Allergic rhinitis (AR) affects up to 80% of children with asthma and increases asthma severity. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is a key mediator of allergic inflammation. The role of the TSLP gene (TSLP) in the pathogenesis of AR has not been studied.
To test for associations between variants in TSLP, TSLP-related genes, and AR in children with asthma.
We genotyped 15 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in TSLP, OX40L, IL7R, and RXRα in three independent cohorts: 592 asthmatic Costa Rican children and their parents, 422 nuclear families of North American children with asthma, and 239 Swedish children with asthma. We tested for associations between these SNPs and AR. As we previously reported sex-specific effects for TSLP, we performed overall and sex-stratified analyses. We additionally performed secondary analyses for gene-by-gene interactions.
Across the three cohorts, the T allele of TSLP SNP rs1837253 was undertransmitted in boys with AR and asthma as compared to boys with asthma alone. The SNP was associated with reduced odds for AR (odds ratios ranging from 0.56 to 0.63, with corresponding Fisher's combined P value of 1.2 × 10-4). Our findings were significant after accounting for multiple comparisons. SNPs in OX40L, IL7R, and RXRα were not consistently associated with AR in children with asthma. There were nominally significant interactions between gene pairs.
TSLP SNP rs1837253 is associated with reduced odds for AR in boys with asthma. Our findings support a role for TSLP in the pathogenesis of AR in children with asthma.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) triggers dendritic cell–mediated T helper (Th) 2 inflammatory responses. A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs3806933, in the promoter region of the TSLP gene creates a binding site for the transcription factor activating protein (AP)–1. The variant enhances AP-1 binding to the regulatory element, and increases the promoter–reporter activity of TSLP in response to polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly[I:C]) stimulation in normal human bronchial epithelium (NHBE). We investigated whether polymorphisms including the SNP rs3806933 could affect the susceptibility to and clinical phenotypes of bronchial asthma. We selected three representative (i.e., Tag) SNPs and conducted association studies of the TSLP gene, using two independent populations (639 patients with childhood atopic asthma and 838 control subjects, and 641 patients with adult asthma and 376 control subjects, respectively). We further examined the effects of corticosteroids and a long-acting β2-agonist (salmeterol) on the expression levels of the TSLP gene in response to poly(I:C) in NHBE. We found that the promoter polymorphisms rs3806933 and rs2289276 were significantly associated with disease susceptibility in both childhood atopic and adult asthma. The functional SNP rs3806933 was associated with asthma (meta-analysis, P = 0.000056; odds ratio, 1.29; 95% confidence interval, 1.14–1.47). A genotype of rs2289278 was correlated with pulmonary function. Moreover, the induction of TSLP mRNA and protein expression induced by poly(I:C) in NHBE was synergistically impaired by a corticosteroid and salmeterol. TSLP variants are significantly associated with bronchial asthma and pulmonary function. Thus, TSLP may serve as a therapeutic target molecule for combination therapy.
asthma; TSLP; bronchial epithelial cells; combination therapy; genetic polymorphisms
Nasal polyposis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the upper airways often associated with asthma and characterized by markedly increased numbers of eosinophils, Th2 type lymphocytes, fibroblasts, goblet cells and mast cells. Previous studies have shown elevated levels of thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) in atopic diseases like asthma, atopic dermatitis and mainly in animal models of allergic rhinitis (AR). Here, we investigated the expression of TSLP in nasal polyps from atopics and non-atopics in comparison with the nasal mucosa and its potential role in nasal polyposis.
Messenger RNA expression for TSLP, thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC) and macrophage derived chemokine (MDC) in nasal polyps and nasal mucosa of atopics and non-atopics was analyzed by real time PCR. Immunoreactivity for TSLP in nasal polyps and in the nasal mucosa of patients with AR and non-allergic rhinitis (NAR) was analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Eosinophil counts was analyzed by Wright-Giemsa staining and nasal polyp tissue IgE, by ELISA.
