The expression of the angiopoietin (Ang) receptor, Tie2, on both endothelial and inflammatory cells supports the idea that Ang signaling may play a fundamental role in initiating and maintaining the inflammatory response. We have previously shown that Ang1 and/or Ang2 alter the innate immune response by enhancing human neutrophil survival, chemotaxis and production of inflammatory cytokine interleukin-8 (IL-8) in vitro. Thus, we hypothesized that Ang1 and Ang2 could modulate other inflammatory signals in neutrophils, a possibility we explored through a gene-based assay looking at changes in the mRNA expression of 84 inflammatory cytokines and their receptors. We observed that Ang1 (10−8 M), but not Ang2, increased mRNA expression of prominent pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1β and its natural antagonist IL-1RA, by up to 32.6- and 10.0-fold respectively, compared to PBS-control. The effects of Ang1 extended to the proteins, as Ang1 increased intracellular levels of precursor and mature IL-1β, and extracellular levels of IL-1RA proteins, by up to 4.2-, 5.0- and 4.4-fold respectively, compared to PBS-control. Interestingly, Ang1 failed at inducing IL-1β protein release or at increasing intracellular IL-1RA, but the ratio of IL-1RA to mature IL-1β remained above 100-fold molar excess inside and outside the cells. The above-noted effects of Ang1 were mediated by MAP kinases, whereby inhibiting MEK1/2 lead to up to 70% effect reduction, whereas the blockade of p38MAPK activity doubled Ang1's effect. These findings suggest that Ang1 selectively alters the balance of neutrophil-derived inflammatory cytokines, favoring the blockade of IL-1 activity, a consideration for future therapies of inflammatory diseases.
Management of influenza, a major contributor to the worldwide disease burden, is complicated by lack of reliable methods for early identification of susceptible individuals. Identification of molecular markers that can augment existing diagnostic tools for prediction of severity can be expected to greatly improve disease management capabilities.
We have analyzed cytokines, proteome flux and protein adducts in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and sera from mice infected with influenza A virus (PR8 strain) using a previously established non-lethal model of influenza infection. Through detailed cytokine and protein adduct measurements of murine BAL, we first established the temporal profile of innate and adaptive responses as well as macrophage and neutrophil activities in response to influenza infection. A similar analysis was also performed with sera from a longitudinal cohort of influenza patients. We then used an iTRAQ-based, comparative serum proteome analysis to catalog the proteome flux in the murine BAL during the stages correlating with “peak viremia,” “inflammatory damage,” as well as the “recovery phase.” In addition to activation of acute phase responses, a distinct class of lung proteins including surfactant proteins was found to be depleted from the BAL coincident with their “appearance” in the serum, presumably due to leakage of the protein following loss of the integrity of the lung/epithelial barrier. Serum levels of at least two of these proteins were elevated in influenza patients during the febrile phase of infection compared to healthy controls or to the same patients at convalescence.
The findings from this study provide a molecular description of disease progression in a mouse model of influenza and demonstrate its potential for translation into a novel class of markers for measurement of acute lung injury and improved case management.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and candidate gene studies have identified a number of risk loci associated with the smoking-related disease COPD, a disorder that originates in the airway epithelium. Since airway basal cell (BC) stem/progenitor cells exhibit the earliest abnormalities associated with smoking (hyperplasia, squamous metaplasia), we hypothesized that smoker BC have a dysregulated transcriptome, enriched, in part, at known GWAS/candidate gene loci. Massive parallel RNA sequencing was used to compare the transcriptome of BC purified from the airway epithelium of healthy nonsmokers (n = 10) and healthy smokers (n = 7). The chromosomal location of the differentially expressed genes was compared to loci identified by GWAS to confer risk for COPD. Smoker BC have 676 genes differentially expressed compared to nonsmoker BC, dominated by smoking up-regulation. Strikingly, 166 (25%) of these genes are located on chromosome 19, with 13 localized to 19q13.2 (p<10−4 compared to chance), including 4 genes (NFKBIB, LTBP4, EGLN2 and TGFB1) associated with risk for COPD. These observations provide the first direct connection between known genetic risks for smoking-related lung disease and airway BC, the population of lung cells that undergo the earliest changes associated with smoking.
