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1.  Fine Mapping of Leishmania major Susceptibility Locus lmr2 and Evidence of a Role for Fli1 in Disease and Wound Healing▿  
Infection and Immunity  2010;78(6):2734-2744.
Genetic linkage studies of the host response to Leishmania major, the causative agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis, have identified significant genetic complexity in humans and mice. In the mouse model, multiple loci have been implicated in susceptibility to infection, but to date, the genes underlying these loci have not been identified. We now describe the contribution of a novel candidate gene, Fli1, to both L. major resistance and enhanced wound healing. We have previously mapped the L. major response locus, lmr2, to proximal chromosome 9 in a genetic cross between the resistant C57BL/6 strain and the susceptible BALB/c strain. We now show that the presence of the resistant C57BL/6 lmr2 allele in susceptible BALB/c mice confers an enhanced L. major resistance and wound healing phenotype. Fine mapping of the lmr2 locus permitted the localization of the lmr2 quantitative trait locus to a 5-Mb interval comprising 21 genes, of which microarray analysis was able to identify differential expression in 1 gene—Fli1. Analysis of Fli1 expression in wounded and L. major-infected skin and naïve and infected lymph nodes validated the importance of Fli1 in lesion resolution and wound healing and identified 3 polymorphisms in the Fli1 promoter, among which a GA repeat element may be the important contributor.
PMCID: PMC2876540  PMID: 20368343
2.  Different Genetic Control of Cutaneous and Visceral Disease after Leishmania major Infection in Mice  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(4):2041-2046.
The mouse strains BALB/cHeA (BALB/c) and STS/A (STS) are susceptible and resistant to Leishmania major-induced disease, respectively. We analyzed this difference using recombinant congenic (RC) BALB/c-c-STS/Dem (CcS/Dem) strains that carry different random subsets of 12.5% genes of the strain STS in a BALB/c background. Previously, testing the resistant strain CcS-5, we found five novel Lmr (Leishmania major response) loci, each associated with a different combination of pathological and immunological reactions. Here we analyze the response of RC strain CcS-16, which is even more susceptible to L. major than BALB/c. In the (CcS-16 × BALB/c)F2 hybrids we mapped three novel loci that influence cutaneous or visceral pathology. Lmr14 (chromosome 2) controls splenomegaly and hepatomegaly. On the other hand Lmr15 (chromosome 11) determines hepatomegaly only, and Lmr13 (chromosome 18) determines skin lesions only. These data confirm the complex control of L. major-induced pathology, where cutaneous and visceral pathology are controlled by different combinations of genes. It indicates organ-specific control of antiparasite responses. The definition of genes controlling these responses will permit a better understanding of pathways and genetic diversity underlying the different disease phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC152088  PMID: 12654824
3.  Mapping the Genes for Susceptibility and Response to Leishmania tropica in Mouse 
L. tropica can cause both cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis in humans. Although the L. tropica-induced cutaneous disease has been long known, its potential to visceralize in humans was recognized only recently. As nothing is known about the genetics of host responses to this infection and their clinical impact, we developed an informative animal model. We described previously that the recombinant congenic strain CcS-16 carrying 12.5% genes from the resistant parental strain STS/A and 87.5% genes from the susceptible strain BALB/c is more susceptible to L. tropica than BALB/c. We used these strains to map and functionally characterize the gene-loci regulating the immune responses and pathology.
We analyzed genetics of response to L. tropica in infected F2 hybrids between BALB/c×CcS-16. CcS-16 strain carries STS-derived segments on nine chromosomes. We genotyped these segments in the F2 hybrid mice and tested their linkage with pathological changes and systemic immune responses.
Principal Findings
We mapped 8 Ltr (Leishmania tropica response) loci. Four loci (Ltr2, Ltr3, Ltr6 and Ltr8) exhibit independent responses to L. tropica, while Ltr1, Ltr4, Ltr5 and Ltr7 were detected only in gene-gene interactions with other Ltr loci. Ltr3 exhibits the recently discovered phenomenon of transgenerational parental effect on parasite numbers in spleen. The most precise mapping (4.07 Mb) was achieved for Ltr1 (chr.2), which controls parasite numbers in lymph nodes. Five Ltr loci co-localize with loci controlling susceptibility to L. major, three are likely L. tropica specific. Individual Ltr loci affect different subsets of responses, exhibit organ specific effects and a separate control of parasite load and organ pathology.
We present the first identification of genetic loci controlling susceptibility to L. tropica. The different combinations of alleles controlling various symptoms of the disease likely co-determine different manifestations of disease induced by the same pathogen in individual mice.
Author Summary
Leishmaniasis, a disease caused by Leishmania ssp. is among the most neglected infectious diseases. In humans, L. tropica causes cutaneous form of leishmaniasis, but can damage internal organs too. The reasons for this variability are not known, and its genetic basis was never investigated. Therefore, analysis of genes affecting host's responses to this infection can elucidate the characteristics of individual host-parasite interactions. Recombinant congenic strain CcS-16 carries 12.5% genes from the mouse strain STS/A on genetic background of the strain BALB/c, and it is more susceptible than BALB/c. In F2 hybrids between BALB/c and CcS-16 we detected and mapped eight gene-loci, Ltr1-8 (Leishmania tropica response 1-8) that control various manifestations of disease: skin lesions, splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, parasite numbers in spleen, liver, and inguinal lymph nodes, and serum level of CCL3, CCL5, and CCL7 after L. tropica infection. These loci are functionally heterogeneous - each influences a different set of responses to the pathogen. Five loci co-localize with the previously described loci that control susceptibility to L. major, three are species-specific. Ltr2 co-localizes not only with Lmr14 (Leishmania major response 14), but also with Ir2 influencing susceptibility to L. donovani and might therefore carry a common gene controlling susceptibility to leishmaniasis.
