Allergic asthma is a chronic immune-inflammatory disease of the airways. Despite aeroallergen exposure being universal, allergic asthma affects only a fraction of individuals. This is likely related, at least in part, to the extent of allergen exposure. Regarding house dust mite (HDM), we previously identified the threshold required to elicit allergic responses in BALB/c mice. Here, we investigated the impact of an initial immune perturbation on the response to sub-threshold HDM exposure. We show that transient GM-CSF expression in the lung facilitated robust eosinophilic inflammation, long-lasting antigen-specific Th2 responses, mucus production and airway hyperresponsiveness. This was associated with increased IL-33 levels and activated CD11b+ DCs expressing OX40L. GM-CSF-driven allergic responses were significantly blunted in IL-33-deficient mice. IL-33 was localized on alveolar type II cells and in vitro stimulation of human epithelial cells with GM-CSF enhanced intracellular IL-33 independently of IL-1α. Likewise, GM-CSF administration in vivo resulted in increased levels of IL-33 but not IL-1α. These findings suggest that exposures to environmental agents associated with GM-CSF production, including airway infections and pollutants, may decrease the threshold of allergen responsiveness and, hence, increase the susceptibility to develop allergic asthma through a GM-CSF/IL-33/OX40L pathway.
Despite its reported pro-inflammatory activity, cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 has been proposed to play a protective role in asthma. Accordingly, COX-2 might be down-regulated in the airway cells of asthmatics. This, together with results of experiments to assess the impact of COX-2 blockade in ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized mice in vivo, led us to propose a novel experimental approach using house dust mite (HDM)-sensitized mice in which we mimicked altered regulation of COX-2.
Allergic inflammation was induced in BALBc mice by intranasal exposure to HDM for 10 consecutive days. This model reproduces spontaneous exposure to aeroallergens by asthmatic patients. In order to impair, but not fully block, COX-2 production in the airways, some of the animals received an intranasal antisense oligonucleotide. Lung COX-2 expression and activity were measured along with bronchovascular inflammation, airway reactivity, and prostaglandin production.
We observed impaired COX-2 mRNA and protein expression in the lung tissue of selective oligonucleotide-treated sensitized mice. This was accompanied by diminished production of mPGE synthase and PGE2 in the airways. In sensitized mice, the oligonucleotide induced increased airway hyperreactivity (AHR) to methacholine, but a substantially reduced bronchovascular inflammation. Finally, mRNA levels of hPGD synthase remained unchanged.
Intranasal antisense therapy against COX-2 in vivo mimicked the reported impairment of COX-2 regulation in the airway cells of asthmatic patients. This strategy revealed an unexpected novel dual effect: inflammation was improved but AHR worsened. This approach will provide insights into the differential regulation of inflammation and lung function in asthma, and will help identify pharmacological targets within the COX-2/PG system.
Repeated exposure to inhaled allergen can cause airway inflammation, remodeling and dysfunction that manifests as the symptoms of allergic asthma. We have investigated the role of the cytokine interleukin-13 (IL-13) in the generation and persistence of airway cellular inflammation, bronchial remodeling and deterioration in airway function in a model of allergic asthma caused by chronic exposure to the aeroallergen House Dust Mite (HDM).
Mice were exposed to HDM via the intranasal route for 4 consecutive days per week for up to 8 consecutive weeks. Mice were treated either prophylactically or therapeutically with a potent neutralising anti-IL-13 monoclonal antibody (mAb) administered subcutaneously (s.c.). Airway cellular inflammation was assessed by flow cytometry, peribronchial collagen deposition by histocytochemistry and airway hyperreactivity (AHR) by invasive measurement of lung resistance (RL) and dynamic compliance (Cdyn). Both prophylactic and therapeutic treatment with an anti-IL-13 mAb significantly inhibited (P<0.05) the generation and maintenance of chronic HDM-induced airway cellular inflammation, peribronchial collagen deposition, epithelial goblet cell upregulation. AHR to inhaled methacholine was reversed by prophylactic but not therapeutic treatment with anti-IL-13 mAb. Both prophylactic and therapeutic treatment with anti-IL-13 mAb significantly reversed (P<0.05) the increase in baseline RL and the decrease in baseline Cdyn caused by chronic exposure to inhaled HDM.
These data demonstrate that in a model of allergic lung disease driven by chronic exposure to a clinically relevant aeroallergen, IL-13 plays a significant role in the generation and persistence of airway inflammation, remodeling and dysfunction.
