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1.  Indigenous enteric eosinophils control DCs to initiate a primary Th2 immune response in vivo 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2014;211(8):1657-1672.
Eosinophil degranulation of peroxidase promotes DC activation and mobilization from the intestine to LNs to induce Th2 immunity and food allergy.
Eosinophils natively inhabit the small intestine, but a functional role for them there has remained elusive. Here, we show that eosinophil-deficient mice were protected from induction of Th2-mediated peanut food allergy and anaphylaxis, and Th2 priming was restored by reconstitution with il4+/+ or il4−/− eosinophils. Eosinophils controlled CD103+ dendritic cell (DC) activation and migration from the intestine to draining lymph nodes, events necessary for Th2 priming. Eosinophil activation in vitro and in vivo led to degranulation of eosinophil peroxidase, a granule protein whose enzymatic activity promoted DC activation in mice and humans in vitro, and intestinal and extraintestinal mouse DC activation and mobilization to lymph nodes in vivo. Further, eosinophil peroxidase enhanced responses to ovalbumin seen after immunization. Thus, eosinophils can be critical contributors to the intestinal immune system, and granule-mediated shaping of DC responses can promote both intestinal and extraintestinal adaptive immunity.
doi:10.1084/jem.20131800
PMCID: PMC4113937  PMID: 25071163
2.  Controlled and uncontrolled asthma display distinct alveolar tissue matrix compositions 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):67.
Objective
Whether distal inflammation in asthmatics also leads to structural changes in the alveolar parenchyma remains poorly examined, especially in patients with uncontrolled asthma. We hypothesized that patients who do not respond to conventional inhaled corticosteroid therapy have a distinct tissue composition, not only in central, but also in distal lung.
Methods
Bronchial and transbronchial biopsies from healthy controls, patients with controlled atopic and patients with uncontrolled atopic asthma were processed for immunohistochemical analysis of fibroblasts and extracellular matrix molecules: collagen, versican, biglycan, decorin, fibronectin, EDA-fibronectin, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 and tissue-inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase (TIMP)-3.
Results
In central airways we found increased percentage areas of versican and decorin in patients with uncontrolled asthma compared to both healthy controls and patients with controlled asthma. Percentage area of biglycan was significantly higher in both central airways and alveolar parenchyma of patients with uncontrolled compared to controlled asthma. Ratios of MMP-9/TIMP-3 were decreased in both uncontrolled and controlled asthma compared to healthy controls. In the alveolar parenchyma, patients with uncontrolled asthma had increased percentage areas of collagen, versican and decorin compared to patients with controlled asthma. Patients with uncontrolled asthma had significantly higher numbers of myofibroblasts in both central airways and alveolar parenchyma compared to patients with controlled asthma.
Conclusions
Tissue composition differs, in both central and distal airways, between patients with uncontrolled and controlled asthma on equivalent doses of ICS. This altered structure and possible change in tissue elasticity may lead to abnormal mechanical properties, which could be a factor in the persistent symptoms for patients with uncontrolled asthma.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-15-67
PMCID: PMC4089934  PMID: 24950767
Asthma; Controlled; Uncontrolled; ICS; Remodeling; Alveolar parenchyma; Extracellular matrix; Myofibroblasts
3.  Elevated Exhaled Nitric Oxide in Allergen-Provoked Asthma Is Associated with Airway Epithelial iNOS 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e90018.
Background
Fractional exhaled nitric oxide is elevated in allergen-provoked asthma. The cellular and molecular source of the elevated fractional exhaled nitric oxide is, however, uncertain.
Objective
To investigate whether fractional exhaled nitric oxide is associated with increased airway epithelial inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in allergen-provoked asthma.
Methods
Fractional exhaled nitric oxide was measured in healthy controls (n = 14) and allergic asthmatics (n = 12), before and after bronchial provocation to birch pollen out of season. Bronchoscopy was performed before and 24 hours after allergen provocation. Bronchial biopsies and brush biopsies were processed for nitric oxide synthase activity staining with nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate diaphorase (NADPH-d), iNOS immunostaining, or gene expression analysis of iNOS by real-time PCR. NADPH-d and iNOS staining were quantified using automated morphometric analysis.
