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1.  Mechanisms underlying uridine adenosine tetraphosphate-induced vascular contraction in mouse aorta: role of thromboxane and purinergic receptors 
Vascular pharmacology  2015;73:78-85.
Uridine adenosine tetraphosphate (Up4A), a novel endothelium-derived vasoactive agent, is proposed to play a role in cardiovascular disorders and induces aortic contraction through activation of cyclooxygenases (COX). We and others demonstrated that activation of A1 or A3 adenosine receptors (AR) results in vascular contraction via thromboxane (TX) A2 production. However, the mechanisms of Up4A-induced vascular contraction in mouse aorta are not understood. We hypothesize that Up4A-induced aortic contraction is through COX-derived TXA2 production, which requires activation of A1 and/or A3AR. Concentration responses to Up4A were conducted in isolated aorta. The TXB2 production, a metabolite of TXA2, was also measured. Up4A (10−9–10−5 M) produced a concentration-dependent contraction >70%, which was markedly attenuated by COX and COX1 but not by COX2 inhibition. Notably, Up4A-induced aortic contraction was blunted by both TX synthase inhibitor ozagrel and TXA2 receptor (TP) antagonist SQ29548. Surprisingly, A3AR deletion had no effect on Up4A-induced contraction. Moreover, A1AR deletion or antagonism as well as A1/A3AR deletion potentiated Up4A-induced aortic contraction, suggesting a vasodilator influence of A1AR. In contrast, non-selective purinergic P2 receptor antagonist PPADS significantly blunted Up4A-induced aortic contraction to a similar extent as selective P2X1R antagonist MRS2159, the latter of which was further reduced by addition of ozagrel. Endothelial denudation almost fully attenuated Up4A-induced contraction. Furthermore, Up4A (3 µM) increased TXB2 formation, which was inhibited by either MRS2159 or ozagrel. In conclusion, Up4A-induced aortic contraction depends on activation of TX synthase and TP, which partially requires the activation of P2X1R but not A1 or A3 AR through an endothelium-dependent mechanism.
Graphical Abstract
PMCID: PMC4578990  PMID: 25921923
Up4A; mouse aorta; P2X1; thromboxane; endothelium; vasoconstriction
2.  Angiotensin II stimulation alters vasomotor response to adenosine in mouse mesenteric artery: role for A1 and A2B adenosine receptors 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2015;172(20):4959-4969.
Background and Purpose
Stimulation of the A1 adenosine receptor and angiotensin II receptor type‐1 (AT1 receptor) causes vasoconstriction through activation of cytochrome P450 4A (CYP4A) and ERK1/2. Thus, we hypothesized that acute angiotensin II activation alters the vasomotor response induced by the non‐selective adenosine receptor agonist, NECA, in mouse mesenteric arteries (MAs).
Experimental Approach
We used a Danish Myo Technology wire myograph to measure muscle tension in isolated MAs from wild type (WT), A1 receptor and A2B receptor knockout (KO) mice. Western blots were performed to determine the expression of AT1 receptors and CYP4A.
Key Results
Acute exposure (15 min) to angiotensin II attenuated the NECA‐dependent vasodilatation and enhanced vasoconstriction. This vasoconstrictor effect of angiotensin II in NECA‐treated MAs was abolished in A1 receptor KO mice and in WT mice treated with the A1 receptor antagonist DPCPX, CYP4A inhibitor HET0016 and ERK1/2 inhibitor PD98059. In MAs from A2B receptor KO mice, the vasoconstrictor effect of angiotensin II on the NECA‐induced response was shown to be dependent on A1 receptors. Furthermore, in A2B receptor KO mice, the expression of AT1 receptors and CYP4A was increased and the angiotensin II‐induced vasoconstriction enhanced. In addition, inhibition of KATP channels with glibenclamide significantly reduced NECA‐induced vasodilatation in WT mice.
Conclusions and Implications
Acute angiotensin II stimulation enhanced A1 receptor‐dependent vasoconstriction and inhibited A2B receptor‐dependent vasodilatation, leading to a net vasoconstriction and altered vasomotor response to NECA in MAs. This interaction may be important in the regulation of BP.
PMCID: PMC4621982  PMID: 26227882
3.  In vivo assessment of coronary flow and cardiac function after bolus adenosine injection in adenosine receptor knockout mice 
Physiological Reports  2016;4(11):e12818.
