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1.  CX3CR1+ Lung Mononuclear Phagocytes Spatially Confined to the Interstitium Produce TNF-α and IL-6 and Promote Cigarette Smoke-Induced Emphysema 
Increased numbers of macrophages are found in the lungs of smokers and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Experimental evidence shows the central role of macrophages in elaboration of inflammatory mediators such as TNF-a and the progression toward cigarette smoke-induced emphysema. We investigated the role of CX3CR1 in recruitment of mononuclear phagocytes, inflammatory cytokine responses, and tissue destruction in the lungs after cigarette smoke exposure. Using mice in which egfp is expressed at the locus of the cx3cr1 gene, we show that alveolar macrophages increased transmembrane ligand CX3CL1 expression and soluble CX3CL1 was detectable in the airspaces, but cx3cr1GFP/GFP and cx3cr1GFP/+ mice failed to show recruitment of CX3CR1+ cells into the airspaces with cigarette smoke. In contrast, cigarette smoke increased the accumulation of CX3CR1+CD11b+ mononuclear phagocytes that were spatially confined to the lung interstitium and heterogenous in their expression of CD11c, MHC class II, and autofluorescent property. Although an intact CX3CL1–CX3CR1 pathway amplified the percentage of CX3CR1+CD11b+ mononuclear phagocytes in the lungs, it was not essential for recruitment. Rather, functional CX3CR1 was required for a subset of tissue-bound mononuclear phagocytes to produce TNF-α and IL-6 in response to cigarette smoke, and the absence of functional CX3CR1 protected mice from developing tissue-destructive emphysema. Thus, CX3CR1+ “tissue resident” mononuclear phagocytes initiate an innate immune response to cigarette smoke by producing TNF-α and IL-6 and are capable of promoting emphysema.
PMCID: PMC3912553  PMID: 21278339
2.  Neutrophil elastase cleaves the murine hemidesmosomal protein BP180/type XVII collagen and generates degradation products that modulate experimental Bullous Pemphigoid 
Matrix Biology  2011;31(1):38-44.
Bullous pemphigoid (BP) is an autoimmune subepidermal blistering disease associated with autoantibodies against the hemidesmosomal proteins BP180 and BP230. In the IgG passive transfer model of BP, blister formation is triggered by anti-BP180 IgG and depends on complement activation, mast cell degranulation, and neutrophil recruitment. Mice lacking neutrophil elastase (NE) do not develop experimental BP. Here, we demonstrated that NE degrades recombinant mouse BP180 within the immunodominant extracellular domain at amino acid positions 506 and 561, generating peptide p561 and peptide p506. Peptide p561 is chemotactic for neutrophils both in vitro and in vivo. Local injection of NE into B6 mice recruits neutrophils to the skin, and neutrophil infiltration is completely blocked by co-injection with the NE inhibitor α1-proteinase inhibitor. More importantly, NE directly cleaves BP180 in mouse and human skin, as well as the native human BP180 trimer molecule. These results demonstrate that (i) NE directly damages the extracellular matrix and (ii) NE degradation of mouse BP180 generates neutrophil chemotactic peptides that amplify disease severity at the early stage of the disease.
PMCID: PMC3261345  PMID: 21979170
bullous pemphigoid; chemotaxis; basement membrane; neutrophil elastase; BP180; autoimmune mouse model
3.  Emerging genetics of COPD 
EMBO Molecular Medicine  2012;4(11):1144-1155.
Since the discovery of alpha-1 antitrypsin in the early 1960s, several new genes have been suggested to play a role in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pathogenesis. Yet, in spite of those advances, much about the genetic basis of COPD still remains to be discovered. Unbiased approaches, such as genome-wide association (GWA) studies, are critical to identify genes and pathways and to verify suggested genetic variants. Indeed, most of our current understanding about COPD candidate genes originates from GWA studies. Experiments in form of cross-study replications and advanced meta-analyses have propelled the field towards unravelling details about COPD's pathogenesis. Here, we review the discovery of genetic variants in association with COPD phenotypes by discussing the available approaches and current findings. Limitations of current studies are considered and future directions provided.
PMCID: PMC3494872  PMID: 23090857
COPD; genes; genetics; genome-wide association studies; obstructive pulmonary disease
4.  The bone marrow leaves its scar: new concepts in pulmonary fibrosis 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2004;113(2):180-182.