PMCID: PMC3708836  PMID: 23875032
4.  Effect of aging on pulmonary inflammation, airway hyperresponsiveness and T and B cell responses in antigen sensitized and challenged mice 
The effect of aging on several pathologic features of allergic-asthma (pulmonary inflammation, eosinophilia, mucus-hypersecretion), and their relationship with airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) is not well characterized.
To evaluate lung inflammation, mucus-metaplasia and AHR in relationship to age in murine models of allergic-asthma comparing young and older mice.
Young (6-week) and older (6-, 12- 18-month) BALB/c mice were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA). AHR and bronchoalveolar fluid (BALF) total inflammatory cell count and differential were measured. To evaluate mucus-metaplasia, quantitative PCR for the major airway mucin-associated gene, MUC-5AC, from lung tissue was measured, and lung tissue sections stained with periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) for goblet-cell enumeration. Lung tissue cytokine gene expression was determined by qPCR, and systemic cytokine protein levels by ELISA from spleen-cell cultures. Antigen-specific serum IgE was determined by ELISA.
AHR developed in both aged and young OVA-sensitized/challenged mice (OVA-mice), and was more significantly increased in young OVA-mice than in aged OVA-mice. However, BALF eosinophil numbers were significantly higher, and lung histology showed greater inflammation in aged OVA-mice than in young OVA-mice. MUC-5AC expression and numbers of PAS+ staining bronchial epithelial cells were significantly increased in the aged OVA-mice. All aged OVA-mice had increased IL-5 and IFN-γ mRNA expression in the lung and IL-5 and IFN-γ protein levels from spleen cell cultures compared to young OVA-mice. OVA-IgE was elevated to a greater extent in aged OVA-mice.
Although pulmonary inflammation and mucus-metaplasia after antigen sensitization/challenge occurred to a greater degree in older mice, the increase in AHR was significantly less compared with younger OVA-mice. Antigen treatment produced a unique cytokine profile in older mice (elevated IFN-γ and IL-5) compared with young mice (elevated IL-4 and IL-13). Thus, the airway response to inflammation is lessened in aging animals, and may represent age-associated events leading to different phenotypes in response to antigen provocation.
PMCID: PMC2818115  PMID: 17845421
Aging; murine; asthma; airway hyperresponsiveness; eosinophil; inflammation
5.  Distinct genetic control of parasite elimination, dissemination, and disease after Leishmania major infection 
Immunogenetics  2009;61(9):619-633.
Elimination of pathogens is the basis of host resistance to infections; however, relationship between persisting pathogens and disease has not been clarified. Leishmania major infection in mice is an important model of host–pathogen relationship. Infected BALB/c mice exhibit high parasite numbers in lymph nodes and spleens, and a chronic disease with skin lesions, splenomegaly, and hepatomegaly, increased serum IgE levels and cytokine imbalance. Although numerous gene loci affecting these disease symptoms have been reported, genes controlling parasites’ elimination or dissemination have never been mapped. We therefore compared genetics of the clinical and immunologic symptomatology with parasite load in (BALB/c × CcS-11) F2 hybrids and mapped five loci, two of which control parasite elimination or dissemination. Lmr5 influences parasite loads in spleens (and skin lesions, splenomegaly, and serum IgE, IL-4, and IFNγ levels), and Lmr20 determines parasite numbers in draining lymph nodes (and serum levels of IgE and IFNγ), but no skin or visceral pathology. Three additional loci do not affect parasite numbers but influence significantly the disease phenotype—Lmr21: skin lesions and IFNγ levels, Lmr22: IL-4 levels, Lmr23: IFNγ levels, indicating that development of L. major-caused disease includes critical regulations additional to control of parasite spread.
PMCID: PMC2744819  PMID: 19705113
Leishmania major; Mouse; Genetics of parasite elimination; Susceptibility to leishmaniasis; Functional heterogeneity
6.  120 The Features of Airway Remodeling Are More Severe in Female Mice 
Epidemiological studies have already shown that females are dominant in terms of the sex ratio of adult asthma prevalence and severe asthma. It has also been reported that female mice are more susceptible to the development of allergic airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) than males. However, there have been few reports of studies on sex difference in the pathogenesis of severe asthma, especially airway remodeling in an animal model. In this study, we investigated sex difference in formation of airway remodeling using a long-term antigen challenged asthma model.
Following ovalbumin (OVA)/alum intraperitoneal injection, male or female mice (BALB/c) were challenged with aerosolized 1% OVA on 3 days/week for 5 weeks, and we investigated the sex difference in AHR, airway inflammation, as well as airway remodeling.
In OVA-sensitized and -challenged (OVA/OVA) female mice, AHR, the number of eosinophils and lymphocytes, as well as Th2 cytokines and growth factors in BAL fluid were increased compared with OVA/OVA male mice. On the other hand, there is no significant difference in the level of eotaxin in BAL fluid. The histological features of airway remodeling, including goblet cell hyperplasia, subepithelial fibrosis and myofibroblast hypertrophy, were also increased in OVA/OVA female mice. Moreover, serum total and OVA-specific IgE were significantly elevated in OVA/OVA female mice.
These results indicate that female mice are dominant in terms of forming airway remodeling as compared with male mice. The involvement of sex difference for sensitization and growth factor release in lung tissue based on inflammatory cell infiltration is indicated for the mechanism of sex difference of airway remodeling.
PMCID: PMC3513133
7.  Haemophilus influenzae Infection Drives IL-17-Mediated Neutrophilic Allergic Airways Disease 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(10):e1002244.
