the generally sterile airway and the highly colonized oral cavity suggest a more complex role for these peptides in innate immunity. For example, β-defensin genes are induced in the airway by all bacteria and Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists primarily through an NF-κB-mediated pathway. In contrast, the same genes are induced in the gingival epithelium by only a subset of bacteria and TLR ligands, via different pathways. Furthermore, the environments into which the peptides are secreted—specifically saliva, gingival crevicular fluid, and airway surface fluid—differ greatly and can effect their respective activities in host defense. In this review, we examine the differences and similarities between host defense peptides in the oral cavity and the airway, to gain a better understanding of their contributions to immunity.
defensin; cathelicidin; innate immunity; antimicrobial peptide; host-pathogen interaction
Expression of innate immune genes such as β-defensins is induced in airway epithelium by bacterial components via activation of NF-κB. We show here that live Gram-negative bacteria can similarly stimulate this pathway, resulting in upregulation of the β-defensin tracheal antimicrobial peptide (TAP) in primary cultures of bovine tracheal epithelial cells (TECs), by a Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-mediated pathway. The Gram-negative airway pathogen Bordetella bronchiseptica possesses a type III secretion system previously suggested to inhibit the nuclear translocation of NF-κB in a cell line by immunohistochemistry. We therefore hypothesized that this pathogen might interfere in the innate immune response of the epithelium. Exposure of TECs to wild-type B. bronchiseptica suppressed the activation of NF-κB and the subsequent induction of TAP mRNA levels, whereas a type III secretion-defective strain did not. These results suggest a mechanism for bacterial evasion of the innate immune response in the airway, which could allow for the observed persistent colonization of this pathogen.
The toll-like receptors (TLRs) are important components of the respiratory epithelium host innate defense, enabling the airway surface to recognize and respond to a variety of insults in inhaled air. Based on the knowledge that smokers are more susceptible to pulmonary infection and that the airway epithelium of smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by bacterial colonization and acute exacerbation of airway infections, we assessed whether smoking alters expression of TLRs in human small airway epithelium, the primary site of smoking-induced disease. Microarrays were used to survey the TLR family gene expression in small airway (10th–12th order) epithelium from healthy nonsmokers (n=60), healthy smokers (n=73) and smokers with COPD (n=36). Using the criteria of detection call of present in ≥50%, 6 of 10 TLRs (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8) were expressed. Compared to nonsmokers, the most striking change was for TLR5, which was down-regulated in healthy smokers (1.4-fold, p<10−10) and smokers with COPD (1.6-fold, p<10−11). TaqMan RT-PCR confirmed these observations. Bronchial biopsy immunofluorescence studies showed that TLR5 was expressed mainly on the apical side of the epithelium and was decreased in healthy smokers and smokers with COPD. In vitro, the level of TLR5 downstream genes, IL-6 and IL-8, were highly induced by flagellin in TLR5 high-expressing cells compared to TLR5 low-expressing cells. In the context that TLR5 functions to recognize pathogens and activate innate immune responses, the smoking-induced down-regulation of TLR5 may contribute to smoking-related susceptibility to airway infection, at least for flagellated bacteria.
It has become increasingly clear that airway epithelial cells are central participants in innate and adaptive immune responses as well as mucosal inflammation. Epithelial cells produce antimicrobial host defense molecules, proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines in response to activation via pathogen recognition receptors. Recruitment of immune cells including dendritic cells, T cells and B cells into the proximity of epithelium results in the enhancement of adaptive immunity through interactions with epithelial cells. Newly identified epithelial-derived cytokines, including TSLP, IL-33 and BAFF, help to shape the local accumulation and activation of Th2 responses and B cell immunoglobulin production. Epithelial cells are also downstream targets of molecules that activate IL-13R and EGFR and are responsible for mucus production in both protective immune responses and allergic airway inflammatory diseases. Improved understanding of epithelial immune and inflammatory responses will hopefully suggest new strategies for therapeutic intervention.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disorder characterised by chronic inflammation of the airways. The lung manifestations of CF include colonization with Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus leading to neutrophil-dominated airway inflammation and tissue damage. Inflammation in the CF lung is initiated by microbial components which activate the innate immune response via Toll-like receptors (TLRs), increasing airway epithelial cell production of proinflammatory mediators such as the neutrophil chemokine interleukin-8 (IL-8). Thus modulation of TLR function represents a therapeutic approach for CF. Nicotine is a naturally occurring plant alkaloid. Although it is negatively associated with cigarette smoking and cardiovascular damage, nicotine also has anti-inflammatory properties. Here we investigate the inhibitory capacity of nicotine against TLR2- and TLR4-induced IL-8 production by CFTE29o- airway epithelial cells, determine the role of α7-nAChR (nicotinic acetylcholine receptor) in these events, and provide data to support the potential use of safe nicotine analogues as anti-inflammatories for CF.