Excess collagen deposition occurs in pulmonary fibrosis. A new study suggests that collagen overproduction may originate from cells derived from bone marrow precursors rather than parenchymal lung fibroblasts .
PMCID: PMC311440  PMID: 14722608
5.  Clinical Predictors of Frequent Exacerbations in Subjects with Severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Respiratory medicine  2010;105(4):588-594.
Acute exacerbations are a significant source of morbidity and mortality associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Among patients with COPD, some patients suffer an inordinate number of exacerbations while others remain relatively protected. We undertook a study to determine the clinical factors associated with "frequent exacerbator" status within a population of subjects with severe COPD.
Case-control cohort recruited from two Boston-area practices. All subjects had GOLD stage 3 or 4 (FEV1 ≤50% predicted) COPD. "Frequent exacerbators" (n=192) had an average of ≥2 moderate-to-severe exacerbations per year while "non-exacerbators" (n=153) had no exacerbations in the preceding 12 months. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to determine the significant clinical predictors of "frequent exacerbator" status.
Physician-diagnosed asthma was a significant predictor of frequent exacerbations. Within a subset of our cohort, the modified Medical Research Council dyspnea score and FEF25–75 % predicted were also significant clinical predictors of frequent exacerbator status (p<0.05). Differences in exacerbation frequency were not found to be due to increased current tobacco use or decreased rates of maintenance medication use.
Within our severe COPD cohort, a history of physician-diagnosed asthma was found to be a significant clinical predictor of frequent exacerbations. Although traditional risk factors such as decreased FEV1% predicted were not significantly associated with frequent exacerbator status, lower mid-expiratory flow rates, as assessed by FEF 25–75 % predicted, were significantly associated with frequent exacerbations in a subset of our cohort.
PMCID: PMC3046312  PMID: 21145719
6.  Cigarette Smoke Inhibits Engulfment of Apoptotic Cells by Macrophages through Inhibition of Actin Rearrangement 
Exposure to cigarette smoke (CS) was shown to impair the capacity of macrophages to clear bacteria and apoptotic cells. Here, we show that both the exposure of macrophages to cigarette smoke extract (CSE) in vitro and an acute single exposure to CS in vivo impair the macrophage clearance of apoptotic polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs). Upon longer periods of exposure to smoke in vivo (4–12 weeks), the impaired capacity of macrophages to clear apoptotic cells persisted after the cessation of smoking, with slow recovery to normality observed 4 weeks later. With respect to the mechanism by which CS impairs the macrophage uptake of apoptotic PMNs, we did not detect altered surface expression of receptors associated with apoptotic cell clearance. We did observe the impaired phosphorylation of the guanine nucleotide exchange factor Vav1 and the downstream inhibition of Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1 (Rac1) activation. Consistent with these findings, CS impaired the macrophage cytoskeletal changes observed after stimulation with apoptotic cells. A loss of actin occurred at the leading edge, manifested as impaired ruffling of the cell membrane and a decreased capacity to engulf apoptotic cells. The inability to clear PMNs would lead to a greater release of destructive PMN products, and would diminish the reparative phenotype induced by the macrophage clearance of apoptotic cells.
PMCID: PMC3095920  PMID: 20525804
cigarette smoke; alveolar macrophage; phagocytosis and engulfment of apoptotic cells; actin rearrangements; small GTP protein Rac1
7.  Rtp801, a suppressor of mTOR signaling, is an essential mediator of cigarette smoke – induced pulmonary injury and emphysema 
Nature medicine  2010;16(7):767-773.
Rtp801, a stress – related protein triggered by adverse environmental conditions, inhibits mTOR and enhances oxidative stress – dependent cell death. We postulated that Rtp801 acts as potential amplifying switch in the development of cigarette smoke – induced lung injury, leading to emphysema. Rtp801 was overexpressed in human emphysematous lungs and in lungs of mice exposed to cigarette smoke. The upregulation of Rtp801 expression by cigarette smoke in the lung relied on oxidative stress – dependent activation of the CCAAT response element. Rtp801 was necessary and sufficient for NF – κ B activation in cultured cells and, when forcefully expressed in mouse lungs, it promoted NF – kB activation, alveolar inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis of alveolar septal cells. On the other hand, Rtp801 − / − mice were markedly protected against acute cigarette smoke – induced lung injury, partly via increased mTOR signaling, and, when exposed chronically, against emphysema. Our data support the notion that Rtp801 may represent an important molecular sensor and mediator of lung injury to cigarette smoke.
