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author:("forsgren, ole")
1.  Gene Expression Analysis of Human Islets in a Subject at Onset of Type 1 Diabetes 
Acta diabetologica  2013;51(2):199-204.
Swollen islet cells have been repeatedly described at onset of type 1 diabetes, but the underlying mechanism of this observation, termed hydropic degeneration, awaits characterization. In this study, laser capture microdissection was applied to extract the islets from an organ donor that died at onset of type 1 diabetes and from an organ donor without pancreatic disease. Morphologic analysis revealed extensive hydropic degeneration in 73% of the islets from the donor with type 1 diabetes. Expression levels of genes involved in apoptosis, ER stress, beta cell function, and inflammation were analyzed in isolated and laser-captured islets by qPCR. The chemokine MCP-1 was expressed in islets from the donor with type 1 diabetes while undetectable in the control donor. No other signs of inflammation were detected. There were no signs of apoptosis on the gene expression level, which was also confirmed by negative immunostaining for cleaved caspase-8. There was an increased expression of the transcription factor ATF4, involved in transcription of ER stress genes, in the diabetic islets but no further signs of ER stress were identified.
In summary, on the transcription level, islets at onset of type 1 diabetes in which many beta cells display hydropic degeneration show no obvious signs of apoptosis, ER stress or inflammation supporting the notion that these cells are responding normally to high glucose and eventually succumbing in beta cell exhaustion. Also, this study validates the feasibility of performing qPCR analysis of RNA extracted from islets from subjects with recent onset T1D and healthy controls by laser capture microdissection.
PMCID: PMC3770827  PMID: 23624551
Hydropic degeneration; type 1 diabetes; pathogenesis; etiology; laser capture microdissection
2.  The Effects of Exendin-4 Treatment on Graft Failure: An Animal Study Using a Novel Re-Vascularized Minimal Human Islet Transplant Model 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0121204.
Islet transplantation has become a viable clinical treatment, but is still compromised by long-term graft failure. Exendin-4, a glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist, has in clinical studies been shown to improve insulin secretion in islet transplanted patients. However, little is known about the effect of exendin-4 on other metabolic parameters. We therefore aimed to determine what influence exendin-4 would have on revascularized minimal human islet grafts in a state of graft failure in terms of glucose metabolism, body weight, lipid levels and graft survival. Introducing the bilateral, subcapsular islet transplantation model, we first transplanted diabetic mice with a murine graft under the left kidney capsule sufficient to restore normoglycemia. After a convalescent period, we performed a second transplantation under the right kidney capsule with a minimal human islet graft and allowed for a second recovery. We then performed a left-sided nephrectomy, and immediately started treatment with exendin-4 with a low (20μg/kg/day) or high (200μg/kg/day) dose, or saline subcutaneously twice daily for 15 days. Blood was sampled, blood glucose and body weight monitored. The transplanted human islet grafts were collected at study end point and analyzed. We found that exendin-4 exerts its effect on failing human islet grafts in a bell-shaped dose-response curve. Both doses of exendin-4 equally and significantly reduced blood glucose. Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), C-peptide and pro-insulin were conversely increased. In the course of the treatment, body weight and cholesterol levels were not affected. However, immunohistochemistry revealed an increase in beta cell nuclei count and reduced TUNEL staining only in the group treated with a low dose of exendin-4 compared to the high dose and control. Collectively, these results suggest that exendin-4 has a potential rescue effect on failing, revascularized human islets in terms of lowering blood glucose, maintaining beta cell numbers, and improving metabolic parameters during hyperglycemic stress.
PMCID: PMC4368803  PMID: 25793295
3.  A novel model for studies of blood-mediated long-term responses to cellular transplants 
Interaction between blood and bio-surfaces is important in many medical fields. With the aim of studying blood-mediated reactions to cellular transplants, we developed a whole-blood model for incubation of small volumes for up to 48 h.