House dust mites (HDM; Dermatophagoides sp.) are one of the commonest aeroallergens worldwide and up to 85% of asthmatics are typically HDM allergic. Allergenicity is associated both with the mites themselves and with ligands derived from mite-associated bacterial and fungal products. Murine models of allergic airways disease for asthma research have recently switched from the use of surrogate allergen ovalbumin together with adjuvant to use of the HDM extract. This has accelerated understanding of how adaptive and innate immunity generate downstream pathology. We review the myriad ways in which HDM allergic responses are orchestrated. Understanding the molecular pathways that elicit HDM-associated pathology is likely to reveal novel targets for therapeutic intervention.
Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), experimentally administered to asthma patients or assayed in murine models, improves allergen-driven airway inflammation. The mechanisms are unknown, but fluctuations of the endogenous cyclooxygenase (COX)-2/prostaglandin/E prostanoid (EP) receptor pathway activity likely contribute to the clinical outcome. We analyzed the activity of the pathway in mice sensitized to aeroallergens, and then studied its modulation under exogenous PGE2.
Mice were exposed to house dust mite (HDM) aeroallergens, a model that enable us to mimic the development of allergic asthma in humans, and were then treated with either subcutaneous PGE2 or the selective EP1/3 receptor agonist sulprostone. Simultaneously with airway responsiveness and inflammation, lung COX-2 and EP receptor mRNA expression were assessed. Levels of PGE2, PGI2, PGD2 were also determined in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.
HDM-induced airway hyperreactivity and inflammation were accompanied by increased COX-2 mRNA production. In parallel, airway PGE2 and PGI2, but not PGD2, were upregulated, and the EP2 receptor showed overexpression. Subcutaneous PGE2 attenuated aeroallergen-driven airway eosinophilic inflammation and reduced endogenous PGE2 and PGI2 production. Sulprostone had neither an effect on airway responsiveness or inflammation nor diminished allergen-induced COX-2 and PGE2 overexpression. Finally, lung EP2 receptor levels remained high in mice treated with PGE2, but not in those treated with sulprostone.
The lung COX-2/PGE2/EP2 receptor pathway is upregulated in HDM-exposed mice, possibly as an effort to attenuate allergen-induced airway inflammation. Exogenous PGE2 downregulates its endogenous counterpart but maintains EP2 overexpression, a phenomenon that might be required for administered PGE2 to exert its protective effect.
Rationale: Airway hyperreactivity and remodeling are characteristic features of asthma. Interactions between the airway epithelium and environmental allergens are believed to be important in driving development of pathology, particularly because altered epithelial gene expression is common in individuals with asthma.
Objectives: To investigate the interactions between a modified airway epithelium and a common aeroallergen in vivo.
Methods: We used an adenoviral vector to generate mice overexpressing the transforming growth factor-β signaling molecule, Smad2, in the airway epithelium and exposed them to house dust mite (HDM) extract intranasally.
Measurements and Main Results: Smad2 overexpression resulted in enhanced airway hyperreactivity after allergen challenge concomitant with changes in airway remodeling. Subepithelial collagen deposition was increased and smooth muscle hyperplasia was evident resulting in thickening of the airway smooth muscle layer. However, there was no increase in airway inflammation in mice given the Smad2 vector compared with the control vector. Enhanced airway hyperreactivity and remodeling did not correlate with elevated levels of Th2 cytokines, such as IL-13 or IL-4. However, mice overexpressing Smad2 in the airway epithelium showed significantly enhanced levels of IL-25 and activin A after HDM exposure. Blocking activin A with a neutralizing antibody prevented the increase in lung IL-25 and inhibited subsequent collagen deposition and also the enhanced airway hyperreactivity observed in the Smad2 overexpressing HDM-exposed mice.
Conclusions: Epithelial overexpression of Smad2 can specifically alter airway hyperreactivity and remodeling in response to an aeroallergen. Moreover, we have identified novel roles for IL-25 and activin A in driving airway hyperreactivity and remodeling.