Bolus injections of adenosine and the A2A adenosine receptor (AR) selective agonist (regadenoson) are used clinically as a substitute for a stress test in people who cannot exercise. Using isolated tissue preparations, our lab has shown that coronary flow and cardiac effects of adenosine are mostly regulated by the AR subtypes A1, A2A, and A2B. In this study, we used ultrasound imaging to measure the in vivo effects of adenosine on coronary blood flow (left coronary artery) and cardiac function in anesthetized wild‐type, A1 knockout (KO), A2AKO, A2BKO, A3KO, A1, and A3 double KO (A1/3 DKO) and A2A and A2B double KO (A2A/2B DKO) mice in real time. Echocardiographic and Doppler studies were performed using a Visualsonic Vevo 2100 ultrasound system. Coronary blood flow (CBF) baseline data were obtained when animals were anesthetized with 1% isoflourane. Diameter (D) and velocity time integral (VTI) were measured on the left coronary arteries (CBF = ((π/4) × D2 × VTI × HR)/1000). CBF changes were the highest within 2 min of injection (about 10 mg/kg). Heart rate, cardiac output, and stroke volume were measured by tracing the left ventricle long axis. Our data support a role for the A2 AR in CBF and further support our conclusions of previous studies from isolated tissues. Adenosine‐mediated decreases in cardiac output and stroke volume may be A2B and/or A3 AR‐mediated; however, the A1 and A2 ARs also play roles in overall cardiac function. These data further provide a powerful translational tool in studying the cardiovascular effects of adenosine in disease states.
PMCID: PMC4908494  PMID: 27302991
Adenosine receptor knockout mice; adenosine receptors; cardiac output; coronary flow; ejection fraction; heart rate; stroke volume; ultrasound
4.  Adenosine induces airway hyperresponsiveness through activation of A3 receptors on mast cells 
The mechanisms responsible for the development of airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma are poorly understood. Adenosine levels are high in the lungs of patients with asthma, but a role for adenosine in the development of this cardinal feature of asthma has not been previously reported.
To determine the capacity of adenosine to induce airway hyperresponsiveness, and to investigate the mechanisms behind these effects of adenosine on airway physiology.
Wild-type C57BL/6 mice were exposed to aerosolized adenosine analog adenosine-5′ N-ethylcarboxamide (NECA), and subsequent hyperresponsiveness to methacholine was investigated by measuring airway mechanics after anesthesia and tracheostomy. Similar experiments were conducted with A1-deficient, A3-deficient, and mast cell–deficient mice, as well as with mast cell–deficient mice engrafted with wild-type (wt) or A3−/− mast cells. The effect of NECA on methacholine-induced tension development in ex vivo tracheal rings was also examined.
Exposure of wt mice to NECA resulted in the robust induction of airway hyperresponsiveness. NECA failed to induce hyperresponsiveness to methacholine in tracheal ring preps ex vivo, and NECA-induced airway hyperresponsiveness in vivo was not affected by the genetic inactivation of the A1 adenosine receptor. In contrast, NECA-induced airway hyperresponsiveness was abolished in A3 adenosine receptor-deficient mice and in mice deficient in mast cells. Reconstitution of mast cell–deficient mice with wt mast cells restored hyperresponsiveness, whereas reconstitution with A3 receptor–deficient mast cells did not.
Adenosine induces airway hyperresponsiveness indirectly by activating A3 receptors on mast cells.
PMCID: PMC4439463  PMID: 18472152
Airway hyperresponsiveness; adenosine; mast cell; asthma
5.  Involvement of NADPH oxidase in A2A adenosine receptor-mediated increase in coronary flow in isolated mouse hearts 
Purinergic Signalling  2015;11(2):263-273.
Adenosine increases coronary flow mainly through the activation of A2A and A2B adenosine receptors (ARs). However, the mechanisms for the regulation of coronary flow are not fully understood. We previously demonstrated that adenosine-induced increase in coronary flow is in part through NADPH oxidase (Nox) activation, which is independent of activation of either A1 or A3ARs. In this study, we hypothesize that adenosine-mediated increase in coronary flow through Nox activation depends on A2A but not A2BARs. Functional studies were conducted using isolated Langendorff-perfused mouse hearts. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production was measured in isolated coronary arteries from WT, A2AAR knockout (KO), and A2BAR KO mice using dichlorofluorescein immunofluorescence. Adenosine-induced concentration-dependent increase in coronary flow was attenuated by the specific Nox2 inhibitor gp91 ds-tat or reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger EUK134 in both WT and A2B but not A2AAR KO isolated hearts. Similarly, the A2AAR selective agonist CGS-21680-induced increase in coronary flow was significantly blunted by Nox2 inhibition in both WT and A2BAR KO, while the A2BAR selective agonist BAY 60-6583-induced increase in coronary flow was not affected by Nox2 inhibition in WT. In intact isolated coronary arteries, adenosine-induced (10 μM) increase in H2O2 formation in both WT and A2BAR KO mice was attenuated by Nox2 inhibition, whereas adenosine failed to increase H2O2 production in A2AAR KO mice. In conclusion, adenosine-induced increase in coronary flow is partially mediated by Nox2-derived H2O2, which critically depends upon the presence of A2AAR.