PMCID: PMC3956129  PMID: 20473305
Rtp801; cigarette smoke; oxidative stress; apoptosis; inflammation; NF –κB; rapamycin
8.  Polymorphisms in Surfactant Protein–D Are Associated with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by alveolar destruction and abnormal inflammatory responses to noxious stimuli. Surfactant protein–D (SFTPD) is immunomodulatory and essential to host defense. We hypothesized that polymorphisms in SFTPD could influence the susceptibility to COPD. We genotyped six single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in surfactant protein D in 389 patients with COPD in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT) and 472 smoking control subjects from the Normative Aging Study (NAS). Case-control association analysis was performed using Cochran–Armitage trend tests and multivariate logistic regression. The replication of significant associations was attempted in the Boston Early-Onset COPD Study, the Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate Endpoints (ECLIPSE) Study, and the Bergen Cohort. We also correlated SFTPD genotypes with serum concentrations of surfactant protein–D (SP-D) in the ECLIPSE Study. In the NETT–NAS case-control analysis, four SFTPD SNPs were associated with susceptibility to COPD: rs2245121 (P = 0.01), rs911887 (P = 0.006), rs6413520 (P = 0.004), and rs721917 (P = 0.006). In the family-based analysis of the Boston Early-Onset COPD Study, rs911887 was associated with prebronchodilator and postbronchodilator FEV1 (P = 0.003 and P = 0.02, respectively). An intronic SNP in SFTPD, rs7078012, was associated with COPD in the ECLIPSE Study and the Bergen Cohort. Multiple SFTPD SNPs were associated with serum SP-D concentrations in the ECLIPSE Study. We demonstrated an association of polymorphisms in SFTPD with COPD in multiple populations. We demonstrated a correlation between SFTPD SNPs and SP-D protein concentrations. The SNPs associated with COPD and SP-D concentrations differed, suggesting distinct genetic influences on susceptibility to COPD and SP-D concentrations.
PMCID: PMC3095932  PMID: 20448057
COPD; surfactant protein–D; single-nucleotide polymorphisms; genetics
9.  Peripheral blood gene expression profiles in COPD subjects 
To identify non-invasive gene expression markers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), we performed genome-wide expression profiling of peripheral blood samples from 12 subjects with significant airflow obstruction and an equal number of non-obstructed controls. RNA was isolated from Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMCs) and gene expression was assessed using Affymetrix U133 Plus 2.0 arrays.
Tests for gene expression changes that discriminate between COPD cases (FEV1< 70% predicted, FEV1/FVC < 0.7) and controls (FEV1> 80% predicted, FEV1/FVC > 0.7) were performed using Significance Analysis of Microarrays (SAM) and Bayesian Analysis of Differential Gene Expression (BADGE). Using either test at high stringency (SAM median FDR = 0 or BADGE p < 0.01) we identified differential expression for 45 known genes. Correlation of gene expression with lung function measurements (FEV1 & FEV1/FVC), using both Pearson and Spearman correlation coefficients (p < 0.05), identified a set of 86 genes. A total of 16 markers showed evidence of significant correlation (p < 0.05) with quantitative traits and differential expression between cases and controls. We further compared our peripheral gene expression markers with those we previously identified from lung tissue of the same cohort. Two genes, RP9and NAPE-PLD, were identified as decreased in COPD cases compared to controls in both lung tissue and blood. These results contribute to our understanding of gene expression changes in the peripheral blood of patients with COPD and may provide insight into potential mechanisms involved in the disease.
