Both atopy and bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) are characteristic features of asthma. They are also found among non-asthmatic subjects, including allergic rhinitis patients and the general population. Atopy and BHR in asthma are closely related. Atopy induces airway inflammation as an IgE response to a specific allergen, which causes or amplifies BHR. Moreover, significant evidence of the close relationship between atopy and BHR has been found in non-asthmatic subjects. In this article, we discuss the relationship between atopy and BHR in the general population, asthmatic subjects, and those with allergic rhinitis. This should widen our understanding of the pathophysiology of atopy and BHR.
Allergic rhinitis; asthma; atopy; bronchial hyperresponsiveness; patients; population
BACKGROUND: Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) to methacholine has been reported to occur in most lung transplant recipients. BHR to physical stimuli such as exercise and non-isotonic aerosols has not been as extensively studied in this subject population. This report aims to assess the presence and degree of BHR to methacholine and hypertonic saline in stable lung transplant recipients and to relate it to the presence of airway inflammation. METHODS: Ten patients undergoing bilateral sequential lung transplantation and six heart-lung transplant recipients, all with stable lung function, were recruited 66- 1167 days following transplantation. Subjects underwent a methacholine challenge and bronchoscopy for sampling of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, transbronchial and endobronchial biopsy tissues. Hypertonic saline challenge was performed six days later. RESULTS: Nine of the 16 transplant recipients had positive methacholine challenges (geometric mean PD20 0.18 mg, interquartile range 0.058-0.509) and three of these subjects also had positive hypertonic saline challenges (PD15 = 2.3, 33.0, and 51.5 ml). No clear relationship was found between BHR to either methacholine or hypertonic saline and levels of mast cells, eosinophils or lymphocytes in samples of biopsy tissue or lavage fluid. CONCLUSIONS: Most of the lung transplant recipients studied were responsive to methacholine and unresponsive to hypertonic saline. BHR was not clearly related to airway inflammation, suggesting an alternative mechanism for BHR following lung transplantation from that usually assumed in asthma.
The complex pathophysiology of lung allergic inflammation and bronchial hyperresponsiveness
(BHR) that characterize asthma is achieved by the regulated accumulation and activation of
different leukocyte subsets in the lung. The development and maintenance of these processes
correlate with the coordinated production of chemokines. Here, we have assessed the role that
different chemokines play in lung allergic inflammation and BHR by blocking their activities
in vivo. Our results show that blockage of each one of these chemokines reduces both lung
leukocyte infiltration and BHR in a substantially different way. Thus, eotaxin neutralization reduces specifically BHR and lung eosinophilia transiently after each antigen exposure. Monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-5 neutralization abolishes BHR not by affecting the accumulation of inflammatory leukocytes in the airways, but rather by altering the trafficking of the
eosinophils and other leukocytes through the lung interstitium. Neutralization of RANTES
(regulated upon activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted) receptor(s) with a receptor
antagonist decreases significantly lymphocyte and eosinophil infiltration as well as mRNA expression of eotaxin and RANTES. In contrast, neutralization of one of the ligands for RANTES receptors, macrophage-inflammatory protein 1α, reduces only slightly lung eosinophilia and BHR.
Finally, MCP-1 neutralization diminishes drastically BHR and inflammation, and this correlates
with a pronounced decrease in monocyte- and lymphocyte-derived inflammatory mediators.
These results suggest that different chemokines activate different cellular and molecular pathways
that in a coordinated fashion contribute to the complex pathophysiology of asthma, and that their
individual blockage results in intervention at different levels of these processes.
chemokines; allergic inflammation; bronchial hyperresponsiveness; eosinophilia; leukocytes
Epidemiological studies suggest an inverse relationship between helminth infections and allergic disease, and several helminth-derived products have been shown to suppress allergic responses in animals. This study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of a crude extract of Caenorhabditis elegans on allergic airway inflammation in a murine model of asthma. Allergic airway inflammation was induced in BALB/c mice by sensitization with ovalbumin. The effect of the C. elegans crude extract on the development of asthma and on established asthma was evaluated by analyzing airway hyperresponsiveness, serum antibody titers, lung histology and cell counts and cytokine levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. The role of IFN-γ in the suppression of asthma by the C. elegans crude extract was investigated in IFN-γ knockout and wild-type mice. When mice were sensitized with ovalbumin together with the crude extract of C. elegans, cellular infiltration into the lung was dramatically reduced in comparison with the ovalbumin-treated group. Treatment of mice with the C. elegans crude extract significantly decreased methacholine-induced airway hyperresponsiveness and the total cell counts and levels of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid but increased the levels of IFN-γ and IL-12. Sensitization with the C. elegans crude extract significantly diminished the IgE and IgG1 responses but provoked elevated IgG2a levels. However, the suppressive effect of the C. elegans crude extract was abolished in IFN-γ knockout mice, and the Th2 responses in these mice were as strong as those in wild-type mice sensitized with ovalbumin. The crude extract of C. elegans also suppressed the airway inflammation associated with established asthma. This study provides new insights into immune modulation by the C. elegans crude extract, which suppressed airway inflammation in mice not only during the development of asthma but also after its establishment by skewing allergen-induced Th2 responses to Th1 responses.
Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is an important pathophysiological feature of asthma. In addition to the diagnostic significance, BHR is associated with the severity of airway inflammation and BHR- based treatment approaches has been shown to be effective. Nevertheless, challenge tests are time consuming, inconvenient to patients, and are not accessible in every primary care physicians. We aimed to develop a questionnaire for the assessment of BHR in Korean subjects.
From the 24 University-affiliated hospitals, we recruited 149 adults between age 20 and 40 years with more than one asthmatic symptom (cough, sputum or dyspnea) and who had bronchial provocation test. A list of 33 symptoms, past history of allergy or smoking and 10 provoking stimuli were selected for the BHR questionnaire. After a methacholine challenge test patients were asked to complete each questionnaire. For each item of questionnaire, diagnostic odds ratios for the presence of BHR were calculated and multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to select final questionnaire items. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the selected questionnaire items.
Methacholine challenge test was positive in 36 patients (24.2%). Eleven symptoms and 2 provoking stimuli items were statistically significant by the results of diagnostic odds ratio. According to the result of multiple logistic regression analysis, 4 items were finally selected for the significant BHR questionnaire: the presence of wheezing episode, past history of physician-diagnosed asthma, family history of asthma. The psychiatric stress was negatively associated provoking stimuli item for the presence of BHR. The area under the ROC curve was 0.80 (95% CI, 0.72-0.86). Sensitivity was 84.9% (95% CI, 68.1-94.9) and specificity was 65.5% (95% CI, 55.8-74.3).
Four BHR questionnaire items including wheezing episode, past history of physician-diagnosed asthma, family history of asthma and psyachiatric stress stimuli were able to assess the presence of BHR in Korean adults.
Background: Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is characteristic of asthmatic airways, is induced by airway inflammation, and is reduced by inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). The time course for the onset and cessation of the effect of ICS on BHR is unclear. The effect of inhaled fluticasone propionate (FP) on BHR in patients with mild persistent asthma was assessed using time intervals of hours, days and weeks.
Methods: Twenty six asthmatic patients aged 21–59 years were selected for this randomised, double blind, parallel group study. The effect of 250 µg inhaled FP (MDI) administered twice daily was compared with that of placebo on BHR assessed using a dosimetric histamine challenge method. The dose of histamine inducing a decrease in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) by 15% (PD15FEV1) was measured before and 6, 12, 24 and 72 hours, and 2, 4 and 6 weeks after starting treatment, and 48 hours, 1 week and 2 weeks after cessation of treatment. Doubling doses of changes in PD15FEV1 were calculated and area under the curve (AUC) statistics were used to summarise the information from individual response curves.
Results: The increase in PD15FEV1 from baseline was greater in the FP group than in the placebo group; the difference achieved significance within 72 hours and remained significant until the end of treatment. In the FP group PD15FEV1 was 1.85–2.07 doubling doses above baseline between 72 hours and 6 weeks after starting treatment. BHR increased significantly within 2 weeks after cessation of FP treatment.
Conclusions: A sustained reduction in BHR to histamine in patients with mild asthma was achieved within 3 days of starting treatment with FP at a daily dose of 500 µg. The effect tapered within 2 weeks of cessation of treatment.