Inflammation of the airways, which is often associated with life-threatening infection by Gram-negative bacteria or presence of endotoxin in the bioaerosol, is still a major cause of severe airway diseases. Moreover, inhaled endotoxin may play an important role in the development and progression of airway inflammation in asthma. Pathologic changes induced by endotoxin inhalation include bronchospasm, airflow obstruction, recruitment of inflammatory cells, injury of the alveolar epithelium, and disruption of pulmonary capillary integrity leading to protein rich fluid leak in the alveolar space. Mammalian Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are important signalling receptors in innate host defense. Among these receptors, TLR4 plays a critical role in the response to endotoxin.
Lungs are a complex compartmentalized organ with separate barriers, namely the alveolar-capillary barrier, the microvascular endothelium, and the alveolar epithelium. An emerging theme in the field of lung immunology is that structural cells (SCs) of the airways such as epithelial cells (ECs), endothelial cells, fibroblasts and other stromal cells produce activating cytokines that determine the quantity and quality of the lung immune response. This review focuses on the role of TLR4 in the innate and adaptive immune functions of the pulmonary SCs.
Airway diseases; dendritic cells; epithelial cell; pulmonary stromal cells; TLR4
Airway epithelial cells (AECs) are part of the frontline defense against infection of pathogens by providing both a physical barrier and immunological function. The role of AECs in the innate and adaptive immune responses, through the production of antimicrobial molecules and proinflammatory factors against a variety of pathogens, has been well established. Tuberculosis (TB), a contagious disease primarily affecting the lungs, is caused by the infection of various strains of mycobacteria. In response to mycobacteria infection, epithelial expression of Toll-like receptors and surfactant proteins plays the most prominent roles in the recognition and binding of the pathogen, as well as the initiation of the immune response. Moreover, the antimicrobial substances, proinflammatory factors secreted by AECs, composed a major part of the innate immune response and mediation of adaptive immunity against the pathogen. Thus, a better understanding of the role and mechanism of AECs in response to mycobacteria will provide insight into the relationship of epithelial cells and lung immunocytes against TB, which may facilitate our understanding of the pathogenesis and immunological mechanism of pulmonary tuberculosis disease.
Preterm infants experience enhanced susceptibility and severity to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. Terminal airway epithelium is an important site of RSV infection and the extent of local innate immune gene expression is poorly understood. In this study, expression of surfactant proteins A and D (SP-AD), sheep beta defensin 1 (SBD1), and toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) mRNA were determined in whole lung homogenates from lambs. SP-AD and TLR4 mRNA expression increased (p<0.05) from late gestation to term birth. In addition, gene expression of LCM-retrieved type II pneumocytes (CD208+), adjacent epithelium (CD208−) and bronchial epithelium demonstrated that bronchiole-alveolar junction epithelium (combined CD208+/−) had significant (p<0.05) developmental increases in SP-AD, SBD1 and TLR4 mRNA, whereas CD208+ cells had statistically significant increases only with SP-A mRNA. Using immunofluorescence, SP-AD antigen distribution and intensity were also greater with developmental age. These studies show reduced SBD1, SP-AD, and TLR4 expression in the preterm lung and this may underlie enhanced RSV susceptibility.