PMCID: PMC3164605  PMID: 21884629
Microarray; Biomarkers; PBMC
10.  Epithelial Cell Apoptosis Causes Acute Lung Injury Masquerading as Emphysema 
Theories of emphysema traditionally revolved around proteolytic destruction of extracellular matrix. Models have recently been developed that show airspace enlargement with the induction of pulmonary cell apoptosis. The purpose of this study was to determine the mechanism by which a model of epithelial cell apoptosis caused airspace enlargement. Mice were treated with either intratracheal microcystin (MC) to induce apoptosis, intratracheal porcine pancreatic elastase (PPE), or their respective vehicles. Mice from all groups were inflated and morphometry was measured at various time points. Physiology measurements were performed for airway resistance, tissue elastance, and lung volumes. The groups were further analyzed by air–saline quasistatic measurements, surfactant staining, and surfactant functional studies. Mice treated with MC showed evidence of reversible airspace enlargement. In contrast, PPE-treated mice showed irreversible airspace enlargement. The airspace enlargement in MC-treated mice was associated with an increase in elastic recoil due to an increase in alveolar surface tension. PPE-treated mice showed a loss of lung elastic recoil and normal alveolar surface tension, a pattern more consistent with human emphysema. Airspace enlargement that occurs with the MC model of pulmonary epithelial cell apoptosis displays physiology distinct from human emphysema. Reversibility, restrictive physiology due to changes in surface tension, and alveolar enlargement associated with heterogeneous alveolar collapse are most consistent with a mild acute lung injury. Inflation near total lung capacity gives the appearance of enlarged alveoli as neighboring collapsed alveoli exert tethering forces.
PMCID: PMC2746987  PMID: 19188661
apoptosis; emphysema; physiology; murine model
11.  Neutrophil Elastase-Mediated Degradation of IRS-1 Accelerates Lung Tumor Growth 
Nature medicine  2010;16(2):219-223.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide1. Recent data suggest that tumor-associated inflammatory cells may modify lung tumor growth and invasiveness2-3. To determine the role of neutrophil elastase (NE or Elane) on tumor progression, we utilized the LSL-K-ras model of murine lung adenocarcinoma4 to generate LSL-K-ras/Elane−/− mice. Tumor burden was markedly reduced in LSL-K-ras/Elane−/− mice at all time points following induction of mutant K-ras expression. Kaplan-Meier life survival analysis demonstrated that while 100% of LSL-K-ras/Elane+/+ mice died, none of the mice lacking NE died. NE directly induced tumor cell proliferation in both human and mouse lung adenocarcinomas by gaining access to an endosomal compartment within tumor cells where it degraded insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS1). Co-immunoprecipitation studies showed that as NE degraded IRS1, there was increased interaction between PI3K and the potent mitogen platelet derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) thereby skewing the PI3K axis toward tumor cell proliferation. The inverse relationship identified between NE and IRS1 in LSL-K-ras mice was also identified in human lung adenocarcinomas, thus translating these findings to human disease. This study identifies IRS1 as a key regulator of PI3K within malignant cells. Additionally, this is the first description of a secreted proteinase gaining access to a cell beyond its plasma membrane and altering intracellular signaling.
PMCID: PMC2821801  PMID: 20081861
12.  Macrophage elastase kills bacteria within murine macrophages 
Nature  2009;460(7255):637-641.
Macrophages are aptly positioned to function as the primary line of defence against invading pathogens in many organs, including the lung and peritoneum. Their ability to phagocytose and clear microorganisms has been well documented1,2. Macrophages possess several substances with which they can kill bacteria, including reactive oxygen species, nitric oxide, and antimicrobial proteins3–9. We proposed that macrophage-derived proteinases may contribute to the antimicrobial properties of macrophages. Macrophage elastase (also known as matrix metalloproteinase 12 or MMP12) is an enzyme predominantly expressed in mature tissue macrophages10 and is implicated in several disease processes, including emphysema11. Physiological functions for MMP12 have not been described. Here we show that Mmp12−/− mice exhibit impaired bacterial clearance and increased mortality when challenged with both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria at macrophage-rich portals of entry, such as the peritoneum and lung. Intracellular stores of MMP12 are mobilized to macrophage phagolysosomes after the ingestion of bacterial pathogens. Once inside phagolysosomes, MMP12 adheres to bacterial cell walls where it disrupts cellular membranes resulting in bacterial death. The antimicrobial properties of MMP12 do not reside within its catalytic domain, but rather within the carboxy-terminal domain. This domain contains a unique four amino acid sequence on an exposed β loop of the protein that is required for the observed antimicrobial activity. The present study represents, to our knowledge, the first report of direct antimicrobial activity by a matrix metallopeptidase, and describes a new antimicrobial peptide that is sequentially and structurally unique in nature.