Messenger RNA expression for TSLP,TARC and MDC was markedly higher in nasal polyps as compared to the allergic nasal mucosa. Immunoreactivity for TSLP was detected in epithelial cells, endothelial cells, fibroblasts and inflammatory cells of the nasal mucosa and nasal polyps. The number of TSLP+ cells was significantly greater in the nasal mucosa of AR than NAR patients. The number of TSLP+ cells in nasal polyps from atopics was significantly greater than that of non-atopics and that in the allergic nasal mucosa. The number of TSLP+ cells correlated well with the number of eosinophils and the levels of IgE in nasal polyps.
The high expression of TSLP in nasal polyps and its strong correlation to eosinophils and IgE suggest a potential role for TSLP in the pathogenesis of nasal polyps by regulating the Th2 type and eosinophilic inflammation.
Nasal polyps; Th2 cytokines; TSLP; eosinophils; IgE
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) have been associated with IgE (in girls) and asthma (in general). We sought to determine whether TSLP SNPs are associated with asthma in a sex-specific fashion.
We conducted regular and sex-stratified analyses of association between SNPs in TSLP and asthma in families of asthmatic children in Costa Rica. Significant findings were replicated in white and African-American participants in the Childhood Asthma Management Program, in African Americans in the Genomic Research on Asthma in the African Diaspora study, in whites and Hispanics in the Children’s Health Study, and in whites in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS).
Two SNPs in TSLP (rs1837253 and rs2289276) were significantly associated with a reduced risk of asthma in combined analyses of all cohorts (p values of 2×10−5 and 1×10−5, respectively). In a sex-stratified analysis, the T allele of rs1837253 was significantly associated with a reduced risk of asthma in males only (p= 3×10−6). Alternately, the T allele of rs2289276 was significantly associated with a reduced risk of asthma in females only (p= 2×10−4). Findings for rs2289276 were consistent in all cohorts except the FHS.
TSLP variants are associated with asthma in a sex-specific fashion.
asthma; genetic association; sex-specific; thymic stromal lymphopoietin; TSLP
CD4+ T helper type 2 (Th2) cells characterized by their expression of IL-4, IL-5, IL-9 and IL-13 are required for immunity to helminth parasites1 and promote the pathological inflammation associated with asthma and allergic diseases2. Polymorphisms in the gene encoding the cytokine thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) are associated with the development of multiple allergic disorders in humans, suggesting that TSLP is a critical regulator of allergic diseases3-6. Supporting genetic analyses, exaggerated TSLP production is associated with asthma, atopic dermatitis and food allergies in patients, and studies in murine systems demonstrated that TSLP promotes Th2 cytokine-mediated immunity and inflammation5, 7-12. However, the mechanisms through which TSLP promotes Th2 cytokine responses remain poorly defined. Here we demonstrate that TSLP promotes systemic basophilia, that disruption of TSLP-TSLPR interactions results in defective basophil responses and that TSLPR-sufficient basophils can restore Th2 cell-dependent immunity in vivo. TSLP acted directly on bone marrow- resident progenitors to selectively promote basophil responses. Critically, TSLP could elicit basophil responses in both IL-3-sufficient and IL-3-deficient environments and genome-wide transcriptional profiling and functional analyses identified heterogeneity between TSLP-elicited versus IL-3-elicited basophils. Further, activated human basophils expressed the TSLPR and basophils isolated from eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) patients were heterogeneous. Collectively, these studies identify previously unrecognized heterogeneity within the basophil cell lineage and indicate that expression of TSLP may influence susceptibility to multiple allergic diseases by regulating basophil hematopoiesis and eliciting a population of functionally distinct basophils that promote Th2 cytokine-mediated inflammation.
TSLP; Th2 cytokine responses; innate immunity; basophils; hematopoiesis
The genetic etiology of eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) has been largely unexplored until a recent genome-wide association study identified a disease susceptibility locus on 5q22, a region that harbors the thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) gene. However, it is unclear whether the observed genetic associations with EE are disease-specific or confounded by the high rate of allergy in EE patients. In addition, the genetic contributions of other allergy associated genes to EE risk have not been explored.
We aimed to delineate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP)s that associated with EE apart from allergy.
We utilized a custom array containing 738 SNPs in 53 genes implicated in allergic and/or immune responses to genotype 220 allergic or 246 non-allergic controls and a discovery cohort of 170 EE patients. We replicated a statistically significant SNP association in an independent case-control cohort and examined the induction of the candidate gene in primary esophageal epithelial cells.