PMCID: PMC4425720  PMID: 25911169
Adenosine; A2A receptor knockout; NADPH oxidase; Hydrogen peroxide; Coronary flow
6.  Evidence for the involvement of NADPH oxidase in adenosine receptors-mediated control of coronary flow using A1 and A3 knockout mice 
Physiological reports  2013;1(3):e00070-.
The NADPH oxidase (Nox) subunits 1, 2 (gp91 phox) and 4 are the major sources for reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cardiovascular system. In conditions such as ischemia-reperfusion injury and hypoxia, both ROS and adenosine are released suggesting a possible interaction. We hypothesized that ROS generated through Nox is involved in adenosine-induced coronary flow (CF) responses. Adenosine (10−8-10−5.5 M) increased CF in isolated hearts from wild type (WT; C57/BL6), A1 adenosine receptor (AR) knockout (A1KO), A3AR KO (A3KO) and A1 and A3AR double KO (A1/A3DKO) mice. The Nox inhibitors apocynin (10−5 M) and gp91 ds-tat (10−6 M) or the SOD and catalase-mimicking agent EUK134 (50 μM) decreased the adenosine-enhanced CF in the WT and all the KOs. Additionally, adenosine increased phosphorylation of p47-phox subunit and ERK 1/2 without changing protein expression of Nox isoforms in WT. Moreover, intracellular superoxide production was increased by adenosine and CGS-21680 (a selective A2A agonist), but not BAY 60-6583 (a selective A2B agonist), in mouse coronary artery smooth muscle cells (CASMCs) and endothelial cells (CAECs). This superoxide increase was inhibited by the gp91 ds-tat and ERK 1/2 inhibitor (PD98059). In conclusion, adenosine-induced increase in CF in isolated heart involves Nox2-generated superoxide, possibly through ERK 1/2 phosphorylation with subsequent p47-phox subunit phosphorylation. This adenosine/Nox/ROS interaction occurs in both CASMCs and CAECs, and involves neither A1 nor A3 ARs, but possibly A2A ARs in mouse.
PMCID: PMC3804374  PMID: 24159377
Adenosine; NADPH oxidase; coronary artery; isolated heart; knockout mice
7.  Deficiency of RAMP1 Attenuates Antigen-Induced Airway Hyperresponsiveness in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102356.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the lung, characterized by breathing difficulty during an attack following exposure to an environmental trigger. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a neuropeptide that may have a pathological role in asthma. The CGRP receptor is comprised of two components, which include the G-protein coupled receptor, calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CLR), and receptor activity-modifying protein 1 (RAMP1). RAMPs, including RAMP1, mediate ligand specificity in addition to aiding in the localization of receptors to the cell surface. Since there has been some controversy regarding the effect of CGRP on asthma, we sought to determine the effect of CGRP signaling ablation in an animal model of asthma. Using gene-targeting techniques, we generated mice deficient for RAMP1 by excising exon 3. After determining that these mice are viable and overtly normal, we sensitized the animals to ovalbumin prior to assessing airway resistance and inflammation after methacholine challenge. We found that mice lacking RAMP1 had reduced airway resistance and inflammation compared to wildtype animals. Additionally, we found that a 50% reduction of CLR, the G-protein receptor component of the CGRP receptor, also ameliorated airway resistance and inflammation in this model of allergic asthma. Interestingly, the loss of CLR from the smooth muscle cells did not alter the airway resistance, indicating that CGRP does not act directly on the smooth muscle cells to drive airway hyperresponsiveness. Together, these data indicate that signaling through RAMP1 and CLR plays a role in mediating asthma pathology. Since RAMP1 and CLR interact to form a receptor for CGRP, our data indicate that aberrant CGRP signaling, perhaps on lung endothelial and inflammatory cells, contributes to asthma pathophysiology. Finally, since RAMP-receptor interfaces are pharmacologically tractable, it may be possible to develop compounds targeting the RAMP1/CLR interface to assist in the treatment of asthma.
PMCID: PMC4092148  PMID: 25010197
8.  Photochemically Altered Air Pollution Mixtures and Contractile Parameters in Isolated Murine Hearts before and after Ischemia 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2013;121(11-12):1344-1348.
Background: The cardiopulmonary effects of the individual criteria air pollutants have been well investigated, but little is known about the cardiopulmonary effects of inhaled multipollutant mixtures that more realistically represent environmental exposures.
Objectives: We assessed the cardiopulmonary effects of exposure to photochemically altered particle-free multipollutant mixtures.