Although smokers have increased susceptibility and severity of seasonal influenza virus infection, there is no report about the risk of 2009 pandemic H1N1 (pdmH1N1) or avian H9N2 (H9N2/G1) virus infection in smokers. In our study, we used mouse model to investigate the effect of cigarette smoke on pdmH1N1 or H9N2 virus infection. Mice were exposed to cigarette smoke for 21 days and then infected with pdmH1N1 or H9N2 virus. Control mice were exposed to air in parallel. We found that cigarette smoke exposure alone significantly upregulated the lung inflammation. Such prior cigarette smoke exposure significantly reduced the disease severity of subsequent pdmH1N1 or H9N2 virus infection. For pdmH1N1 infection, cigarette smoke exposed mice had significantly lower mortality than the control mice, possibly due to the significantly decreased production of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Similarly, after H9N2 infection, cigarette smoke exposed mice displayed significantly less weight loss, which might be attributed to lower cytokines and chemokines production, less macrophages, neutrophils, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells infiltration and reduced lung damage compared to the control mice. To further investigate the underlying mechanism, we used nicotine to mimic the effect of cigarette smoke both in vitro and in vivo. Pre-treating the primary human macrophages with nicotine for 72 h significantly decreased their expression of cytokines and chemokines after pdmH1N1 or H9N2 infection. The mice subcutaneously and continuously treated with nicotine displayed significantly less weight loss and lower inflammatory response than the control mice upon pdmH1N1 or H9N2 infection. Moreover, α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor knockout mice had more body weight loss than wild-type mice after cigarette smoke exposure and H9N2 infection. Our study provided the first evidence that the pathogenicity of both pdmH1N1 and H9N2 viruses was alleviated in cigarette smoke exposed mice, which might partially be attributed to the immunosuppressive effect of nicotine.
To systematically assess the literature published on the clinical impact of Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 on cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.
An online search in PUBMED database was conducted. Original articles on CF patients with Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 infection were included. We analyzed incidence, symptoms, clinical course and treatment.
Four surveys with a total of 202 CF patients infected by Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 were included. The meta-analysis showed that hospitalisation rates were higher in CF patients compared to the general population. While general disease symptoms were comparable, the clinical course was more severe and case fatality rate (CFR) was higher in CF patients compared to asthmatics and the general population.
Evidence so far suggests that CF patients infected with Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 show increased morbidity and a higher CFR compared to patients with other chronic respiratory diseases and healthy controls. Particularly, CF patients with advanced stage disease seem to be more susceptible to severe lung disease. Accordingly, early antiviral and antibiotic treatment strategies are essential in CF patients. Preventive measures, including vaccination as well as hygiene measures during the influenza season, should be reinforced and improved in CF patients.
Published estimates on age-dependent frequency of diabetes in cystic fibrosis (CF) vary widely, and are based mostly on older data. However, CF treatment and prevention of comorbidities changed over recent years. In many studies, definition of cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD) is not in line with current guideline recommendations. Therefore, we evaluated age-dependent occurrence of glucose abnormalities and associated risk factors in CF patients who participated in a multicenter screening program using oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT).
Between 2001 and 2010, 43 specialized CF centers from Germany and Austria serially performed 5,179 standardized OGTTs in 1,658 clinically stable, non-pregnant CF patients with no prior steroid medication or lung transplantation. Age-dependent occurrence of impaired fasting glucose (IFG), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), IFG+IGT, one (DGT) or two consecutive (CFRD) diabetic OGTTs was analyzed, using Kaplan Meier curves. Cox proportional-hazards models were created to elucidate the influence of sex or underweight.
At baseline/last OGTT, median age was 15.9 years/18.2 years and 30.6%/31.8% of patients were underweight. 25% of patients showed IFG at age 14.3 years; IGT at age 16.3 years; IFG+IGT combined at age 17.7 years. DGT was observed in 25% of patients at age 22.6 years; CFRD at age 34.5 years. Females had a 3.54 [95% CI 1.23–10.18] times higher risk for CFRD; risk for DGT was 2.21 [1.22–3.98] times higher. Underweight was a risk factor for IGT (HR [95% CI]: 1.38 [1.11–1.71]) and IFG+IGT (1.43 [1.11–1.83]), and in males also for DGT (1.49 [1.09–2.04]).
If confirmation of diabetes by a second test is required, as recommended in current guidelines, age at CFRD diagnosis was higher compared to most previous studies. However, known risk factors for glucose abnormalities in CF were confirmed. Confirmation of diabetic OGT by a repeat test is important for a consistent diagnosis of CFRD.
