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1.  Simultaneous inhibition of JAK and SYK kinases ameliorates chronic and destructive arthritis in mice 
Introduction
Despite the broad spectrum of antirheumatic drugs, RA is still not well controlled in up to 30-50 % of patients. Inhibition of JAK kinases by means of the pan-JAK inhibitor tofacitinib has demonstrated to be effective even in difficult-to-treat patients. Here, we discuss whether the efficacy of JAK inhibition can be improved by simultaneously inhibiting SYK kinase, since both kinases mediate complementary and non-redundant pathways in RA.
Methods
Efficacy of dual JAK + SYK inhibition with selective small molecule inhibitors was evaluated in chronic G6PI-induced arthritis, a non-self-remitting and destructive arthritis model in mice. Clinical and histopathological scores, as well as cytokine and anti-G6PI antibody production were assessed in both preventive and curative protocols. Potential immunotoxicity was also evaluated in G6PI-induced arthritis and in a 28-day TDAR model, by analysing the effects of JAK + SYK inhibition on hematological parameters, lymphoid organs, leukocyte subsets and cell function.
Results
Simultaneous JAK + SYK inhibition completely prevented mice from developing arthritis. This therapeutic strategy was also very effective in ameliorating already established arthritis. Dual kinase inhibition immediately resulted in greatly decreased clinical and histopathological scores and led to disease remission in over 70 % of the animals. In contrast, single JAK inhibition and anti-TNF therapy (etanercept) were able to stop disease progression but not to revert it. Dual kinase inhibition decreased Treg and NK cell counts to the same extent as single JAK inhibition but overall cytotoxicity remained intact. Interestingly, treatment discontinuation rapidly reversed such immune cell reduction without compromising clinical efficacy, suggesting long-lasting curative effects. Dual kinase inhibition reduced the Th1/Th17 cytokine cascade and the differentiation and function of joint cells, in particular osteoclasts and fibroblast-like synoviocytes.
Conclusions
Concurrent JAK + SYK inhibition resulted in higher efficacy than single kinase inhibition and TNF blockade in a chronic and severe arthritis model. Thus, blockade of multiple immune signals with dual JAK + SYK inhibition represents a reasonable therapeutic strategy for RA, in particular in patients with inadequate responses to current treatments. Our data supports the multiplicity of events underlying this heterogeneous and complex disease.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0866-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0866-0
PMCID: PMC4675041  PMID: 26653844
Arthritis; JAK; SYK; Small molecule inhibitors; Anti-TNF therapy; Fibroblast-like synoviocytes; Osteoclasts; Memory cells
2.  Therapeutic potential of anti-IL-6 therapies for granulocytic airway inflammation in asthma 
Background
Determining the cellular and molecular phenotypes of inflammation in asthma can identify patient populations that may best benefit from targeted therapies. Although elevated IL-6 and polymorphisms in IL-6 signalling are associated with lung dysfunction in asthma, it remains unknown if elevated IL-6 levels are associated with a specific cellular inflammatory phenotype, and how IL-6 blockade might impact such inflammatory responses.
Methods
Patients undergoing exacerbations of asthma were phenotyped according to their airway inflammatory characteristics (normal cell count, eosinophilic, neutrophilic, mixed granulocytic), sputum cytokine profiles, and lung function. Mice were exposed to the common allergen, house dust-mite (HDM), in the presence or absence of endogenous IL-6. The intensity and nature of lung inflammation, and levels of pro-granulocytic cytokines and chemokines under these conditions were analyzed.
Results
Elevated IL-6 was associated with a lower FEV1 in patients with mixed eosinophilic-neutrophilic bronchitis. In mice, allergen exposure increased lung IL-6 and IL-6 was produced by dendritic cells and alveolar macrophages. Loss-of-function of IL-6 signalling (knockout or antibody-mediated neutralization) abrogated elevations of eosinophil and neutrophil recruiting cytokines/chemokines and allergen-induced airway inflammation in mice.
Conclusions
We demonstrate the association of pleiotropic cellular airway inflammation with IL-6 using human and animal data. These data suggest that exacerbations of asthma, particularly those with a combined eosinophilic and neutrophilic bronchitis, may respond to therapies targeting the IL-6 pathway and therefore, provide a rational basis for initiation of clinical trials to evaluate this.
doi:10.1186/s13223-015-0081-1
PMCID: PMC4397814  PMID: 25878673
Airway inflammation; Asthma; Allergy; Bronchitis; Eosinophil; Neutrophil; Granulocyte; IL-6; IL-6R; House dust-mite (HDM)
3.  Indigenous enteric eosinophils control DCs to initiate a primary Th2 immune response in vivo 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2014;211(8):1657-1672.