Antimicrobial peptide; Beta-defensin; Lung; Preterm infant; Sheep; Surfactant protein; Toll-like receptor
New and exciting insights into the importance of the innate immune system are revolutionizing our understanding of immune defense against infections, pathogenesis, and the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. The innate immune system uses multiple families of germline-encoded pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) to detect infection and trigger a variety of antimicrobial defense mechanisms. PRRs are evolutionarily highly conserved and serve to detect infection by recognizing pathogen-associated molecular patterns that are unique to microorganisms and essential for their survival. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are transmembrane signalling receptors that activate gene expression programs that result in the production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, type I interferons and antimicrobial factors. Furthermore, TLR activation facilitates and guides activation of adaptive immune responses through the activation of dendritic cells. TLRs are localized on the cell surface and in endosomal/lysosomal compartments, where they detect bacterial and viral infections. In contrast, nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain proteins and RNA helicases are located in the cell cytoplasm, where they serve as intracellular PRRs to detect cytoplasmic infections, particularly viruses. Due to their ability to enhance innate immune responses, novel strategies to use ligands, synthetic agonists or antagonists of PRRs (also known as ‘innate immunologicals’) can be used as stand-alone agents to provide immediate protection or treatment against bacterial, viral or parasitic infections. Furthermore, the newly appreciated importance of innate immunity in initiating and shaping adaptive immune responses is contributing to our understanding of vaccine adjuvants and promises to lead to improved next-generation vaccines.
Anti-infectives; CpG DNA; Innate immunity; Microbicide; NOD1; NOD2; Pathogen-associated molecular patterns; Pattern recognition receptors; RNA helicases; Toll-like receptors; Vaccine adjuvant
The endometrium is commonly infected with bacteria leading to severe disease of the uterus in cattle and humans. The endometrial epithelium is the first line of defence for this mucosal surface against bacteria and Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a critical component of the innate immune system for detection of pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). Antimicrobial peptides, acute phase proteins and Mucin-1 (MUC-1) also provide non-specific defences against microbes on mucosal surfaces. The present study examined the expression of innate immune defences in the bovine endometrium and tested the hypothesis that endometrial epithelial cells express functional receptors of the TLR family and the non-specific effector molecules for defence against bacteria.
Bovine endometrial tissue and purified populations of primary epithelial and stromal cells were examined using RT-PCR for gene expression of TLRs, antimicrobial peptides and MUC-1. Functional responses were tested by evaluating the secretion of prostaglandin E2 and acute phase proteins when cells were treated with bacterial PAMPs such as bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and lipoproteins.
The endometrium expressed TLRs 1 to 10, whilst purified populations of epithelial cells expressed TLRs 1 to 7 and 9, and stromal cells expressed TLRs 1 to 4, 6, 7, 9 and 10. The TLRs appear to be functional as epithelial cells secreted prostaglandin E2 in response to bacterial PAMPs. In addition, the epithelial cells expressed antimicrobial peptides, such as Tracheal and Lingual Antimicrobial Peptides (TAP and LAP) and MUC-1, which were upregulated when the cells were treated with LPS. However, the epithelial cells did not express appreciable amounts of the acute phase proteins haptoglobin or serum amyloid A.
Epithelial cells have an essential role in the orchestration of innate immune defence of the bovine endometrium and are likely to be the key to prevention of endometrial infection with bacteria.
The airway epithelium serves multiple roles in the defense of the lung. Not only does it act as a physical barrier, it acts as a distal extension of the innate immune system. We investigated the role of the airway epithelium in the interaction with flagella, an important virulence factor of the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a cause of ventilator associated pneumonia and significant morbidity and mortality in patients with cystic fibrosis. Flagella were required for transmigration across polarized airway epithelial cells and this was a direct consequence of motility, and not a signaling effect. Purified flagella did not alter the barrier properties of the epithelium but were observed to be rapidly endocytosed inside epithelial cells. Neither flagella nor intact P. aeruginosa stimulated epithelial inflammasome signaling. Flagella-dependent signaling required dynamin-based uptake as well as TLR5 and primarily led to the induction of proinflammatory (Tnf, Il6) as well as neutrophil (Cxcl1, Cxcl2, Ccl3) and macrophage (Ccl20) chemokines. Although flagella are important in invasion across the epithelial barrier their shedding in the airway lumen results in epithelial uptake and signaling that has a major role in the initial recruitment of immune cells in the lung.