The effects of different sensitization and allergen provocation regimens on the development of allergen-induced bronchial hyperreactivity (BHR) to histamine were investigated in conscious, unrestrained guinea-pigs. Similar early and late phase asthmatic reactions, BHR for inhaled histamine after the early (6 h) as well as after the late reaction (24 h), and airway inflammation were observed after a single allergen provocation in animals sensitized to produce mainly IgG or IgE antibodies, respectively. Repeating the allergen provocation in the IgE-sensitized animals after 7 days, using identical provocation conditions, resulted in a similar development of BHR to histamine inhalation. Repetition of the allergen provocation during 4 subsequent days resulted in a decreased development of BHR after each provocation, despite a significant increase in the allergen provocation dose necessary to obtain similar airway obstruction. The number of inflammatory cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage was not significantly changed after repeated provocation, when compared with a single allergen provocation. Finally, we investigated allergen-induced bronchial hyperreactivity by repetition of the sensitization procedure at day 7 and 14 (booster), followed by repeated allergen provocation twice a week for 5 weeks. Surprisingly, no BHR to histamine could be observed after either provocation, while the number of inflammatory cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid after 5 weeks was enhanced compared with controls. These data indicate that both IgE and IgG sensitized guinea-pigs may develop bronchial hyperreactivity after a single allergen provocation. Repeated allergen exposure of IgE sensitized animals causes a gradual fading of the induced hyperreactivity despite the on-going presence of inflammatory cells in the airways, indicating a mechanism of reduced cellular activation.
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.
asthma; interferon-γ; interleukin-12; interleukin-13; respiratory hypersensitivity; Th2 cells
Infection with Mycoplasma pneumoniae in asthma can occur both acutely and chronically with an associated Th2 inflammatory response and/or increased numbers of bronchial mast cells. Mast cells have previously been shown to promote mycoplasma clearance in mice; however, it is unknown whether mast cells would aid M. pneumoniae clearance under allergic conditions.
Our aim was to determine the impact of allergic inflammation on mast cell-mediated lung M. pneumoniae clearance. Furthermore, as we have previously demonstrated an essential role for IL-6 in lung M. pneumoniae clearance we also investigated the role of mast cell-derived IL-6.
Mast cell deficient WBB6F1/J-KitW/KitW-v mice were challenged with ovalbumin to induce airway inflammation prior to M. pneumoniae infection. The role of mast cell-derived IL-6 in bacterial clearance was further investigated by reconstitution of mast cell deficient mice with IL-6-/- mast cells.
Allergic mast cell deficient mice exhibited increased lung M. pneumoniae burden compared to control littermates. Intravenous adoptive transfer of wild type and IL-6-/- mast cells significantly improved M. pneumoniae clearance in mast cell deficient mice. Acutely after M. pneumoniae infection, allergen-challenged mast cell deficient mice had increased levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α in the BAL fluid. The total number of neutrophils was also increased in mast cell deficient mice.
Our results establish that mast cells aid host defense against M. pneumoniae in an allergic setting and that while IL-6 is necessary for lung M. pneumoniae clearance, mast cell-derived IL-6 is not required.
Asthma; host defense; innate immunity; mast cells; Mycoplasma pneumoniae
This study was conducted to determine if oral administration of the novel herbal medicine, MA, and its Lactobacillus acidophilus fermented product, MA128, have therapeutic properties for the treatment of asthma. Asthma was induced in BALB/c mice by systemic sensitization to ovalbumin (OVA) followed by intratracheal, intraperitoneal, and aerosol allergen challenges. MA and MA128 were orally administered 6 times a week for 4 weeks. At 1 day after the last ovalbumin exposure, airway hyperresponsiveness was assessed and samples of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, lung cells, and serum were collected for further analysis. We investigated the effect of MA and MA128 on airway hyperresponsiveness, pulmonary eosinophilic infiltration, various immune cell phenotypes, Th2 cytokine production, OVA-specific IgE production, and Th1/Th2 cytokine production in this mouse model of asthma. In BALB/c mice, we found that MA and MA128 treatment suppressed eosinophil infiltration into airways and blood, allergic airway inflammation and AHR by suppressing the production of IL-5, IL-13, IL-17, Eotaxin, and OVA-specific IgE, by upregulating the production of OVA-specific Th1 cytokine (IFN-γ), and by downregulating OVA-specific Th2 cytokine (IL-4) in the culture supernatant of spleen cells. The effectiveness of MA was increased by fermentation with Lactobacillus acidophilus.
Over 40% of chronic stable asthma patients have evidence of respiratory Mycoplasma pneumoniae (Mp) infection as detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), but not by serology and culture, suggesting a low-level Mp involved in chronic asthma. However, the role of such a low-level Mp infection in regulation of allergic inflammation remains unknown.