A single SNP residing in the TSLP gene reached Bonferroni LD adjusted significance and only when EE cases were compared with allergic controls (rs10062929, P = 4.11 × 10−5, odds ratio = 0.35). A non-synonymous polymorphism in the TSLP receptor on Xp22.3 and Yp11.3 was significantly associated with disease only in male EE patients. Primary esophageal epithelial cells expressed TSLP mRNA following Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) stimulation.
These data collectively identify TSLP as a candidate gene critically involved in EE susceptibility beyond its role in promoting Th2 responses.
Eosinophilic esophagitis; thymic stromal lymphopoietin; single nucleotide polymorphism; allergy; cytokine receptor-like factor 2; Toll-like receptor 3
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) has been recently implicated as a key molecule for initiating allergic inflammation at the epithelial cell-dendritic cell (DC) interface. In humans, aberrant TSLP expression is observed in allergic tissues, such as lesional skins of atopic dermatitis, lungs of asthmatics, nasal mucosa of atopic rhinitis and nasal polyps, and ocular surface of allergic keratoconjunctivitis. TSLP is produced predominantly by damaged epithelial cells and stimulates myeloid DCs (mDCs). TSLP-activated mDCs can promote the differentiation of naïve CD4+ T cells into a Th2 phenotype and the expansion of CD4+ Th2 memory cells in a unique manner dependent on OX40L, one of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily members with Th2-promoting function, and lack of production of IL-12. From a genetic point of view, multiple genome-wide association studies have repeatedly identified the TSLP gene as one of the loci associated with susceptibility to allergic diseases. Thus, TSLP is a rational therapeutic target for the treatment of allergic disorders. Elucidating the mechanisms that regulate TSLP expression and the effects of TSLP on orchestrating the immune response toward a Th2 phenotype is essential for developing anti-TSLP therapy.
allergic inflammation; dendritic cells (DCs); OX40L; Th2 cells; thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP)
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is an interleukin 7 (IL-7)-like cytokine expressed mainly by epithelial cells. Current studies provide compelling evidence that TSLP is capable of activating dendritic cells (DCs) to promote T helper (Th) 2 immune responses. TSLP has also been shown to directly promote Th2 differentiation of naïve CD4+ T cell, and activate natural killer T (NKT) cells, basophils and other innate immune cells at the initial stage of inflammation. In addition, TSLP affects B cell maturation and activation, and can also influence regulatory T (Treg) cell differentiation and development. TSLP-induced Th2 responses are associated with the pathogenesis of allergic inflammatory diseases, including atopic dermatitis (AD), asthma and rhinitis. Based on recent findings in humans and mouse models, TSLP might also be involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease and progression of cancer. In this review, we will summarize our current understanding of the biology of TSLP, and highlight the important issues for future investigations.
TSLP; allergy; Th2; cancer; inflammation
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), an IL7-like cytokine produced by bronchial epithelial cells is upregulated in asthma and induces dendritic cell maturation supporting a Th2 response. Environmental pollutants, including tobacco smoke and diesel exhaust particles upregulate TSLP suggesting that TSLP may be an interface between environmental pollution and immune responses in asthma. Since asthma is prevalent in urban communities, variants in the TSLP gene may be important in asthma susceptibility in these populations.
To determine whether genetic variants in TSLP are associated with asthma in an urban admixed population.
Methodology and Main Results
Ten tag-SNPs in the TSLP gene were analyzed for association with asthma using 387 clinically diagnosed asthmatic cases and 212 healthy controls from an urban admixed population. One SNP (rs1898671) showed nominally significant association with asthma (odds ratio (OR) = 1.50; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.09–2.05, p = 0.01) after adjusting for age, BMI, income, education and population stratification. Association results were consistent using two different approaches to adjust for population stratification. When stratified by smoking status, the same SNP showed a significantly increased risk associated with asthma in ex-smokers (OR = 2.00, 95% CI: 1.04–3.83, p = 0.04) but not significant in never-smokers (OR = 1.34; 95% CI: 0.93–1.94, p = 0.11). Haplotype-specific score test indicated that an elevated risk for asthma was associated with a specific haplotype of TSLP involving SNP rs1898671 (OR = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.10–2.27, p = 0.01). Association of this SNP with asthma was confirmed in an independent large population-based cohort consortium study (OR = 1.15, 95% CI: 1.07–1.23, p = 0.0003) and the results stratified by smoking status were also validated (ex-smokers: OR = 1.21, 95% CI: 1.08–1.34, p = 0.003; never-smokers: OR = 1.06, 95% CI: 0.94–1.17, p = 0.33).