Heparinized polyvinyl chloride tubing was cut in suitable lengths and sealed to create small bags. Multiple bags, with fresh venous blood, were incubated attached to a rotating wheel at 37°C. Physiological variables in blood were monitored: glucose, blood gases, mono- and divalent cations and chloride ions, osmolality, coagulation (platelet consumption, thrombin-antithrombin complexes (TAT)), and complement activation (C3a and SC5b-9), haemolysis, and leukocyte viability.
Basic glucose consumption was high. Glucose depletion resulted in successive elevation of extracellular potassium, while sodium and calcium ions decreased due to inhibition of energy-requiring ion pumps. Addition of glucose improved ion balance but led to metabolic acidosis. To maintain a balanced physiological environment beyond 6 h, glucose and sodium hydrogen carbonate were added regularly based on analyses of glucose, pH, ions, and osmotic pressure. With these additives haemolysis was prevented for up to 72 h and leukocyte viability better preserved. Despite using non-heparinized blood, coagulation and complement activation were lower during long-term incubations compared with addition of thromboplastin and collagen.
A novel whole-blood model for studies of blood-mediated responses to a cellular transplant is presented allowing extended observations for up to 48 h and highlights the importance of stringent evaluations and adjustment of physiological conditions.
PMCID: PMC4389005  PMID: 25322825
Biocompatibility; blood physiology; cell transplantation; coagulation; energy metabolism; electrolyte homeostasis; leukocytes
4.  The Human Pancreas Proteome Defined by Transcriptomics and Antibody-Based Profiling 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115421.
The pancreas is composed of both exocrine glands and intermingled endocrine cells to execute its diverse functions, including enzyme production for digestion of nutrients and hormone secretion for regulation of blood glucose levels. To define the molecular constituents with elevated expression in the human pancreas, we employed a genome-wide RNA sequencing analysis of the human transcriptome to identify genes with elevated expression in the human pancreas. This quantitative transcriptomics data was combined with immunohistochemistry-based protein profiling to allow mapping of the corresponding proteins to different compartments and specific cell types within the pancreas down to the single cell level. Analysis of whole pancreas identified 146 genes with elevated expression levels, of which 47 revealed a particular higher expression as compared to the other analyzed tissue types, thus termed pancreas enriched. Extended analysis of in vitro isolated endocrine islets identified an additional set of 42 genes with elevated expression in these specialized cells. Although only 0.7% of all genes showed an elevated expression level in the pancreas, this fraction of transcripts, in most cases encoding secreted proteins, constituted 68% of the total mRNA in pancreas. This demonstrates the extreme specialization of the pancreas for production of secreted proteins. Among the elevated expression profiles, several previously not described proteins were identified, both in endocrine cells (CFC1, FAM159B, RBPJL and RGS9) and exocrine glandular cells (AQP12A, DPEP1, GATM and ERP27). In summary, we provide a global analysis of the pancreas transcriptome and proteome with a comprehensive list of genes and proteins with elevated expression in pancreas. This list represents an important starting point for further studies of the molecular repertoire of pancreatic cells and their relation to disease states or treatment effects.
PMCID: PMC4278897  PMID: 25546435
5.  Increased Inflammatory Response in Cytomegalovirus Seropositive Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96779.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has been associated with increased local inflammation in the affected brain regions, and in some studies also with elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines in peripheral blood. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is known to promote a more effector-oriented phenotype in the T-cell compartment, increasing with age. The aim of this study was to investigate the inflammatory response of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from AD patients and non-demented (ND) controls. Using a multiplex Luminex xMAP assay targeting GM-CSF, IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IP-10 and TNF-α, cytokine profiles from PBMCs were analysed after stimulation with anti-CD3/CD28 beads, CMV pp65 peptide mix or amyloid β (Aβ) protofibrils, respectively. CMV seropositive AD subjects presented with higher IFN-γ levels after anti-CD3/CD28 and CMV pp65 but not after Aβ stimulation, compared to CMV seropositive ND controls. When analysing IFN-γ response to anti-CD3/CD28 stimulation on a subgroup level, CMV seropositive AD subjects presented with higher levels compared to both CMV seronegative AD and CMV seropositive ND subjects. Taken together, our data from patients with clinically manifest AD suggest a possible role of CMV as an inflammatory promoter in AD immunology. Further studies of AD patients at earlier stages of disease, could provide better insight into the pathophysiology.