To determine the impact of a low-level Mp infection in mice with established airway allergic inflammation on allergic responses such as eosinophilia and chemokine eotaxin-2, and the underlying mechanisms (i.e., prostaglandin E2 [PGE2] pathway) since PGE2 inhalation before allergen challenge suppressed eosinophil infiltration in human airways.
BALB/c mouse models of ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergic asthma with an ensuing low-dose or high-dose Mp were used to assess IL-4 expression, BAL eosinophil, eotaxin-2 and PGE2 levels, and lung mRNA levels of microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1). Primary alveolar macrophages (pAMs) from naïve BALB/c mice were cultured to determine if Mp-induced PGE2 or exogenous PGE2 down-regulates IL-4/IL-13-induced eotaxin-2.
Low-dose Mp in allergic mice significantly enhanced IL-4 and eotaxin-2, and moderately promoted lung eosinophilia, whereas high-dose Mp significantly reduced lung eosinophilia and tended to decrease IL-4 and eotaxin-2. Moreover, in both OVA-naïve and allergic mice, lung mPGES-1 mRNA and BAL PGE2 levels were elevated in mice infected with high-dose, but not low-dose Mp. In pAMs, IL-4/IL-13 significantly increased eotaxin-2, which was reduced by Mp infection accompanied by dose-dependent PGE2 induction. Exogenous PGE2 inhibited IL-4/IL-13-induced eotaxin-2 in a dose-dependent manner.
This study highlights a novel concept on how differing bacterial loads in the lung modify the established allergic airway inflammation, and thus interact with an allergen to further induce Th2 responses. That is: Unlike high-level Mp, low-level Mp fails to effectively induce PGE2 to down-regulate allergic responses (e.g., eotaxin-2), thus maintaining or even worsening allergic inflammation in asthmatic airways.
asthma; Mycoplasma pneumoniae; eotaxin-2; PGE2; alveolar macrophages
We investigated the therapeutic potential of a newly developed antifibrotic agent, pirfenidone, to regulate airway remodeling and the development of allergic airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness after chronic allergen challenge. Administration of pirfenidone after sensitization but during the period of ovalbumin challenge significantly prevented the development of airway hyperresponsiveness and prevented eosinophil and lymphocyte accumulation in the airways. IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and ovalbumin-specific serum IgE antibody levels were also significantly reduced. Treatment with pirfenidone significantly reduced transforming growth factor-β1 and platelet-derived growth factor levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Pirfenidone reduced the expression of transforming growth factor-β1, the development of goblet cell hyperplasia and subepithelial collagenization, and the increases in contractile elements in the lung. These data indicate that pirfenidone may play an important role in the treatment of asthma and has the potential reduce or prevent airway remodeling.
airway hyperresponsiveness; airway inflammation; airway remodeling; pirfenidone
The prevalence of allergic diseases such as asthma has increased markedly over the past few decades. To evaluate the possible mutual influence of helminth infection and allergy, the combined effects of experimental allergic airway inflammation and infection with Strongyloides venezuelensis on various parasitological and inflammatory indices were evaluated in the rat. A challenge of immunized rats with aerosolized ovalbumin (OVA) resulted in eosinophilic inflammation that peaked 48 h after the challenge and was accompanied by airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to an intravenous acetylcholine challenge. S. venezuelensis infection concomitant with an OVA challenge of immunized rats resulted in prolonged pulmonary inflammation with increased eosinophil infiltration in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid but not in the lung tissue. These rats also showed a significant parasite burden reduction, especially during parasite migration through the lungs. However, the fecundity rates of worms that reached the intestine were similar in allergic and nonallergic animals. Despite airway inflammation, the increased responsiveness of the airways in the experimental asthma model was suppressed during parasite migration through the lungs (2 days). In contrast, parasite-induced AHR was unchanged 5 days after infection in immunized and challenged rats. In conclusion, infection with S. venezuelensis interfered with the onset of AHR following an antigen challenge of immunized rats. The ability of parasites to switch off functional airway responses is therapeutically relevant because we may learn from parasites how to modulate lung function and, hence, the AHR characteristic of asthmatic patients.
Airway remodeling is an important pathologic feature of chronic asthma. T-bet and GATA-3, the key transcription factors for differentiation toward Th1 and Th2 cells, play an important role in the pathogenesis of airway inflammation, airway hyperresponsiveness and airway remodeling. Previous studies showed that HSP70/CD80 DNA vaccine can reduce airway hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammation in acute asthmatic mice. The present study was designed to determine the effect of HSP70/CD80 DNA vaccine on airway remodeling through regulating the development of Th1/Th2.