PMCID: PMC2885871  PMID: 19536155
13.  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
14.  Lung Cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Needs and Opportunities for Integrated Research 
Lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States and worldwide. They share a common environmental risk factor in cigarette smoke exposure and a genetic predisposition represented by the incidence of these diseases in only a fraction of smokers. The presence of COPD increases the risk of lung cancer up to 4.5-fold. To investigate commonalities in disease mechanisms and perspectives for disease chemoprevention, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) held a workshop. The participants identified four research objectives: 1) clarify common epidemiological characteristics of lung cancer and COPD; 2) identify shared genetic and epigenetic risk factors; 3) identify and validate biomarkers, molecular signatures, and imaging-derived measurements of each disease; and 4) determine common and disparate pathogenetic mechanisms. These objectives should be reached via four research approaches: 1) identify, publicize, and enable the evaluation and analysis of existing datasets and repositories of biospecimens; 2) obtain phenotypic and outcome data and biospecimens from large studies of subjects with and/or at risk for COPD and lung cancer; 3) develop and use animal and other preclinical models to investigate pathogenetic links between the diseases; and 4) conduct early-phase clinical trials of potential chemopreventive agents. To foster much needed research interactions, two final recommendations were made by the participants: 1) incorporate baseline phenotyping and outcome measures for both diseases in future longitudinal studies of each disease and 2) expand collaborative efforts between the NCI and NHLBI.
PMCID: PMC2669099  PMID: 19351920
15.  The Role of the Receptor for Advanced Glycation End-Products in a Murine Model of Silicosis 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9604.
The role of the receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) has been shown to differ in two different mouse models of asbestos and bleomycin induced pulmonary fibrosis. RAGE knockout (KO) mice get worse fibrosis when challenged with asbestos, whereas in the bleomycin model they are largely protected against fibrosis. In the current study the role of RAGE in a mouse model of silica induced pulmonary fibrosis was investigated.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Wild type (WT) and RAGE KO mice received a single intratracheal (i.t.) instillation of silica in saline or saline alone as vehicle control. Fourteen days after treatment mice were subjected to a lung mechanistic study and the lungs were lavaged and inflammatory cells, protein and TGF-β levels in lavage fluid determined. Lungs were subsequently either fixed for histology or excised for biochemical assessment of fibrosis and determination of RAGE protein- and mRNA levels. There was no difference in the inflammatory response or degree of fibrosis (hydroxyproline levels) in the lungs between WT and RAGE KO mice after silica injury. However, histologically the fibrotic lesions in the RAGE KO mice had a more diffuse alveolar septal fibrosis compared to the nodular fibrosis in WT mice. Furthermore, RAGE KO mice had a significantly higher histologic score, a measure of affected areas of the lung, compared to WT silica treated mice. A lung mechanistic study revealed a significant decrease in lung function after silica compared to control, but no difference between WT and RAGE KO. While a dose response study showed similar degrees of fibrosis after silica treatment in the two strains, the RAGE KO mice had some differences in the inflammatory response compared to WT mice.
Aside from the difference in the fibrotic pattern, these studies showed no indicators of RAGE having an effect on the severity of pulmonary fibrosis following silica injury.
PMCID: PMC2841632  PMID: 20333255
16.  MMP-9/Gelatinase B Is a Key Regulator of Growth Plate Angiogenesis and Apoptosis of Hypertrophic Chondrocytes 
Cell  1998;93(3):411-422.
Homozygous mice with a null mutation in the MMP-9/ gelatinase B gene exhibit an abnormal pattern of skeletal growth plate vascularization and ossification. Although hypertrophic chondrocytes develop normally, apoptosis, vascularization, and ossification are delayed, resulting in progressive lengthening of the growth plate to about eight times normal. After 3 weeks post-natal, aberrant apoptosis, vascularization, and ossification compensate to remodel the enlarged growth plate and ultimately produce an axial skeleton of normal appearance. Transplantation of wild-type bone marrow cells rescues vascularization and ossification in gelatinase B–null growth plates, indicating that these processes are mediated by gelatinase B–expressing cells of bone marrow origin, designated chondro clasts. Growth plates from gelatinase B–null mice in culture show a delayed release of an angiogenic activator, establishing a role for this proteinase in controlling angiogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2839071  PMID: 9590175
17.  Molecular Biomarkers for Quantitative and Discrete COPD Phenotypes 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory lung disorder with complex pathological features and largely unknown etiology. The identification of biomarkers for this disease could aid the development of methods to facilitate earlier diagnosis, the classification of disease subtypes, and provide a means to define therapeutic response. To identify gene expression biomarkers, we completed expression profiling of RNA derived from the lung tissue of 56 subjects with varying degrees of airflow obstruction using the Affymetrix U133 Plus 2.0 array. We applied multiple, independent analytical methods to define biomarkers for either discrete or quantitative disease phenotypes. Analysis of differential expression between cases (n = 15) and controls (n = 18) identified a set of 65 discrete biomarkers. Correlation of gene expression with quantitative measures of airflow obstruction (FEV1%predicted or FEV1/FVC) identified a set of 220 biomarkers. Biomarker genes were enriched in functions related to DNA binding and regulation of transcription. We used this group of biomarkers to predict disease in an unrelated data set, generated from patients with severe emphysema, with 97% accuracy. Our data contribute to the understanding of gene expression changes occurring in the lung tissue of patients with obstructive lung disease and provide additional insight into potential mechanisms involved in the disease process. Furthermore, we present the first gene expression biomarker for COPD validated in an independent data set.