PMCID: PMC4013077  PMID: 24804776
6.  Induction of an Antiviral State and Attenuated Coxsackievirus Replication in Type III Interferon-Treated Primary Human Pancreatic Islets 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(13):7646-7654.
Type III interferons (IFNs), also called lambda interferons (IFN-λ), comprise three isoforms, IFN-λ1 (interleukin-29 [IL-29]), IFN-λ2 (IL-28A), and IFN-λ3 (IL-28B). Only limited information is available on their expression and biological functions in humans. Type I and type II IFNs protect human pancreatic islets against coxsackievirus infection, and this is important since such viruses have been proposed to play a role in the development of human type 1 diabetes. Here we investigated whether type III IFN is expressed during infection of human islet cells with coxsackievirus and if type III IFN regulates permissiveness to such infections. We show that human islets respond to a coxsackievirus serotype B3 (CVB3) infection by inducing the expression of type III IFNs. We also demonstrate that islet endocrine cells from nondiabetic individuals express the type III IFN receptor subunits IFN-λR1 and IL-10R2. Pancreatic alpha cells express both receptor subunits, while pancreatic beta cells express only IL-10R2. Type III IFN stimulation elicited a biological response in human islets as indicated by the upregulated expression of antiviral genes as well as pattern recognition receptors. We also show that type III IFN significantly reduces CVB3 replication. Our studies reveal that type III IFNs are expressed during CVB3 infection and that the expression of the type III IFN receptor by the human pancreatic islet allows this group of IFNs to regulate the islets' permissiveness to infection. Our novel observations suggest that type III IFNs may regulate viral replication and thereby contribute to reduced tissue damage and promote islet cell survival during coxsackievirus infection.
PMCID: PMC3700265  PMID: 23637411
7.  Decreased Proportion of Cytomegalovirus Specific CD8 T-Cells but No Signs of General Immunosenescence in Alzheimer’s Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77921.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been suggested as a contributing force behind the impaired immune responsiveness in the elderly, with decreased numbers of naïve T-cells and an increased proportion of effector T-cells. Immunological impairment is also implicated as a part of the pathogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The aim of this study was to investigate whether AD patients present with a different CMV-specific CD8 immune profile compared to non-demented controls. Blood samples from 50 AD patients and 50 age-matched controls were analysed for HLA-type, CMV serostatus and systemic inflammatory biomarkers. Using multi-colour flow cytometry, lymphocytes from peripheral blood mononuclear cells were analysed for CMV-specific CD8 immunity with MHC-I tetramers A01, A02, A24, B07, B08 and B35 and further classified using CD27, CD28, CD45RA and CCR7 antibodies. Among CMV seropositive subjects, patients with AD had significantly lower proportions of CMV-specific CD8 T-cells compared to controls, 1.16 % vs. 4.13 % (p=0.0057). Regardless of dementia status, CMV seropositive subjects presented with a lower proportion of naïve CD8 cells and a higher proportion of effector CD8 cells compared to seronegative subjects. Interestingly, patients with AD showed a decreased proportion of CMV-specific CD8 cells but no difference in general CD8 differentiation.
PMCID: PMC3796487  PMID: 24155977
8.  Insulin Independence after Conversion from Tacrolimus to Cyclosporine in Islet Transplantation 
PMCID: PMC3439568  PMID: 22897149
Islet clinical; Islet recipient management; calcineurin antagonists; immunosuppression clinical
9.  Adenovirus Serotype 5 Vectors with Tat-PTD Modified Hexon and Serotype 35 Fiber Show Greatly Enhanced Transduction Capacity of Primary Cell Cultures 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54952.