Impaired airway mucosal immunity can contribute to increased respiratory tract infections in asthmatic patients, but the involved molecular mechanisms have not been fully clarified. Airway epithelial cells serve as the first line of respiratory mucosal defense to eliminate inhaled pathogens through various mechanisms, including Toll-like receptor (TLR) pathways. Our previous studies suggest that impaired TLR2 function in TH2 cytokine–exposed airways might decrease immune responses to pathogens and subsequently exacerbate allergic inflammation. IL-1 receptor–associated kinase M (IRAK-M) negatively regulates TLR signaling. However, IRAK-M expression in airway epithelium from asthmatic patients and its functions under a TH2 cytokine milieu remain unclear.
We sought to evaluate the role of IRAK-M in IL-13–inhibited TLR2 signaling in human airway epithelial cells. Methods: We examined IRAK-M protein expression in epithelia from asthmatic patients versus that in normal airway epithelia. Moreover, IRAK-M regulation and function in modulating innate immunity (eg, TLR2 signaling) were investigated in cultured human airway epithelial cells with or without IL-13 stimulation.
IRAK-M protein levels were increased in asthmatic airway epithelium. Furthermore, in primary human airway epithelial cells, IL-13 consistently upregulated IRAK-M expression, largely through activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase pathway. Specifically, phosphoinositide 3-kinase activation led to c-Jun binding to human IRAK-M gene promoter and IRAK-M upregulation. Functionally, IL-13–induced IRAK-M suppressed airway epithelial TLR2 signaling activation (eg, TLR2 and human β-defensin 2), partly through inhibiting activation of nuclear factor κB.
Our data indicate that epithelial IRAK-M overexpression in TH2 cytokine–exposed airways inhibits TLR2 signaling, providing a novel mechanism for the increased susceptibility of infections in asthmatic patients.
IL-13; IL-1 receptor–associated kinase M; Toll-like receptor 2; airway epithelial cells
Airway inflammation in asthma involves innate immune responses. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) are thought to be involved in airway inflammation, but their expression in asthmatics’ both large and small airways has not been investigated.
To analyze the expression of TLR2, TLR3, TLR4 and TSLP in large and small airways of asthmatics and compare their expression in smoking and nonsmoking asthmatics; to investigate whether TLR expression is associated with eosinophilic or neutrophilic airway inflammation and with Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydophila pneumoniae infection.
Using immunohistochemistry and image analysis, we investigated TLR2, TLR3, TLR4 and TSLP expression in large and small airways of 24 victims of fatal asthma, FA, (13 nonsmokers, 11 smokers) and 9 deceased control subjects (DCtrl). TLRs were also measured in 18 mild asthmatics (MA) and 12 healthy controls (HCtrl). Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydophila pneumoniae in autopsy lung tissue was analyzed using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Airway eosinophils and neutrophils were measured in all subjects.
Fatal asthma patients had higher TLR2 in the epithelial and outer layers of large and small airways compared with DCtrls. Smoking asthmatics had lower TLR2 levels in the inner and outer layers of the small airways than nonsmoking asthmatics. TSLP was increased in the epithelial and outer layers of the large airways of FA. FA patients had greater TLR3 expression in the outer layer of large airways and greater TLR4 expression in the outer layer of small airways. Eosinophilic airway inflammation was associated with TLR expression in the epithelium of FA. No bacterial DNA was detected in FA or DCtrls. MA and HCtrls had only a small difference in TLR3 expression.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance
Increased expression of TLR 2, 3 and 4 and TSLP in fatal asthma may contribute to the acute inflammation surrounding asthma deaths.
lung; innate immunity; immunohistochemistry
Bacterial and viral exacerbations play a crucial role in a variety of lung diseases including COPD or asthma. Since the lung epithelium is a major source of various inflammatory mediators that affect the immune response, we analyzed the inflammatory reaction of primary lung epithelial cells to different microbial molecules that are recognized by Toll-like receptors (TLR).