PMCID: PMC2645534  PMID: 18849563
microarray; gene expression; emphysema; lung function
18.  Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor and Claudin-2 Participate in A549 Permeability and Remodeling: Implications for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Tumor Colonization 
Molecular carcinogenesis  2009;48(6):488-497.
Tumor colonization involves changes in cell permeability and remodeling. Paracellular permeability is regulated by claudins, integrated tight junction (TJ) proteins, located on the apicolateral portion of epithelial cells. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) was reported to modify cellular claudin levels and induce remodeling. To investigate a role for EGF receptor (EGFR) activation in tumor colonization we studied the effect of EGF and claudin-2 overexpression on permeability and cell reorganization in the human A549 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell line. Our data demonstrated that A549 cells possess functional TJs and that EGF treatment increased levels of claudin-2 expression by 46%. Furthermore, EGFR signaling reduced monolayer permeability to choline and triggered cellular remodeling. The mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor PD98059 blocked the effect on A549 permeability and remodeling. EGF stimulation also exacerbated a fourfold increase in cell colonization elicited by claudin-2 upregulation. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that EGFR signaling plays an important role in A549 cell physiology and acts synergistically with claudin-2 to accelerate tumor colonization. Understanding the influence of EGF on A549 cell permeability and reorganization will help shed light on NSCLC tumor colonization and contribute to the development of novel anti-cancer treatments.
PMCID: PMC2763303  PMID: 18942115
EGF; claudin-2; A549; colonization; permeability
19.  Polymorphic Variation in Surfactant Protein B is Associated with COPD Exacerbations 
COPD exacerbations reduce quality of life and increase mortality. Genetic variation may explain the substantial variability seen in exacerbation frequency among COPD subjects with similar lung function. We analyzed whether polymorphisms in five candidate genes previously associated with COPD susceptibility also demonstrate association with COPD exacerbations.
Eighty-eight single nucleotide polymorphisms in microsomal epoxide hydrolase (EPHX1), transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFB1), SERPINE2, glutathione S-transferase pi (GSTP1), and surfactant protein B (SFTPB) were genotyped in 389 non-Hispanic white participants in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial. Exacerbations were defined as COPD-related emergency room visits or hospitalizations using Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services claims data.
Measurements and Main Results
216 subjects (56%) experienced one or more exacerbations during the study period. An SFTPB promoter polymorphism, rs3024791, was associated with COPD exacerbations (p=0.008). Logistic regression models confirmed the association with rs3024791 (p = 0.007). Poisson regression models demonstrated association of multiple SFTPB SNPs with exacerbation rates: rs2118177 (p = 0.006), rs2304566 (p = 0.002), rs1130866 (p = 0.04), and rs3024791 (p = 0.002). Polymorphisms in EPHX1, GSTP1, TGFB1, and SERPINE2 did not demonstrate association with COPD exacerbations.
Variants in SFTPB are associated with COPD susceptibility and COPD exacerbation frequency.
PMCID: PMC2761762  PMID: 18550614
association analysis; COPD; exacerbations; genetics; surfactant protein B; single nucleotide polymorphisms
20.  Association of Radiographic Emphysema and Airflow Obstruction with Lung Cancer 
Rationale: To study the relationship between emphysema and/or airflow obstruction and lung cancer in a high-risk population.
Objective: We studied lung cancer related to radiographic emphysema and spirometric airflow obstruction in tobacco-exposed persons who were screened for lung cancer using chest computed tomography (CT).
