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author:("ulcer, Lena")
1.  Selective inhibition by simvastatin of IRF3 phosphorylation and TSLP production in dsRNA-challenged bronchial epithelial cells from COPD donors 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2012;168(2):363-374.
Background and Purpose
Statin treatment may ameliorate viral infection-induced exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which exhibit Th2-type bronchial inflammation. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), a hub cytokine switching on Th2 inflammation, is overproduced in viral and dsRNA-stimulated bronchial epithelial cells from COPD donors. Hence, TSLP may be causally involved in exacerbations. This study tests the hypothesis that simvastatin inhibits dsRNA-induced TSLP.
Experimental Approach
Epithelial cells, obtained by bronchoscopy from COPD (n = 7) and smoker control (n = 8) donors, were grown and stimulated with a viral infection and danger signal surrogate, dsRNA (10 μg·mL−1). Cells were treated with simvastatin (0.2–5 μg·mL−1), with or without mevalonate (13–26 μg·mL−1), or dexamethasone (1 μg·mL−1) before dsRNA. Cytokine expression and production, and transcription factor (IRF3 and NF-κB) activation were determined.
Key Results
dsRNA induced TSLP, TNF-α, CXCL8 and IFN-β. TSLP was overproduced in dsRNA-exposed COPD cells compared with control. Simvastatin, but not dexamethasone, concentration-dependently inhibited dsRNA-induced TSLP. Unexpectedly, simvastatin acted independently of mevalonate and did not affect dsRNA-induced NF-κB activation nor did it reduce production of TNF-α and CXCL8. Instead, simvastatin inhibited dsRNA-induced IRF3 phosphorylation and generation of IFN-β.
Conclusions and Implications
Independent of mevalonate and NF-κB, previously acknowledged anti-inflammatory mechanisms of pleiotropic statins, simvastatin selectively inhibited dsRNA-induced IRF3 activation and production of TSLP and IFN-β in COPD epithelium. These data provide novel insight into epithelial generation of TSLP and suggest paths to be exploited in drug discovery aimed at inhibiting TSLP-induced pulmonary immunopathology.
PMCID: PMC3572563  PMID: 22881993
TSLP; COPD; bronchial brushing epithelium; dsRNA; simvastatin; mevalonate independent; IRF3 phosphorylation; IFN-β
2.  Resolution of leucocyte-mediated mucosal diseases. A novel in vivo paradigm for drug development 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2012;165(7):2100-2109.
Removal of disease-driving inflammatory leucocytes is central to resolution of inflammation. The current pharmacological dogma teaches leucocyte elimination through apoptosis followed by phagocytosis. However, actual resolving roles of apoptotic–phagocytic processes have been difficult to demonstrate in the major diseases that are characterized by mucosal tissue inflammation. Many current in vivo observations rather demonstrate that leucocyte elimination occurs by transepithelial locomotion. Findings in diseased gut and bladder mucosae support this notion. Respiratory disease data are particularly compelling. Eosinophils and neutrophils abound in sputum and tracheal aspirates during treatment-induced recovery from severe asthma. Prolonged sputum neutrophilia, along with clinical improvement, follows upon smoking cessation in COPD. Eosinophils, neutrophils, lymphocytes, mast cells and dendritic cells also move in large numbers into the bronchial lumen at spontaneous inflammation resolution following allergen challenge in allergic rhinitis and asthma. A corresponding reduction of infiltrated cells in the bronchial mucosal tissue demonstrates efficiency of the transepithelial elimination pathway. Underscoring its operational role, drugs impeding transepithelial elimination of leucocytes aggravate mucosal/parenchymal inflammation. Hence, relying on lumen cell data alone can lead to paradoxical conclusions regarding anti-inflammatory drug efficacy. Conversely, drugs promoting non-injurious transepithelial elimination of leucocytes could resolve mucosal inflammatory diseases.