The effects of TLR ligands on primary small airway epithelial cells were analyzed in detail with respect to cytokine, chemokine and matrix metalloproteinase secretion. In addition, the regulation of the expression of TLRs and their adaptor proteins in small airway epithelial cells was investigated.
Our data demonstrate that poly(I:C), a synthetic analog of viral dsRNA, mediated the strongest proinflammatory effects among the tested ligands, including an increased secretion of IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, GM-CSF, GRO-α, TARC, MCP-1, MIP-3α, RANTES, IFN-β, IP-10 and ITAC as well as an increased release of MMP-1, MMP-8, MMP-9, MMP-10 and MMP-13. Furthermore, our data show that poly(I:C) as well as type-1 and type-2 cytokines have a pronounced effect on the expression of TLRs and molecules involved in TLR signaling in small airway epithelial cells. Poly(I:C) induced an elevated expression of TLR1, TLR2 and TLR3 and increased the gene expression of the general TLR adaptor MyD88 and IRAK-2. Simultaneously, poly(I:C) decreased the expression of TLR5, TLR6 and TOLLIP.
Poly(I:C), an analog of viral dsRNA and a TLR3 ligand, triggers a strong inflammatory response in small airway epithelial cells that is likely to contribute to viral exacerbations of pulmonary diseases like asthma or COPD. The pronounced effects of poly(I:C) on the expression of Toll-like receptors and molecules involved in TLR signaling is assumed to influence the immune response of the lung epithelium to viral and bacterial infections. Likewise, the regulation of TLR expression by type-1 and type-2 cytokines is important considering the impact of exogenous and endogenous TLR ligands on Th1 or Th2 driven pulmonary inflammations like COPD or asthma, respectively.
The role of vitamin D in innate immunity is increasingly recognized. Recent work has identified a number of tissues that express the enzyme 1α-hydroxylase and are able to activate vitamin D. This locally produced vitamin D is believed to have important immunomodulatory effects. In this paper we show that primary lung epithelial cells express high baseline levels of activating 1α-hydroxylase and low levels of inactivating 24-hydroxylase. The result of this enzyme expression is that airway epithelial cells constitutively convert inactive 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 to the active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. Active vitamin D that is generated by lung epithelium leads to increased expression of vitamin D regulated genes with important innate immune functions. These include the cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide gene and the TLR co-receptor CD14. Double stranded RNA increases the expression of 1α-hydroxylase, augments the production of active vitamin D, and synergizes with vitamin D to increase expression of cathelicidin. In contrast to induction of the anti-microbial peptide, vitamin D attenuates dsRNA induced expression of the NF-κB driven gene IL-8. We conclude that primary epithelial cells generate active vitamin D, which then influences the expression of vitamin D driven genes that play a major role in host defense. Furthermore the presence of vitamin D alters induction of antimicrobial peptides and inflammatory cytokines in response to viruses. These observations suggest a novel mechanism by which local conversion of inactive to active vitamin D alters immune function in the lung.
Human; Lung; Gene Regulation; Viral; Inflammation
The pulmonary innate immune system clears inhaled A spergillus fumigatus conidia (spores) from terminal airways. Failure to control conidial germination in immune compromised hosts can result in hyphal tissue invasion and fatal disease. Insight into the molecular recognition of A. fumigatus by host leukocytes indicates that the innate immune system exploits obligate changes in fungal cell wall composition that occur at the first stage of germination, conidial swelling. Germinating spores activate at least two host signal transduction pathways. Surface exposure of fungal β-(1,3) glucan, a polysaccharide constituent of the fungal cell wall, triggers dectin-1 signaling by host phagocytes. Spore germination leads to the induction of Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling as well. This stage-specific recognition mechanism focuses host antifungal responses on cells with the potential for tissue invasion and may serve to limit potentially deleterious effects of inflammation in space and time. Fungal β-(1,3) glucan not only activates host innate immune responses but also represents the target of echinocandin drugs. The activity of echinocandin drugs has largely been understood on the basis of pharmacologic growth inhibition of yeast and moulds, resulting in lysis of yeast cells and stunting of dysmorphic hyphae. The recognition that fungal β-1,3 glucan activates dectin-1 signaling suggests that echinocandin drugs may exert immune modulatory effects by altering innate immune responses to drug-treated fungal cells, a view supported by recent data from studies on C. albicans, A. fumigatus, and non-Aspergillus moulds.
