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1.  IL-1α/IL-1R1 Expression in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Mechanistic Relevance to Smoke-Induced Neutrophilia in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28457.
Cigarette smoking is the main risk factor for the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite this, the cellular and molecular mechanisms that contribute to COPD pathogenesis are still poorly understood.
Methodology and Principal Findings
The objective of this study was to assess IL-1 α and β expression in COPD patients and to investigate their respective roles in perpetuating cigarette smoke-induced inflammation. Functional studies were pursued in smoke-exposed mice using gene-deficient animals, as well as blocking antibodies for IL-1α and β. Here, we demonstrate an underappreciated role for IL-1α expression in COPD. While a strong correlation existed between IL-1α and β levels in patients during stable disease and periods of exacerbation, neutrophilic inflammation was shown to be IL-1α-dependent, and IL-1β- and caspase-1-independent in a murine model of cigarette smoke exposure. As IL-1α was predominantly expressed by hematopoietic cells in COPD patients and in mice exposed to cigarette smoke, studies pursued in bone marrow chimeric mice demonstrated that the crosstalk between IL-1α+ hematopoietic cells and the IL-1R1+ epithelial cells regulates smoke-induced inflammation. IL-1α/IL-1R1-dependent activation of the airway epithelium also led to exacerbated inflammatory responses in H1N1 influenza virus infected smoke-exposed mice, a previously reported model of COPD exacerbation.
Conclusions and Significance
This study provides compelling evidence that IL-1α is central to the initiation of smoke-induced neutrophilic inflammation and suggests that IL-1α/IL-1R1 targeted therapies may be relevant for limiting inflammation and exacerbations in COPD.
PMCID: PMC3232226  PMID: 22163019
2.  CpG-containing immunostimulatory DNA sequences elicit TNF-α–dependent toxicity in rodents but not in humans 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2009;119(9):2564-2576.
CpG-containing immunostimulatory DNA sequences (ISS), which signal through TLR9, are being developed as a therapy for allergic indications and have proven to be safe and well tolerated in humans when administrated via the pulmonary route. In contrast, ISS inhalation has unexplained toxicity in rodents, which express TLR9 in monocyte/macrophage lineage cells as well as in plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) and B cells, the principal TLR9-expressing cells in humans. We therefore investigated the mechanisms underlying this rodent-specific toxicity and its implications for humans. Mice responded to intranasally administered 1018 ISS, a representative B class ISS, with strictly TLR9-dependent toxicity, including lung inflammation and weight loss, that was fully reversible and pDC and B cell independent. Knockout mouse experiments demonstrated that ISS-induced toxicity was critically dependent on TNF-α, with IFN-α required for TNF-α induction. In contrast, human PBMCs, human alveolar macrophages, and airway-derived cells from Ascaris suum–allergic cynomolgus monkeys did not produce appreciable TNF-α in vitro in response to ISS stimulation. Moreover, sputum of allergic humans exposed to inhaled ISS demonstrated induction of IFN-inducible genes but minimal TNF-α induction. These data demonstrate that ISS induce rodent-specific TNF-α–dependent toxicity that is absent in humans and reflective of differential TLR9 expression patterns in rodents versus humans.
PMCID: PMC2735936  PMID: 19726873

Results 1-2 (2)