Results
Fractional exhaled nitric oxide and expression of iNOS mRNA were significantly higher in un-provoked asthmatics, compared to healthy controls. Allergic asthmatics exhibited a significant elevation of fractional exhaled nitric oxide after allergen provocation, as well as an accumulation of airway eosinophils. Moreover, nitric oxide synthase activity and expression of iNOS was significantly increased in the bronchial epithelium of asthmatics following allergen provocation. Fractional exhaled nitric oxide correlated with eosinophils and iNOS expression.
Conclusion
Higher fractional exhaled nitric oxide concentration among asthmatics is associated with elevated iNOS mRNA in the bronchial epithelium. Furthermore, our data demonstrates for the first time increased expression and activity of iNOS in the bronchial epithelium after allergen provocation, and thus provide a mechanistic explanation for elevated fractional exhaled nitric oxide in allergen-provoked asthma.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090018
PMCID: PMC3938593  PMID: 24587191
4.  Increased number and altered phenotype of lymphatic vessels in peripheral lung compartments of patients with COPD 
Respiratory Research  2013;14(1):65.
Background
De novo lymphatic vessel formation has recently been observed in lungs of patients with moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the distribution of lymphatic vessel changes among the anatomical compartments of diseased lungs is unknown. Furthermore, information regarding the nature of lymphatic vessel alterations across different stages of COPD is missing. This study performs a detailed morphometric characterization of lymphatic vessels in major peripheral lung compartments of patients with different severities of COPD and investigates the lymphatic expression of molecules involved in immune cell trafficking.
Methods
Peripheral lung resection samples obtained from patients with mild (GOLD stage I), moderate-severe (GOLD stage II-III), and very severe (GOLD stage IV) COPD were investigated for podoplanin-immunopositive lymphatic vessels in distinct peripheral lung compartments: bronchioles, pulmonary blood vessels and alveolar walls. Control subjects with normal lung function were divided into never smokers and smokers. Lymphatics were analysed by multiple morphological parameters, as well as for their expression of CCL21 and the chemokine scavenger receptor D6.
Results
The number of lymphatics increased by 133% in the alveolar parenchyma in patients with advanced COPD compared with never-smoking controls (p < 0.05). In patchy fibrotic lesions the number of alveolar lymphatics increased 20-fold from non-fibrotic parenchyma in the same COPD patients. The absolute number of lymphatics per bronchiole and artery was increased in advanced COPD, but numbers were not different after normalization to tissue area. Increased numbers of CCL21- and D6-positive lymphatics were observed in the alveolar parenchyma in advanced COPD compared with controls (p < 0.01). Lymphatic vessels also displayed increased mean levels of immunoreactivity for CCL21 in the wall of bronchioles (p < 0.01) and bronchiole-associated arteries (p < 0.05), as well as the alveolar parenchyma (p < 0.001) in patients with advanced COPD compared with never-smoking controls. A similar increase in lymphatic D6 immunoreactivity was observed in bronchioles (p < 0.05) and alveolar parenchyma (p < 0.01).
Conclusions
This study shows that severe stages of COPD is associated with increased numbers of alveolar lymphatic vessels and a change in lymphatic vessel phenotype in major peripheral lung compartments. This novel histopathological feature is suggested to have important implications for distal lung immune cell traffic in advanced COPD.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-14-65
PMCID: PMC3728038  PMID: 23758732
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Alveolar; Lymphatic vessel; CCL21; D6; Immunohistochemistry; Inflammation
5.  Elevated pulmonary arterial pressure and altered expression of Ddah1 and Arg1 in mice lacking cavin-1/PTRF 
Physiological Reports  2013;1(1):e00008.