Methods: We exposed mice to filtered air (FA), multipollutant mixtures, or ozone (O3) for 4 hr in a photochemical reaction chamber. Eight hours after exposure, we assessed cardiac responses using a Langendorff preparation in a protocol consisting of 20 min of global ischemia followed by 2 hr of reperfusion. Cardiac function was assessed by measuring the index of left-ventricular developed pressure (LVDP) and contractility (dP/dt) before ischemia. On reperfusion after ischemia, recovery of postischemic LVDP and size of infarct were examined. We used bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cell counts to assess lung inflammation.
Results: Exposure to the multipollutant mixtures decreased LVDP, baseline rate of left ventricular contraction (dP/dtmaximum), and baseline rate of left ventricular relaxation (dP/dtminimum) compared with exposure to FA. Exposure to O3 also decreased heart rate and dP/dtminimum. Time to ischemic contracture was prolonged in the multipollutant-mixture group relative to that in the FA group. Mice in the multipollutant-mixture group had better recovery of postischemic LVDP and smaller infarct size. Exposure to multipollutant mixtures and to O3 exposure increased numbers of macrophages in the BAL fluid.
Conclusions: Exposure to photochemically altered urban air pollution appears to affect cardiac mechanics in isolated perfused hearts. Inhalation of acute multipollutant mixtures decreases LVDP and cardiac contractility in isolated non-ischemic murine hearts, prolongs ischemic contracture, increases postischemic recovery of LVDP, and reduces infarct size.
Citation: McIntosh-Kastrinsky R, Diaz-Sanchez D, Sexton KG, Jania CM, Zavala J, Tilley SL, Jaspers I, Gilmour MI, Devlin RB, Cascio WE, Tong H. 2013. Photochemically altered air pollution mixtures and contractile parameters in isolated murine hearts before and after ischemia. Environ Health Perspect 121:1344–1348;
PMCID: PMC3855513  PMID: 24148996
9.  Evidence for the involvement of NADPH oxidase in adenosine receptor-mediated control of coronary flow using A1 and A3 knockout mice 
Physiological Reports  2013;1(3):e00070.
The NADPH oxidase (Nox) subunits 1, 2 (gp91 phox), and 4 are the major sources for reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cardiovascular system. In conditions such as ischemia–reperfusion injury, and hypoxia, both ROS and adenosine are released suggesting a possible interaction. We hypothesized that ROS generated through Nox is involved in adenosine-induced coronary flow (CF) responses. Adenosine (10−8–10−5.5 mol/L) increased CF in isolated hearts from wild-type (WT; C57BL/6), A1 adenosine receptor (AR) knockout (A1KO), A3AR KO (A3KO) and A1 and A3AR double KO (A1/A3DKO) mice. The Nox inhibitors apocynin (10−5 mol/L) and gp91 ds-tat (10−6 mol/L) or the superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase-mimicking agent EUK134 (50 μmol/L) decreased the adenosine-enhanced CF in the WT and all the KOs. Additionally, adenosine increased phosphorylation of p47-phox subunit and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 without changing protein expression of Nox isoforms in WT. Moreover, intracellular superoxide production was increased by adenosine and CGS-21680 (a selective A2A agonist), but not BAY 60-6583 (a selective A2B agonist), in mouse coronary artery smooth muscle cells (CASMCs) and endothelial cells (CAECs). This superoxide increase was inhibited by the gp91 ds-tat and ERK 1/2 inhibitor (PD98059). In conclusion, adenosine-induced increase in CF in isolated heart involves Nox2-generated superoxide, possibly through ERK 1/2 phosphorylation with subsequent p47-phox subunit phosphorylation. This adenosine/Nox/ROS interaction occurs in both CASMCs and CAECs, and involves neither A1 nor A3 ARs, but possibly A2A ARs in mouse.
PMCID: PMC3804374  PMID: 24159377
Adenosine; coronary artery; isolated heart; knockout mice; NADPH oxidase
10.  MyD88 provides a protective role in long-term radiation-induced lung injury 
The role of innate immune regulators is investigated in injury sustained from irradiation as in the clinic for cancer treatment or from a nuclear incident. The protective benefits of flagellin signaling through Toll-like receptors (TLR) in an irradiation setting warrant study of a key intracellular adaptor of TLR signaling, namely Myeloid differentiation primary response factor 88 (MyD88). The role of MyD88 in regulating innate immunity and Nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB)-activated responses targets this critical factor for influencing injury and recovery as well as maintaining immune homeostasis.
Materials and methods
To examine the role of MyD88, we examined immune cells and factors during acute pneumonitic and fibrotic phases in Myd88 -deficient animals receiving thoracic gamma (γ)-irradiation.
We found that MyD88 supports survival from radiation-induced injury through the regulation of inflammatory factors that aid in recovery from irradiation. The absence of MyD88 resulted in unresolved pulmonary infiltrate and enhanced collagen deposition plus elevated type 2 helper T cell (Th2) cytokines in long-term survivors of irradiation.