asthma; lung; epithelium; smooth muscle; collagen
HIF-1α is a transcription factor that is activated during hypoxia and inflammation and is a key regulator of angiogenesis in vivo. During the development of asthma, peribronchial angiogenesis is induced in response to aeroallergens and is thought to be an important feature of sustained chronic allergic inflammation. Recently, elevated HIF-1α levels have been demonstrated in both the lung tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage of allergic patients, respectively. Therefore, we investigated the role of HIF-1α on the development of angiogenesis and inflammation following acute and chronic allergen exposure. Our data shows that intranasal exposure to house dust mite (HDM) increases the expression of HIF-1α in the lung, whilst reducing the expression of the HIF-1α negative regulators, PHD1 and PHD3. Blockade of HIF-1α in vivo, significantly decreased allergic inflammation and eosinophilia induced by allergen, due to a reduction in the levels of IL-5 and Eotaxin-2. Importantly, HIF-1α blockade significantly decreased levels of VEGF-A and CXCL1 in the lungs, which in turn led to a profound decrease in the recruitment of endothelial progenitor cells and a reduction of peribronchial angiogenesis. Furthermore, HDM or IL-4 treatment of primary lung macrophages resulted in significant production of both VEGF-A and CXCL1; inhibition of HIF-1α activity abrogated the production of these factors via an up-regulation of PHD1 and PHD3. These findings suggest that novel strategies to reduce the expression and activation of HIF-1α in lung macrophages may be used to attenuate allergen-induced airway inflammation and angiogenesis through the modulation of VEGF-A and CXCL1 expression.
This study provides new insights into the role of HIF-1α in the development of peribronchial angiogenesis and inflammation in a murine model of allergic airway disease. These findings indicate that strategies to reduce activation of macrophage derived HIF-1α may be used as a target to improve asthma pathology.
Interleukin (IL)-13 and IL-4 are hallmark cytokines of Th2-associated diseases including asthma. Recent studies revealed that IL-13Rα1 regulates asthma pathogenesis by mediating both IL-4 and IL-13-mediated responses. Nonetheless, the relative contribution of each cytokine in response to aeroallergen challenge and the degree of functional dichotomy between IL-4 and IL-13 in asthma remains unclear. Consistent with prior publications, we demonstrate that IL-13Rα1 regulates aeroallergen-induced airway resistance and mucus production but not IgE and Th2 cytokine production. We demonstrate that aeroallergen-induced eosinophil recruitment and chemokine production were largely dependent of IL-13Rα1 following Aspergillus (Asp) but not house dust mite (HDM) challenges. Notably, Asp-challenged mice displayed increased IL-13Rα1-dependent accumulation of dendritic cell subsets into lung draining lymph nodes in comparison with HDM. Comparison of IL-4 and IL-13 levels in the different experimental models revealed increased IL-4:IL-13 ratios following HDM challenge, likely explaining the IL-13Rα1-independent eosinophilia and chemokine production. Consistently, eosinophil adoptive-transfer experiments revealed near ablation of lung eosinophilia in response to Asp in Il13ra1−/− mice, suggesting that Asp-induced lung eosinophil recruitment is regulated by IL-13-induced chemokine production, rather than altered IL-13 signaling in eosinophils. Furthermore, the near complete protection observed in Il13ra1−/− mice in response to Asp-challenge was dependent on mucosal sensitization since Alum/Asp-sensitized mice that were re-challenged with Asp developed IL-13Rα1-independent eosinophilia although other asthma parameters remained IL-13Rα1-dependent. These results establish that IL-13Rα1 is required for aeroallergen-induced airway resistance and that allergen-induced chemokine production and consequent eosinophilia is dictated by the balance between IL-4 and IL-13 production in situ.
Allergy; Lung; Cytokines; Chemokines; Cytokine receptors; Eosinophils
The atopic diseases are generally diagnosed by performing skin prick tests (SPTs) to different aeroallergens. However, when this study results negative, it is possible to perform atopy patch test (APT). This technique has been introduced to evaluate sensitization to aeroallergens in patients with atopic eczema dermatitis syndrome. Nevertheless, its role in other allergic diseases has not been proved. Objective: Evaluate aeroallergens response using skin prick test (SPT) and atopy patch test (APT) in patients with allergic diseases.
Retrospective cohort study of individuals who performed SPT and APT as part of allergic diseases study. The study subjects were patch and skin prick tested to house dust mite (Dermatophagoides), trees, grass and fungi mix, cat and dog dander, among others. The tests were performed at the respiratory allergic disease center of Santa Maria Clinic in Santiago, Chile, between January 2010 and April 2011.
Fifty-five patients were included, 18 (33%) males and 37 (67%) females, median age 6 years (range from 3 months to 62 years), with the following diagnosis: atopic dermatitis syndrome (60%), allergic rhinitis (58%), contact allergic dermatitis (16%), asthma (9%), recurrent bronchial obstructive syndrome (7%), allergic rhinoconjuctivitis (4%), chronic cough (4%), recurrent acute otitis media (2%) and recurrent laryngitis (2%). They underwent usual SPTs and APTs with multiple aeroallergens extracts. Of the 55 patients, 22 showed a positive SPT and 32 a positive APT; in 14 (25%) both, SPT and APT were positive. In 8 (15%) the SPT was positive and APT negative, while in 18 (33%) the SPT was negative, but the APT positive. Fifteen (27%) were negative to both tests.