Material and methods
Before being sensitized and challenged by ovalbumin, the BALB/c mice were immunized with DNA vaccine. Lung tissues were assessed by histological examinations. Interferon-γ (IFN-γ)/interleukin-4 (IL-4) levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were determined by ELISA and expressions of IFN-γ, IL-4, T-bet and GATA-3 in spleen were evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction.
Chronic asthmatic mice had higher airway hyperresponsiveness, a thicker airway wall, more PAS-positive goblet cells, more subepithelial extracellular matrix deposition and more proliferating airway smooth muscle (ASM)-like cells than control mice (p < 0.05). Compared with the chronic asthmatic mice, the treatment with HSP70/CD80 DNA vaccine could reduce airway hyperreactivity, mucus secretion, subepithelial collagen deposition, and smooth muscle cell proliferation (p < 0.05). DNA vaccination also increased levels of IFN-γ/IL-4 in BAL fluid (p < 0.05), and expression of T-bet/GATA-3 in the spleen (p < 0.05).
HSP70/CD80 DNA vaccine can inhibit airway remodeling through regulating the development of Th1/Th2 subsets in asthmatic mice.
asthma; airway remodeling; DNA vaccine; GATA-3; T-bet
BACKGROUND: Bronchial challenge with allergen causes a specific form of airways inflammation consisting of an influx of neutrophils, eosinophils, and T cells. Because the relevance of the challenge model to clinical asthma is uncertain, the cellular changes that occur in the lungs of asthmatic subjects during natural seasonal allergen exposure were investigated. METHODS: Seventeen grass pollen sensitive asthmatic subjects with previously reported seasonal exacerbations of asthma kept records of symptoms and underwent fibreoptic bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and endobronchial biopsy before and during the peak of the grass pollen season. The BAL cells were analysed for differential cell counts and by flow cytometry for T cell subsets and surface activation markers. The biopsy samples were processed into glycol methacrylate resin and immunohistochemical analysis was performed for mast cells, activated eosinophils, T cells and interleukin 4 (IL-4), a cytokine with a pivotal role in allergen-induced inflammation. RESULTS: In the pollen season there was an increase in T lymphocyte activation in the BAL fluid as identified by increased expression of interleukin 2 receptor (IL-2R). In the submucosa these changes were paralleled by an increase in CD4+ T cells. By contrast, the numbers of metachromatic cells in BAL fluid staining with toluidine blue were reduced, possibly because of degranulation following allergen stimulation. In keeping with mast cell activation, the number of mucosal mast cells staining for secreted IL-4 increased during the season. In comparison with the period shortly before the onset of the season, all but two subjects experienced an asthma exacerbation which followed the rise in pollen counts but, compared with the period preceding the first bronchoscopic examination, asthma symptoms were not increased during the pollen season. CONCLUSIONS: The data suggest that natural allergen exposure, leading to a clinical exacerbation of asthma, may induce an inflammatory response involving T cells, mast cells and eosinophils. The relationship between allergen exposure, cellular infiltration and activation, and clinical symptoms appears to be complex, with factors other than allergen also contributing to asthmatic activity.
The objective of this study is to investigate whether BCG infection before, during or after sensitization suppresses allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness and eosinophilic inflammation in allergic asthma rats, and to determine the required dose of BCG to induce such an inhibition. Eighty-seven Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were sensitized and provoked with ovalbumin (OA). A pretreatment of 6 x 10(4) or 6 x 10(5) colony forming units (CFUs) of BCG or saline was done at four different times: 3 days before sensitization, at sensitization, 3 days before provocation, or at provocation. The assessment of tracheal smooth muscle (TSM) responsiveness to electrical field stimulation or acetylcholine (ACh) and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) were performed 1 day after OA provocation. Doses of 6 x 10(4) CFUs inhibited TSM sensitivity of rats infected 3 days before sensitization or at sensitization, but not 3 days before provocation or at provocation. However, doses of 6 x 10(5) CFUs significantly inhibited not only the airway eosinophilia of rats infected 3 days before sensitization or at sensitization, but also the TSM sensitivity of rats infected 3 days before provocation or at provocation. In conclusion, BCG infection suppresses the development of sensitivity of airway smooth muscle and airway eosinophilic inflammation in allergic asthma rats. Furthermore, a relatively high dose of BCG infection inhibits airway sensitivity, even after allergen sensitization.