Neutrophil granulocyte (neutrophil) apoptosis plays a key role in determining inflammation in infectious and non-infectious settings. Recent work has shown that inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases (cdk) such as roscovitine can potently induce neutrophil apoptosis and reduce inflammation. Using a conditional Hoxb8-expression system we tested the participation of Bcl-2-family proteins to roscovitine-induced apoptosis in mouse neutrophils and in neutrophil progenitor cells. Bcl-2 strongly protected against roscovitine-induced apoptosis in neutrophils. The isolated loss of either Bim or noxa provided significant, partial protection while protection through combined loss of Bim and noxa or Bim and Puma was only slightly greater than this individual loss. The only substantial change in protein levels observed was the loss of Mcl-1, which was not transcriptional and was inhibited by proteasome blockade. In progenitor cells there was no protection by the loss of Bim alone but substantial protection by the loss of both Bim and Puma; surprisingly, strongest protection was seen by the isolated loss of noxa. The pattern of protein expression and Mcl-1-regulation in progenitor cells was very similar to the one observed in differentiated neutrophils. In addition, roscovitine strongly inhibited proliferation in progenitor cells, associated with an accumulation of cells in G2/M-phase.
Obesity has been identified as a risk factor for asthma in children. However, in the Netherlands, the obesity prevalence is rising while the asthma prevalence in children is stabilising. The aim of this study is to clarify the association between asthma and Body Mass Index (BMI) in children and whether this association is influenced by sex.
Parents of 39,316 children (6-16 years) in the south of the Netherlands were invited to complete an online questionnaire on respiratory symptoms, anthropometric variables and several potential confounding factors for asthma and obesity (including sex, birth weight and breastfeeding). Data was analysed by multivariable logistic regression models and an ordinal regression model.
The response rate was 24% (n boys= 4,743, n girls= 4,529). The prevalence of asthma, overweight and obesity was 8%, 15% and 2% respectively. Body mass index - standard deviation Score (BMI-SDS) was related to current asthma (adjusted OR: 1.29; 95%CI: 1.14-1.45, p≤0.001). When stratified for sex, asthma and BMI-SDS were only related in girls (Girls: adjusted OR: 1.31; 95%CI: 1.13-1.51, p≤0.001. Boys: adjusted OR: 1.01; 95%CI: 0.91-1.14, p=0.72).
The positive association between BMI-SDS and asthma is only present in girls, not boys. Future studies into obesity and asthma should correct for sex in their analyses.
The blood neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) has been identified as a potentially useful marker of clinical outcome in disease states with an inflammatory component. The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between NLR and clinical status in children with cystic fibrosis.
This was a retrospective chart review. Data collected included NLR, body mass index, and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) while asymptomatic, and during hospitalizations for pulmonary exacerbation. An NLR breakpoint of 3 was used for comparisons of body mass index and FEV1.
A total of 159 charts were reviewed. An NLR ≥ 3 was significantly associated with lower body mass index and lower FEV1. NLR during hospitalization was significantly higher than NLR while asymptomatic. NLR measured during the first 3 months of life was negatively correlated with FEV1 at age 12.
NLR correlates with clinical status in children with cystic fibrosis and may be a useful biomarker in this population.
Multiple activities are ascribed to the cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in health and disease. In particular, TNF was shown to affect carcinogenesis in multiple ways. This cytokine acts via the activation of two cell surface receptors, TNFR1, which is associated with inflammation, and TNFR2, which was shown to cause anti-inflammatory signaling. We assessed the effects of TNF and its two receptors on the progression of pancreatic cancer by in vivo bioluminescence imaging in a syngeneic orthotopic tumor mouse model with Panc02 cells. Mice deficient for TNFR1 were unable to spontaneously reject Panc02 tumors and furthermore displayed enhanced tumor progression. In contrast, a fraction of wild type (37.5%), TNF deficient (12.5%), and TNFR2 deficient mice (22.2%) were able to fully reject the tumor within two weeks. Pancreatic tumors in TNFR1 deficient mice displayed increased vascular density, enhanced infiltration of CD4+ T cells and CD4+ forkhead box P3 (FoxP3)+ regulatory T cells (Treg) but reduced numbers of CD8+ T cells. These alterations were further accompanied by transcriptional upregulation of IL4. Thus, TNF and TNFR1 are required in pancreatic ductal carcinoma to ensure optimal CD8+ T cell-mediated immunosurveillance and tumor rejection. Exogenous systemic administration of human TNF, however, which only interacts with murine TNFR1, accelerated tumor progression. This suggests that TNFR1 has basically the capability in the Panc02 model to trigger pro-and anti-tumoral effects but the spatiotemporal availability of TNF seems to determine finally the overall outcome.