Genetic variants in TSLP may contribute to asthma susceptibility in admixed urban populations with a gene and environment interaction.
Graves disease (GD) is an organ-specific autoimmune disease characterized by hyperthyroidism, diffuse goiter, autoantibodies against thyroid-specific antigens, and dermopathy. Studies of GD have demonstrated the importance of the Th2 and Th17 immune responses in mediating disease progression. In the present study, we investigated the role of a Th2 cytokine, thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), in GD and Th17 differentiation.
In this study, we genotyped 470 patients with GD at 3 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in TSLP. In addition, the serum concentrations of TSLP were determined in 432 patients and 272 controls. Ten patients and controls each were further screened using in vitro Th17 differentiation assays. The SNPs were genotyped using ABI TaqMan® SNP genotyping assays. For the Th17 differentiation assays, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from the patients and controls were placed into Th17 differentiation media, and interleukin 17 expression levels were determined.
Haplotype analysis indicated that patients with the Ht3 (TCC) haplotype have a 3.28-fold higher risk of developing GD (p = 0.007), whereas those with the Ht5 (TCG) haplotype had a 0.03-fold, reduced risk of developing GD (p = 1 × 10−14). SNP rs3806933 (p = 0.007) was associated with female Graves ophthalmopathy (GO). TSLP expression levels were higher in GD patients than in control subjects, and TLSP was also shown to promote the differentiation of Th17 cells in GD patients.
These results suggest that polymorphisms in TSLP may be used as genetic markers for the diagnosis and prognosis of GD. Furthermore, TLSP may be a target for treating GD.
Graves’ disease; Graves’ ophthalmopathy; Thymic stromal lymphopoietin; Th17
Even though thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) has been implicated in the development of allergic inflammation, its influence on immune tolerance mediated by regulatory T cells (Treg) have not been explored. We aimed to dissect the influence of TSLP on immunosuppressive activities of Treg and its potential consequences in human allergic asthma.
In vitro culture system was utilized to study the effects of TSLP on human Treg. The functional competency of pulmonary Treg from a cohort of 15 allergic asthmatic, 15 healthy control, and 15 non-allergic asthmatic subjects was also evaluated by suppression assays and flow cytometric analysis.
Activated pulmonary Treg expressed TSLP-R and responded to TSLP-mediated activation of STAT5. TSLP directly and selectively impaired IL-10 production of Treg and inhibited their suppressive activity. In human allergic asthma, pulmonary Treg exhibited a significant decrease in suppressive activity and IL-10 production compared to healthy control and non-allergic asthmatic counterparts. These functional alterations were associated with elevated TSLP expression in bronchoaveolar lavage fluid (BAL) of allergic asthmatic subjects. Furthermore, allergic asthmatic BAL could suppress IL-10 production by healthy control pulmonary Treg in a TSLP-dependent manner.
These results provide the first evidences for a direct role of TSLP in the regulation of suppressive activities of Treg. TSLP mediated inhibition of Treg function might present a novel pathologic mechanism to dampen tolerogenic immune responses in inflamed asthmatic airway.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is a cytokine with multiple effects on the body. For one thing, TSLP induces Th2 immunoreaction and facilitates allergic reaction; for another, it promotes the differentiation of naturally occurring CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (nTregs) and maintains immune tolerance. However, the exact role of TSLP in atherosclerosis remains unknown.