Recombinant adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) vectors represent one of the most efficient gene delivery vectors in life sciences. However, Ad5 is dependent on expression of the coxsackievirus-adenovirus-receptor (CAR) on the surface of target cell for efficient transduction, which limits it’s utility for certain cell types. Herein we present a new vector, Ad5PTDf35, which is an Ad5 vector having serotype 35 fiber-specificity and Tat-PTD hexon-modification. This vector shows dramatically increased transduction capacity of primary human cell cultures including T cells, monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, pancreatic islets and exocrine cells, mesenchymal stem cells and tumor initiating cells. Biodistribution in mice following systemic administration (tail-vein injection) show significantly reduced uptake in the liver and spleen of Ad5PTDf35 compared to unmodified Ad5. Therefore, replication-competent viruses with these modifications may be further developed as oncolytic agents for cancer therapy. User-friendly backbone plasmids containing these modifications were developed for compatibility to the AdEasy-system to facilitate the development of surface-modified adenoviruses for gene delivery to difficult-to-transduce cells in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research.
PMCID: PMC3555985  PMID: 23372800
11.  Decreased defluorination using the novel beta-cell imaging agent [18F]FE-DTBZ-d4 in pigs examined by PET 
EJNMMI Research  2011;1:33.
Fluorine-18 dihydrotetrabenazine [DTBZ] analogues, which selectively target the vesicular monoamine transporter 2 [VMAT2], have been extensively studied for in vivo quantification of beta cell mass by positron-emission tomography [PET]. This study describes a novel deuterated radioligand [18F]fluoroethyl [FE]-DTBZ-d4, aimed to increase the stability against in vivo defluorination previously observed for [18F]FE-DTBZ.
[18F]FE-DTBZ-d4 was synthesized by alkylation of 9-O-desmethyl-(+)-DTBZ precursor with deuterated [18F]FE bromide ([18F]FCD2CD2Br). Radioligand binding potential [BP] was assessed by an in vitro saturation homogenate binding assay using human endocrine and exocrine pancreatic tissues. In vivo pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics [PK/PD] was studied in a porcine model by PET/computed tomography, and the rate of defluorination was quantified by compartmental modeling.
[18F]FE-DTBZ-d4 was produced in reproducible good radiochemical yield in 100 ± 20 min. Radiochemical purity of the formulated product was > 98% for up to 5 h with specific radioactivities that ranged from 192 to 529 GBq/μmol at the end of the synthesis. The in vitro BP for VMAT2 in the islet tissue was 27.0 ± 8.8, and for the exocrine tissue, 1.7 ± 1.0. The rate of in vivo defluorination was decreased significantly (kdefluorination = 0.0016 ± 0.0007 min-1) compared to the non-deuterated analogue (kdefluorination = 0.012 ± 0.002 min-1), resulting in a six fold increase in half-life stability.
[18F]FE-DTBZ-d4 has similar PK and PD properties for VMAT2 imaging as its non-deuterated analogue [18F]FE-DTBZ in addition to gaining significantly increased stability against defluorination. [18F]FE-DTBZ-d4 is a prime candidate for future preclinical and clinical studies on focal clusters of beta cells, such as in intramuscular islet grafts.
PMCID: PMC3284452  PMID: 22214308
beta cell mass; dihydrotetrabenazine; PET; VMAT2
12.  Clinical and Experimental Pancreatic Islet Transplantation to Striated Muscle 
Diabetes  2010;59(10):2569-2578.
Curing type 1 diabetes by transplanting pancreatic islets into the liver is associated with poor long-term outcome and graft failure at least partly due to inadequate graft revascularization. The aim of the current study was to evaluate striated muscle as a potential angiogenic site for islet transplantation.
The current study presents a new experimental model that is found to be applicable to clinical islet transplantation. Islets were implanted into striated muscle and intraislet vascular density and blood flow were visualized with intravital and confocal microscopy in mice and by magnetic resonance imaging in three autotransplanted pancreatectomized patients. Mice were rendered neutropenic by repeated injections of Gr-1 antibody, and diabetes was induced by alloxan treatment.