Our results show that APT might be a useful diagnosis test in patients with allergic diseases and that its routine use can improve their diagnosis.
Sensitization to specific allergens may be important in the development of allergic airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). We evaluated the effect of specific aeroallergen sensitization on eosinophilic airway inflammation and AHR.
We reviewed retrospectively the clinical data of subjects who underwent skin prick tests to aeroallergens, induced sputum analysis, and methacholine bronchial provocation tests to evaluate lower airway symptoms as well as analyzed the associations between the pattern of aeroallergen sensitization and sputum eosinophilia or AHR.
Of the 1,202 subjects be enrolled, 534 (44.4%) were sensitized to at least one aeroallergen in skin tests. AHR was demonstrated in 23.5% and sputum eosinophilia in 38.8%. Sputum eosinophilia was significantly associated with sensitization to perennial allergens (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.4-2.5), house dust mite (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.3-2.3), dog (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1-3.3), and cat (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.4-3.4). AHR was associated with sensitization to perennial allergens (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 2.0-3.7), house dust mite (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.6 3.2), Alternaria (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.2-4.7), and cat (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.7-4.3). Sensitization to more perennial allergens increased the risk for sputum eosinophilia and AHR. There was no relationship with individual seasonal allergens.
The development of airway eosinophilic inflammation and AHR in an adult Korean population was associated with sensitization to perennial allergens rather than seasonal allergens.
Aeroallergen; airway eosinophilia; airway hyperresponsiveness
Asthma frequently commences in early life during airway and immune development and exposure to new environmental challenges. Endobronchial biopsies from children with asthma are abnormal, and lung function is maximally reduced by 6 years of age. As longitudinal biopsy studies are unethical in children, the relationship between development of pathology and reduced lung function is unknown. We aimed to establish a novel neonatal mouse model of allergic airways disease to investigate the developmental sequence of the pathophysiologic features of asthma. Neonatal Balb/c mice were challenged three times weekly from Day 3 of life using intranasal house dust mite (HDM) or saline for up to 12 weeks. Weekly assessments of airway inflammation and remodeling were made. Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to methacholine was assessed from Week 2 onward. Total and eosinophilic inflammation was significantly increased in the lungs of HDM-exposed neonates from Week 2 onwards, and a peak was seen at 3 weeks. Goblet cells and peribronchiolar reticulin deposition were significantly increased in HDM-exposed neonates from Week 3, and peribronchiolar collagen was significantly greater from Week 4. HDM-exposed neonates had increased AHR from Week 2 onward. Although inflammation and AHR had subsided after 4 weeks without allergen challenge, the increased reticulin and collagen deposition persisted in HDM-exposed mice. Neonatal mice exposed to intranasal HDM developed eosinophilic inflammation, airway remodeling, and AHR as reported in pediatric asthma. Importantly, all abnormalities developed in parallel, not sequentially, between 2 and 3 weeks of age.
pediatric; remodeling; asthma pathophysiology; mouse model; allergic airways disease
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) plays an important role in cell growth/differentiation, integrating environmental cues, and regulating immune responses. Our lab previously demonstrated that inhibition of mTOR with rapamycin prevented house dust mite (HDM)-induced allergic asthma in mice. Here, we utilized two treatment protocols to investigate whether rapamycin, compared to the steroid, dexamethasone, could inhibit allergic responses during the later stages of the disease process, namely allergen re-exposure and/or during progression of chronic allergic disease. In protocol 1, BALB/c mice were sensitized to HDM (three i.p. injections) and administered two intranasal HDM exposures. After 6 weeks of rest/recovery, mice were re-exposed to HDM while being treated with rapamycin or dexamethasone. In protocol 2, mice were exposed to HDM for 3 or 6 weeks and treated with rapamycin or dexamethasone during weeks 4–6. Characteristic features of allergic asthma, including IgE, goblet cells, airway hyperreactivity (AHR), inflammatory cells, cytokines/chemokines, and T cell responses were assessed. In protocol 1, both rapamycin and dexamethasone suppressed goblet cells and total CD4+ T cells including activated, effector, and regulatory T cells in the lung tissue, with no effect on AHR or total inflammatory cell numbers in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Rapamycin also suppressed IgE, although IL-4 and eotaxin 1 levels were augmented. In protocol 2, both drugs suppressed total CD4+ T cells, including activated, effector, and regulatory T cells and IgE levels. IL-4, eotaxin, and inflammatory cell numbers were increased after rapamycin and no effect on AHR was observed. Dexamethasone suppressed inflammatory cell numbers, especially eosinophils, but had limited effects on AHR. We conclude that while mTOR signaling is critical during the early phases of allergic asthma, its role is much more limited once disease is established.