Caveolae are invaginations in the plasma membrane that depend on caveolins and cavins for maturation. Here, we investigated the pulmonary phenotype in mice lacking cavin-1. Bright field and electron-microscopy showed that the cavin-1-deficient mice lacked caveolae in the lung, had an increased lung tissue density, and exhibited hypertrophic remodeling of pulmonary arteries. The right ventricle of the heart moreover had an increased mass and the right ventricular pressure was elevated. A microarray analysis revealed upregulation of Arg1 and downregulation of Ddah1, molecules whose altered expression has previously been associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Taken together, this work demonstrates vascular remodeling and increased pulmonary blood pressure in cavin-1 deficient mice and associates this phenotype with altered expression of Arg1 and Ddah1.
doi:10.1002/PHY2.8
PMCID: PMC3831936  PMID: 24303100
Bmp4; caveolin; Foxc2; Lpin1; nitric oxide; plau
6.  Enhanced ROCK1 dependent contractility in fibroblast from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients 
Background
During wound healing processes fibroblasts account for wound closure by adopting a contractile phenotype. One disease manifestation of COPD is emphysema which is characterized by destruction of alveolar walls and our hypothesis is that fibroblasts in the COPD lungs differentiate into a more contractile phenotype as a response to the deteriorating environment.
Methods
Bronchial (central) and parenchymal (distal) fibroblasts were isolated from lung explants from COPD patients (n = 9) (GOLD stage IV) and from biopsies from control subjects and from donor lungs (n = 12). Tissue-derived fibroblasts were assessed for expression of proteins involved in fibroblast contraction by western blotting whereas contraction capacity was measured in three-dimensional collagen gels.
Results
The basal expression of rho-associated coiled-coil protein kinase 1 (ROCK1) was increased in both centrally and distally derived fibroblasts from COPD patients compared to fibroblasts from control subjects (p < 0.001) and (p < 0.01), respectively. Distally derived fibroblasts from COPD patients had increased contractile capacity compared to control fibroblasts (p < 0.01). The contraction was dependent on ROCK1 activity as the ROCK inhibitor Y27632 dose-dependently blocked contraction in fibroblasts from COPD patients. ROCK1-positive fibroblasts were also identified by immunohistochemistry in the alveolar parenchyma in lung tissue sections from COPD patients.
Conclusions
Distally derived fibroblasts from COPD patients have an enhanced contractile phenotype that is dependent on ROCK1 activity. This feature may be of importance for the elastic dynamics of small airways and the parenchyma in late stages of COPD.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-10-171
PMCID: PMC3477051  PMID: 22913419
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Contractility; Emphysema; Fibroblast/myofibroblast; Rho-associated coiled-coil protein kinase 1
7.  Activated MCTC mast cells infiltrate diseased lung areas in cystic fibrosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):139.
Background
Although mast cells are regarded as important regulators of inflammation and tissue remodelling, their role in cystic fibrosis (CF) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) has remained less studied. This study investigates the densities and phenotypes of mast cell populations in multiple lung compartments from patients with CF, IPF and never smoking controls.
Methods
Small airways, pulmonary vessels, and lung parenchyma were subjected to detailed immunohistochemical analyses using lungs from patients with CF (20 lung regions; 5 patients), IPF (21 regions; 7 patients) and controls (16 regions; 8 subjects). In each compartment the densities and distribution of MCT and MCTC mast cell populations were studied as well as the mast cell expression of IL-6 and TGF-β.
Results
In the alveolar parenchyma in lungs from patients with CF, MCTC numbers increased in areas showing cellular inflammation or fibrosis compared to controls. Apart from an altered balance between MCTC and MCT cells, mast cell in CF lungs showed elevated expression of IL-6. In CF, a decrease in total mast cell numbers was observed in small airways and pulmonary vessels. In patients with IPF, a significantly elevated MCTC density was present in fibrotic areas of the alveolar parenchyma with increased mast cell expression of TGF-β. The total mast cell density was unchanged in small airways and decreased in pulmonary vessels in IPF. Both the density, as well as the percentage, of MCTC correlated positively with the degree of fibrosis. The increased density of MCTC, as well as MCTC expression of TGF-β, correlated negatively with patient lung function.