A subset of patients with stable asthma has prominent neutrophilic and reduced eosinophilic inflammation, which is associated with attenuated airways hyper-responsiveness (AHR). Haemophilus influenzae has been isolated from the airways of neutrophilic asthmatics; however, the nature of the association between infection and the development of neutrophilic asthma is not understood. Our aim was to investigate the effects of H. influenzae respiratory infection on the development of hallmark features of asthma in a mouse model of allergic airways disease (AAD). BALB/c mice were intraperitoneally sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) and intranasally challenged with OVA 12–15 days later to induce AAD. Mice were infected with non-typeable H. influenzae during or 10 days after sensitization, and the effects of infection on the development of key features of AAD were assessed on day 16. T-helper 17 cells were enumerated by fluorescent-activated cell sorting and depleted with anti-IL-17 neutralizing antibody. We show that infection in AAD significantly reduced eosinophilic inflammation, OVA-induced IL-5, IL-13 and IFN-γ responses and AHR; however, infection increased airway neutrophil influx in response to OVA challenge. Augmented neutrophilic inflammation correlated with increased IL-17 responses and IL-17 expressing macrophages and neutrophils (early, innate) and T lymphocytes (late, adaptive) in the lung. Significantly, depletion of IL-17 completely abrogated infection-induced neutrophilic inflammation during AAD. In conclusion, H. influenzae infection synergizes with AAD to induce Th17 immune responses that drive the development of neutrophilic and suppress eosinophilic inflammation during AAD. This results in a phenotype that is similar to neutrophilic asthma. Infection-induced neutrophilic inflammation in AAD is mediated by IL-17 responses.
Author Summary
Approximately 50% of asthmatics have non-eosinophilic inflammation, and 20% of these patients have severe neutrophilic inflammation and increased IL-8 levels. These so-called neutrophilic asthmatics have persistent airway colonization with bacteria, and Haemophilus influenzae is one of the bacteria most commonly isolated. However, how H. influenzae is associated with the pathogenesis of neutrophilic asthma is unknown. In this study we used mouse models to investigate the relationship between H. influenzae infection and allergic airways disease (AAD). We showed that infection promoted the development of hallmark features of neutrophilic asthma. Infection suppressed Th2 cytokines, eosinophilic inflammation, and AHR in AAD, while increasing neutrophilic inflammation and IL-17 responses. Importantly, inhibition of IL-17 during AAD reduced airway neutrophils and neutrophil chemokines, suggesting that infection drives the development of neutrophilic inflammation through an IL-17-mediated mechanism. This provides novel insights into the mechanisms that may underpin infection-induced neutrophilic asthma. These data also suggest that treatments targeting infection may lead to improved management of neutrophilic asthma.
PMCID: PMC3188527  PMID: 21998577
8.  Effects of overexpression of IL-10, IL-12, TGF-β and IL-4 on allergen induced change in bronchial responsiveness 
Respiratory Research  2006;7(1):72.
An increasing prevalence of allergic diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis and bronchial asthma, has been noted worldwide. Allergic asthma strongly correlates with airway inflammation caused by the unregulated production of cytokines secreted by allergen-specific type-2 T helper (Th2) cells. This study aims to explore the therapeutic effect of the airway gene transfer of IL-12, IL-10 and TGF-β on airway inflammation in a mouse model of allergic asthma.
BALB/c mice were sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) by intraperitoneal injections with OVA and challenged by nebulized OVA. Different cytokine gene plasmids or non-coding vector plasmids were instilled daily into the trachea up to one day before the inhalatory OVA challenge phase.
Intratracheal administration of IL-10, IL-12 or TGF-β can efficiently inhibit antigen-induced airway hyper-responsiveness and is able to largely significantly lower the number of eosinophils and neutrophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of ovalbumin (OVA) sensitized and challenged mice during the effector phase. Furthermore, the effect of IL-10 plasmids is more remarkable than any other cytokine gene plasmid. On the other hand, local administration of IL-4 gene plasmids before antigen challenge can induce severe airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR) and airway eosinophilia.
Our data demonstrated that anti- inflammatory cytokines, particularly IL-10, have the therapeutic potential for the alleviation of airway inflammation in murine model of asthma.
PMCID: PMC1479818  PMID: 16677403
9.  Antiasthmatic Effects of Hesperidin, a Potential Th2 Cytokine Antagonist, in a Mouse Model of Allergic Asthma 
Mediators of Inflammation  2011;2011:485402.
Background and Objective. The features of asthma are airway inflammation, reversible airflow obstruction, and an increased sensitivity to bronchoconstricting agents, termed airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), excess production of Th2 cytokines, and eosinophil accumulation in the lungs. To investigate the antiasthmatic potential of hesperidin as well as the underlying mechanism involved, we studied the inhibitory effect and anti-inflammatory effect of hesperidin (HPN) on the production of Th2 cytokines, eotaxin, IL-17, -OVA-specific IgE in vivo asthma model mice. Methods. In this paper, BALB/c mice were systemically sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) followed intratracheally, intraperitoneally, and by aerosol allergen challenges. We investigated the effect of HPN on airway hyperresponsiveness, pulmonary eosinophilic infiltration, various immune cell phenotypes, Th2 cytokine production and OVA-specific IgE production in a mouse model of asthma. Results. In BALB/c mice, we found that HPN-treated groups had suppressed eosinophil infiltration, allergic airway inflammation, and AHR, and these occurred by suppressing the production of IL-5, IL-17, and OVA-specific IgE. Conclusions. Our data suggest that the therapeutic mechanism by which HPN effectively treats asthma is based on reductions of Th2 cytokines (IL-5), eotaxin, OVA-specific IgE production, and eosinophil infiltration via inhibition of GATA-3 transcription factor.
PMCID: PMC3136080  PMID: 21772663
10.  Effects of Corni fructus on ovalbumin-induced airway inflammation and airway hyper-responsiveness in a mouse model of allergic asthma 
Allergic asthma is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to allergens, airway oedema, increased mucus secretion, excess production of T helper-2 (Th2) cytokines, and eosinophil accumulation in the lungs. Corni fructus (CF) is a fruit of Cornus officinalis Sieb. Et. Zucc. (Cornaceae) and has been used in traditional Korean medicine as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and diuretic agent. To investigate the anti-asthmatic effects of CF and their underlying mechanism, we examined the influence of CF on the development of pulmonary eosinophilic inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness in a mouse model of allergic asthma.