Methods and Results
In vitro, we examined the phenotype of TSLP‐conditioned bone marrow dendritic cells (TSLP‐DCs) of apolipoprotein E–deficient (ApoE−/−) mice and their capacity to induce the differentiation of Tregs. Our results indicated that TSLP‐DCs obtained the characteristics of tolerogenic dendritic cells and increased a generation of CD4+ latency‐associated peptide (LAP)+ Tregs and nTregs when cocultured with naive T cells. In addition, the functional relevance of TSLP and TSLP‐DCs in the development of atherosclerosis was also determined. Interestingly, we found that TSLP was almost absent in cardiovascular tissue of ApoE−/− mice, and TSLP administration increased the levels of antioxidized low‐density lipoprotein IgM and IgG1, but decreased the levels of IgG2a in plasma. Furthermore, mice treated with TSLP and TSLP‐DCs developed significantly fewer (32.6% and 28.2%, respectively) atherosclerotic plaques in the aortic root compared with controls, along with increased numbers of CD4+LAP+ Tregs and nTregs in the spleen and decreased inflammation in the aorta, which could be abrogated by anti‐TGF‐β antibody.
Our results revealed a protective role for TSLP in atherosclerosis that is possibly mediated by reestablishing a tolerogenic immune response, which may represent a novel possibility for treatment or prevention of atherosclerosis.
atherosclerosis; CD4+LAP+ Tregs; TGF‐β; tolerogenic dendritic cells; TSLP
Airway epithelial cells provide mechanical and immune protection against pathogens and allergens. Following activation, these cells produce a wide range of cytokines including thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP). Recently it was established that a high level of TSLP is associated with asthma in mice and in humans. These findings suggest that interfering with the ability of cells to respond to TSLP might prevent the development of airway inflammation. Our review presents current knowledge on mediators that induce TSLP production and on the actions of TSLP on different populations of cells that are related to airway inflammation. TSLP affects dendritic cells, T cells, NKT cells, and mast cells, indicative of the broad role of TSLP in the regulation of inflammatory/allergic processes.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is an epithelial cell derived cytokine important for the initiation and development of T helper (Th2) cell-mediated allergic inflammation. In this study, we identified a positive association between interleukin-9 (IL-9) and TSLP concentration in the serum of infants with atopic dermatitis. In primary cell cultures, the addition of TSLP led to an increase in IL-9 production from human and mouse Th9 cells, and induced an increase in Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 5 (STAT5) activation and binding to the Il9 promoter. In vivo, use of an adoptive transfer model demonstrated that TSLP promoted IL-9-dependent, Th9 cell-induced allergic inflammation by acting directly on T cells. Moreover, transgenic expression of TSLP in the lung stimulated IL-9 production in vivo, and anti-IL-9 treatment attenuated TSLP-induced airway inflammation. Together, our results demonstrate that TSLP promotes Th9 cell differentiation and function, and define a requirement for IL-9 in TSLP-induced allergic inflammation.
The epithelial-derived cytokine thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) has important roles in the initiation of allergic airway inflammation and activation of dendritic cells. We have shown that the human TSLP gene is regulated in an NFκB-dependent manner; however the factors that negatively regulate TSLP expression are not known. In this paper we demonstrate that 9-cis retinoic acid (9-cisRA) is a negative regulator of TSLP expression in airway epithelial cells. This inhibition is manifested as a block in the IL-1β-mediated recruitment of NFκB to the human TSLP promoter. 9-cisRA-mediated inhibition is not restricted to TSLP gene expression, but rather reflected a general inhibition of NFκB activation as other NFκB-regulated-genes were also inhibited in a similar manner by 9-cisRA treatment. Taken as a whole, these data demonstrate that inhibition of IL-1β-dependent genes by active RXR involves antagonism of NFκB signaling.
The epithelial-derived cytokine thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) has been associated with the promotion of type 2 inflammation and the induction of allergic disease. In humans TSLP is elevated in the lungs of asthma patients and in the lesional skin of individuals with atopic dermatitis, whereas mice lacking TSLP responses are refractory to models of Th2-driven allergic disease. Although several cell types, including dendritic cells, basophils, and CD4 T cells, have been shown to respond to TSLP, its role in macrophage differentiation has not been studied. Type 2 cytokines (i.e., IL-4 and IL-13) can drive the differentiation of macrophages into alternatively activated macrophages (aaMϕs, also referred to as M2 macrophages). This population of macrophages is associated with allergic inflammation. We therefore reasoned that TSLP/TSLPR signaling may be involved in the differentiation and activation of aaMϕs during allergic airway inflammation. In this study, we report that TSLP changes the quiescent phenotype of pulmonary macrophages toward an aaMϕ phenotype during TSLP-induced airway inflammation. This differentiation of airway macrophages was IL-13–, but not IL-4–, dependent. Taken together, we demonstrate in this study that TSLP/TSLPR plays a significant role in the amplification of aaMΦ polarization and chemokine production, thereby contributing to allergic inflammation.