Conclusions
The present study reveals that altered mast cell populations, with increased numbers of MCTC in diseased alveolar parenchyma, represents a significant component of the histopathology in CF and IPF. The mast cell alterations correlated to the degree of tissue remodelling and to lung function parameters. Further investigations of mast cells in these diseases may open for new therapeutic strategies.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-139
PMCID: PMC3209449  PMID: 22014187
mast cell; connective tissue mast cell; cystic fibrosis; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; alveolar parenchyma; remodelling; fibrosis
8.  Altered fibroblast proteoglycan production in COPD 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):55.
Background
Airway remodeling in COPD includes reorganization of the extracellular matrix. Proteoglycans play a crucial role in this process as regulators of the integrity of the extracellular matrix. Altered proteoglycan immunostaining has been demonstrated in COPD lungs and this has been suggested to contribute to the pathogenesis. The major cell type responsible for production and maintenance of ECM constituents, such as proteoglycans, are fibroblasts. Interestingly, it has been proposed that central airways and alveolar lung parenchyma contain distinct fibroblast populations. This study explores the hypothesis that altered depositions of proteoglycans in COPD lungs, and in particular versican and perlecan, is a result of dysregulated fibroblast proteoglycan production.
Methods
Proliferation, proteoglycan production and the response to TGF-β1 were examined in vitro in centrally and distally derived fibroblasts isolated from COPD patients (GOLD stage IV) and from control subjects.
Results
Phenotypically different fibroblast populations were identified in central airways and in the lung parenchyma. Versican production was higher in distal fibroblasts from COPD patients than from control subjects (p < 0.01). In addition, perlecan production was lower in centrally derived fibroblasts from COPD patients than from control subjects (p < 0.01). TGF-β1 triggered similar increases in proteoglycan production in distally derived fibroblasts from COPD patients and control subjects. In contrast, centrally derived fibroblasts from COPD patients were less responsive to TGF-β1 than those from control subjects.
Conclusions
The results show that fibroblasts from COPD patients have alterations in proteoglycan production that may contribute to disease development. Distally derived fibroblasts from COPD patients have enhanced production of versican that may have a negative influence on the elastic recoil. In addition, a lower perlecan production in centrally derived fibroblasts from COPD patients may indicate alterations in bronchial basement membrane integrity in severe COPD.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-11-55
PMCID: PMC2886021  PMID: 20459817
9.  Early phase resolution of mucosal eosinophilic inflammation in allergic rhinitis 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):54.
Background
It is widely assumed that apoptosis of eosinophils is a central component of resolution of allergic airway disease. However, this has not been demonstrated in human allergic airways in vivo. Based on animal in vivo observations we hypothesised that steroid-induced resolution of human airway eosinophilic inflammation involves inhibition of CCL5 (RANTES), a CC-chemokine regulating eosinophil and lymphocyte traffic, and elimination of eosinophils without evident occurrence of apoptotic eosinophils in the diseased tissue.
Objective
To determine mucosal eosinophilia, apoptotic eosinophils, general cell apoptosis and cell proliferation, and expression of CCL5 and CCL11 (eotaxin) in human allergic airway tissues in vivo at resolution of established symptomatic eosinophilic inflammation.
Methods
Twenty-one patients with intermittent (birch and/or grass) allergic rhinitis received daily nasal allergen challenges for two seven days' periods separated by more than two weeks washout. Five days into these "artificial pollen seasons", nasal treatment with budesonide was instituted and continued for six days in a double blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, and crossover design. This report is a parallel group comparison of nasal biopsy histochemistry data obtained on the final day of the second treatment period.
Results
Treatments were instituted when clinical rhinitis symptoms had been established. Compared to placebo, budesonide reduced tissue eosinophilia, and subepithelial more than epithelial eosinophilia. Steroid treatment also attenuated tissue expression of CCL5, but CCL11 was not reduced. General tissue cell apoptosis and epithelial cell proliferation were reduced by budesonide. However, apoptotic eosinophils were not detected in any biopsies, irrespective of treatment.
Conclusions
Inhibition of CCL5-dependent recruitment of cells to diseased airway tissue, and reduced cell proliferation, reduced general cell apoptosis, but not increased eosinophil apoptosis, are involved in early phase steroid-induced resolution of human allergic rhinitis.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-11-54
PMCID: PMC2873933  PMID: 20459697
10.  Effects of a dual CCR3 and H1-antagonist on symptoms and eosinophilic inflammation in allergic rhinitis 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):17.