aspergillus; dectin; innate immunity; echinocandin; toll-like receptor; fungus
The airway epithelium plays a role in host defense through the binding of innate immune receptors, which leads to the activation of inflammatory mediators, including antimicrobial peptides. The active form of vitamin D, 1,25(OH)2D3, induces the expression of the antimicrobial peptide LL-37 in both myeloid cells and airway epithelial cells (AEC). Here, we demonstrate that mRNA encoding triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM)-1 was induced up to 12-fold by 1,25(OH)2D3 in normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cells and in well-differentiated cultures of six airway epithelial cell lines from patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) and healthy individuals. TREM-2 and DAP12 were also expressed in airway cultures, but not induced by vitamin D. Induction occurs through a vitamin D response element identified in its proximal promoter region, and was regulated by PU.1 expressed in the AEC. Activation of TREM-1 by a cross-linking antibody led to an induction of both human β-defensin-2 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α mRNA, demonstrating its functionality in these cells. Our results expand on the role played by the airway epithelium in innate immunity and suggest that vitamin D can modulate the innate immune defense of the airway epithelium, and could potentially be developed as an adjunctive therapy for airway infections.
Respiratory; vitamin D; cathelicidin; cystic fibrosis
The epithelial cells lining the airways serve protective functions. The "barrier function" of the epithelium protects the individual from damage by inhaled irritants. The epithelium produces mucins which become hydrated and form a viscoelastic gel which spreads over the epithelial surface. In healthy individuals inhaled foreign materials become entrapped in the mucus and are cleared by mucociliary transport and by coughing. In many chronic inflammatory airway diseases, however, excessive mucus is produced and is inadequately cleared, leading to mucous obstruction and infection. At present there is no specific treatment for hypersecretion. However, the discovery that an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) cascade is involved in mucin production by a wide variety of stimuli suggests that blockade may provide specific treatment for hypersecretory diseases. EGFR pathways have also been implicated in the repair of damaged airway epithelium. The roles of EGFR in airway epithelial cell hypersecretion and epithelial damage and repair are reviewed and future potential treatments are suggested.
Pollen exposure induces allergic airway inflammation in sensitized subjects. The role of antigenic pollen proteins in the induction of allergic airway inflammation is well characterized, but the contribution of other constituents in pollen grains to this process is unknown. Here we show that pollen grains and their extracts contain intrinsic NADPH oxidases. The pollen NADPH oxidases rapidly increased the levels of ROS in lung epithelium as well as the amount of oxidized glutathione (GSSG) and 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) in airway-lining fluid. These oxidases, as well as products of oxidative stress (such as GSSG and 4-HNE) generated by these enzymes, induced neutrophil recruitment to the airways independent of the adaptive immune response. Removal of pollen NADPH oxidase activity from the challenge material reduced antigen-induced allergic airway inflammation, the number of mucin-containing cells in airway epithelium, and antigen-specific IgE levels in sensitized mice. Furthermore, challenge with Amb a 1, the major antigen in ragweed pollen extract that does not possess NADPH oxidase activity, induced low-grade allergic airway inflammation. Addition of GSSG or 4-HNE to Amb a 1 challenge material boosted allergic airway inflammation. We propose that oxidative stress generated by pollen NADPH oxidases (signal 1) augments allergic airway inflammation induced by pollen antigen (signal 2).