Surfactant Protein D (SP-D) is a multifunctional protein present in the lung and in respiratory secretions. In the process of developing new experimental approaches to examine SP-D function, we observed that SP-D adsorbs to polypropylene tubes to a great extent, thereby depleting SP-D from the solution. Although it is well known that proteins adsorb nonspecifically to plastic, this effect is usually diminished by treatments to make the plastic “low-retention” or “low-binding”. However, these treatments actually increased the binding of SP-D to the plastic. In addition, this adsorption affected the results of several assays, including proteolytic cleavage assays. In order to block SP-D from adsorbing to polypropylene and the effects caused by this adsorption, we coated the tubes with bovine serum albumin (BSA), as is commonly performed for ELISAs. This coating greatly diminished the amount of SP-D sticking to the plastic, providing an inexpensive and effective method for preventing adsorption and the artifacts resulting from this adsorption.
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) is an interstitial lung disease that develops following repeated exposure to environmental antigens. The disease results in alveolitis, granuloma formation and may progress to a fibrotic chronic form, which is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The severity of the disease correlates with a neutrophil rich influx and an IL-17 response. We used the Saccharopolysporarectivirgula (SR) model of HP to determine whether Toll-like receptors (TLR) 2 and 9 cooperate in neutrophil recruitment and IL-17-associated cytokine production during the development of HP. Stimulation of bone marrow derived macrophages (BMDMs) from C57BL/6, MyD88-/- and TLR2/9-/- mice with SR demonstrate that SR is a strong inducer of neutrophil chemokines and growth factors. The cytokines induced by SR were MyD88-dependent and, of those, most were partially or completely dependent on TLRs 2 and 9. Following in vivo exposure to SR, CXCL2 production and neutrophil recruitment were reduced in TLR2-/- and TLR2/9-/- mice suggesting that the response was largely dependent on TLR2; however the reduction was greatest in the TLR2/9-/- double knockout mice indicating TLR9 may also contribute to the response. There was a reduction in the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNFα and IL-6 as well as CCL3 and CCL4 in the BALF from TLR2/9-/- mice compared to WT and single knockout (SKO) mice exposed one time to SR. The decrease in neutrophil recruitment and TNFα production in the TLR2/9-/- mice was maintained throughout 3 weeks of SR exposures in comparison to WT and SKO mice. Both TLRs 2 and 9 contributed to the Th17 response; there was a decrease in Th17 cells and IL-17 mRNA in the TLR2/9-/- mice in comparison to the WT and SKO mice. Despite the effects on neutrophil recruitment and the IL-17 response, TLR2/9-/- mice developed granuloma formation similarly to WT and SKO mice suggesting that there are additional mediators and pattern recognition receptors involved in the disease.
Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is a genetic disorder characterized by impaired ciliary function, leading to chronic sinopulmonary disease. The genetic causes of PCD are still evolving, while the diagnosis is often dependent on finding a ciliary ultrastructural abnormality and immotile cilia. Here we report a novel gene associated with PCD but without ciliary ultrastructural abnormalities evident by transmission electron microscopy, but with dyskinetic cilia beating.
Genetic linkage analysis was performed in a family with a PCD subject. Gene expression was studied in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and human airway epithelial cells, using RNA assays and immunostaining. The phenotypic effects of candidate gene mutations were determined in primary culture human tracheobronchial epithelial cells transduced with gene targeted shRNA sequences. Video-microscopy was used to evaluate cilia motion.
A single novel mutation in CCDC65, which created a termination codon at position 293, was identified in a subject with typical clinical features of PCD. CCDC65, an orthologue of the Chlamydomonas nexin-dynein regulatory complex protein DRC2, was localized to the cilia of normal nasal epithelial cells but was absent in those from the proband. CCDC65 expression was up-regulated during ciliogenesis in cultured airway epithelial cells, as was DRC2 in C. reinhardtii following deflagellation. Nasal epithelial cells from the affected individual and CCDC65-specific shRNA transduced normal airway epithelial cells had stiff and dyskinetic cilia beating patterns compared to control cells. Moreover, Gas8, a nexin-dynein regulatory complex component previously identified to associate with CCDC65, was absent in airway cells from the PCD subject and CCDC65-silenced cells.