PMCID: PMC3413847  PMID: 22053825
inflammation resolution; transepithelial migration; drug opportunity; drug toxicity; asthma; COPD; IBD
3.  Resolution of cell-mediated airways diseases 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):75.
"Inflammation resolution" has of late become a topical research area. Activation of resolution phase mechanisms, involving select post-transcriptional regulons, transcription factors, 'autacoids', and cell phenotypes, is now considered to resolve inflammatory diseases. Critical to this discourse on resolution is the elimination of inflammatory cells through apoptosis and phagocytosis. For major inflammatory diseases such as asthma and COPD we propose an alternative path to apoptosis for cell elimination. We argue that transepithelial migration of airway wall leukocytes, followed by mucociliary clearance, efficiently and non-injuriously eliminates pro-inflammatory cells from diseased airway tissues. First, it seems clear that numerous infiltrated granulocytes and lymphocytes can be speedily transmitted into the airway lumen without harming the epithelial barrier. Then there are a wide range of 'unexpected' findings demonstrating that clinical improvement of asthma and COPD is not only associated with decreasing numbers of airway wall inflammatory cells but also with increasing numbers of these cells in the airway lumen. Finally, effects of inhibition of transepithelial migration support the present hypothesis. Airway inflammatory processes have thus been much aggravated when transepithelial exit of leukocytes has been inhibited. In conclusion, the present hypothesis highlights risks involved in drug-induced inhibition of transepithelial migration of airway wall leukocytes. It helps interpretation of common airway lumen data, and suggests approaches to treat cell-mediated airway inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2900258  PMID: 20540713
4.  Early phase resolution of mucosal eosinophilic inflammation in allergic rhinitis 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):54.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2873933  PMID: 20459697
5.  Remodeling of extra-bronchial lung vasculature following allergic airway inflammation 
Respiratory Research  2008;9(1):18.
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.
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).
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2254605  PMID: 18261211
6.  Antagonism of the prostaglandin D2 receptor CRTH2 attenuates asthma pathology in mouse eosinophilic airway inflammation 
Respiratory Research  2007;8(1):16.
Mast cell-derived prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), may contribute to eosinophilic inflammation and mucus production in allergic asthma. Chemoattractant receptor homologous molecule expressed on TH2 cells (CRTH2), a high affinity receptor for prostaglandin D2, mediates trafficking of TH2-cells, mast cells, and eosinophils to inflammatory sites, and has recently attracted interest as target for treatment of allergic airway diseases. The present study involving mice explores the specificity of CRTH2 antagonism of TM30089, which is structurally closely related to the dual TP/CRTH2 antagonist ramatroban, and compares the ability of ramatroban and TM30089 to inhibit asthma-like pathology.
Affinity for and antagonistic potency of TM30089 on many mouse receptors including thromboxane A2 receptor mTP, CRTH2 receptor, and selected anaphylatoxin and chemokines receptors were determined in recombinant expression systems in vitro. In vivo effects of TM30089 and ramatroban on tissue eosinophilia and mucus cell histopathology were examined in a mouse asthma model.
TM30089, displayed high selectivity for and antagonistic potency on mouse CRTH2 but lacked affinity to TP and many other receptors including the related anaphylatoxin C3a and C5a receptors, selected chemokine receptors and the cyclooxygenase isoforms 1 and 2 which are all recognized players in allergic diseases. Furthermore, TM30089 and ramatroban, the latter used as a reference herein, similarly inhibited asthma pathology in vivo by reducing peribronchial eosinophilia and mucus cell hyperplasia.
This is the first report to demonstrate anti-allergic efficacy in vivo of a highly selective small molecule CRTH2 antagonist. Our data suggest that CRTH2 antagonism alone is effective in mouse allergic airway inflammation even to the extent that this mechanism can explain the efficacy of ramatroban.
PMCID: PMC1810525  PMID: 17328802
7.  Neutrophil cannibalism – a back up when the macrophage clearance system is insufficient 
Respiratory Research  2006;7(1):143.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC1716176  PMID: 17166290
8.  Anti-Fas mAb-induced apoptosis and cytolysis of airway tissue eosinophils aggravates rather than resolves established inflammation 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):90.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC1187926  PMID: 16086832
asthma; allergy; eosinophils; apoptosis; chemokines

Results 1-8 (8)