In this study, BALB/c mice were systemically sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) by intraperitoneal (i.p.), intratracheal (i.t.) injections and intranasal (i.n.) inhalation of OVA. We investigated the effect of CF on airway hyperresponsiveness, pulmonary eosinophilic infiltration, various immune cell phenotypes, Th2 cytokine production, and OVA-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) production.
The CF-treated groups showed suppressed eosinophil infiltration, allergic airway inflammation, and AHR via reduced production of interleuin (IL) -5, IL-13, and OVA-specific IgE.
Our data suggest that the therapeutic effects of CF in asthma are mediated by reduced production of Th2 cytokines (IL-5), eotaxin, and OVA-specific IgE and reduced eosinophil infiltration.
PMCID: PMC3328291  PMID: 22439901
Corni fructus; Asthma; Eosinophil; IL-5; CCR3
11.  Antigen-sensitized CD4+CD62Llow memory/effector T helper 2 cells can induce airway hyperresponsiveness in an antigen free setting 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):46.
Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) is one of the most prominent features of asthma, however, precise mechanisms for its induction have not been fully elucidated. We previously reported that systemic antigen sensitization alone directly induces AHR before development of eosinophilic airway inflammation in a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation, which suggests a critical role of antigen-specific systemic immune response itself in the induction of AHR. In the present study, we examined this possibility by cell transfer experiment, and then analyzed which cell source was essential for this process.
BALB/c mice were immunized with ovalbumin (OVA) twice. Spleen cells were obtained from the mice and were transferred in naive mice. Four days later, AHR was assessed. We carried out bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) to analyze inflammation and cytokine production in the lung. Fluorescence and immunohistochemical studies were performed to identify T cells recruiting and proliferating in the lung or in the gut of the recipient. To determine the essential phenotype, spleen cells were column purified by antibody-coated microbeads with negative or positive selection, and transferred. Then, AHR was assessed.
Transfer of spleen cells obtained from OVA-sensitized mice induced a moderate, but significant, AHR without airway antigen challenge in naive mice without airway eosinophilia. Immunization with T helper (Th) 1 elicited antigen (OVA with complete Freund's adjuvant) did not induce the AHR. Transferred cells distributed among organs, and the cells proliferated in an antigen free setting for at least three days in the lung. This transfer-induced AHR persisted for one week. Interleukin-4 and 5 in the BAL fluid increased in the transferred mice. Immunoglobulin E was not involved in this transfer-induced AHR. Transfer of in vitro polarized CD4+ Th2 cells, but not Th1 cells, induced AHR. We finally clarified that CD4+CD62Llow memory/effector T cells recruited in the lung and proliferated, thus induced AHR.
These results suggest that antigen-sensitized memory/effector Th2 cells themselves play an important role for induction of basal AHR in an antigen free, eosinophil-independent setting. Therefore, regulation of CD4+ T cell-mediated immune response itself could be a critical therapeutic target for allergic asthma.
PMCID: PMC1180472  PMID: 15921525
12.  IL-12-STAT4-IFN-γ axis is a key downstream pathway in the development of IL-13-mediated asthma phenotypes in a Th2 type asthma model 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2010;42(8):533-546.
IL-4 and IL-13 are closely related cytokines that are produced by Th2 cells. However, IL-4 and IL-13 have different effects on the development of asthma phenotypes. Here, we evaluated downstream molecular mechanisms involved in the development of Th2 type asthma phenotypes. A murine model of Th2 asthma was used that involved intraperitoneal sensitization with an allergen (ovalbumin) plus alum and then challenge with ovalbumin alone. Asthma phenotypes, including airway-hyperresponsiveness (AHR), lung inflammation, and immunologic parameters were evaluated after allergen challenge in mice deficient in candidate genes. The present study showed that methacholine AHR and lung inflammation developed in allergen-challenged IL-4-deficient mice but not in allergen-challenged IL-13-deficient mice. In addition, the production of OVA-specific IgG2a and IFN-γ-inducible protein (IP)-10 was also impaired in the absence of IL-13, but not of IL-4. Lung-targeted IFN-γ over-expression in the airways enhanced methacholine AHR and non-eosinophilic inflammation; in addition, these asthma phenotypes were impaired in allergen-challenged IFN-γ-deficient mice. Moreover, AHR, non-eosinophilic inflammation, and IFN-γ expression were impaired in allergen-challenged IL-12Rβ2- and STAT4-deficient mice; however, AHR and non-eosinophilic inflammation were not impaired in allergen-challenged IL-4Rα-deficient mice, and these phenomena were accompanied by the enhanced expression of IL-12 and IFN-γ. The present data suggest that IL-13-mediated asthma phenotypes, such as AHR and non-eosinophilic inflammation, in the Th2 type asthma are dependent on the IL-12-STAT4-IFN-γ axis, and that these asthma phenotypes are independent of IL-4Ralpha-mediated signaling.
PMCID: PMC2928926  PMID: 20592486
asthma; interferon-γ; interleukin-12; interleukin-13; respiratory hypersensitivity; Th2 cells
13.  121 Ovalbumin-induced Bronchial Asthma is Compromised in Apoptosis Signal-Regulating Kinase-Deficient Mice 
Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1), a member of mitogen –activated protein (MAP) kinase kinase kinases (MAP3Ks) protein family, plays a crucial role in the induction of apoptosis and inflammation in some cell types. Allergic asthma is a chronic inflammatory airway disease characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), inflammatory cell infiltration, and airway remodeling. In the present study, we examined whether ASK1 is involved in the induction of bronchial asthma using a mouse model of airway inflammation.