Contrary to liver-engrafted islets, islets transplanted to mouse muscle were revascularized with vessel densities and blood flow entirely comparable with those of islets within intact pancreas. Initiation of islet revascularization at the muscular site was dependent on neutrophils, and the function of islets transplanted to muscle was proven by curing diabetic mice. The experimental data were confirmed in autotransplanted patients where higher plasma volumes were measured in islets engrafted in forearm muscle compared with adjacent muscle tissue through high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging.
This study presents a novel paradigm in islet transplantation whereby recruited neutrophils are crucial for the functionally restored intraislet blood perfusion following transplantation to striated muscle under experimental and clinical situations.
PMCID: PMC3279536  PMID: 20651296
13.  Anchoring of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor to Surface-Immobilized Heparin on Pancreatic Islets: Implications for Stimulating Islet Angiogenesis 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2009;16(3):961-970.
In pancreatic islet transplantation, early revascularization is necessary for long-term graft function. We have shown in in vitro and in vivo models that modification with surface-attached heparin protects the islets from acute attack by the innate immune system of the blood following intraportal islet transplantation. In this study, we have investigated the ability of an immobilized conjugate composed of heparin to bind the angiogenic growth factor vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) as a means of attracting endothelial cells (ECs) to induce angiogenesis and revascularization. We analyzed the capacity of VEGF-A to bind to immobilized heparin and how this affected the proliferation and adherence of ECs to both artificial glass surfaces and islets. Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring and slot-blot demonstrated the binding of VEGF-A to heparin-coated surfaces upon which ECs showed protein-dependent proliferation. Also, ECs cultured on heparin-coated glass surfaces exhibited effects upon focal contacts. Heparinized islets combined with VEGF-A demonstrated unaffected insulin release. Further, covering islets with heparin also increased the adhesion of ECs to the islet surface. Immobilized heparin on the islet surface may be a useful anchor molecule for achieving complete coverage of islets with angiogenic growth factors, ultimately improving islet revascularization and engraftment in pancreatic islet transplantation.
PMCID: PMC2862613  PMID: 20021270
14.  Preparatory studies of composite mesenchymal stem cell islets for application in intraportal islet transplantation 
Low engraftment and adverse immune reactions hamper the success rate of clinical islet transplantation. In this study, we investigated the capacity of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to adhere to human islets of Langerhans and their effects in immune modulation and during blood interactions in vitro.
Composite MSC–islets were formed by suspension co-culture, and the phenotype was evaluated by confocal microscopy. Islet function was assessed by dynamic insulin release in response to glucose in vitro. Mixed lymphocyte–islet reactions (MLIR) and the tubing blood loop model were utilized as in vitro tools to analyse the effect of MSCs on the innate and adaptive immune reactions triggered by the islets.
MSCs rapidly adhered to islets and spread out to cover the islet surface. Insulin expression and secretion were sustained with the MSC coating. MSC-coated islets showed unaffected reactions with blood in vitro in comparison to control islets. Furthermore, MSCs suppressed lymphocyte proliferation induced by islet cells in MLIR.
We conclude that it is possible to create composite MSC–islets to enable delivery of the MSCs by utilizing the adhesive capacity of the MSCs. This could have beneficial immunosuppressive effects in optimizing pancreatic islet transplantation.
PMCID: PMC3039755  PMID: 21050099
Human islets of Langerhans; human mesenchymal stem cells; human multipotent stromal cells
15.  Can cells and biomaterials in therapeutic medicine be shielded off from innate immune recognition? 
Trends in immunology  2010;31(1):32.
Biomaterials (e.g. polymers, metals, or ceramics), cell, and cell cluster (e.g. pancreatic islets) transplantation are beginning to offer novel treatment modalities for some otherwise intractable diseases. The innate immune system is involved in incompatibility reactions that occur when biomaterials or cells are introduced into the blood circulation. In particular the complement, coagulation, and contact systems are involved in the recognition of biomaterials and cells, eliciting activation of platelets and leukocytes. Such treatments are associated with anaphylactoid and thrombotic reactions, inflammation, and rejection of biomaterials and cells, leading to treatment failures and adverse reactions. We discuss here the new technologies that are being developed to shield the biomaterial and cell surfaces from recognition by the innate immune system.