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory airways disease in which respiratory viral infections frequently trigger exacerbations. Current treatment of asthma with combinations of inhaled corticosteroids and long acting beta2 agonists improves asthma control and reduces exacerbations but what impact this might have on innate anti-viral immunity is unclear. We investigated the in vitro effects of asthma drugs on innate anti-viral immunity. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from healthy and asthmatic donors were cultured for 24 hours with the Toll-like receptor 7 agonist, imiquimod, or rhinovirus 16 (RV16) in the presence of budesonide and/or formoterol. Production of proinflammatory cytokines and expression of anti-viral intracellular signalling molecules were measured by ELISA and RT-PCR respectively. In PBMC from healthy donors, budesonide alone inhibited IP-10 and IL-6 production induced by imiquimod in a concentration-dependent manner and the degree of inhibition was amplified when budesonide and formoterol were used in combination. Formoterol alone had little effect on these parameters, except at high concentrations (10−6 M) when IL-6 production increased. In RV16 stimulated PBMC, the combination of budesonide and formoterol inhibited IFNα and IP-10 production in asthmatic as well as healthy donors. Combination of budesonide and formoterol also inhibited RV16-stimulated expression of the type I IFN induced genes myxovirus protein A and 2′, 5′ oligoadenylate synthetise. Notably, RV16 stimulated lower levels of type Myxovirus A and oligoadenylate synthase in PBMC of asthmatics than control donors. These in vitro studies demonstrate that combinations of drugs commonly used in asthma therapy inhibit both early pro-inflammatory cytokines and key aspects of the type I IFN pathway. These findings suggest that budesonide and formoterol curtail excessive inflammation induced by rhinovirus infections in patients with asthma, but whether this inhibits viral clearance in vivo remains to be determined.
Arsenic is a natural metalloid toxicant that is associated with occupational inhalation injury and contaminates drinking water worldwide. Both inhalation of arsenic and consumption of arsenic-tainted water are correlated with malignant and nonmalignant lung diseases. Despite strong links between arsenic and respiratory illness, underlying cell responses to arsenic remain unclear. We hypothesized that arsenic may elicit some of its detrimental effects on the airway through limitation of innate immune function and, specifically, through alteration of paracrine ATP (purinergic) Ca2+ signaling in the airway epithelium. We examined the effects of acute (24 h) exposure with environmentally relevant levels of arsenic (i.e., < 4μM as Na-arsenite) on wound-induced Ca2+ signaling pathways in human bronchial epithelial cell line (16HBE14o-). We found that arsenic reduces purinergic Ca2+ signaling in a dose-dependent manner and results in a reshaping of the Ca2+ signaling response to localized wounds. We next examined arsenic effects on two purinergic receptor types: the metabotropic P2Y and ionotropic P2X receptors. Arsenic inhibited both P2Y- and P2X-mediated Ca2+ signaling responses to ATP. Both inhaled and ingested arsenic can rapidly reach the airway epithelium where purinergic signaling is essential in innate immune functions (e.g., ciliary beat, salt and water transport, bactericide production, and wound repair). Arsenic-induced compromise of such airway defense mechanisms may be an underlying contributor to chronic lung disease.
purinergic signaling; calcium; 16HBE14o-; P2 receptor
Background/Aims: The normal intestinal epithelium is increasingly being recognised as an important component of the mucosal innate protection against microorganisms. Human neutrophil defensins 1–3 (HNP 1–3) and lysozyme are components of the systemic innate immunity. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of HNP 1–3 and lysozyme in normal and active inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) mucosa.
Methods: Mucosal tissue sections were studied by immunohistochemistry using antibodies to neutrophil defensins 1–3 and lysozyme. Extracts of purified intestinal epithelial cells were used for immunoblotting studies and antimicrobial activity against the phoP negative strain of Salmonella typhimurium.
Results: Surface epithelial cells strongly immunoreactive for neutrophil defensins and lysozyme were seen in active ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease (but not normal or inactive IBD) mucosal samples. Many of these cells coexpressed both of the antimicrobial proteins. Immunoblotting studies confirmed the expression of neutrophil defensins in extracts of purified ulcerative colitis epithelial cells, which also demonstrated antimicrobial activity.