ASK1-deficient (ASK1−/−) and wild-type (WT) control mice were sensitized with ovalbumin (OVA) in saline intraperitoneally on consecutive 7 days. Eighteen days later, mice received intranasal administration of OVA aerosol and were assayed for AHR, cytokine production, cell proliferation, antibody (Ab) production, and lung tissue histopathology at 24 hours after the last serial OVA administration. Levels of Ab and cytokines were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Control WT mice showed inflammatory infiltrates in airways in response to OVA to a greater extent than ASK1−/− mice. The number of cells, especially eosinophils accumulating in airways, was reduced in ASK1−/− mice relative to control mice. OVA-induced AHR is also compromised in ASK1−/− mice. Anti-OVA IgE Ab production in ASK1−/− mice was substantially reduced, although levels of other isotypes were comparable to those in control mice. Levels of some Th2 cytokines (IL-5 and IL-13) and pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-a in BAL fluid from ASK1−/− mice were substantially diminished relative to control, although a comparable level of a typical Th2 cytokine IL-4 and anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 was produced. Although the BAL fluid TNF-a levels from ASK1−/− mice were severely diminished, lymph node cells from ASK1−/− mice produced comparable levels of TNF-a to WT in vitro. Intranasal administration of recombinant TNF-a caused a comparable increase in AHR between ASK1−/− and WT mice, whereas the TNF-a -induced accumulation of inflammatory cells was severely reduced in ASK1−/− mice.
ASK1 appears to be involved in the induction of OVA-induced bronchial asthma, probably through cytokine production such as TNF-a and IL-13. Moreover, TNF-a sensitivity in response to OVA is also regulated by ASK1.
PMCID: PMC3512814
14.  Adjuvant-dependent regulation of interleukin-17 expressing γδ T cells and inhibition of Th2 responses in allergic airways disease 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):90.
Th2 immune responses are linked primarily to mild and moderate asthma, while Th17 cells, Interleukin-17A (IL-17) and neutrophilia have been implicated in more severe forms of disease. How Th2-dependent allergic reactions are influenced by Th17 and IL-17-γδ T cells is poorly understood. In murine models, under some conditions, IL-17 promotes Th2-biased airway inflammatory responses. However, IL-17-γδ T cells have been implicated in the inhibition and resolution of allergic airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness (AHR).
We compared airway responses in Balb/c mice sensitized to OVA with (and without) a Th2-skewing aluminum-based adjuvant and the IL-17 skewing, complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA). AHR was measured invasively by flexiVent, while serum OVA-IgE was quantified by an enzyme immunoassay. Airway inflammatory and cytokine profiles, and cellular sources of IL-17 were assessed from bronchoalveolar lavage and/or lungs. The role of γδ T cells in these responses was addressed in OVA/CFA sensitized mice using a γδ T cell antibody.
Following OVA challenge, all mice exhibited mixed eosinophilic/neutrophilic airway inflammatory profiles and elevated serum OVA-IgE. Whereas OVA/alum sensitized mice had moderate inflammation and AHR, OVA/CFA sensitized mice had significantly greater inflammation but lacked AHR. This correlated with a shift in IL-17 production from CD4+ to γδ T cells. Additionally, OVA/CFA sensitized mice, given a γδ TCR stimulatory antibody, showed increased frequencies of IL-17-γδ T cells and diminished airway reactivity and eosinophilia.
Thus, the conditions of antigen sensitization influence the profile of cells that produce IL-17, the balance of which may then modulate the airway inflammatory responses, including AHR. The possibility for IL-17-γδ T cells to reduce AHR and robust eosinophilic inflammation provides evidence that therapeutic approaches focused on stimulating and increasing airway IL-17-γδ T cells may be an effective alternative in treating steroid resistant, severe asthma.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-014-0090-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4151193  PMID: 25123451
Asthma; Interleukin-17; γδ T cell; Adjuvant; Complete Freund’s adjuvant
15.  GITR signaling potentiates airway hyperresponsiveness by enhancing Th2 cell activity in a mouse model of asthma 
Respiratory Research  2009;10(1):93.
Allergic asthma is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and allergic inflammation of the airways, driven by allergen-specific Th2 cells. The asthma phenotypes and especially AHR are sensitive to the presence and activity of regulatory T (Treg) cells in the lung. Glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor (GITR) is known to have a co-stimulatory function on effector CD4+ T cells, rendering these cells insensitive to Treg suppression. However, the effects of GITR signaling on polarized Th1 and Th2 cell effector functions are not well-established. We sought to evaluate the effect of GITR signaling on fully differentiated Th1 and Th2 cells and to determine the effects of GITR activation at the time of allergen provocation on AHR and airway inflammation in a Th2-driven mouse model of asthma.
CD4+CD25- cells were polarized in vitro into Th1 and Th2 effector cells, and re-stimulated in the presence of GITR agonistic antibodies to assess the effect on IFNγ and IL-4 production. To evaluate the effects of GITR stimulation on AHR and allergic inflammation in a mouse asthma model, BALB/c mice were sensitized to OVA followed by airway challenges in the presence or absence of GITR agonist antibodies.
GITR engagement potentiated cytokine release from CD3/CD28-stimulated Th2 but not Th1 cells in vitro. In the mouse asthma model, GITR triggering at the time of challenge induced enhanced airway hyperresponsiveness, serum IgE and ex vivo Th2 cytokine release, but did not increase BAL eosinophilia.
GITR exerts a differential effect on cytokine release of fully differentiated Th1 and Th2 cells in vitro, potentiating Th2 but not Th1 cytokine production. This effect on Th2 effector functions was also observed in vivo in our mouse model of asthma, resulting in enhanced AHR, serum IgE responses and Th2 cytokine production. This is the first report showing the effects of GITR activation on cytokine production by polarized primary Th1 and Th2 populations and the relevance of this pathway for AHR in mouse models for asthma. Our data provides crucial information on the mode of action of the GITR signaling, a pathway which is currently being considered for therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC2767348  PMID: 19811658
16.  Mapping of a Chromosome 12 Region Associated with Airway Hyperresponsiveness in a Recombinant Congenic Mouse Strain and Selection of Potential Candidate Genes by Expression and Sequence Variation Analyses 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104234.