Methods: Subjects completed questionnaires, spirometry, and low-dose helical chest CT. CT scans were scored for emphysema based on National Emphysema Treatment Trial criteria. Multiple logistic regressions estimated the independent associations between various factors, including radiographic emphysema and airflow obstruction, and subsequent lung cancer diagnosis.
Measurements and Main Results: Among 3,638 subjects, 57.5, 18.8, 14.6, and 9.1% had no, trace, mild, and moderate–severe emphysema, and 57.3, 13.6, 22.8, and 6.4% had no, mild (Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease [GOLD] I), moderate (GOLD II), and severe (GOLD III–IV) airflow obstruction. Of 3,638 subjects, 99 (2.7%) received a lung cancer diagnosis. Adjusting for sex, age, years of cigarette smoking, and number of cigarettes smoked daily, logistic regression showed the expected lung cancer association with the presence of airflow obstruction (GOLD I–IV, odds ratio [OR], 2.09; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.33–3.27). A second logistic regression showed lung cancer related to emphysema (OR, 3.56; 95% CI, 2.21–5.73). After additional adjustments for GOLD class, emphysema remained a strong and statistically significant factor related to lung cancer (OR, 3.14; 95% CI, 1.91–5.15).
Conclusions: Emphysema on CT scan and airflow obstruction on spirometry are related to lung cancer in a high-risk population. Emphysema is independently related to lung cancer. Both radiographic emphysema and airflow obstruction should be considered when assessing lung cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC2556456  PMID: 18565949
emphysema; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; lung cancer
21.  Neutrophil Elastase Is Needed for Neutrophil Emigration into Lungs in Ventilator-Induced Lung Injury 
Mechanical ventilation, often required to maintain normal gas exchange in critically ill patients, may itself cause lung injury. Lung-protective ventilatory strategies with low tidal volume have been a major success in the management of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Volutrauma causes mechanical injury and induces an acute inflammatory response. Our objective was to determine whether neutrophil elastase (NE), a potent proteolytic enzyme in neutrophils, would contribute to ventilator-induced lung injury. NE-deficient (NE−/−) and wild-type mice were mechanically ventilated at set tidal volumes (10, 20, and 30 ml/kg) with 0 cm H2O of positive end-expiratory pressure for 3 hours. Lung physiology and markers of lung injury were measured. Neutrophils from wild-type and NE−/− mice were also used for in vitro studies of neutrophil migration, intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 cleavage, and endothelial cell injury. Surprisingly, in the absence of NE, mice were not protected, but developed worse ventilator-induced lung injury despite having lower numbers of neutrophils in alveolar spaces. The possible explanation for this finding is that NE cleaves ICAM-1, allowing neutrophils to egress from the endothelium. In the absence of NE, impaired neutrophil egression and prolonged contact between neutrophils and endothelial cells leads to tissue injury and increased permeability. NE is required for neutrophil egression from the vasculature into the alveolar space, and interfering with this process leads to neutrophil-related endothelial cell injury.
PMCID: PMC2438448  PMID: 18276796
neutrophil elastase; ventilator-induced lung injury; endothelial injury; emigration
22.  Increased inflammation delays wound healing in mice deficient in collagenase-2 (MMP-8) 
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been implicated in numerous tissue-remodeling processes. The finding that mice deficient in collagenase-2 (MMP-8) are more susceptible to develop skin cancer, prompted us to investigate the role of this protease in cutaneous wound healing. We have observed a significant delay in wound closure in MMP8−/− mice and an altered inflammatory response in their wounds, with a delay of neutrophil infiltration during the first days and a persistent inflammation at later time points. These changes were accompanied by alterations in the TGF-β1 signaling pathway and by an apoptosis defect in MMP8−/− mice. The delay in wound healing observed in MMP8−/− mice was rescued by bone marrow transplantation from wild-type mice. Analysis of other MMPs showed that MMP8−/− mice had a significant increase in the expression of MMP-9, suggesting that both proteases might act coordinately in this process. This possibility was further supported by the novel finding that MMP-8 and MMP-9 form specific complexes in vivo. Taken together, these data indicate that MMP-8 participates in wound repair by contributing to the resolution of inflammation and open the possibility to develop new strategies for treating wound healing defects.