These results based only on a gene deletion model suggest that alterations of MyD88-dependent inflammatory processes impact chronic lung injury. Therefore, MyD88 may contribute to attenuating long-term radiation-induced lung injury and protecting against fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC3629725  PMID: 22248128
Radiation; inflammation; innate immunity; MyD88; lung injury
11.  Analysis of NLRP3 in the Development of Allergic Airway Disease in Mice1 
The contribution of NLRP3, a member of the nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat containing (NLR) family, in the development of allergic airway disease is currently controversial. Here, we used multiple allergic asthma models to examine the physiologic role of NLRP3. We found no significant differences in airway eosinophilia, histopathology, mucus production and airway hyperreactivity between wild type and Nlrp3-/- mice in either acute (alum-dependent) or chronic (alum-independent) OVA models. In addition to the OVA model, we also did not detect a role for NLRP3 in the development of allergic airway disease induced by either acute or chronic house dust mite (HDM) antigen exposure. While we did not observe significant phenotypic differences in any of the models tested, we did observe a significant reduction of IL-13 and IL-33 in Nlrp3-/- mice compared to wild type controls in the chronic OVA model without added alum. In all of the allergic airway disease models, the levels of the NLRP3 inflammasome associated cytokines IL-1β and IL-18 in the lung were below the level of detection. In sum, this report surveyed four different allergic asthma models and found a modest and selected role for NLRP3 in the alum-free OVA model. However this difference did not greatly alter the clinical outcome of the disease. This suggests that the role of NLRP3 in allergic asthma has to be re-evaluated.
PMCID: PMC3294123  PMID: 22323538
Cryopyrin; NLR; NALP3; Asthma; Inflammasome; Lung Disease; Flexivent; Ovalbumin; Dust Mite Antigen; DMA
12.  Staphylococcus aureus α-Hemolysin Mediates Virulence in a Murine Model of Severe Pneumonia Through Activation of the NLRP3 Inflammasome 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;205(5):807-817.
Staphylococcus aureus is a dangerous pathogen that can cause necrotizing infections characterized by massive inflammatory responses and tissue destruction. Staphylococcal α-hemolysin is an essential virulence factor in severe S. aureus pneumonia. It activates the nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat containing gene family, pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome to induce production of interleukin-1β and programmed necrotic cell death. We sought to determine the role of α-hemolysin–mediated activation of NLRP3 in the pathogenesis of S. aureus pneumonia. We show that α-hemolysin activates the NLRP3 inflammasome during S. aureus pneumonia, inducing necrotic pulmonary injury. Moreover, Nlrp3−/− mice have less-severe pneumonia. Pulmonary injury induced by isolated α-hemolysin or live S. aureus is independent of interleukin-1β signaling, implicating NLRP3-induced necrosis in the pathogenesis of severe infection. This work demonstrates the exploitation of host inflammatory signaling by S. aureus and suggests the NLRP3 inflammasome as a potential target for pharmacologic interventions in severe S. aureus infections.
PMCID: PMC3274379  PMID: 22279123
13.  Functional and RNA Expression Profile of Adenosine Receptor Subtypes in Mouse Mesenteric Arteries 
Concentration–response curves (CRCs) of adenosine receptor (AR) agonists, NECA (nonspecific), CCPA (A1 specific), CGS-216870 (A2A specific), BAY 60-6583 (A2B specific), and Cl-IB-MECA (A3 specific) for mesenteric arteries (MAs) from 4 AR knockout (KO) mice (A1, A2A, A2B, and A3) and their wild type (WT) were constructed. The messenger RNA expression of MAs from KO mice and WT were also studied. Adenosine (10−5 to 10−4 M) and NECA (10−6 to 10−5 M) induced relaxation in all mice except A2B KO mice, which only showed constriction by adenosine at 10−6 to 10−4 and NECA at 10−8 to 10−5 M. The CCPA induced a significant constriction at 10−8 and 10−7 M in all mice, except A1KO. BAY 60-6583 induced relaxation (10−7 to 10−5 M) in WT and no response in A2BKO except at 10−5 M. The CRCs for BAY 60-6583 in A1, A2A, and A3 KO mice shifted to the left when compared with WT mice, suggesting an upregulation of A2B AR. No responses were noted to CGS-21680 in all mice. Cl-IB-MECA only induced relaxation at concentration greater than 10−7 M, and no differences were found between different KO mice. The CRC for Bay 60-6583 was not significantly changed in the presence of 10−5 M of L-NAME, 10−6 M of indomethacin, or both. Our data suggest that A2B AR is the predominant AR subtype and the effect may be endothelial independent, whereas A1 AR plays a significant modulatory role in mouse MAs.
