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1.  Adam8 Limits the Development of Allergic Airway Inflammation in Mice 
To determine whether a disintegrin and a metalloproteinase-8 (Adam8) regulates allergic airway inflammation (AAI) and airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR), we compared AAI and AHR in wild type (WT) versus Adam8−/− mice in different genetic backgrounds sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA) or house dust mite protein extract (HDM). OVA- and HDM-treated Adam8−/− mice had higher lung leukocyte counts, more airway mucus metaplasia, greater lung levels of some TH2 cytokines, and higher methacholine-induced increases in central airway resistance than allergen-treated WT mice. Studies of OVA-treated Adam8 bone marrow chimeric mice confirmed that leukocyte-derived Adam8 predominantly mediated Adam8’s anti-inflammatory activities in murine airways. Airway eosinophils and macrophages both expressed Adam8 in WT mice with AAI. Adam8 limited AAI and AHR in mice by reducing leukocyte survival because: 1) Adam8−/− mice with AAI had fewer apoptotic eosinophils and macrophages in their airways than WT mice with AAI; and 2) Adam8−/− macrophages and eosinophils had reduced rates of apoptosis compared with WT leukocytes when the intrinsic (but not the extrinsic) apoptosis pathway was triggered in the cells in vitro. ADAM8 was robustly expressed by airway granulocytes in lung sections from human asthma patients but, surprisingly, airway macrophages had less ADAM8 staining than airway eosinophils. Thus, ADAM8 has anti-inflammatory activities during AAI in mice by activating the intrinsic apoptosis pathway in myeloid leukocytes. Strategies that increase ADAM8 levels in myeloid leukocytes may have therapeutic efficacy in asthma.
PMCID: PMC3679335  PMID: 23670189
2.  Natural Killer Cells Are Effectors for Resolvin E1 in the Timely Resolution of Allergic Airway Inflammation 
Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)  2011;186(11):10.4049/jimmunol.1004007.
Immune responses are pathologically sustained in several common diseases, including asthma. To determine endogenous pro-resolving mechanisms for adaptive immune responses, we used a murine model of self-limited allergic airway inflammation. After cessation of allergen exposure, eosinophils and T-cells were cleared concomitant with the appearance of increased numbers of natural killer (NK) cells in the lung and mediastinal lymph nodes (MLN). The MLN NK cells were activated, expressing CD27, CD11b, CD69, CD107a and IFN-γ. NK cell depletion disrupted the endogenous resolution program, leading to delayed clearance of airway eosinophils and antigen-specific CD4+ T cells. NK cell trafficking to inflamed tissues for resolution was dependent upon CXCR3 and CD62L. During resolution, eosinophils and antigen-specific CD4+ T cells expressed NKG2D ligands and a blocking antibody for the NKG2D receptor delayed clearance of these leukocytes. Of interest, NK cells expressed CMKLR1, a receptor for the pro-resolving mediator resolvin E1, and depletion of NK cells decreased resolvin E1-mediated resolution of allergic inflammation. Resolvin E1 regulated NK cell migration in vivo and NK cell cytotoxicity in vitro. Together, these findings indicate new functions in catabasis for NK cells that can also serve as targets for pro-resolving mediators in the resolution of adaptive immunity.
PMCID: PMC3823382  PMID: 21515793
3.  Chronic Endotoxin Exposure Produces Airflow Obstruction and Lung Dendritic Cell Expansion 
Little is known about the mechanisms of persistent airflow obstruction that result from chronic occupational endotoxin exposure. We sought to analyze the inflammatory response underlying persistent airflow obstruction as a result of chronic occupational endotoxin exposure. We developed a murine model of daily inhaled endotoxin for periods of 5 days to 8 weeks. We analyzed physiologic lung dysfunction, lung histology, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and total lung homogenate inflammatory cell and cytokine profiles, and pulmonary gene expression profiles. We observed an increase in airway hyperresponsiveness as a result of chronic endotoxin exposure. After 8 weeks, the mice exhibited an increase in bronchoalveolar lavage and lung neutrophils that correlated with an increase in proinflammatory cytokines. Detailed analyses of inflammatory cell subsets revealed an expansion of dendritic cells (DCs), and in particular, proinflammatory DCs, with a reduced percentage of macrophages. Gene expression profiling revealed the up-regulation of a panel of genes that was consistent with DC recruitment, and lung histology revealed an accumulation of DCs in inflammatory aggregates around the airways in 8-week–exposed animals. Repeated, low-dose LPS inhalation, which mirrors occupational exposure, resulted in airway hyperresponsiveness, associated with a failure to resolve the proinflammatory response, an inverted macrophage to DC ratio, and a significant rise in the inflammatory DC population. These findings point to a novel underlying mechanism of airflow obstruction as a result of occupational LPS exposure, and suggest molecular and cellular targets for therapeutic development.