Mutation in CCDC65, a nexin-dynein regulatory complex member, resulted in a frameshift mutation and PCD. The affected individual had altered cilia beating patterns, and no detectable ultrastructural defects of the ciliary axoneme, emphasizing the role of the nexin-dynein regulatory complex and the limitations of certain methods for PCD diagnosis.
CD8 cells may contribute towards an autoimmune process in COPD. Down regulation of T cell receptor (TCR) signalling molecules occurs in autoimmune diseases with consequent T cell dysfunction. We hypothesise that TCR signalling is abnormal in COPD pulmonary CD8 cells. Micro-array gene expression analysis of blood and pulmonary COPD CD8 samples was performed and compared to pulmonary CD8 cells from smoker controls (S). We focused on the TCR signalling pathway, with validation of key findings using polymerase chain reaction and immunofluorescence. TCR signalling molecules in COPD pulmonary CD8 cells were down regulated compared to blood CD8 cells (CD247: fold change (FC) −2.43, Q = 0.001; LCK: FC −2.25, Q = 0.01). Micro-array analysis revealed no significant differences between COPD and S pulmonary CD8 cells. However, PCR revealed significantly lower gene expression levels of CD247 (FC −1.79, p = 0.04) and LCK (FC −1.77, p = 0.01) in COPD compared to S pulmonary CD8 cells. CD247 down regulation in COPD CD8 cells was confirmed by immunofluorescent staining of bronchoalveolar lavage cells: Significantly fewer COPD CD8 cells co-expressed CD247 compared to healthy non-smoker CD8 cells (mean 88.9 vs 75.2%, p<0.05) There is down regulation of TCR signalling molecules in COPD pulmonary CD8 cells. This may cause T cell dysfunction.
Inhaled bronchodilators are the first-line therapy for COPD. Indacaterol is a novel addition to existing long-acting bronchodilators.
Systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCT) on efficacy and safety of indacaterol as compared: 1) with placebo at different dosages, 2) with existing bronchodilators; (3) as add-on treatment to tiotropium.
We searched 13 electronic databases, including MEDLINE, EMBASE and CENTRAL, and contacted the manufacturer for unpublished data. Primary outcome was mean FEV1 change at 12th week, secondary outcomes included changes in SGRQ, TDI and BODE index at 6 months, exacerbation at 1 year, and worsening of symptoms.
Twelve eligible RCTs of moderate risk of bias included data from 10,977 patients. Compared to placebo, indacaterol improved FEV1 by a weighted mean difference (WMD) of 0.16 L (95%CI: 0.15, 0.18 L, p<0.001), homogeneously above the minimally important difference of 0.10 L. It offered clinically relevant improvement in all secondary outcomes except exacerbation. Magnitude of benefit did not differ significantly by dosage, but one treatment related death was reported at 300 ug. Efficacy of Indacaterol was similar to formoterol and salmeterol (FEV1 WMD = 0.04L, 95%CI: 0.01L, 0.07 L, p = 0.02); and tiotropium (FEV1 WMD = 0.01L, 95%CI: −0.01, 0.03L, p = 0.61). The use of indacaterol on top of tiotropium yielded additional improvement on FEV1 (WMD = 0.07 L, 95%CI: 0.05L, 0.10 L, p<0.001).
Indacaterol is safe and beneficial for patients with COPD at dosage ≤150 ug. It may serve as a good alternative to existing bronchodilators, or as an add-on to tiotropium for unresponsive patients. Use of higher dosage requires further justification.
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) also called exogenous allergic alveolitis = extrinsic allergic alveolitis in children is an uncommon condition and may not be recognized and treated appropriately.
To assess current means of diagnosis and therapy and compare this to recommendations, we used the Surveillance Unit for Rare Paediatric Disorders (ESPED) to identify incident cases of HP in Germany during 2005/6. In addition, cases of HP reported for reference from all over Germany to our center in the consecutive year were included.
Twenty-three children with confirmed pediatric HP were identified. All (age 9.4 y (4.4-15.1) presented with dyspnoea at rest or with exercise, mean FVC was 39% of predicted, seven of the 23 children already had a chronic disease state at presentation. IgG against bird was elevated in 20, and against fungi in 15. Bronchoalveolar lavage was done in 18 subjects (41% lymphocytes, CD4/CD8 1.99), and lung biopsy in 6. Except 2, all children were treated with prolonged courses of systemic steroids. Outcome was not favourable in all cases.
Late diagnosis in up to a quarter of the children with HP and inappropriate steroid treatment must be overcome to improve management of HP. Inclusion of children with HP into international, web-based registry studies will help to study and follow up such rare lung diseases.