PMCID: PMC3539216  PMID: 23288107
adenosine receptors; adenosine receptor knockout mice; 5′-(N-Ethyl-carboxamido) adenosine (NECA); CGS-21680; BAY 60-6583; Cl-IB-MECA
14.  Increased plasma mannose binding lectin levels are associated with bronchiolitis obliterans after lung transplantation 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):56.
Long-term lung allograft survival is limited by bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS). Mannose binding lectin (MBL) belongs to the innate immune system, participates in complement activation, and may predispose to graft rejection. We investigated mannose binding (MBL) during cold ischemia and in tissue samples from explanted lungs with BOS, and assessed MBL and complement proteins in plasma post-lung transplantation relative to BOS staging.
MBL was detected by immunohistochemistry lung tissue at the time of cold ischemia and in samples with BOS. MBL was assayed in the peripheral blood of 66 lung transplant patients transplanted between 1990–2007.
MBL localized to vasculature and basement membrane during cold ischemia and BOS. Patients further out post-lung transplant > 5 years (n = 33), had significantly lower levels of MBL in the blood compared to lung transplant patients < 5 years with BOS Op-3 (n = 17), 1738 ± 250 ng/ml vs 3198 ± 370 ng/ml, p = 0.027, and similar levels to lung transplant patients < 5 years with BOS 0 (n = 16), 1738 ± 250 ng/ml vs 1808 ± 345 ng/ml. MBL levels in all BOS 0 (n = 30) vs. all BOS Op-3 (n = 36) were 1378 ± 275 ng/ml vs. 2578 ± 390 ng/ml, p = 0.001, respectively. C3 plasma levels in BOS 0 (n = 30) vs. BOS Op-3 (n = 36) were 101 ± 19.8 mg/ml vs. 114 ± 25.2 mg/ml, p = 0.024, respectively.
MBL localizes within the lung during graft ischemia and BOS, higher levels of plasma MBL are associated with BOS Op-3 and < 5 years post-transplant, and higher level of plasma complement protein C3 was associated with BOS Op-3 clinical status. MBL may serve as a biomarker for poorer outcome post-lung transplantation.
PMCID: PMC3441326  PMID: 22762710
Mannose binding lectin; Lung transplantation; Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome
15.  Characterization of NLRP12 during the Development of Allergic Airway Disease in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30612.
Among the 22 members of the nucleotide binding-domain, leucine rich repeat-containing (NLR) family, less than half have been functionally characterized. Of those that have been well studied, most form caspase-1 activating inflammasomes. NLRP12 is a unique NLR that has been shown to attenuate inflammatory pathways in biochemical assays and mediate the lymph node homing of activated skin dendritic cells in contact hypersensitivity responses. Since the mechanism between these two important observations remains elusive, we further evaluated the contribution of NLRP12 to organ specific adaptive immune responses by focusing on the lung, which, like skin, is exposed to both exogenous and endogenous inflammatory agents. In models of allergic airway inflammation induced by either acute ovalbumin (OVA) exposure or chronic house dust mite (HDM) antigen exposure, Nlrp12−/− mice displayed subtle differences in eosinophil and monocyte infiltration into the airways. However, the overall development of allergic airway disease and airway function was not significantly altered by NLRP12 deficiency. Together, the combined data suggest that NLRP12 does not play a vital role in regulating Th2 driven airway inflammation using common model systems that are physiologically relevant to human disease. Thus, the allergic airway inflammation models described here should be appropriate for subsequent studies that seek to decipher the contribution of NLRP12 in mediating the host response to agents associated with asthma exacerbation.
PMCID: PMC3264608  PMID: 22291998
16.  IL-4 Amplifies the Pro-Inflammatory Effect of Adenosine in Human Mast Cells by Changing Expression Levels of Adenosine Receptors 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24947.
Adenosine inhalation produces immediate bronchoconstriction in asthmatics but not in normal subjects. The bronchospastic effect of adenosine is largely mediated through adenosine-induced mast cell activation, the mechanism of which is poorly understood due to limitations in culturing human primary mast cells. Here, we show that human umbilical cord blood -derived mast cells incubated with the Th2 cytokine IL-4 develop increased sensitivity to adenosine. Potentiation of anti-IgE- induced and calcium ionophore/PMA-induced degranulation was augmented in mast cells cultured with IL-4, and this effect was reduced or abolished by pre-treatment with A2BsiRNA and selective A2B receptor antagonists, respectively. IL-4 incubation resulted in the increased expression of A2B and reduced expression of A2A adenosine receptors on human mast cells. These results suggest that Th2 cytokines in the asthmatic lung may alter adenosine receptor expression on airway mast cells to promote increased responsiveness to adenosine.