The epithelial-derived cytokine thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) has been associated with the promotion of type 2 inflammation and the induction of allergic disease. In humans TSLP is elevated in the lungs of asthma patients and in the lesional skin of individuals with atopic dermatitis, while mice lacking TSLP responses are refractory to models of Th2-driven allergic disease. While several cell types, including dendritic cells, basophils, and CD4 T cells, have been shown to respond to TSLP, its role in macrophage differentiation has not been studied. Type 2 cytokines (i.e. IL-4 and IL-13) can drive the differentiation of macrophages into alternatively activated macrophages (aaMΦ, also referred to as M2 macrophages). This population of macrophages is associated with allergic inflammation. We therefore reasoned that TSLP/TSLPR signaling may be involved in the differentiation and activation of aaMΦs during allergic airway inflammation. We report here that TSLP changes the quiescent phenotype of pulmonary macrophages toward an aaMΦ phenotype during TSLP-induced airway inflammation. This differentiation of airway macrophages was IL-13-, but not IL-4-, dependent. Taken together, we demonstrate here that TSLP/TSLPR plays a significant role in the amplification of aaMΦ polarization and chemokine production, thereby contributing to allergic inflammation.
TSLP; asthma; alternatively activated macrophages
The mucosal barrier of the upper respiratory tract including the nasal cavity, which is the first site of exposure to inhaled antigens, plays an important role in host defense in terms of innate immunity and is regulated in large part by tight junctions of epithelial cells. Tight junction molecules are expressed in both M cells and dendritic cells as well as epithelial cells of upper airway. Various antigens are sampled, transported, and released to lymphocytes through the cells in nasal mucosa while they maintain the integrity of the barrier. Expression of tight junction molecules and the barrier function in normal human nasal epithelial cells (HNECs) are affected by various stimuli including growth factor, TLR ligand, and cytokine. In addition, epithelial-derived thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), which is a master switch for allergic inflammatory diseases including allergic rhinitis, enhances the barrier function together with an increase of tight junction molecules in HNECs. Furthermore, respiratory syncytial virus infection in HNECs in vitro induces expression of tight junction molecules and the barrier function together with proinflammatory cytokine release. This paper summarizes the recent progress in our understanding of the regulation of tight junctions in the upper airway epithelium under normal, allergic, and RSV-infected conditions.
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.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) potently induces deregulation of Th2 responses, a hallmark feature of allergic inflammatory diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis, and allergic rhinitis. However, direct downstream in vivo mediators in the TSLP-induced atopic immune cascade have not been identified. In our current study, we have shown that OX40 ligand (OX40L) is a critical in vivo mediator of TSLP-mediated Th2 responses. Treating mice with OX40L-blocking antibodies substantially inhibited immune responses induced by TSLP in the lung and skin, including Th2 inflammatory cell infiltration, cytokine secretion, and IgE production. OX40L-blocking antibodies also inhibited antigen-driven Th2 inflammation in mouse and nonhuman primate models of asthma. This treatment resulted in both blockade of the OX40-OX40L receptor-ligand interaction and depletion of OX40L-positive cells. The use of a blocking, OX40L-specific mAb thus presents a promising strategy for the treatment of allergic diseases associated with pathologic Th2 immune responses.