PMCID: PMC2818156  PMID: 19836998
16.  Current Advances and Travails in Islet Transplantation 
Diabetes  2009;58(10):2175-2184.
PMCID: PMC2750210  PMID: 19794074
17.  Formation of Composite Endothelial Cell–Mesenchymal Stem Cell Islets 
Diabetes  2008;57(9):2393-2401.
OBJECTIVE—Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) contribute to endothelial cell (EC) migration by producing proteases, thereby paving the way into the tissues for ECs. MSCs were added to our previously described composite EC islets as a potential means to improve their capacity for islet angiogenesis.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—Human islets were coated with primary human bone marrow–derived MSCs and dermal microvascular ECs. The capacity of ECs, with or without MSCs, to adhere to and grow into human islets was analyzed. The survival and functionality of these composite islets were evaluated in a dynamic perifusion assay, and their capacity for angiogenesis in vitro was assessed in a three-dimensional fibrin gel assay.
RESULTS—ECs proliferated after culture in MSC-conditioned medium, and MSCs improved the EC coverage threefold compared with EC islets alone. Islet survival in vitro and the functionality of the composite islets after culture were equal to those of control islets. The EC-MSC islets showed a twofold increase in total sprout formation compared with EC islets, and vascular sprouts emanating from the EC-MSC–islet surface showed migration of ECs into the islets and also into the surrounding matrix, either alone or in concert with MSCs.
CONCLUSIONS—EC proliferation, sprout formation, and ingrowth of ECs into the islets were enhanced by MSCs. The use of composite EC-MSC islets may have beneficial effects on revascularization and immune regulation. The technique presented allows for pretreatment of donor islets with recipient-derived ECs and MSCs as a means of improving islet engraftment.
PMCID: PMC2518490  PMID: 18519803
18.  Acute Antibody-Mediated Complement Activation Mediates Lysis of Pancreatic Islets Cells and May Cause Tissue Loss in Clinical Islet Transplantation 
Transplantation  2008;85(8):1193-1199.
Clinical islet transplantation is associated with loss of transplanted islets necessitating tissue from more than one donor to obtain insulin independence. The instant blood-mediated inflammatory reaction (IBMIR) is one explanation to the tissue loss. Complement activation is an important cytotoxic component of the IBMIR, and in the present study, we have investigated this component in detail.
Isolated human islets were analyzed by large particle flow cytometry and confocal microscopy after incubation in human ABO-compatible hirudinplasma.
After incubation in plasma, the islets bound IgG and IgM, CIq, C4, C3 and C9. The binding of C3b/iC3b was evident already after 5 min. The binding of C3b/iC3b and the generation of C3a and sC5b-9 were inhibited by the complement inhibitor Compstatin. Lysis as reflected by propidium iodide (PI) staining and release of C-peptide was also inhibited by Compstatin. There were significant correlations between IgM/IgG versus C3b/iC3b and between sC5b-9 and C-peptide.
The conclusion is that complement is activated by natural IgG and IgM antibodies already after 5 min. The complement activation leads to lysis of cells of the pancreatic islets. This very rapid reaction may be an essential entity of the damage induced by the IBMIR in clinical islet transplantation.
PMCID: PMC2692616  PMID: 18431241
Human islets; Natural antibodies; Complement activation; Compstatin
19.  A New Method for Incorporating Functional Heparin onto the Surface of Islets of Langerhans 
A novel technique is described to conjugate macromolecular heparin complexes to cell surfaces. The method is based on the dual properties of avidin-expressing binding sites for both biotin and a macro-molecular complex of heparin. A quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) revealed sequential binding of biotin, avidin, and heparin complexes. Large particle flow cytometry confirmed functional integrity. Confocal microscopy of the heparinized islets showed evenly distributed fluorescence. An in vitro Chandler loop model demonstrated that the biocompatibility of the new method is comparable to the previous method used on artificial materials with regard to coagulation and anti-thrombin uptake. The technique presented allows human islets of Langerhans to successfully be covered with functional heparin as a means to reduce instant blood-mediated inflammatory reactions induced by the innate immune system.