Biopsy; Bronchoalveolar lavage; Children; Diffuse parenchymal lung diseases; Exogenous allergic alveolitis = extrinsic allergic alveolitis; Precipitins; Steroid treatment
The TH2 cytokines, IL-4 and IL-13, play critical roles in inducing allergic lung inflammation and drive the alternative activation of macrophages (AAM). Although both cytokines share receptor subunits, IL-4 and IL-13 have differential roles in asthma pathogenesis: IL-4 regulates TH2 cell differentiation, while IL-13 regulates airway hyperreactivity and mucus production. Aside from controlling TH2 differentiation, the unique contribution of IL-4 signaling via the Type I receptor in airway inflammation remains unclear. Therefore, we analyzed responses in mice deficient in gamma c (γc) to elucidate the role of the Type I IL-4 receptor. OVA primed CD4+ OT-II T cells were adoptively transferred into RAG2−/− and γc−/− mice and allergic lung disease was induced. Both γc−/− and γcxRAG2−/− mice developed increased pulmonary inflammation and eosinophilia upon OVA challenge, compared to RAG2−/− mice. Characteristic AAM proteins FIZZ1 and YM1 were expressed in lung epithelial cells in both mouse strains, but greater numbers of FIZZ1+ or YM1+ airways were present in γc−/− mice. Absence of γc in macrophages, however, resulted in reduced YM1 expression. We observed higher TH2 cytokine levels in the BAL and an altered DC phenotype in the γc−/− recipient mice suggesting the potential for dysregulated T cell and dendritic cell (DC) activation in the γc-deficient environment. These results demonstrate that in absence of the Type I IL-4R, the Type II R can mediate allergic responses in the presence of TH2 effectors. However, the Type I R regulates AAM protein expression in macrophages.
Membrane surface localized endonuclease EndA of the pulmonary pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is required for both genetic transformation and virulence. Pneumococcus expresses EndA during growth. However, it has been reported that EndA has no access to external DNA when pneumococcal cells are not competent for genetic transformation, and thus, unable to degrade extracellular DNA. Here, by using both biochemical and genetic methods, we demonstrate the existence of EndA-mediated nucleolytic activity independent of the competence state of pneumococcal cells. Pneumococcal mutants that are genetically deficient in competence development and genetic transformation have extracellular nuclease activity comparable to their parental wild type, including their ability to degrade neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). The autolysis deficient ΔlytA mutant and its isogenic choline-treated parental wild-type strain D39 degrade extracellular DNA readily, suggesting that partial cell autolysis is not required for DNA degradation. We show that EndA molecules are secreted into the culture medium during the growth of pneumococcal cells, and contribute substantially to competence-independent nucleolytic activity. The competence-independent activity of EndA is responsible for the rapid degradation of DNA and NETs, and is required for the full virulence of Streptococcus pneumoniae during lung infection.
Neutrophil heterogeneity was described decades ago, but it could not be elucidated at the time whether the existence of different neutrophil subsets had any biological relevance. It has been corroborated in recent years that neutrophil subsets, defined by differential expression of various markers, are indeed present in human blood, calling for renewed attention to this question. The expression of the granule protein olfactomedin 4 (OLFM4) has been suggested to define two such neutrophil subsets. We confirm the simultaneous presence of one OLFM4-positive and one OLFM4-negative neutrophil subpopulation as well as the localization of the protein to specific granules. In vitro, these neutrophil subsets displayed equal tendency to undergo apoptosis and phagocytose bacteria. In addition, the subpopulations were recruited equally to inflammatory sites in vivo, and this was true both in an experimental model of acute inflammation and in naturally occurring pathological joint inflammation. In line with its subcellular localization, only limited OLFM4 release was seen upon in vivo transmigration, and release through conventional degranulation required strong secretagogues. However, extracellular release of OLFM4 could be achieved upon formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) where it was detected only in a subset of the NETs. Although we were unable to demonstrate any functional differences between the OLFM4-defined subsets, our data show that different neutrophil subsets are present in inflamed tissue in vivo. Furthermore, we demonstrate NETs characterized by different markers for the first time, and our results open up for functions of OLFM4 itself in the extracellular space through exposure in NETs.