We evaluated the role of Syk, using an inhibitor, on allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and airway inflammation in a system shown to be B cell– and mast cell–independent. Sensitization of BALB/c mice with ovalbumin (OVA) and alum after three consecutive OVA challenges resulted in AHR to inhaled methacholine and airway inflammation. The Syk inhibitor R406 (30 mg/kg, administered orally, twice daily) prevented the development of AHR, increases in eosinophils and lymphocytes and IL-13 levels in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, and goblet cell metaplasia when administered after sensitization and before challenge with OVA. Levels of IL-4, IL-5, and IFN-γ in BAL fluid and allergen-specific antibody levels in serum were not affected by treatment. Because many of these responses may be influenced by dendritic cell function, we investigated the effect of R406 on bone marrow–derived dendritic cell (BMDC) function. Co-culture of BMDC with immune complexes of OVA and IgG anti-OVA together with OVA-sensitized spleen mononuclear cells resulted in increases in IL-13 production. IL-13 production was inhibited if the BMDCs were pretreated with the Syk inhibitor. Intratracheal transfer of immune complex-pulsed BMDCs (but not nonpulsed BMDCs) to naive mice before airway allergen challenge induced the development of AHR and increases in BAL eosinophils and lymphocytes. All of these responses were inhibited if the transferred BMDCs were pretreated with R406. These results demonstrate that Syk inhibition prevents allergen-induced AHR and airway inflammation after systemic sensitization and challenge, at least in part through alteration of DC function.
AHR; dendritic cells; eosinophils; mice; Syk
Bronchial Hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is considered a hallmark of asthma. Other methods are helpful in epidemiological respiratory health studies including Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FENO) and Eosinophils Percentage (EP) in nasal lavage fluid measuring markers for airway inflammation along with the Forced Oscillatory Technique measuring Airway resistance (AR). Can their outcomes discriminate profiles of respiratory health in healthy subjects starting apprenticeship in occupations with a risk of asthma?
Rhinoconjunctivitis, asthma-like symptoms, FEV1 and AR post-Methacholine Bronchial Challenge (MBC) test results, FENO measurements and EP were all investigated in apprentice bakers, pastry-makers and hairdressers not suffering from asthma. Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) was simultaneously conducted in relation to these groups and this generated a synthetic partition (EI). Associations between groups of subjects based on BHR and EI respectively, as well as risk factors, symptoms and investigations were also assessed.
Among the 441 apprentice subjects, 45 (10%) declared rhinoconjunctivitis-like symptoms, 18 (4%) declared asthma-like symptoms and 26 (6%) suffered from BHR. The mean increase in AR post-MBC test was 21% (sd = 20.8%). The median of FENO values was 12.6 ppb (2.6-132 range). Twenty-six subjects (6.7%) had EP exceeding 14%. BHR was associated with atopy (p < 0.01) and highest FENO values (p = 0.09). EI identified 39 subjects with eosinophilic inflammation (highest values of FENO and eosinophils), which was associated with BHR and atopy.
Are any of the identified markers predictive of increased inflammatory responsiveness or of development of symptoms caused by occupational exposures? Analysis of population follow-up will attempt to answer this question.
Phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome ten (PTEN) is part of a complex signaling system that affects a variety of important cell functions. PTEN blocks the action of PI3K by dephosphorylating the signaling lipid phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-triphosphate. We have used a mouse model for asthma to determine the effect of PI3K inhibitors and PTEN on allergen-induced bronchial inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness. PI3K activity increased significantly after allergen challenge. PTEN protein expression and PTEN activity were decreased in OVA-induced asthma. Immunoreactive PTEN localized in epithelial layers around the bronchioles in control mice. However, this immunoreactive PTEN dramatically disappeared in allergen-induced asthmatic lungs. The increased IL-4, IL-5, and eosinophil cationic protein levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids after OVA inhalation were significantly reduced by the intratracheal administration of PI3K inhibitors or adenoviruses carrying PTEN cDNA (AdPTEN). Intratracheal administration of PI3K inhibitors or AdPTEN remarkably reduced bronchial inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness. These findings indicate that PTEN may play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of the asthma phenotype.