Background
The CC-chemokine receptor-3 (CCR3) has emerged as a target molecule for pharmacological intervention in allergic inflammation.
Objective
To examine whether a dual CCR3 and H1-receptor antagonist (AZD3778) affects allergic inflammation and symptoms in allergic rhinitis.
Methods
Patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis were subjected to three seven days' allergen challenge series. Treatment with AZD3778 was given in a placebo and antihistamine-controlled design. Symptoms and nasal peak inspiratory flow (PIF) were monitored in the morning, ten minutes post challenge, and in the evening. Nasal lavages were carried out at the end of each challenge series and α2-macroglobulin, ECP, and tryptase were monitored as indices of allergic inflammation.
Results
Plasma levels of AZD3778 were stable throughout the treatment series. AZD3778 and the antihistamine (loratadine) reduced rhinitis symptoms recorded ten minutes post challenge during this period. AZD3778, but not the anti-histamine, also improved nasal PIF ten minutes post challenge. Furthermore, scores for morning and evening nasal symptoms from the last five days of the allergen challenge series showed statistically significant reductions for AZD3778, but not for loratadine. ECP was reduced by AZD3778, but not by loratadine.
Conclusions
AZD3778 exerts anti-eosinophil and symptom-reducing effects in allergic rhinitis and part of this effect can likely be attributed to CCR3-antagonism. The present data are of interest with regard to the potential use of AZD3778 in allergic rhinitis and to the relative importance of eosinophil actions to the symptomatology of allergic rhinitis.
Trial registration
EudraCT No: 2005-002805-21.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-11-17
PMCID: PMC2833142  PMID: 20144207
11.  Fibrocytes are associated with vascular and parenchymal remodelling in patients with obliterative bronchiolitis 
Respiratory Research  2009;10(1):103.
Background
The aim of the present study was to explore the occurrence of fibrocytes in tissue and to investigate whether the appearance of fibrocytes may be linked to structural changes of the parenchyme and vasculature in the lungs of patients with obliterative bronchiolitis (OB) following lung or bone marrow transplantation.
Methods
Identification of parenchyme, vasculature, and fibrocytes was done by histological methods in lung tissue from bone marrow or lung-transplanted patients with obliterative bronchiolitis, and from controls.
Results
The transplanted patients had significantly higher amounts of tissue in the alveolar parenchyme (46.5 ± 17.6%) than the controls (21.7 ± 7.6%) (p < 0.05). The patients also had significantly increased numbers of fibrocytes identified by CXCR4/prolyl4-hydroxylase, CD45R0/prolyl4-hydroxylase, and CD34/prolyl4-hydroxylase compared to the controls (p < 0.01). There was a correlation between the number of fibrocytes and the area of alveolar parenchyma; CXCR4/prolyl 4-hydroxylase (p < 0.01), CD45R0/prolyl 4-hydroxylase (p < 0.05) and CD34/prolyl 4-hydroxylase (p < 0.05). In the pulmonary vessels, there was an increase in the endothelial layer in patients (0.31 ± 0.13%) relative to the controls (0.037 ± 0.02%) (p < 0.01). There was a significant correlation between the number of fibrocytes and the total area of the endothelial layer CXCR4/prolyl 4-hydroxylase (p < 0.001), CD45R0/prolyl 4-hydroxylase (p < 0.001) and CD34/prolyl 4-hydroxylase (p < 0.01). The percent areas of the lumen of the vessels were significant (p < 0.001) enlarged in the patient with OB compared to the controls. There was also a correlation between total area of the lumen and number of fibrocytes, CXCR4/prolyl 4-hydroxylase (p < 0.01), CD45R0/prolyl 4-hydroxylase (p < 0.001) and CD34/prolyl 4-hydroxylase (p < 0.01).