Although antibiotics from different classes are frequently prescribed in combination to prevent the development of resistance amongst Cystic Fibrosis (CF) respiratory pathogens, there is a lack of data as to the efficacy of this approach. We have previously shown that a 4∶1 (w/w) combination of fosfomycin and tobramycin (F∶T) has excellent activity against CF pathogens with increased activity under physiologically relevant anaerobic conditions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine whether F∶T could delay or prevent the onset of resistance compared to either fosfomycin or tobramycin alone under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. The frequency of spontaneous mutants arising following exposure to fosfomycin, tobramycin and F∶T was determined for clinical Pseudomonas aeruginosa and MRSA isolates under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. The effect of sub-inhibitory concentrations of fosfomycin, tobramycin and F∶T on the induction of resistance was also investigated, with the stability of resistance and fitness cost associated with resistance assessed if it developed. P. aeruginosa and MRSA isolates had a lower frequency of spontaneous mutants to F∶T compared to fosfomycin and tobramycin under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. There was a maximum two-fold increase in F∶T MICs when P. aeruginosa and MRSA isolates were passaged in sub-inhibitory F∶T for 12 days. In contrast, sequential resistance to fosfomycin and tobramycin developed quickly (n = 3 days for both) after passage in sub-inhibitory concentrations. Once developed, both fosfomycin and tobramycin resistance was stable and not associated with a biological fitness cost to either P. aeruginosa or MRSA isolates. The results of this study suggest that F∶T may prevent the development of resistance compared to fosfomycin or tobramycin alone under aerobic and physiologically relevant anaerobic conditions. F∶T may be a potential treatment option in CF patients chronically colonised by MRSA and/or P. aeruginosa.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive, inflammatory lung disease that affects a large number of patients and has significant impact. One hallmark of the disease is the presence of bacteria in the lower airways. Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the detailed structure of microbial communities found in the lungs of healthy individuals and patients with COPD. Nine COPD patients as compared and 9 healthy individuals underwent flexible bronchoscopy and BAL was performed. Bacterial nucleic acids were subjected to terminal restriction fragment (TRF) length polymorphism and clone library analysis. Overall, we identified 326 T-RFLP band, 159 in patients and 167 in healthy controls. The results of the TRF analysis correlated partly with the data obtained from clone sequencing. Although the results of the sequencing showed high diversity, the genera Prevotella, Sphingomonas, Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Fusobacterium, Megasphaera, Veillonella, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus constituted the major part of the core microbiome found in both groups. A TRF band possibly representing Pseudomonas sp. monoinfection was associated with a reduction of the microbial diversity. Non-cultural methods reveal the complexity of the pulmonary microbiome in healthy individuals and in patients with COPD. Alterations of the microbiome in pulmonary diseases are correlated with disease.
Mutations in SPINK5, encoding the serine protease inhibitor LEKTI, cause Comèl-Netherton syndrome, an autosomal-recessive disease characterized by congenital ichthyosis, bamboo hair, and atopic diathesis. Despite increased frequency of infections, the immunocompetence of Comèl-Netherton syndrome patients has not been extensively investigated.
To define Comèl-Netherton syndrome as a primary immunodeficiency and to explore the benefit of IVIG replacement therapy.
We enrolled nine patients with Comèl-Netherton syndrome, sequenced SPINK5, and analyzed LEKTI expression by immunohistochemistry. Immune function was assessed by measuring cognate immunity, serum cytokine-levels and natural killer cell cytotoxicity.
All patients presented with recurrent skin infections caused predominantly by Staphylococcus aureus. All but one reported recurrent respiratory tract infections; 78% had sepsis and/or pneumonia; 67% suffered from recurrent gastroenteritis and failure to thrive. Mutations in SPINK5 – including six novel mutations- were identified in eight patients. LEKTI expression was decreased or absent in all patients.
Immunologic evaluation revealed reduced memory B cells and defective responses to vaccination with Pneumovax® and bacteriophage phiX174, characterized by impaired antibody amplification and class-switching. Immune dysregulation was suggested by a skewed TH1-phenotype and elevated proinflammatory cytokine levels, while serum concentrations of the chemokine RANTES and NK cell cytotoxicity were decreased.
Treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin substitution resulted in remarkable clinical improvement and temporarily increased NK cell cytotoxicity.
These data provide new insights into the immunopathology of Comèl-Netherton syndrome and demonstrate that this multisystem disorder, characterized by lack of LEKTI expression in epithelial cells, is complicated by cognate and innate immunodeficiency that responds favorably to IVIG therapy.