In most studies that investigate the association of mold or water damage and respiratory disorders in infants, the analysis is not adjusted for exposure to house dust mite (HDM), which is also a known cause of respiratory illnesses.
To investigate the relationship between visually observable mold or water damage and HDM (Der f 1) levels and the prevalence of lower respiratory tract symptoms and allergen sensitization in infants of atopic parents as part of a prospective birth cohort study.
On-site home visits (at the infants’ age of 8 months) were performed to evaluate observable mold or water damage and HDM exposure. At a clinic visit near the infant’s first birthday, medical histories, including parent-reported wheezing episodes, and a skin prick test to food and 15 common aeroallergens were conducted in 640 infants.
More than half of the homes were found to have mold or water damage, and 5% had major mold or water damage with visible mold at 0.2 m2 or more. Only 16% of homes had a HDM allergen (Der f 1) concentration of more than 2 μg/g. Major mold or water damage increased the risk of recurrent wheezing nearly 2 times in infants, 5 times in food or aeroallergen-sensitized infants, and 6 times in aeroallergen-sensitized infants. Neither visible mold or water damage nor HDM exposure was associated with sensitization to either mold or aeroallergens.
Visible mold was shown to be a significant risk factor for recurrent wheezing in infants at high risk of developing atopic disorders, whereas HDM exposure did not significantly increase the risk.
Several in vivo and in vitro studies have shown that metal-rich particles may enhance allergic responses to house dust mites and induce an increased release of allergy-related cytokines.
The main goal of this analysis is to define the possible association of intrauterine exposure to lead and mercury with the occurrence of skin sensitization to common aeroallergens in early childhood.
Material and Methods
The present study refers to a sample of 224 women in the second trimester of pregnancy recruited from Krakow inner city area who had full term pregnancies and whose children underwent skin prick testing (SPT) at the age of 5. Lead and mercury levels were assessed in cord blood and retested in children at age of 5 years. Aeroallergen concentrations in house dust were measured at the age of 3 years. The main health outcome (atopic status) was defined as the positive SPT to at least one common aeroallergen (Der f1, Der p1, Can f1 and Fel d1) at the age of 5 years. In the statistical analysis of the association between atopic status of children and exposure to metals, the study considered a set of covariates such as maternal characteristics (age, education, atopy), child’s gender, number of older siblings, prenatal (measured via cord blood cotinine) and postnatal environmental tobacco smoke together with exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) as measured by PAH-DNA adducts.
Results and conclusion
In the binary regression analysis, which controlled for the confounders, the risk ratio (RR) estimate for atopic sensitization was significantly associated with the lead exposure (RR =2.25, 95%CI: 1.21–4.19). In conclusion, the data suggest that even very low-level of prenatal lead exposure may be implicated in enhancing sensitization to common aeroallergens in early childhood.
birth cohort study; lead; intrauterine exposure; atopy; children
Chronic allergic asthma is characterized by Th2-typed inflammation, and contributes to airway remodeling and the deterioration of lung function. However, the initiating factor that links airway inflammation to remodeling is unknown. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), an epithelium-derived cytokine, can strongly activate lung dendritic cells (DCs) through the TSLP-TSLPR and OX40L-OX40 signaling pathways to promote Th2 differentiation. To determine whether TSLP is the underlying trigger of airway remodeling in chronic allergen-induced asthma, we induced allergic airway inflammation in mice by intranasal administration of house dust mite (HDM) extracts for up to 5 consecutive weeks. We showed that repeated respiratory exposure to HDM caused significant airway eosinophilic inflammation, peribronchial collagen deposition, goblet cell hyperplasia, and airway hyperreactivity (AHR) to methacholine. These effects were accompanied with a salient Th2 response that was characterized by the upregulation of Th2-typed cytokines, such as IL-4 and IL-13, as well as the transcription factor GATA-3. Moreover, the levels of TSLP and transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) were also increased in the airway. We further demonstrated, using the chronic HDM-induced asthma model, that the inhibition of Th2 responses via neutralization of TSLP with an anti-TSLP mAb reversed airway inflammation, prevented structural alterations, and decreased AHR to methacholine and TGF-β1 level. These results suggest that TSLP plays a pivotal role in the initiation and persistence of airway inflammation and remodeling in the context of chronic allergic asthma.