Eosinophil degranulation of peroxidase promotes DC activation and mobilization from the intestine to LNs to induce Th2 immunity and food allergy.
Eosinophils natively inhabit the small intestine, but a functional role for them there has remained elusive. Here, we show that eosinophil-deficient mice were protected from induction of Th2-mediated peanut food allergy and anaphylaxis, and Th2 priming was restored by reconstitution with il4+/+ or il4−/− eosinophils. Eosinophils controlled CD103+ dendritic cell (DC) activation and migration from the intestine to draining lymph nodes, events necessary for Th2 priming. Eosinophil activation in vitro and in vivo led to degranulation of eosinophil peroxidase, a granule protein whose enzymatic activity promoted DC activation in mice and humans in vitro, and intestinal and extraintestinal mouse DC activation and mobilization to lymph nodes in vivo. Further, eosinophil peroxidase enhanced responses to ovalbumin seen after immunization. Thus, eosinophils can be critical contributors to the intestinal immune system, and granule-mediated shaping of DC responses can promote both intestinal and extraintestinal adaptive immunity.
doi:10.1084/jem.20131800
PMCID: PMC4113937  PMID: 25071163
4.  A GM-CSF/IL-33 Pathway Facilitates Allergic Airway Responses to Sub-Threshold House Dust Mite Exposure 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88714.
Allergic asthma is a chronic immune-inflammatory disease of the airways. Despite aeroallergen exposure being universal, allergic asthma affects only a fraction of individuals. This is likely related, at least in part, to the extent of allergen exposure. Regarding house dust mite (HDM), we previously identified the threshold required to elicit allergic responses in BALB/c mice. Here, we investigated the impact of an initial immune perturbation on the response to sub-threshold HDM exposure. We show that transient GM-CSF expression in the lung facilitated robust eosinophilic inflammation, long-lasting antigen-specific Th2 responses, mucus production and airway hyperresponsiveness. This was associated with increased IL-33 levels and activated CD11b+ DCs expressing OX40L. GM-CSF-driven allergic responses were significantly blunted in IL-33-deficient mice. IL-33 was localized on alveolar type II cells and in vitro stimulation of human epithelial cells with GM-CSF enhanced intracellular IL-33 independently of IL-1α. Likewise, GM-CSF administration in vivo resulted in increased levels of IL-33 but not IL-1α. These findings suggest that exposures to environmental agents associated with GM-CSF production, including airway infections and pollutants, may decrease the threshold of allergen responsiveness and, hence, increase the susceptibility to develop allergic asthma through a GM-CSF/IL-33/OX40L pathway.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088714
PMCID: PMC3925157  PMID: 24551140
5.  In Vivo-to-In Silico Iterations to Investigate Aeroallergen-Host Interactions 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(6):e2426.
Background
Allergic asthma is a complex process arising out of the interaction between the immune system and aeroallergens. Yet, the relationship between aeroallergen exposure, allergic sensitization and disease remains unclear. This knowledge is essential to gain further insight into the origin and evolution of allergic diseases. The objective of this research is to develop a computational view of the interaction between aeroallergens and the host by investigating the impact of dose and length of aeroallergen exposure on allergic sensitization and allergic disease outcomes, mainly airway inflammation and to a lesser extent lung dysfunction and airway remodeling.
Methods and Principal Findings
BALB/C mice were exposed intranasally to a range of concentrations of the most pervasive aeroallergen worldwide, house dust mite (HDM), for up to a quarter of their lifespan (20 weeks). Actual biological data delineating the kinetics, nature and extent of responses for local (airway inflammation) and systemic (HDM-specific immunoglobulins) events were obtained. Mathematical equations for each outcome were developed, evaluated, refined through several iterations involving in vivo experimentation, and validated. The models accurately predicted the original biological data and simulated an extensive array of previously unknown responses, eliciting two- and three-dimensional models. Our data demonstrate the non-linearity of the relationship between aeroallergen exposure and either allergic sensitization or airway inflammation, identify thresholds, behaviours and maximal responsiveness for each outcome, and examine inter-variable relationships.
Conclusions
This research provides a novel way to visualize allergic responses in vivo and establishes a basic experimental platform upon which additional variables and perturbations can be incorporated into the system.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002426
PMCID: PMC2409221  PMID: 18545674

Results 1-5 (5)