There are increasing evidences that allergic rhinitis (AR) may influence the clinical course of asthma. We conducted methacholine challenge test and nasal eosinophils on nasal smear to patients with allergic rhinitis in order to investigate the mechanism of connecting upper and lower airway inflammation in 35 patients with AR during exacerbation. The methacholine concentration causing a 20% fall in FEV1 (PC20) was used as thresholds of bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR). Thresholds of 25 mg/dL or less were assumed to indicate BHR. All patients had normal pulmonary function. Significant differences in BHR were detected in the comparison of patients with cough or postnasal drip and without cough or postnasal drip. There were significant differences of PC20 between patients with cough or postnasal drip and those without cough or postnasal drip (3.41+/-3.59 mg/mL vs 10.2+/-1.2 mg/mL, p=0.001). The levels of total IgE were higher in patients with seasonal AR than in patients with perennial AR with exacerbation (472.5+/-132.5 IU/L vs. 389.0+/-70.9 IU/L, p<0.05). Nasal eosinophils were closely related to log PC20 (r=-0.65, p<0.01). These findings demonstrated that nasal eosinophilic inflammation might contribute to BHR in patients with AR.
Since airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and allergic inflammatory changes are regarded as the primary manifestations of asthma, the main goals of asthma treatment are to decrease inflammation and maximize bronchodilation. These goals can be achieved with aerosol therapy. Intravenous administration of the anesthetic, ketamine, has been shown to trigger bronchial smooth muscle relaxation. Furthermore, increasing evidence suggests that the anti-inflammatory properties of ketamine may protect against lung injury. However, ketamine inhalation might yield the same or better results at higher airway and lower ketamine plasma concentrations for the treatment of asthma. Here, we studied the effect of ketamine inhalation on bronchial hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammation in a Brown-Norway rat model of ovalbumin(OVA)-induced allergic asthma. Animals were actively sensitized by subcutaneous injection of OVA and challenged by repeated intermittent (thrice weekly) exposure to aerosolized OVA for two weeks. Before challenge, the sensitizened rats received inhalation of aerosol of phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) or aerosol of ketamine or injection of ketamine respectivity. Airway reactivity to acetylcholine (Ach) was measured in vivo, and various inflammatory markers, including Th2 cytokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), as well as induciable nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and nitric oxide (NO) in lungs were examined. Our results revealed that delivery of aerosolized ketamine using an ultrasonic nebulizer markedly suppressed allergen-mediated airway hyperreactivity, airway inflammation and airway inflammatory cell infiltration into the BALF, and significantly decreased the levels of interleukin-4 (IL-4) in the BALF and expression of iNOS and the concentration of NO in the inflamed airways from OVA-treated rats. These findings collectively indicate that nebulized ketamine attenuated many of the central components of inflammatory changes and AHR in OVA-provoked experimental asthma, potentially providing a new therapeutic approach against asthma.
The definition of "clinical asthma remission" is based on absence of symptoms and use of medication. However, in the majority of these subjects airway inflammation is still present when measured. In the present study we investigated whether "complete asthma remission", additionally defined by the absence of bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) and the presence of a normal lung function, is associated with the absence of airway inflammation.
Patients with a former diagnosis of asthma and a positive histamine provocation test were re-examined to identify subjects with complete asthma remission (no asthma symptoms or medication, PC20 histamine > 32 mg/ml, FEV1 > 90% predicted). Patients with PC20 histamine ≤ 32 mg/ml were defined as current asthmatics and were divided in two groups, i.e. asthmatics with and without BHR to adenosine 5'monophoshate (AMP). Sputum induction was performed 1 week before and 1 hour after AMP provocation. Sputum induction and AMP provocation were previously shown to be sensitive markers of airway inflammation.
Seven patients met criteria for complete asthma remission. Twenty-three were current asthmatics, including twelve without hyperresponsiveness to AMP. Subjects with complete asthma remission showed no AMP-induced sputum eosinophilia (median (range) 0.2 (0 - 4.6)% at baseline and 0.2 (0 - 2.6)% after AMP). After AMP, current asthmatics had a significant increase in sputum eosinophils (0.5 (0 - 26.0)% at baseline and 2.6 (0 - 32.0) % after AMP), as had the subgroup of current asthmatics without hyperresponsiveness to AMP (0.2 (0 - 1.8)% at baseline and 1.3 (0 - 6.3)% after AMP).
Subjects with complete asthma remission, in contrast to subjects with current asthma, do not respond with eosinophilic inflammation in sputum after AMP provocations. These data lend support to the usefulness of the definition of complete asthma remission.