Chronic allergic asthma is characterized by Th2-polarized inflammation and leads to airway remodeling and fibrosis but the mechanisms involved are not clear. To determine whether epithelial-mesenchymal transition contributes to airway remodeling in asthma, we induced allergic airway inflammation in mice by intranasal administration of house dust mite (HDM) extract for up to 15 consecutive weeks. We report that respiratory exposure to HDM led to significant airway inflammation and thickening of the smooth muscle layer in the wall of the large airways. Transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGF-β1) levels increased in mouse airways while epithelial cells lost expression of E-cadherin and occludin and gained expression of the mesenchymal proteins vimentin, alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and pro-collagen I. We also observed increased expression and nuclear translocation of Snail1, a transcriptional repressor of E-cadherin and a potent inducer of EMT, in the airway epithelial cells of HDM-exposed mice. Furthermore, fate-mapping studies revealed migration of airway epithelial cells into the sub-epithelial regions of the airway wall. These results show the contribution of EMT to airway remodeling in chronic asthma-like inflammation and suggest that Th2-polarized airway inflammation can trigger invasion of epithelial cells into the subepithelial regions of the airway wall where they contribute to fibrosis, demonstrating a previously unknown plasticity of the airway epithelium in allergic airway disease.
We previously demonstrated seasonal variation in sensitization to aeroallergens in a small group of patients with exercise-induced asthma. This study was performed to confirm the relationship in a much larger population.
The charts of 1,891 patients who received allergy skin prick tests were reviewed retrospectively. The test results from subjects aged ≤60 years were compared between the groups classified according to the season when the patients received the tests (spring: March-May, summer: June-August, fall: September-November, winter: December-February). The data from 25 respiratory allergy patients who received the tests two or more times and showed a positive response at least once were analyzed longitudinally.
The most prevalent among 29 tested aeroallergens were house dust mites (HDMs) Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and D. farinae. The skin sensitization rates to D. pteronyssinus (23.2% vs. 32.1%, P=0.004) and D. farinae (22.2% vs. 30.2%, P=0.009) were significantly lower in the summer and higher in the fall (38.3% vs. 26.6% and 35.6% vs. 25.3%; P=0.001 respectively) than those in other seasons in patients with a respiratory allergy (n=1,102). The sensitization rates to weed pollens in the fall (13.9% vs. 8.3%, P=0.006) and to Aspergillus fumigatus in the winter (2.9% vs. 0.7%, P=0.005) were significantly higher. In patients with non-respiratory allergy such as urticaria/anaphylaxis (n=340), the D. farinae sensitization rate was significantly lower in the summer also but higher in the spring. The trend of the HDM sensitization rate being lower in the summer and higher in the fall was observed in the longitudinal study.
Skin sensitivity to aeroallergens such as HDMs, pollens, and molds demonstrates seasonal variation in respiratory allergy patients. Non-respiratory allergy patients also showed seasonal variation in sensitivity to aeroallergens, which might be related to the "priming" effect of allergens.
Seasonal variation; skin sensitivity; aeroallergens; allergy
Allergic asthma is a debilitating disease of the airways characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophilic inflammation, goblet cell metaplasia with associated mucus hypersecretion, and airway wall remodelling events, particularly subepithelial fibrosis and smooth muscle cell hyperplasia. Animal models that accurately mimic these hallmarks of allergic airways disease are critical for studying mechanisms associated with the cellular and structural changes that lead to disease pathogenesis. Aspergillus fumigatus, is a common aeroallergen of human asthmatics. The intratracheal (IT) delivery of A. fumigatus conidia into the airways of sensitized mice has been described as a model of allergic disease. Here, we compared the IT model with a newly developed inhalation (IH) challenge model. The IH model allowed multiple fungal exposures, which resulted in an exacerbation to the allergic asthma phenotype. Increased recruitment of eosinophils and lymphocytes, the hallmark leukocytes of asthma, were noted with the IH model as compared to the IT model in which macrophages and neutrophils were more prominent. Immunoglobulin E (IgE) production was significantly greater after IH challenge, while that of IgG2a was higher after IT challenge. Airway wall remodelling was pronounced in IH-treated mice, particularly after multiple allergen challenges. Although the IT model may be appropriate for the examination of the played by innate cells in the acute response to fungus, it fails to consistently reproduce the chronic remodelling hallmarks of allergic asthma. The ability of the IH challenge to mimic these characteristics recommends it as a model suited to study these important events.