PMCID: PMC2575772  PMID: 17392479
neutrophil; MMP-9; cancer; protease; degradome
23.  Essential Role of MMP-12 in Fas-Induced Lung Fibrosis 
Acute lung injury (ALI) is characterized by an early inflammatory response followed by a late fibroproliferative phase, and by an increase in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) concentrations of bioactive soluble FasL (sFasL). Activation of Fas (CD95) has been associated with the development of lung fibrosis in mice. The goal of this study was to determine the mechanisms that link Fas activation with the development of fibrosis in the lungs. We treated mice with three daily intratracheal instillations of a Fas-activating monoclonal antibody (Jo2) or a control IgG, and studied the animals at sequential times. Mice treated with Jo2 had increased caspase-3 activation in alveolar wall cells on Days 2, 4, and 7; an inflammatory response peaking on Day 7, and increased total lung collagen on Day 21. Gene expression profiling performed on Days 2, 4, and 7 showed sequential activation of co-regulated profibrotic genes, including marked up-regulation of matrix metalloproteinase 12 (MMP-12). Targeted deletion of MMP-12 protected mice from Fas-induced pulmonary fibrosis, even though the inflammatory responses in the lungs were similar to those of wild-type mice. Compared with wild-type mice, the mmp12−/− mice showed decreased expression of the profibrotic genes egr1 and cyr61. We conclude that Fas activation in the lungs induces a complex response that includes apoptosis, inflammation, and eventually fibrosis, and that MMP-12 is essential for the fibrotic phenotype. We speculate that MMP-12 activity is required for activation of the profibrotic genes egr1 and cyr61.
PMCID: PMC1976544  PMID: 17446527
apoptosis; inflammation; MMP-12; Fas; CYR61/CCN1
24.  Elastin fragments drive disease progression in a murine model of emphysema 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2006;116(3):753-759.
Mice lacking macrophage elastase (matrix metalloproteinase-12, or MMP-12) were previously shown to be protected from the development of cigarette smoke–induced emphysema and from the accumulation of lung macrophages normally induced by chronic exposure to cigarette smoke. To determine the basis for macrophage accumulation in experimental emphysema, we now show that bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from WT smoke-exposed animals contained chemotactic activity for monocytes in vitro that was absent in lavage fluid from macrophage elastase–deficient mice. Fractionation of the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid demonstrated the presence of elastin fragments only in the fractions containing chemotactic activity. An mAb against elastin fragments eliminated both the in vitro chemotactic activity and cigarette smoke–induced monocyte recruitment to the lung in vivo. Porcine pancreatic elastase was used to recruit monocytes to the lung and to generate emphysema. Elastin fragment antagonism in this model abrogated both macrophage accumulation and airspace enlargement.
PMCID: PMC1361346  PMID: 16470245
25.  Overlapping and enzyme-specific contributions of matrix metalloproteinases-9 and -12 in IL-13–induced inflammation and remodeling 
IL-13 potently stimulates eosinophilic and lymphocytic inflammation and alveolar remodeling in the lung, effects that depend on the induction of various matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Here, we compared the remodeling and inflammatory effects of an IL-13 transgene in lungs of wild-type, MMP-9–deficient, or MMP-12–deficient mice. IL-13–induced alveolar enlargement, lung enlargement, compliance alterations, and respiratory failure and death were markedly decreased in the absence of MMP-9 or MMP-12. Moreover, IL-13 potently induced MMPs-2, -12, -13, and -14 in the absence of MMP-9, while induction of MMPs-2, -9, -13, and -14 by IL-13 was diminished in the absence of MMP-12. A deficiency in MMP-9 did not alter eosinophil, macrophage, or lymphocyte recovery, but increased the recovery of total leukocytes and neutrophils in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluids from IL-13 transgenic mice. In contrast, a deficiency in MMP-12 decreased the recovery of leukocytes, eosinophils, and macrophages, but not lymphocytes or neutrophils. These studies demonstrate that IL-13 acts via MMPs-9 and -12 to induce alveolar remodeling, respiratory failure, and death and that IL-13 induction of MMPs-2, -9, -13, and -14 is mediated at least partially by an MMP-12–dependent pathway. The also demonstrate that MMPs-9 and -12 play different roles in the generation of IL-13–induced inflammation, with MMP-9 inhibiting neutrophil accumulation and MMP-12 contributing to the accumulation of eosinophils and macrophages.
PMCID: PMC150413  PMID: 12189240

Results 1-25 (37)