PMCID: PMC3180290  PMID: 21966389
17.  Exacerbation of allergic inflammation in mice exposed to diesel exhaust particles prior to viral infection 
Viral infections and exposure to oxidant air pollutants are two of the most important inducers of asthma exacerbation. Our previous studies have demonstrated that exposure to diesel exhaust increases the susceptibility to influenza virus infections both in epithelial cells in vitro and in mice in vivo. Therefore, we examined whether in the setting of allergic asthma, exposure to oxidant air pollutants enhances the susceptibility to respiratory virus infections, which in turn leads to increased virus-induced exacerbation of asthma. Ovalbumin-sensitized (OVA) male C57BL/6 mice were instilled with diesel exhaust particles (DEP) or saline and 24 hours later infected with influenza A/PR/8. Animals were sacrificed 24 hours post-infection and analyzed for markers of lung injury, allergic inflammation, and pro-inflammatory cytokine production.
Exposure to DEP or infection with influenza alone had no significant effects on markers of injury or allergic inflammation. However, OVA-sensitized mice that were exposed to DEP and subsequently infected with influenza showed increased levels of eosinophils in lung lavage and tissue. In addition Th2-type cytokines, such as IL-4 and IL-13, and markers of eosinophil chemotaxis, such as CCL11 and CCR3, were increased in OVA-sensitized mice exposed to DEP prior to infection with influenza. These mice also showed increased levels of IL-1α, but not IL-10, RANTES, and MCP-1 in lung homogenates.
These data suggest that in the setting of allergic asthma, exposure to diesel exhaust could enhance virus-induced exacerbation of allergic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2739151  PMID: 19682371
18.  Development of Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema in β-Epithelial Na+ Channel–Overexpressing Mice 
Rationale: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, but its pathogenesis is not well understood. Previous studies have shown that airway surface dehydration in β-epithelial Na+ channel (βENaC)–overexpressing mice caused a chronic lung disease with high neonatal pulmonary mortality and chronic bronchitis in adult survivors.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to identify the initiating lesions and investigate the natural progression of lung disease caused by airway surface dehydration.
Methods: Lung morphology, gene expression, bronchoalveolar lavage, and lung mechanics were studied at different ages in βENaC-overexpressing mice.
Measurements and Main Results: Mucus obstruction in βENaC-overexpressing mice originated in the trachea in the first days of life and was associated with hypoxia, airway epithelial necrosis, and death. In surviving βENaC-overexpressing mice, mucus obstruction extended into the lungs and was accompanied by goblet cell metaplasia, increased mucin expression, and airway inflammation with transient perinatal increases in tumor necrosis factor-α and macrophages, IL-13 and eosinophils, and persistent increases in keratinocyte-derived cytokine (KC), neutrophils, and chitinases in the lung. βENaC-overexpressing mice also developed emphysema with increased lung volumes, distal airspace enlargement, and increased lung compliance.
Conclusions: Our studies demonstrate that airway surface dehydration is sufficient to initiate persistent neutrophilic airway inflammation with chronic airways mucus obstruction and to cause transient eosinophilic airway inflammation and emphysema. These results suggest that deficient airway surface hydration may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases of different etiologies and serve as a target for novel therapies.
PMCID: PMC2277210  PMID: 18079494
chronic obstructive lung disease; epithelial Na+ channels; airway surface liquid; inflammation; mucus
19.  Modulatory Role for Retinoid-related Orphan Receptor α in Allergen-induced Lung Inflammation 
Rationale: Nuclear receptors play a critical role in the regulation of inflammation, thus representing attractive targets for the treatment of asthma.
Objective: In this study, we assess the potential regulatory function of retinoid-related orphan receptor α (RORα) in the adaptive immune response using ovalbumin (OVA)-induced airway inflammation as a model.
Methods: Allergen-induced inflammation was compared between wild-type (WT) and staggerer (RORαsg/sg) mice, a natural mutant strain that is deficient in RORα expression.
Measurements and Main Results: Despite robust increases in OVA-specific IgE, RORαsg/sg mice developed significantly less pulmonary inflammation, mucous cell hyperplasia, and eosinophilia compared with similarly treated WT animals. Induction of Th2 cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-13, was also significantly less in RORαsg/sg mice. Microarray analysis using lung RNA showed increased expression of many genes, previously implicated in inflammation, in OVA-treated WT mice. These include mucin Muc5b, the chloride channel calcium-activated 3 (Clca3), macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP) 1α and 1β, eotaxin-2, serum amyloid A3 (Saa3), and insulin-like growth factor 1 (Igf1). These genes were induced to a greater extent in OVA-treated WT mice relative to RORαsg/sg mice.
Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that mice deficient in RORα exhibit an attenuated allergic inflammatory response, indicating that RORα plays a critical role in the development of Th2-driven allergic lung inflammation in mice, and suggests that this nuclear receptor should be further evaluated as a potential asthma target.