Conclusion
Our results indicate that fibrocytes are associated with pathological remodelling processes in patients with OB and that tissue fibrocytes might be a useful biomarker in these processes.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-10-103
PMCID: PMC2774308  PMID: 19878544
12.  A module-based analytical strategy to identify novel disease-associated genes shows an inhibitory role for interleukin 7 Receptor in allergic inflammation 
BMC Systems Biology  2009;3:19.
Background
The identification of novel genes by high-throughput studies of complex diseases is complicated by the large number of potential genes. However, since disease-associated genes tend to interact, one solution is to arrange them in modules based on co-expression data and known gene interactions. The hypothesis of this study was that such a module could be a) found and validated in allergic disease and b) used to find and validate one ore more novel disease-associated genes.
Results
To test these hypotheses integrated analysis of a large number of gene expression microarray experiments from different forms of allergy was performed. This led to the identification of an experimentally validated reference gene that was used to construct a module of co-expressed and interacting genes. This module was validated in an independent material, by replicating the expression changes in allergen-challenged CD4+ cells. Moreover, the changes were reversed following treatment with corticosteroids. The module contained several novel disease-associated genes, of which the one with the highest number of interactions with known disease genes, IL7R, was selected for further validation. The expression levels of IL7R in allergen challenged CD4+ cells decreased following challenge but increased after treatment. This suggested an inhibitory role, which was confirmed by functional studies.
Conclusion
We propose that a module-based analytical strategy is generally applicable to find novel genes in complex diseases.
doi:10.1186/1752-0509-3-19
PMCID: PMC2653464  PMID: 19216740
13.  Remodeling of extra-bronchial lung vasculature following allergic airway inflammation 
Respiratory Research  2008;9(1):18.
Background
We previously observed that allergen-exposed mice exhibit remodeling of large bronchial-associated blood vessels. The aim of the study was to examine whether vascular remodeling occurs also in vessels where a spill-over effect of bronchial remodeling molecules is less likely.
Methods
We used an established mouse model of allergic airway inflammation, where an allergic airway inflammation is triggered by inhalations of OVA. Remodeling of bronchial un-associated vessels was determined histologically by staining for α-smooth muscle actin, procollagen I, Ki67 and von Willebrand-factor. Myofibroblasts were defined as and visualized by double staining for α-smooth muscle actin and procollagen I. For quantification the blood vessels were divided, based on length of basement membrane, into groups; small (≤250 μm) and mid-sized (250–500 μm).
Results
We discovered marked remodeling in solitary small and mid-sized blood vessels. Smooth muscle mass increased significantly as did the number of proliferating smooth muscle and endothelial cells. The changes were similar to those previously seen in large bronchial-associated vessels. Additionally, normally poorly muscularized blood vessels changed phenotype to a more muscularized type and the number of myofibroblasts around the small and mid-sized vessels increased following allergen challenge.
Conclusion
We demonstrate that allergic airway inflammation in mice is accompanied by remodeling of small and mid-sized pulmonary blood vessels some distance away (at least 150 μm) from the allergen-exposed bronchi. The present findings suggest the possibility that allergic airway inflammation may cause such vascular remodeling as previously associated with lung inflammatory conditions involving a risk for development of pulmonary hypertension.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-9-18
PMCID: PMC2254605  PMID: 18261211
14.  Effects of intranasal TNFα on granulocyte recruitment and activity in healthy subjects and patients with allergic rhinitis 
Respiratory Research  2008;9(1):15.
Background
TNFα may contribute to the pathophysiology of airway inflammation. For example, we have recently shown that nasal administration of TNFα produces late phase co-appearance of granulocyte and plasma exudation markers on the mucosal surface. The objective of the present study was to examine indices of granulocyte presence and activity in response to intranasal TNFα challenge.
Methods
Healthy subjects and patients with allergic rhinitis (examined out of season) were subjected to nasal challenge with TNFα (10 μg) in a sham-controlled and crossover design. Nasal lavages were carried out prior to and 24 hours post challenge. Nasal biopsies were obtained post challenge. Nasal lavage fluid levels of myeloperoxidase (MPO) and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) were analyzed as indices of neutrophil and eosinophil activity. Moreover, IL-8 and α2-macroglobulin were analyzed as markers of pro-inflammatory cytokine production and plasma exudation. Nasal biopsy numbers of neutrophils and eosinophils were monitored.