L-selectin is a cell adhesion molecule, which mediates leukocyte rolling on bronchopulmonary endothelium. Previous studies in a murine model of allergic airways disease have shown that L-selectin plays a role in the regulation of airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma via mechanisms independent of inflammation. Airway remodeling has been shown to modulate airway hyperresponsiveness independently of inflammation.
Our aim was to determine if L-selectin influenced airway hyperresponsiveness via modulation of structural changes as a result of airway remodeling.
A chronic ovalbumin-induced allergic airways disease model was applied to L-selectin-deficient mice and wild-type control mice. The development of airway inflammation was assessed by examining leukocyte influx into bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Airway remodeling changes were determined via histology and morphometric analysis of lung tissue sections, and the development of airway hyperresponsiveness was assessed by invasive plethysmography.
Total cell counts, but not individual differential cell counts, were reduced in the ovalbumin-treated L-selectin-deficient mice compared to wildtype ovalbumin-treated mice. L-selectin-deficient mice had significantly reduced epithelial thickness and smooth muscle thickness. Airway hyperresponsiveness was abrogated in ovalbumin treated L-selectin-deficient mice compared to wild-type controls.
L-selectin plays an important role in regulating airway remodeling in an animal model of chronic allergic airways disease. Abrogated airway hyperresponsiveness may be related to reduced remodeling changes in L-selectin-deficient mice. L-selectin represents a potential target for novel asthma treatment for airway remodeling and airway hyperresponsiveness.
asthma; L-selectin; airway hyperresponsiveness; airway remodeling
The prevalence of bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) to methacholine inhalation in a consecutive series of 21 patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome was studied prospectively. Slight to severe BHR was seen in 12/20 (60%) of the patients. Ten of 12 patients with BHR (83%) had a non-productive cough, wheezing, or intermittent breathlessness. Bronchial hyperresponsiveness was more common in patients with extraglandular symptoms (10/14, 71%) than in those with only glandular symptoms (29%). Spirometrically 29% (6/21) of the patients had 'small airways' disease', and all those had BHR. Of 6/21 (29%) who had diffuse interstitial lung disease, two had BHR. Three of the four patients with obstructive lung function were challenged with methacholine and two of them had BHR. Only two patients with BHR had normal spirometry findings. The data showed that respiratory disease--mostly mild or moderate but even severe bronchial hyperresponsiveness--is commonly seen in patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome.
We previously reported in an ovalbumin-induced model of allergic asthma that Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (Flt3-L) reversed airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and airway inflammation, and increased the number of regulatory CD11chighCD8αhighCD11blow dendritic cells in the lung. In this study, we investigated the effect of Flt3-L in a clinically relevant aeroallergen-induced asthma on the phenotypic expression of lung T cells. Balb/c mice were sensitized and challenged with cockroach antigen (CRA), and AHR to methacholine was established. These mice received three intraperitoneal injections of anti-CD25 antibody (PC61; 250 μg) and Flt3-L (3 μg) daily for 10 days. Cytokines and Ig levels in the serum were measured and differential bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) cell counts were examined. Flt3-L reversed AHR to methacholine to the control level. Flt3-L significantly decreased levels of BALF IL-5, IFN-γ, eosinophilia and substantially increased IL-10 and the number of CD4+CD25+ Forkhead winged helix transcription factor box P3 (Foxp3+) IL-10+ T cells in the lung. Administration of PC61 antibody blocked the effect of Flt3-L and substantially increased AHR, eosinophilia, and BALF IL-5 and IFN-γ levels, and decreased BALF IL-10 levels and the number of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+IL-10+ T cells. Flt3-L significantly decreased CD62-L, but increased inducible costimulatory molecule and Foxp3 mRNA expression in the CD4+CD25+ T cells isolated from lungs of Flt3-L–treated, CRA-sensitized mice compared to CRA-sensitized mice without Flt3-L treatment and PBS control group. Flt3-L significantly inhibited the effect of CRA sensitization and challenge to increase GATA3 expression in lung CD4+CD25+ T cells. Collectively, these data suggest that the therapeutic effect of Flt3-L is mediated by increased density of naturally occurring CD4+CD25+Foxp3+IL-10+ICOS+ T-regulatory cells in the lung. Flt3-L could be a therapeutic strategy for the management and prevention of allergic asthma.
airway hyperresponsiveness; anti-CD25 antibody; Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand; Forkhead winged helix transcription factor box P3; naturally occurring CD4+CD25+ T-regulatory cells