PMCID: PMC2648295  PMID: 16973978
asthma; inflammation; lung; nuclear receptor
21.  Pulmonary Immune Responses to Propionibacterium acnes in C57BL/6 and BALB/c Mice 
Propionibacterium acnes (PA) is a gram-positive anaerobic bacterium implicated as a putative etiologic agent of sarcoidosis. To characterize the pulmonary immune response to PA, C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice were intraperitoneally sensitized and intratracheally challenged with heat-killed bacteria. C57BL/6 mice challenged with PA developed a cellular immune response characterized by elevations in Th1 cytokines/chemokines, increased numbers of lymphocytes and macrophages in lung lavage fluid, and peribronchovascular granulomatous inflammation composed of T- and B-lymphocytes and epithelioid histiocytes. T-lymphocytes in the lung lavage fluid showed a marked CD4+ cell predominance. In contrast, C57BL/6 mice challenged with Staphylococcus epidermidis (SE), another gram-positive commensal of human skin, and BALB/c mice challenged with PA, showed only a modest induction of Th1 cytokines, less pulmonary inflammation, and no granulomatous changes in the lung. Enhancement of Toll-like receptor expression was seen in PA-exposed C57BL/6 mice within 24 h after exposure, suggesting that induction of innate immunity by PA contributes to the robust, polarized Th1 immune response elicited by this bacterium. These findings suggest that PA-induced pulmonary inflammation may be a useful model for testing the contributions of both bacterial and host factors in the development, maintenance, and resolution of granulomatous inflammation in the lung.
PMCID: PMC2643288  PMID: 16645181
inflammation; granuloma; lung; mouse; Propionibacterium acnes
22.  Enhanced mast cell activation in mice deficient in the A2b adenosine receptor 
Antigen-mediated cross-linking of IgE bound to mast cells via the high affinity receptor for IgE triggers a signaling cascade that results in the release of intracellular calcium stores, followed by an influx of extracellular calcium. The collective increase in intracellular calcium is critical to the release of the granular contents of the mast cell, which include the mediators of acute anaphylaxis. We show that the sensitivity of the mast cell to antigen-mediated degranulation through this pathway can be dramatically influenced by the A2b adenosine receptor. Loss of this Gs-coupled receptor on mouse bone marrow–derived mast cells results in decreased basal levels of cyclic AMP and an excessive influx of extracellular calcium through store-operated calcium channels following antigen activation. Mice lacking the A2b receptor display increased sensitivity to IgE-mediated anaphylaxis. Collectively, these findings show that the A2b adenosine receptor functions as a critical regulator of signaling pathways within the mast cell, which act in concert to limit the magnitude of mast cell responsiveness when antigen is encountered.
PMCID: PMC2118413  PMID: 17200408
23.  A1 antagonism in asthma: better than coffee? 
Adenosine is a ubiquitous biological mediator with the capacity to produce both pro- and anti-inflammatory effects in tissues. Proinflammatory and bronchoconstrictive actions of adenosine in the asthmatic lung are well recognized, with the latter being mediated, in part, through A1 receptor activation on airway smooth muscle. In this issue of the JCI, Sun et al. report findings in adenosine deaminase–deficient mice that suggest the occurrence of anti-inflammatory actions of adenosine in the lung, mediated through A1 adenosine receptors on macrophages. Here we discuss the history of the study of adenosine receptor ligands for asthma and how enhanced understanding of adenosine receptor biology may aid in the rational exploitation of these receptors as therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC539211  PMID: 15630434
24.  Receptors for prostaglandin E2 that regulate cellular immune responses in the mouse 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2001;108(8):1229-1235.
Production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is enhanced during inflammation, and this lipid mediator can dramatically modulate immune responses. There are four receptors for PGE2 (EP1–EP4) with unique patterns of expression and different coupling to intracellular signaling pathways. To identify the EP receptors that regulate cellular immune responses, we used mouse lines in which the genes encoding each of the four EP receptors were disrupted by gene targeting. Using the mixed lymphocyte response (MLR) as a model cellular immune response, we confirmed that PGE2 has potent antiproliferative effects on wild-type responder cells. The absence of either the EP1 or EP3 receptors did not alter the inhibitory response to PGE2 in the MLR. In contrast, when responder cells lacked the EP2 receptor, PGE2 had little effect on proliferation. Modest resistance to PGE2 was also observed in EP4–/– responder cells. Reconstitution experiments suggest that EP2 receptors primarily inhibit the MLR through direct actions on T cells. Furthermore, PGE2 modulates macrophage function by activating the EP4 receptor and thereby inhibiting cytokine release. Thus, PGE2 regulates cellular immune responses through distinct EP receptors on different immune cell populations: EP2 receptors directly inhibit T cell proliferation while EP2 and EP4 receptors regulate antigen presenting cells functions.
PMCID: PMC209534  PMID: 11602631

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