Results
Nasal lavage fluid levels of MPO recorded 24 hours post TNFα challenge were increased in healthy subjects (p = 0.0081) and in patients with allergic rhinitis (p = 0.0081) (c.f. sham challenge). Similarly, α2-macroglobulin was increased in healthy subjects (p = 0.014) and in patients with allergic rhinitis (p = 0.0034). Lavage fluid levels of ECP and IL-8 were not affected by TNFα challenge. TNFα increased the numbers of subepithelial neutrophils (p = 0.0021), but not the numbers of eosinophils.
Conclusion
TNFα produces a nasal inflammatory response in humans that is characterised by late phase (i.e., 24 hours post challenge) neutrophil activity and plasma exudation.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-9-15
PMCID: PMC2253533  PMID: 18234086
15.  Expression of Toll-like Receptor 9 in nose, peripheral blood and bone marrow during symptomatic allergic rhinitis 
Respiratory Research  2007;8(1):17.
Background
Allergic rhinitis is an inflammatory disease of the upper airway mucosa that also affects leukocytes in bone marrow and peripheral blood. Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) is a receptor for unmethylated CpG dinucleotides found in bacterial and viral DNA. The present study was designed to examine the expression of TLR9 in the nasal mucosa and in leukocytes derived from different cellular compartments during symptomatic allergic rhinitis.
Methods
The study was based on 32 patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis and 18 healthy subjects, serving as controls. Nasal biopsies were obtained before and after allergen challenge. Bone marrow, peripheral blood and nasal lavage fluid were sampled outside and during pollen season. The expression of TLR9 in tissues and cells was analyzed using immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry, respectively.
Results
TLR9 was found in several cell types in the nasal mucosa and in different leukocyte subpopulations derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood and nasal lavage fluid. The leukocyte expression was generally higher in bone marrow than in peripheral blood, and not affected by symptomatic allergic rhinitis.
Conclusion
The widespread expression of TLR9 in the nasal mucosa along with its rich representation in leukocytes in different compartments, demonstrate the possibility for cells involved in allergic airway inflammation to directly interact with bacterial and viral DNA.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-8-17
PMCID: PMC1810251  PMID: 17328813
16.  Neutrophil cannibalism – a back up when the macrophage clearance system is insufficient 
Respiratory Research  2006;7(1):143.
Background
During a lipopolysaccharide-induced lung inflammation, a massive accumulation of neutrophils occurs, which is normally cleared by macrophage phagocytosis following neutrophil apoptosis. However, in cases of extensive apoptosis the normal clearance system may fail, resulting in extensive neutrophil secondary necrosis. The aim of this study was to explore the hypothesis that neutrophils, in areas of the lung with extensive cellular infiltration, contribute to clearance by phagocytosing apoptotic cells and/or cell debris derived from secondary necrosis.
Methods
Intranasal lipopolysaccharide administration was used to induce lung inflammation in mice. The animals were sacrificed at seven time points following administration, bronchoalveolar lavage was performed and tissue samples obtained. Electron microscopy and histochemistry was used to assess neutrophil phagocytosis.
Results
Electron microscopic studies revealed that phagocytosing neutrophils was common, at 24 h after LPS administration almost 50% of the total number of neutrophils contained phagosomes, and the engulfed material was mainly derived from other neutrophils. Histochemistry on bronchoalvolar lavage cells further showed phagocytosing neutrophils to be frequently occurring.
Conclusion
Neutrophils are previously known to phagocytose invading pathogens and harmful particles. However, this study demonstrates that neutrophils are also able to engulf apoptotic neutrophils or cell debris resulting from secondary necrosis of neutrophils. Neutrophils may thereby contribute to clearance and resolution of inflammation, thus acting as a back up system in situations when the macrophage clearance system is insufficient and/or overwhelmed.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-7-143
PMCID: PMC1716176  PMID: 17166290
17.  Up-regulation of Toll-like receptors 2, 3 and 4 in allergic rhinitis 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):100.