Aspergillus fumigatus; Allergic asthma; Inhalation challenge model
The degree to which aeroallergens are contributing to the global increase in pediatric allergic disease is incompletely understood. We review the evidence that links climate change to changes in aeroallergens such as pollen and outdoor mold concentrations and subsequently, aeroallergen association with pediatric allergic disease. We specifically explore the evidence on both the exacerbation and the development of allergic disease in children related to outdoor pollen and mold concentrations. Pediatric allergic diseases include atopic dermatitis or eczema, allergic rhinitis or hay fever, and some types of asthma in children, typically defined as less than 18 years of age. We discuss how the timing of aeroallergen exposure both in utero and in childhood could be associated with allergies. We conclude that the magnitude and type of health impacts due to climate change will depend on improved understanding of the relationship between climatic variables, multiple allergen factors, and allergic disease. Improved public health strategies such as adequate humidity control, optimum air filtration and ventilation, and improved anticipatory public health messaging will be critical to adaptation.
aeroallergen; allergic rhinitis; ambient air; atopy; fungal spore; global warming; greenhouse gas; sensitization
House dust mite (HDM) induces allergic asthma in sensitized individuals, although the mechanisms by which HDM is sensed and recognized by the airway mucosa, leading to dendritic cell (DC) recruitment, activation, and subsequent TH2-mediated responses, are unknown.
We sought to define the pathways by which HDM activates respiratory epithelium to induce allergic airway responses.
Using a human airway epithelial cell line (16HBE14o-), we studied secretion of the DC chemokine CCL20 after exposure to HDM or other allergens, investigated components of the HDM responsible for the induction of chemokine release, and examined activation of signaling pathways. Central findings were also confirmed in primary human bronchial cells.
We demonstrate that exposure of airway epithelium to HDM results in specific and rapid secretion of CCL20, a chemokine attractant for immature DCs. The induction of CCL20 secretion is dose and time dependent and quite specific to HDM because other allergens, such as ragweed pollen and cockroach antigen, fail to significantly induce CCL20 secretion. Induction of CCL20 secretion is not protease or Toll-like receptor 2/4 dependent but, interestingly, relies on β-glucan moieties within the HDM extract, as evidenced by the ability of other β-glucans to competitively inhibit its secretion and by the fact that disruption of these structures by treatment of HDM with β-glucanase significantly reduces subsequent chemokine secretion.
Taken together, our results describe a novel mechanism for specific pattern recognition of HDM-derived β-glucan moieties, which initiates allergic airway inflammation and, through recruitment of DCs, might link innate pattern recognition at the airway surface with adaptive immune responses.
Asthma; allergy; house dust mite; epithelium; dendritic cell; chemokine; pattern recognition; innate immunity
Allergic sensitization to aeroallergens develops in response to mucosal exposure to these allergens. Allergic sensitization may lead to the development of asthma, which is characterized by chronic airway inflammation. The objective of this study is to describe in detail a model of mucosal exposure to cockroach allergens in the absence of an exogenous adjuvant.
Cockroach extract (CE) was administered to mice intranasally (i.n.) daily for 5 days, and 5 days later mice were challenged with CE for 4 consecutive days. A second group received CE i.n. for 3 weeks. Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) was assessed 24 h after the last allergen exposure. Allergic airway inflammation was assessed by BAL and lung histology 48 h after the last allergen exposure. Antigen-specific antibodies were assessed in serum. Lungs were excised from mice from measurement of cytokines and chemokines in whole lung lysate.
Mucosal exposure of Balb/c mice to cockroach extract induced airway eosinophilic inflammation, AHR and cockroach-specific IgG1; however, AHR to methacholine was absent in the long term group. Lung histology showed patchy, multicentric damage with inflammatory infiltrates at the airways in both groups. Lungs from mice from the short term group showed increased IL-4, CCL11, CXCL1 and CCL2 protein levels. IL4 and CXCL1 were also increased in the BAL of cockroach-sensitized mice in the short-term protocol.
Mucosal exposure to cockroach extract in the absence of adjuvant induces allergic airway sensitization characterized by AHR, the presence of Th2 cytokines in the lung and eosinophils in the airways.
To present methodology to identify atopic parents and determine the prevalence of sensitization to 15 aeroallergens in their infant offspring.
A birth cohort of infants was identified from birth records; an infant was enrolled if 1 of the parents reported allergy respiratory symptoms and had a positive skin prick test (SPT) to a common aeroallergen. At age 1 year, these infants were tested to the same aeroallergens.