In a previous study we determined that BcA86 mice, a strain belonging to a panel of AcB/BcA recombinant congenic strains, have an airway responsiveness phenotype resembling mice from the airway hyperresponsive A/J strain. The majority of the BcA86 genome is however from the hyporesponsive C57BL/6J strain. The aim of this study was to identify candidate regions and genes associated with airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) by quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis using the BcA86 strain. Airway responsiveness of 205 F2 mice generated from backcrossing BcA86 strain to C57BL/6J strain was measured and used for QTL analysis to identify genomic regions in linkage with AHR. Consomic mice for the QTL containing chromosomes were phenotyped to study the contribution of each chromosome to lung responsiveness. Candidate genes within the QTL were selected based on expression differences in mRNA from whole lungs, and the presence of coding non-synonymous mutations that were predicted to have a functional effect by amino acid substitution prediction tools. One QTL for AHR was identified on Chromosome 12 with its 95% confidence interval ranging from 54.6 to 82.6 Mbp and a maximum LOD score of 5.11 (p = 3.68×10−3). We confirmed that the genotype of mouse Chromosome 12 is an important determinant of lung responsiveness using a Chromosome 12 substitution strain. Mice with an A/J Chromosome 12 on a C57BL/6J background have an AHR phenotype similar to hyperresponsive strains A/J and BcA86. Within the QTL, genes with deleterious coding variants, such as Foxa1, and genes with expression differences, such as Mettl21d and Snapc1, were selected as possible candidates for the AHR phenotype. Overall, through QTL analysis of a recombinant congenic strain, microarray analysis and coding variant analysis we identified Chromosome 12 and three potential candidate genes to be in linkage with airway responsiveness.
PMCID: PMC4128649  PMID: 25111050
17.  Murine Lung Responses to Ambient Particulate Matter: Genomic Analysis and Influence on Airway Hyperresponsiveness 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2008;116(11):1500-1508.
Asthma is a complex disease characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and chronic airway inflammation. Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that exposures to environmental factors such as ambient particulate matter (PM), a major air pollutant, contribute to increased asthma prevalence and exacerbations.
We investigated pathophysiologic responses to Baltimore, Maryland, ambient PM (median diameter, 1.78 μm) in a murine model of asthma and attempted to identify PM-specific genomic/molecular signatures.
We exposed ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized A/J mice intratracheally to PM (20 mg/kg), and assayed both AHR and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) on days 1, 4, and 7 after PM exposure. Lung gene expression profiling was analyzed in OVA- and PM-challenged mice.
Consistent with this murine model of asthma, we observed significant increases in airway responsiveness in OVA-treated mice, with PM exposure inducing significant changes in AHR in both naive mice and OVA-induced asthmatic mice. PM evoked eosinophil and neutrophil infiltration into airways, elevated BAL protein content, and stimulated secretion of type 1 T helper (TH1) cytokines [interferon-γ, interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α] and TH2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-5, eotaxin) into murine airways. Furthermore, PM consistently induced expression of genes involved in innate immune responses, chemotaxis, and complement system pathways.
This study is consistent with emerging epidemiologic evidence and indicates that PM exposure evokes proinflammatory and allergic molecular signatures that may directly contribute to the asthma susceptibility in naive subjects and increased severity in affected asthmatics.
PMCID: PMC2592270  PMID: 19057703
airway hyperresponsiveness; asthma; intelectin; particulate matter; toxicogenomics
18.  Lactose metabolism in Erwinia chrysanthemi. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1985;162(1):248-255.
Wild-type strains of the phytopathogenic enterobacterium Erwinia chrysanthemi are unable to use lactose as a carbon source for growth although they possess a beta-galactosidase activity. Lactose-fermenting derivatives from some wild types, however, can be obtained spontaneously at a frequency of about 5 X 10(-7). All Lac+ derivatives isolated had acquired a constitutive lactose transport system and most contained an inducible beta-galactosidase. The transport system, product of the lmrT gene, mediates uptake of lactose in the Lac+ derivatives and also appears to be able to mediate uptake of melibiose, raffinose, and galactose. Two genes encoding beta-galactosidase enzymes were detected in E. chrysanthemi strains. That mainly expressed in the wild-type strains was the lacZ product. The other, the lacB product, is very weakly expressed in these strains. These enzymes showed different affinities for the substrates o-nitrophenyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside and lactose and for the inhibitors isopropyl-beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside and galactose. The lmrT and lacZ genes of E. chrysanthemi, together with the lacI gene coding for the regulatory protein controlling lacZ expression, were cloned by using an RP4::miniMu vector. When these plasmids were transferred into Lac- Escherichia coli strains, their expression was similar to that in E. chrysanthemi. The cloning of the lmrT gene alone suggested that the lacZ or lacB gene is not linked to the lmrT gene on the E. chrysanthemi chromosome. One Lac+ E. chrysanthemi derivative showed a constitutive synthesis of the beta-galactosidase encoded by the lacB gene. This mutation was dominant toward the lacI lacZ cloned genes. Besides these mutations affecting the regulation of the lmrT or lacB gene, the isolation of structural mutants unable to grow on lactose was achieved by mutagenic treatment. These mutants showed no expression of the lactose transport system, the lmrT mutants, or the mainly expressed beta-galactosidase, lacZ mutants. The lacZ mutants retained a very low beta-galactosidase level, due to the lacB product, but this level was low enough to permit use of the lacZ mutants for the construction of gene fusions with the Escherichia coli lac genes.
PMCID: PMC218981  PMID: 3920205
19.  Resistance to Leishmania major is Linked to the H2 Region on Chromosome 17 and to Chromosome 9 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1997;185(9):1705-1710.
In Leishmaniasis, as in many infectious diseases, clinical manifestations are determined by the interaction between the genetics of the host and of the parasite. Here we describe studies mapping two loci controlling resistance to murine cutaneous leishmaniasis. Mice infected with L. major show marked genetic differences in disease manifestations: BALB/c mice are susceptible, exhibiting enlarging lesions that progress to systemic disease and death, whereas C57BL/6 are resistant, developing small, self-healing lesions. F2 animals from a C57BL/6 × BALB/c cross showed a continuous distribution of lesion score. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) have been mapped after a non-parametric QTL analysis on a genome-wide scan on 199 animals. QTLs identified were confirmed in a second cross of 271 animals. Linkage was confirmed to a chromosome 9 locus (D9Mit67–D9Mit71) and to a region including the H2 locus on chromosome 17. These have been named lmr2 and lmr1, respectively.