Background
Toll-like receptors enable the host to recognize a large number of pathogen-associated molecular patterns such as bacterial lipopolysaccharide, viral RNA, CpG-containing DNA and flagellin. Toll-like receptors have also been shown to play a pivotal role in both innate and adaptive immune responses. The role of Toll-like receptors as a primary part of our microbe defense system has been shown in several studies, but their possible function as mediators in allergy and asthma remains to be established. The present study was designed to examine the expression of Toll-like receptors 2, 3 and 4 in the nasal mucosa of patients with intermittent allergic rhinitis, focusing on changes induced by exposure to pollen.
Methods
27 healthy controls and 42 patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis volunteered for the study. Nasal biopsies were obtained before and during pollen season as well as before and after allergen challenge. The seasonal material was used for mRNA quantification of Toll-like receptors 2, 3 and 4 with real-time polymerase chain reaction, whereas specimens achieved in conjunction with allergen challenge were used for immunohistochemical localization and quantification of corresponding proteins.
Results
mRNA and protein representing Toll-like receptors 2, 3 and 4 could be demonstrated in all specimens. An increase in protein expression for all three receptors could be seen following allergen challenge, whereas a significant increase of mRNA only could be obtained for Toll-like receptor 3 during pollen season.
Conclusion
The up-regulation of Toll-like receptors 2, 3 and 4 in the nasal mucosa of patients with symptomatic allergic rhinitis supports the idea of a role for Toll-like receptors in allergic airway inflammation.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-6-100
PMCID: PMC1243240  PMID: 16146574
18.  Anti-Fas mAb-induced apoptosis and cytolysis of airway tissue eosinophils aggravates rather than resolves established inflammation 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):90.
Background
Fas receptor-mediated eosinophil apoptosis is currently forwarded as a mechanism resolving asthma-like inflammation. This view is based on observations in vitro and in airway lumen with unknown translatability to airway tissues in vivo. In fact, apoptotic eosinophils have not been detected in human diseased airway tissues whereas cytolytic eosinophils abound and constitute a major mode of degranulation of these cells. Also, Fas receptor stimulation may bypass the apoptotic pathway and directly evoke cytolysis of non-apoptotic cells. We thus hypothesized that effects of anti-Fas mAb in vivo may include both apoptosis and cytolysis of eosinophils and, hence, that established eosinophilic inflammation may not resolve by this treatment.
Methods
Weeklong daily allergen challenges of sensitized mice were followed by airway administration of anti-Fas mAb. BAL was performed and airway-pulmonary tissues were examined using light and electron microscopy. Lung tissue analysis for CC-chemokines, apoptosis, mucus production and plasma exudation (fibrinogen) were performed.
Results
Anti-Fas mAb evoked apoptosis of 28% and cytolysis of 4% of eosinophils present in allergen-challenged airway tissues. Furthermore, a majority of the apoptotic eosinophils remained unengulfed and eventually exhibited secondary necrosis. A striking histopathology far beyond the allergic inflammation developed and included degranulated eosinophils, neutrophilia, epithelial derangement, plasma exudation, mucus-plasma plugs, and inducement of 6 CC-chemokines. In animals without eosinophilia anti-Fas evoked no inflammatory response.
Conclusion
An efficient inducer of eosinophil apoptosis in airway tissues in vivo, anti-Fas mAb evoked unprecedented asthma-like inflammation in mouse allergic airways. This outcome may partly reflect the ability of anti-Fas to evoke direct cytolysis of non-apoptotic eosinophils in airway tissues. Additionally, since most apoptotic tissue eosinophils progressed into the pro-inflammatory cellular fate of secondary necrosis this may also explain the aggravated inflammation. Our data indicate that Fas receptor mediated eosinophil apoptosis in airway tissues in vivo may cause severe disease exacerbation due to direct cytolysis and secondary necrosis of eosinophils.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-6-90
PMCID: PMC1187926  PMID: 16086832
asthma; allergy; eosinophils; apoptosis; chemokines

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