Airway remodeling due to increased airway smooth muscle (ASM) mass, likely due to enhanced migration and proliferation, has been shown to be highly associated with decline in lung function in asthma. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is an IL-7-like, pro-allergic cytokine that has been shown to be necessary and sufficient for the development of allergic asthma. Human ASM (HASM) cells express TSLP receptor (TSLPR), the activation of which leads to enhanced release of proinflammatory mediators such as IL-6, CCL11/eotaxin-1, and CXCL8/IL-8. We show here that TSLP induces HASM cell migration through STAT3 activation since lentiviral-shRNA inhibition of STAT3 abrogated the TSLP-induced cell migration. Moreover, TSLP induced multiple cytoskeleton changes in HASM cells such as actin polymerization, cell polarization, and activation of small GTPase Rac1. Collectively, our data suggest a pro-migratory function of TSLP in ASM remodeling and provides better rationale for targeting TSLP/TSLPR pathway for therapeutic approaches in allergic asthma.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is an interleukin (IL) 7–like cytokine that triggers dendritic cell–mediated T helper (Th)2 inflammatory responses. TSLP is highly expressed by keratinocytes in skin lesions of patients with atopic dermatitis and is associated with dendritic cell activation in situ, suggesting that TSLP might be a master switch for allergic inflammation at the epithelial cell–dendritic cell interface. New reports now establish a direct link between TSLP expression and the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis and asthma in vivo, and begin to reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying TSLP-induced allergic inflammation.
Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin (TSLP) is crucial for the development of atopic diseases in humans and mice. Mice that express a lung-specific TSLP transgene (SPC-TSLP) develop a spontaneous and progressive asthma-like disease, suggesting that TSLP expression alone was sufficient for disease development. Here we show that, in fact, TSLP alone only causes a weak innate response that is insufficient for development of full airway inflammatory disease. Complete disease development requires both TSLP and antigenic stimulation. These data suggest that the spontaneous lung inflammation observed in SPC-TSLP mice reflects a TSLP-driven predisposition towards the development of aberrant responses against innocuous environmental antigens. This provides evidence that TSLP may act directly to induce susceptibility to the inappropriate allergic responses that characterize atopy and asthma. We additionally show that disease development requires CD4 T cells but not B cells. Further, we reveal a TSLP-driven innate response involving mucus overproduction and goblet cell metaplasia. Taken together, these data suggest a multi-faceted model of TSLP-mediated airway inflammation, with an initial activation of resident innate immune cells, followed by activation of the adaptive immune system and full disease development. This study provides new insight into the unique features of the asthma pathology contributed by the innate and adaptive immune responses in response to TSLP stimulation.
Cytokines; Allergy; Inflammation; Lung
The epithelial-derived cytokine thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) plays a key role in the development and progression of atopic disease and has notably been shown to directly promote the allergic inflammatory responses that characterize asthma. Current models suggest that TSLP is produced by epithelial cells in response to inflammatory stimuli and acts primarily upon dendritic cells to effect a T helper type 2-type inflammatory response. Recent reports, however, have shown that epithelial cells themselves are capable of expressing the TSLP receptor (TSLPR), and may thus directly contribute to a TSLP-dependent response. We report here that beyond simply expressing the receptor, epithelial cells are capable of dynamically regulating TSLPR in response to the same inflammatory cues that drive the production of TSLP, and that epithelial cells produce chemokine C–C motif ligand 17, a T helper type 2-associated chemokine, in response to stimulation with TSLP. These data suggest that a direct autocrine or paracrine response to TSLP by epithelial cells may initiate the initial waves of chemotaxis during an allergic inflammatory response. Intriguingly, we find that the regulation of TSLPR, unlike TSLP, is independent of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells, suggesting that the cell may be able to independently regulate TSLP and TSLPR levels in order to properly modulate its response to TSLP. Finally, we show evidence for this dynamic regulation occurring following the viral infection of primary epithelial cells from asthmatic patients. Taken together, the data suggest that induction of TSLPR and a direct response to TSLP by epithelial cells may play a novel role in the development of allergic inflammation.
TSLP; TSLPR; RSV; asthma; epithelium
Inflammation is a double-edged sword that can promote or suppress cancer progression. Here we report that thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), an IL-7-like type 1 inflammatory cytokine that is often associated with the induction of Th2-type allergic responses in the lungs, is also expressed in human and murine cancers. Our studies with murine cancer cells indicate that TSLP plays an essential role in cancer escape, as its inactivation in cancer cells alone was sufficient to almost completely abrogate cancer progression and lung metastasis. The cancer-promoting activity of TSLP primarily required signaling through the TSLP receptor on CD4+ T cells, promoting Th2-skewed immune responses and production of immunosuppressive factors such as IL-10 and IL-13. Expression of TSLP therefore may be a useful prognostic marker and its targeting could have therapeutic potential.
TSLP; breast cancer metastasis; Th2-type responses