Of the 680 enrolled infants, 28.4% were SPT+ to 1 or more aeroallergens and/or food, and 18.0% were positive to 1 or more aeroallergens. By category of allergens, 9.7% were sensitized to pollens, 7.5% to molds, 4.3% to house dust mite and/or cockroach, and 3.4% to dog and/or cat. Of the infants who were positive to an aeroallergen, 65.7% remained positive at age 2 years.
Infants born to atopic parents with percutaneous sensitization to aeroallergens are at increased risk for aeroallergen sensitization during infancy, which persists to age 2 years. These findings suggest that current clinical practices, which generally avoid skin testing before age 2 years, be reassessed in this population of high-risk children.
Loss-of-function mutations in the bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 (BMPR2) gene have been identified in patients with heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH); however, disease penetrance is low, suggesting additional factors play a role. Inflammation is associated with PAH and vascular remodeling, but whether allergic inflammation triggers vascular remodeling in individuals with BMPR2 mutations is unknown. Our goal was to determine if chronic allergic inflammation would induce more severe vascular remodeling and PAH in mice with reduced BMPR-II signaling. Groups of Bmpr2 hypomorph and wild-type (WT) Balb/c/Byj mice were exposed to house dust mite (HDM) allergen, intranasally for 7 or 20 weeks to generate a model of chronic inflammation. HDM exposure induced similar inflammatory cell counts in all groups compared to controls. Muscularization of pulmonary arterioles and arterial wall thickness were increased after 7 weeks HDM, more severe at 20 weeks, but similar in both groups. Right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) was measured by direct cardiac catheterization to assess PAH. RVSP was similarly increased in both HDM exposed groups after 20 weeks compared to controls, but not after 7 weeks. Airway hyperreactivity (AHR) to methacholine was also assessed and interestingly, at 20 weeks, was more severe in HDM exposed Bmpr2 hypomorph mice versus WT. We conclude that chronic allergic inflammation caused PAH and while the severity was mild and similar between WT and Bmpr2 hypomorph mice, AHR was enhanced with reduced BMPR-II signaling. These data suggest that vascular remodeling and PAH resulting from chronic allergic inflammation occurs independently of BMPR-II pathway alterations.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway integrates environmental cues, promotes cell growth / differentiation and regulates immune responses. While inhibition of mTOR with rapamycin has potent immunosuppressive activity, mixed effects have been reported in ovalbumin-induced models of allergic asthma. We investigated the impact of two different rapamycin treatment protocols on the major characteristics of allergic asthma induced by the clinically relevant allergen, house dust mite (HDM). In protocol 1, Balb/c mice were exposed to 10 intranasal HDM doses over a period of 24 days and treated with rapamycin simultaneously during the sensitization/exposure period. In protocol 2, rapamycin was administered after the mice had been sensitized to HDM (I.P. injection) and prior to initiation of two intranasal HDM challenges over 4 days. Airway hyperreactivity (AHR), IgE, inflammatory cells, cytokines, leukotrienes, goblet cells, and activated T cells were assessed. In protocol 1, rapamycin blocked HDM-induced increases in AHR, inflammatory cell counts, IgE, and attenuated goblet cell metaplasia. In protocol 2, rapamycin blocked increases in AHR, IgE, T cell activation, and reduced goblet cell metaplasia, but had no effect on inflammatory cell counts. Increases in IL-13 and leukotrienes were also blocked by rapamycin, although increases in IL-4 were unaffected. These data demonstrate that rapamycin can inhibit cardinal features of allergic asthma including increases in AHR, IgE, and goblet cells most likely due to its ability to reduce the production of two key mediators of asthma, IL-13 and leukotrienes. These findings highlight the importance of the mTOR pathway in allergic airway disease.
Respiratory allergies are the most important public health issues in the world. They are caused by aeroallergens which play great role in pathogenesis of respiratory allergic diseases.
The current study was conducted to evaluate the prevalence of positive skin test for various aeroallergens among allergic patients in Ahvaz, southwest Iran. 299 participants with allergic rhinitis (seasonal or perennial) were selected. Skin prick test using twenty three common allergen extracts was performed on all patients.
The overall frequency of sensitization to any allergen was 85.6%. In outdoor allergens the most prevalent aeroallergen category was weeds (89%) followed by tree and grasses, and in indoor allergens, mites (43%) were the most prevalent aeroallergen. The mean and median numbers of positive test reactions among those with positive test responses were 11.5 and 13.0, respectively. 84% of patients were poly-sensitised and about 50% of them were sensitised to more than twelve different allergens.
The results of the study revealed that prevalence of the skin prick reactivity to weed pollens is significant in southwest Iran and multiple sensitizations were common.
Aeroallergen; Prevalence; Allergy; Tropical; Sensitization