PMCID: PMC2963632  PMID: 18544029
20.  Natural Killer Cells Determine Development of Allergen-induced Eosinophilic Airway Inflammation in Mice  
The earliest contact between antigen and the innate immune system is thought to direct the subsequent antigen-specific T cell response. We hypothesized that cells of the innate immune system, such as natural killer (NK) cells, NK1.1+ T cells (NKT cells), and γ/δ T cells, may regulate the development of allergic airway disease. We demonstrate here that depletion of NK1.1+ cells (NK cells and NKT cells) before immunization inhibits pulmonary eosinophil and CD3+ T cell infiltration as well as increased levels of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-12 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in a murine model of allergic asthma. Moreover, systemic allergen-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)E and IgG2a levels and the number of IL-4 and interferon γ–producing splenic cells were diminished in mice depleted of NK1.1+ cells before the priming regime. Depletion of NK1.1+ cells during the challenge period only did not influence pulmonary eosinophilic inflammation. CD1d1 mutant mice, deficient in NKT cells but with normal NK cells, developed lung tissue eosinophilia and allergen-specific IgE levels not different from those observed in wild-type mice. Mice deficient in γ/δ T cells showed a mild attenuation of lung tissue eosinophilia in this model. Taken together, these findings suggest a critical role of NK cells, but not of NKT cells, for the development of allergen-induced airway inflammation, and that this effect of NK cells is exerted during the immunization. If translatable to humans, these data suggest that NK cells may be critically important for deciding whether allergic eosinophilic airway disease will develop. These observations are also compatible with a pathogenic role for the increased NK cell activity observed in human asthma.
PMCID: PMC2192913  PMID: 9927517
natural killer cells; NK1.1+ T cells; γ/δ T cells; eosinophils; allergic asthma
21.  Allergic Eosinophil-rich Inflammation Develops in Lungs and Airways of B Cell–deficient Mice 
Immunoglobulins (Ig), particularly IgE, are believed to be crucially involved in the pathogenesis of asthma and, equally, in allergic models of the disease. To validate this paradigm we examined homozygous mutant C57BL/6 mice, which are B cell deficient, lacking all Ig. Mice were immunized intraperitoneally with 10 μg ovalbumin (OVA) plus alum, followed by daily (day 14–20) 30 min exposures to OVA aerosol (OVA/OVA group). Three control groups were run: OVA intraperitoneally plus saline (SAL) aerosol (OVA/SAL group); saline intraperitoneally plus saline aerosol; saline intraperitoneally plus OVA aerosol (n = 6–7). Lung and large airway tissues obtained 24 h after the last OVA or SAL exposure were examined by light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The Ig-deficient mice receiving OVA/ OVA treatment had swollen and discolored lungs and exhibited marked eosinophilia both in large airway subepithelial tissue (49.2 ± 12.0 cells/mm basement membrane [BM] versus OVA/ SAL control 1.2 ± 0.3 cells/mm BM; P <0.001), and perivascularly and peribronchially in the lung (49.3 ± 9.0 cells/unit area versus OVA/SAL control 2.6 ± 0.6 cells/unit area; P <0.001). The eosinophilia extended to the regional lymph nodes. TEM confirmed the subepithelial and perivascular localization of eosinophils. Mucus cells in large airway epithelium increased from 1.5 ± 0.8 (OVA/SAL mice) to 39.5 ± 5.7 cells/mm BM in OVA/OVA treated mice (P <0.001). OVA/SAL mice never differed from the other control groups. Corresponding experiments in wild-type mice (n = 6–7 in each group) showed qualitatively similar but less pronounced eosinophil and mucus cell changes. Macrophages and CD4+ T cells increased in lungs of all OVA/OVA-treated mice. Mast cell number did not differ but degranulation was detected only in OVA/OVA-treated wild-type mice. Immunization to OVA followed by OVA challenges thus cause eosinophil-rich inflammation in airways and lungs of mice without involvement of B cells and Ig.
PMCID: PMC2196175  PMID: 9120394

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