PMCID: PMC2196292  PMID: 9151907
20.  Altered expression of microRNA in the airway wall in chronic asthma: miR-126 as a potential therapeutic target 
The role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in regulating gene expression is currently an area of intense interest. Relatively little is known, however, about the role of miRNAs in inflammatory and immunologically-driven disorders. In a mouse model, we have previously shown that miRNAs are potentially important therapeutic targets in allergic asthma, because inhibition of miR-126, one of a small subset of miRNAs upregulated in the airway wall, effectively suppressed Th2-driven airway inflammation and other features of asthma. In the present study, we extended investigation of the therapeutic potential of miRNA inhibition to our well-established model of chronic asthma.
Female BALB/c mice were systemically sensitised with ovalbumin (OVA) and chronically challenged with low mass concentrations of aerosolised OVA for up to 6 weeks. Airway tissue was obtained by blunt dissection and RNA was isolated for miRNA profiling. On the basis of the results obtained, animals were subsequently treated with either an antagomir to miR-126 (ant-miR-126) or a scrambled control antagomir once weekly during the 6 weeks of chronic challenge, and the effects on airway inflammation and remodelling were assessed using established morphometric techniques.
Compared to naïve mice, there was selective upregulation of a modest number of miRNAs, notably miR-126, in the airway wall tissue of chronically challenged animals. The relative increase was maximal after 2 weeks of inhalational challenge and subsequently declined to baseline levels. Compared to treatment with the scrambled control, ant-miR-126 significantly reduced recruitment of intraepithelial eosinophils, but had no effect on the chronic inflammatory response, or on changes of airway remodelling.
In this model of chronic asthma, there was an initial increase in expression of a small number of miRNAs in the airway wall, notably miR-126. However, this later declined to baseline levels, suggesting that sustained changes in miRNA may not be essential for perpetuation of chronic asthma. Moreover, inhibition of miR-126 by administration of an antagomir suppressed eosinophil recruitment into the airways but had no effect on chronic inflammation in the airway wall, or on changes of remodelling, suggesting that multiple miRNAs are likely to regulate the development of these lesions.
PMCID: PMC3116478  PMID: 21605405
21.  The Soluble Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha Receptor Suppresses Airway Inflammation in a Murine Model of Acute Asthma 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2009;50(4):569-575.
Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) is a proinflammatory cytokine that has been implicated in many aspects of the airway pathology in asthma. TNF-α blocking strategies are now being tried in asthma patients. This study investigated whether TNF-α blocking therapy inhibits airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) in a mouse model of asthma. We also evaluated the effect of TNF-α blocking therapy on cytokine production and adhesion molecule expression.
Materials and Methods
Ovalbumin (OVA) sensitized BALB/c female mice were exposed to intranasal OVA administration on days 31, 33, 35, and 37. Mice were treated intraperitoneally with soluble TNF-α receptor (sTNFR) during the OVA challenge.
There were statistically significant decreases in the numbers of total cell and eosinophil in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) in the sTNFR treated group compared with the OVA group. However, sTNFR-treatment did not significantly decrease AHR. Anti-inflammatory effect of sTNFR was accompanied with reduction of T helper 2 cytokine levels including interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5 and IL-13 in BALF and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 expression in lung tissue.
These results suggest that sTNFR treatment can suppress the airway inflammation via regulation of Th2 cytokine production and adhesion molecule expression in bronchial asthma.
PMCID: PMC2730622  PMID: 19718408
Asthma; soluble TNF-α receptor; airway inflammation
22.  Airway allergen exposure stimulates bone marrow eosinophilia partly via IL-9 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):33.
Interleukin (IL)-9 is a Th2-derived cytokine with pleiotropic biological effects, which recently has been proposed as a candidate gene for asthma and allergy. We aimed to evaluate the therapeutic effect of a neutralizing anti-IL-9 antibody in a mouse model of airway eosinophilic inflammation and compared any such effect with anti-IL-5 treatment.
OVA-sensitized Balb/c mice were intraperitoneally pretreated with a single dose (100 μg) of an anti-mouse IL-9 monoclonal antibody (clone D9302C12) or its vehicle. A third group was given 50 μg of a monoclonal anti-mouse IL-5 antibody (TRFK-5) or its vehicle. Animals were subsequently exposed to OVA on five days via airways. Newly produced eosinophils were labelled using 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU). BrdU+ eosinophils and CD34+ cell numbers were examined by immunocytochemistry. After culture and stimulation with OVA or PMA+IC, intracellular staining of IL-9 in bone marrow cells from OVA-exposed animals was measured by Flow Cytometry. The Mann-Whitney U-test was used to determine significant differences between groups.
Anti-IL-9 significantly reduced bone marrow eosinophilia, primarily by decrease of newly produced (BrdU+) and mature eosinophils. Anti-IL-9 treatment also reduced blood neutrophil counts, but did not affect BAL neutrophils. Anti-IL-5 was able to reduce eosinophil numbers in all tissue compartments, as well as BrdU+ eosinophils and CD34+ progenitor cells, and in all instances to a greater extent than anti-IL-9. Also, FACS analysis showed that IL-9 is over-expressed in bone marrow CD4+ cells after allergen exposure.
Our data shows that a single dose of a neutralizing IL-9 antibody is not sufficient to reduce allergen-induced influx of newly produced cells from bone marrow to airways. However, in response to allergen, bone marrow cells over-express IL-9. This data suggest that IL-9 may participate in the regulation of granulocytopoiesis in allergic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC1090617  PMID: 15823208
23.  Antigen-Specific IgG ameliorates allergic airway inflammation via Fcγ receptor IIB on dendritic cells 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):42.