PMCID: PMC3423463  PMID: 22517795
airway resistance; inhalation; neutrophils; macrophages; dendritic cells; endotoxin
4.  Integrating Murine Gene Expression Studies to Understand Obstructive Lung Disease Due to Chronic Inhaled Endotoxin 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e62910.
Endotoxin is a near ubiquitous environmental exposure that that has been associated with both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These obstructive lung diseases have a complex pathophysiology, making them difficult to study comprehensively in the context of endotoxin. Genome-wide gene expression studies have been used to identify a molecular snapshot of the response to environmental exposures. Identification of differentially expressed genes shared across all published murine models of chronic inhaled endotoxin will provide insight into the biology underlying endotoxin-associated lung disease.
We identified three published murine models with gene expression profiling after repeated low-dose inhaled endotoxin. All array data from these experiments were re-analyzed, annotated consistently, and tested for shared genes found to be differentially expressed. Additional functional comparison was conducted by testing for significant enrichment of differentially expressed genes in known pathways. The importance of this gene signature in smoking-related lung disease was assessed using hierarchical clustering in an independent experiment where mice were exposed to endotoxin, smoke, and endotoxin plus smoke.
A 101-gene signature was detected in three murine models, more than expected by chance. The three model systems exhibit additional similarity beyond shared genes when compared at the pathway level, with increasing enrichment of inflammatory pathways associated with longer duration of endotoxin exposure. Genes and pathways important in both asthma and COPD were shared across all endotoxin models. Mice exposed to endotoxin, smoke, and smoke plus endotoxin were accurately classified with the endotoxin gene signature.
Despite the differences in laboratory, duration of exposure, and strain of mouse used in three experimental models of chronic inhaled endotoxin, surprising similarities in gene expression were observed. The endotoxin component of tobacco smoke may play an important role in disease development.
PMCID: PMC3652821  PMID: 23675439
5.  Endothelial cell-fatty acid binding protein 4 promotes angiogenesis: role of stem cell factor/c-kit pathway 
Angiogenesis  2012;15(3):457-468.
Fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4) plays an important role in regulation of glucose and lipid homeostasis as well as inflammation through its actions in adipocytes and macrophages. FABP4 is also expressed in a subset of endothelial cells, but its role in this cell type is not known. We found that FABP4-deficient human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) demonstrate a markedly increased susceptibility to apoptosis as well as decreased migration and capillary network formation. Aortic rings from FABP4−/− mice demonstrated decreased angiogenic sprouting, which was recovered by reconstitution of FABP4. FABP4 was strongly regulated by mTORC1 and inhibited by Rapamycin. FABP4 modulated activation of several important signaling pathways in HUVECs, including downregulation of P38, eNOS, and stem cell factor (SCF)/c-kit signaling. Of these, the SCF/c-kit pathway was found to have a major role in attenuated angiogenic activity of FABP4-deficient ECs as provision of exogenous SCF resulted in a significant recovery in cell proliferation, survival, morphogenesis, and aortic ring sprouting. These data unravel a novel pro-angiogenic role for endothelial cell-FABP4 and suggest that it could be exploited as a potential target for diseases associated with pathological angiogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3590918  PMID: 22562362
Angiogenesis; Endothelial cells; FABP4; Rapamycin; c-Kit; Stem cell factor
6.  Cyclooxygenase-2 Deficiency Leads to Intestinal Barrier Dysfunction and Increased Mortality During Polymicrobial Sepsis 1 
Sepsis remains the leading cause of death in critically ill patients despite modern advances in critical care. Intestinal barrier dysfunction may lead to secondary bacterial translocation and the development of the multiple organ dysfunction syndrome during sepsis. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is highly upregulated in the intestine during sepsis and we hypothesized that it may be critical in the maintenance of intestinal epithelial barrier function during peritonitis-induced polymicrobial sepsis. COX-2−/− and COX-2+/+ BALB/c mice underwent cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) or sham surgery. Mice chimeric for COX-2 were derived by bone marrow transplantation and underwent CLP. C2BBe1 cells, an intestinal epithelial cell line, were treated with the COX-2 inhibitor NS-398, PGD2, or vehicle and stimulated with cytokines. COX-2−/− mice developed exaggerated bacteremia and increased mortality compared with COX-2+/+ mice following CLP. Mice chimeric for COX-2 exhibited the recipient phenotype suggesting that epithelial COX-2 expression in the ileum attenuates bacteremia following CLP. Absence of COX-2 significantly increased epithelial permeability of the ileum and reduced expression of the tight junction proteins zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1), occludin, and claudin-1 in the ileum following CLP. Furthermore, PGD2 attenuated cytokine-induced hyperpermeability and ZO-1 downregulation in NS-398-treated C2BBe1 cells. Our findings reveal that absence of COX-2 is associated with enhanced intestinal epithelial permeability and leads to exaggerated bacterial translocation and increased mortality during peritonitis-induced sepsis. Taken together, our results suggest that epithelial expression of COX-2 in the ileum is a critical modulator of tight junction protein expression and intestinal barrier function during sepsis.