Conclusion: HNP 1–3 and lysozyme are expressed in surface enterocytes of mucosa with active IBD and they may play an important role in intestinal host defence against luminal microorganisms.
innate immunity; antimicrobial peptides; defensins; lysozyme
Summary: The airway epithelium acts as a frontline defense against respiratory viruses, not only as a physical barrier and through the mucociliary apparatus but also through its immunological functions. It initiates multiple innate and adaptive immune mechanisms which are crucial for efficient antiviral responses. The interaction between respiratory viruses and airway epithelial cells results in production of antiviral substances, including type I and III interferons, lactoferrin, β-defensins, and nitric oxide, and also in production of cytokines and chemokines, which recruit inflammatory cells and influence adaptive immunity. These defense mechanisms usually result in rapid virus clearance. However, respiratory viruses elaborate strategies to evade antiviral mechanisms and immune responses. They may disrupt epithelial integrity through cytotoxic effects, increasing paracellular permeability and damaging epithelial repair mechanisms. In addition, they can interfere with immune responses by blocking interferon pathways and by subverting protective inflammatory responses toward detrimental ones. Finally, by inducing overt mucus secretion and mucostasis and by paving the way for bacterial infections, they favor lung damage and further impair host antiviral mechanisms.
Recurrent respiratory infections are one of the most important causes of morbidity in childhood. When immune functions are still largely immature, the airway epithelium plays a primary defensive role since, besides providing a physical barrier, it is also involved in the innate and the adaptive immune responses. A study was therefore designed to evaluate in vitro whether pidotimod, a synthetic dipeptide able to stimulate the inflammatory and immune effector cells, could activate bronchial epithelial cell functions involved in response to infections.
BEAS-2B cell line (human bronchial epithelial cells infected with a replication-defective Adenovirus 12-SV40 virus hybrid) were cultured in the presence of pidotimod, with or without tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α or zymosan to assess: a) intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 expression, by flow cytometry; b) toll-like receptor (TLR)-2 expression and production, by immunofluorescence flow cytometry and western blotting; d) interleukin (IL)-8 release, by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); e) activated extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) phosphorylation and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB) activation, by western blotting.
The constitutive expression of ICAM-1 and IL-8 release were significant up-regulated by TNF-α (ICAM-1) and by TNF-α and zymosan (IL-8), but not by pidotimod. In contrast, an increased TLR-2 expression was found after exposure to pidotimod 10 and 100 μg/ml (p < 0.05) and to the association pidotimod 100 μg/ml + TNF-α (p < 0.05). Western blot analysis substantiated that the constitutive TLR-2 expression was significantly increased after exposure to all the stimuli. Finally, while a remarkable inhibition of TNF-α -induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation was observed in the presence of pidotimod, both TNF-α and pidotimod were effective in inducing NF-kB protein expression in the cytoplasm and its nuclear translocation.
Through different effects on ERK1/2 and NF-kB, pidotimod was able to increase the expression of TLR-2 proteins, surface molecules involved in the initiation of the innate response to infectious stimuli. The lack of effect on ICAM-1 expression, the receptor for rhinovirus, and on IL-8 release, the potent chemotactic factor for neutrophils (that are already present in sites of infection), may represent protective functions. If confirmed in vivo, these activities may, at least in part, clarify the mechanism of action of this molecule at airway level.
Recurrent respiratory infections; Immunostimulants; Toll like receptor-2; ICAM-1
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), a novel interleukin-7-like cytokine, triggers dendritic cell-mediated inflammatory responses ultimately executed by T helper cells of the Th2 subtype. TSLP emerged as a central player in the development of allergic symptoms, especially in the airways, and is a prime regulatory cytokine at the interface of virus- or antigen-exposed epithelial cells and dendritic cells (DCs). DCs activated by epithelium-derived TSLP can promote naïve CD4+ T cells to adopt a Th2 phenotype, which in turn recruite eosinophilic and basophilic granulocytes as well as mast cells into the airway mucosa. These different cells secrete inflammatory cytokines and chemokines operative in inducing an allergic inflammation and atopic asthma. TSLP is, thus, involved in the control of both an innate and an adaptive immune response. Since TSLP links contact of allergen with the airway epithelium to the onset and maintainance of the asthmatic syndrome, defining the signal transduction underlying TSLP expression and function is of profound interest for a better understandimg of the disease and for the development of new therapeutics.