There have been few reports on the role of Fc receptors (FcRs) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) in asthma. The purpose of this study is to clarify the role of inhibitory FcRs and antigen presenting cells (APCs) in pathogenesis of asthma and to evaluate antigen-transporting and presenting capacity by APCs in the tracheobronchial mucosa.
In FcγRIIB deficient (KO) and C57BL/6 (WT) mice, the effects of intratracheal instillation of antigen-specific IgG were analysed using the model with sensitization and airborne challenge with ovalbumin (OVA). Thoracic lymph nodes instilled with fluorescein-conjugated OVA were analysed by fluorescence microscopy. Moreover, we analysed the CD11c+ MHC class II+ cells which intaken fluorescein-conjugated OVA in thoracic lymph nodes by flow cytometry. Also, lung-derived CD11c+ APCs were analysed by flow cytometry. Effects of anti-OVA IgG1 on bone marrow dendritic cells (BMDCs) in vitro were also analysed. Moreover, in FcγRIIB KO mice intravenously transplanted dendritic cells (DCs) differentiated from BMDCs of WT mice, the effects of intratracheal instillation of anti-OVA IgG were evaluated by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL).
In WT mice, total cells and eosinophils in BAL fluid reduced after instillation with anti-OVA IgG1. Anti-OVA IgG1 suppressed airway inflammation in hyperresponsiveness and histology. In addition, the number of the fluorescein-conjugated OVA in CD11c+ MHC class II+ cells of thoracic lymph nodes with anti-OVA IgG1 instillation decreased compared with PBS. Also, MHC class II expression on lung-derived CD11c+ APCs with anti-OVA IgG1 instillation reduced. Moreover, in vitro, we showed that BMDCs with anti-OVA IgG1 significantly decreased the T cell proliferation. Finally, we demonstrated that the lacking effects of anti-OVA IgG1 on airway inflammation on FcγRIIB KO mice were restored with WT-derived BMDCs transplanted intravenously.
Antigen-specific IgG ameliorates allergic airway inflammation via FcγRIIB on DCs.
PMCID: PMC3079623  PMID: 21477339
24.  A novel human anti-VCAM-1 monoclonal antibody ameliorates airway inflammation and remodelling 
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease induced by Type 2 helper T cells and eosinophils. Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) has been implicated in recruiting eosinophils and lymphocytes to pathological sites in asthma as a regulatory receptor. Accordingly, monoclonal antibody (mAb) against VCAM-1 may attenuate allergic inflammation and pathophysiological features of asthma. We attempted to evaluate whether a recently developed human anti-VCAM-1 mAb can inhibit the pathophysiological features of asthma in a murine asthma model induced by ovalbumin (OVA). Leucocyte adhesion inhibition assay was performed to evaluate the in vitro blocking activity of human anti-VCAM-1 mAb. OVA-sensitized BALB/c mice were treated with human anti-VCAM-1 mAb or isotype control Ab before intranasal OVA challenge. We evaluated airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid analysis, measured inflammatory cytokines and examined histopathological features. The human anti-VCAM-1 mAb bound to human and mouse VCAM-1 molecules and inhibited adhesion of human leucocytes in vitro. AHR and inflammatory cell counts in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were reduced in mice treated with human anti-VCAM-1 mAb as compared with a control Ab. The levels of interleukin (IL)-5 and IL-13, as well as transforming growth factor-β, in lung tissue were decreased in treated mice. Human anti-VCAM-1 mAb reduced goblet cell hyperplasia and peribronchial fibrosis. In vivo VCAM-1 expression decreased in the treated group. In conclusion, human anti-VCAM-1 mAb attenuated allergic inflammation and the pathophysiological features of asthma in OVA-induced murine asthma model. The results suggested that human anti-VCAM-1 mAb could potentially be used as an additional anti-asthma therapeutic medicine.
PMCID: PMC4159019  PMID: 23855490
VCAM-1; monoclonal antibody; allergic inflammation; asthma; cell adhesion molecule; anti-inflammatory effect
25.  Modulation of Distinct Asthmatic Phenotypes in Mice by Dose-Dependent Inhalation of Microbial Products 
Background: Humans with asthma display considerable heterogeneity with regard to T helper (Th) 2–associated eosinophilic and Th17-associated neutrophilic inflammation, but the impact of the environment on these different forms of asthma is poorly understood.
Objective: We studied the nature and longevity of asthma-like responses triggered by inhalation of allergen together with environmentally relevant doses of inhaled lipopolysaccharide (LPS).
Methods: Ovalbumin (OVA) was instilled into the airways of mice together with a wide range of LPS doses. Following a single OVA challenge, or multiple challenges, animals were assessed for pulmonary cytokine production, airway inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR).
Results: Mice instilled with OVA together with very low doses (≤ 10–3 μg) of LPS displayed modest amounts of Th2 cytokines, with associated airway eosinophilia and AHR after a single challenge, and these responses were sustained after multiple OVA challenges. When the higher but still environmentally relevant dose of 10–1 μg LPS was used, mice initially displayed similar Th2 responses, as well as Th17-associated neutrophilia. After multiple OVA challenges, however, the 10–1 μg LPS animals also accumulated large numbers of allergen-specific T regulatory (Treg) cells with high levels of inducible co-stimulatory molecule (ICOS). As a result, asthma-like features in these mice were shorter-lived than in mice sensitized using lower doses of LPS.
Conclusions: The nature and longevity of Th2, Th17, and Treg immune responses to inhaled allergen are dependent on the quantity of LPS inhaled at the time of allergic sensitization. These findings might account in part for the heterogeneity of inflammatory infiltrates seen in lungs of asthmatics.
Citation: Whitehead GS, Thomas SY, Cook DN. 2014. Modulation of distinct asthmatic phenotypes in mice by dose-dependent inhalation of microbial products. Environ Health Perspect 122:34–42;
PMCID: PMC3888577  PMID: 24168764

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