PMCID: PMC3208135  PMID: 21967897
7.  PTPN22.6, a Dominant Negative Isoform of PTPN22 and Potential Biomarker of Rheumatoid Arthritis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33067.
PTPN22 is a tyrosine phosphatase and functions as a damper of TCR signals. A C-to-T single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) located at position 1858 of human PTPN22 cDNA and converting an arginine (R620) to tryptophan (W620) confers the highest risk of rheumatoid arthritis among non-HLA genetic variations that are known to be associated with this disease. The effect of the R-to-W conversion on the phosphatase activity of PTPN22 protein and the impact of the minor T allele of the C1858T SNP on the activation of T cells has remained controversial. In addition, how the overall activity of PTPN22 is regulated and how the R-to-W conversion contributes to rheumatoid arthritis is still poorly understood. Here we report the identification of an alternative splice form of human PTPN22, namely PTPN22.6. It lacks the nearly entire phosphatase domain and can function as a dominant negative isoform of the full length PTPN22. Although conversion of R620 to W620 in the context of PTPN22.1 attenuated T cell activation, expression of the tryptophan variant of PTPN22.6 reciprocally led to hyperactivation of human T cells. More importantly, the level of PTPN22.6 in peripheral blood correlates with disease activity of rheumatoid arthritis. Our data depict a model that can reconcile the conflicting observations on the functional impact of the C1858T SNP and also suggest that PTPN22.6 is a novel biomarker of rheumatoid arthritis.
PMCID: PMC3299735  PMID: 22427951
8.  Autophagy proteins regulate innate immune response by inhibiting NALP3 inflammasome-mediated mitochondrial DNA release 
Nature immunology  2010;12(3):222-230.
Autophagy, a cellular process for organelle and protein turnover, regulates innate immune responses. We demonstrate that depletion of autophagic proteins microtubule associated protein-1 light chain 3B (LC3B) and Beclin 1 enhances caspase-1 activation and secretion of interleukin-1β and interleukin-18. Autophagic protein depletion promoted accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria and cytosolic translocation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and ATP in macrophages. Release of mtDNA into the cytosol depended on the NALP3 inflammasome and mitochondrial ROS. Cytosolic mtDNA contributed to IL-1β and IL-18 secretion in response to LPS and ATP. LC3B-deficient mice produced more caspase-1-dependent cytokines in two sepsis models and were susceptible to LPS-induced mortality. Our study suggests that autophagic proteins regulate NALP3-dependent inflammation by preserving mitochondrial integrity.
PMCID: PMC3079381  PMID: 21151103
9.  Cigarette Smoke Exposure Impairs Dendritic Cell Maturation and T Cell Proliferation in Thoracic Lymph Nodes of Mice1 
Respiratory tract dendritic cells (DCs) are juxtaposed to directly sample inhaled environmental particles. Processing and presentation of these airborne Ags could result in either the development of immunity or tolerance. The purpose of this study was to determine the consequences of cigarette smoke exposure on DC function in mice. We demonstrate that while cigarette smoke exposure decreased the number of DCs in the lungs, Ag-induced DC migration to the regional thoracic lymph nodes was unaffected. However, cigarette smoking suppressed DC maturation within the lymph nodes as demonstrated by reduced cell surface expression of MHC class II and the costimulatory molecules CD80 and CD86. Consequently, DCs from cigarette smoke-exposed animals had a diminished capacity to induce IL-2 production by T cells that was associated with diminished Ag-specific T cell proliferation in vivo. Smoke-induced defects in DC function leading to impaired CD4+ T cell function could inhibit tumor surveillance and predispose patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to infections and exacerbations.
PMCID: PMC2885874  PMID: 18453581
10.  Resolvin E1 regulates interleukin-23, interferon-γ and lipoxin A4 to promote resolution of allergic airway inflammation 
Nature immunology  2008;9(8):873-879.
Interleukin-23 (IL-23) is integral to the pathogenesis of chronic inflammation. Resolution of acute inflammation is an active process mediated by specific signals and mediators, such as resolvin E1 (RvE1). Here, we provide the first evidence that RvE1, in nanogram quantities, promotes resolution of inflammatory airway responses in part by directly suppressing IL-23 and IL-6 production in the lung. Also contributing to the pro-resolving effects of RvE1 treatment were increased concentrations of interferon-γ in the lungs of RvE1-treated animals. These findings point to a pivotal role of IL-23 and IL-6—which promote survival and differentiation of TH-17 cells—in maintaining inflammation, and uncover an RvE1-initiated resolution program for allergic airway responses.
PMCID: PMC2784998  PMID: 18568027

Results 1-10 (10)