Comèl-Netherton Syndrome; SPINK5; LEKTI; immune deficiency; NK cell cytotoxicity; selective antibody deficiency; IVIG; ichthyosis; bamboo hair; atopic diathesis
To-date, most invasion or migration assays use a modified Boyden chamber-like design to assess migration as single-cell or scratch assays on coated or uncoated planar plastic surfaces. Here, we describe a 96-well microplate-based, high-content, three-dimensional cell culture assay capable of assessing invasion dynamics and molecular signatures thereof. On applying our invasion assay, we were able to demonstrate significant effects on the invasion capacity of fibroblast cell lines, as well as primary lung fibroblasts. Administration of epidermal growth factor resulted in a substantial increase of cellular invasion, thus making this technique suitable for high-throughput pharmacological screening of novel compounds regulating invasive and migratory pathways of primary cells. Our assay also correlates cellular invasiveness to molecular events. Thus, we argue of having developed a powerful and versatile toolbox for an extensive profiling of invasive cells in a 96-well format. This will have a major impact on research in disease areas like fibrosis, metastatic cancers, or chronic inflammatory states.
CFTR is an integral transmembrane glycoprotein and a cAMP-activated Cl− channel. Mutations in the CFTR gene lead to Cystic Fibrosis (CF)–an autosomal recessive disease with majority of the morbidity and mortality resulting from airway infection, inflammation, and fibrosis. The most common disease-associated mutation in the CFTR gene–deletion of Phe508 (ΔF508) leads to a biosynthetic processing defect of CFTR. Correction of the defect and delivery of ΔF508-CFTR to the cell surface has been highly anticipated as a disease modifying therapy. Compared to promising results in cultured cell this approach was much less effective in CF patients in an early clinical trial. Although the cause of failure to rescue ΔF508-CFTR in the clinical trial has not been determined, presence of factor(s) that interfere with the rescue in vivo could be considered. The cytokine TGF-β1 is frequently elevated in CF patients. TGF-β1 has pleiotropic effects in different disease models and genetic backgrounds and little is known about TGF-β1 effects on CFTR in human airway epithelial cells. Moreover, there are no published studies examining TGF-β1 effects on the functional rescue of ΔF508-CFTR. Here we found that TGF-β1 inhibits CFTR biogenesis by reducing mRNA levels and protein abundance in primary differentiated human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells from non-CF individuals. TGF-β1 inhibits CFTR biogenesis without compromising the epithelial phenotype or integrity of HBE cells. TGF-β1 also inhibits biogenesis and impairs the functional rescue of ΔF508-CFTR in HBE cells from patients homozygous for the ΔF508 mutation. Our data indicate that activation of TGF-β1 signaling may inhibit CFTR function in non-CF individuals and may interfere with therapies directed at correcting the processing defect of ΔF508-CFTR in CF patients.
Background and Aims
Cystic Fibrosis associated liver disease (CFLD) develops in approximately 30% of CF patients. However, routine sensitive diagnostic tools for CFLD are lacking. Within this study, we aimed to identify new experimental biomarkers for the detection of CFLD.
45 CF patients were included in the study and received transient elastography. Differential regulation of 220 different serum proteins was assessed in a subgroup of patients with and without CFLD. Most interesting candidate proteins were further quantified and validated by ELISA in the whole patient cohort. To assess a potential relation of biomarker expression to the degree of hepatic fibrosis, serum biomarkers were further determined in 18 HCV patients where liver histology was available.
43 serum proteins differed at least 2-fold in patients with CFLD compared to those without liver disease as identified in proteome profiling. In ELISA quantifications, TIMP-4 and Endoglin were significantly up-regulated in patients with CFLD as diagnosed by clinical guidelines or increased liver stiffness. Pentraxin-3 was significantly decreased in patients with CFLD. Serum TIMP-4 and Endoglin showed highest values in HCV patients with liver cirrhosis compared to those with fibrosis but without cirrhosis. At a cut-off value of 6.3 kPa, transient elastography compassed a very high diagnostic accuracy and specificity for the detection of CFLD. Among the biomarkers, TIMP-4 and Endoglin exhibited a high diagnostic accuracy for CFLD. Diagnostic sensitivities and negative predictive values were increased when elastography and TIMP-4 and Endoglin were combined for the detection of CFLD.
Serum TIMP-4 and Endoglin are increased in CFLD and their expression correlates with hepatic staging. Determination of TIMP-4 and Endoglin together with transient elastography can increase the sensitivity for the non-invasive diagnosis of CFLD.