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1.  Interleukin-33 promotes airway remodelling in paediatric severe steroid resistant asthma 
Th2 cytokines are not responsible for the on-going symptoms and pathology in children with severe therapy resistant asthma (STRA). Interleukin (IL)-33 induces airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), but its role in airway remodelling and steroid resistance is unknown.
To investigate the relationship between IL-33 and airway remodelling in paediatric STRA.
IL-33 was quantified in neonatal mice given inhaled house dust mite (HDM), and the effect of blocking IL-13 on remodelling and IL-33 was assessed. HDM induced allergic airways disease (AAD) in neonatal ST2−/− mice lacking the IL-33 receptor was assessed, together with collagen production following IL-33 administration. Impact of steroid therapy on IL-33 levels in neonatal AAD was explored. IL-33 expression was quantified in endobronchial biopsies from children with STRA and related to remodelling, and collagen production by paediatric airway fibroblasts stimulated with IL-33 and budesonide quantified.
Blocking IL-13 after AAD was established in neonatal mice did not reduce remodelling or IL-33 levels; AHR was only partially reduced. IL-33 promoted collagen synthesis both from paediatric asthmatic fibroblasts, and following intra-nasal administration in mice. Increased cellular expression of IL-33, but not IL-13, was associated with increased reticular basement membrane thickness in endobronchial biopsies from children with STRA, whilst remodelling was absent in HDM exposed ST2−/− mice. IL-33 was maintained whilst IL-13 was abrogated by steroid treatment in neonatal HDM exposed mice, and in endobronchial biopsies from children with STRA.
IL-33 is a relatively steroid resistant mediator that promotes airway remodelling in STRA, and is an important therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC4218948  PMID: 23759184
Asthma; paediatric; airway remodelling; steroid resistance; IL-33; therapy
2.  Pathophysiological Features of Asthma Develop in Parallel in House Dust Mite–Exposed Neonatal Mice 
Asthma frequently commences in early life during airway and immune development and exposure to new environmental challenges. Endobronchial biopsies from children with asthma are abnormal, and lung function is maximally reduced by 6 years of age. As longitudinal biopsy studies are unethical in children, the relationship between development of pathology and reduced lung function is unknown. We aimed to establish a novel neonatal mouse model of allergic airways disease to investigate the developmental sequence of the pathophysiologic features of asthma. Neonatal Balb/c mice were challenged three times weekly from Day 3 of life using intranasal house dust mite (HDM) or saline for up to 12 weeks. Weekly assessments of airway inflammation and remodeling were made. Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to methacholine was assessed from Week 2 onward. Total and eosinophilic inflammation was significantly increased in the lungs of HDM-exposed neonates from Week 2 onwards, and a peak was seen at 3 weeks. Goblet cells and peribronchiolar reticulin deposition were significantly increased in HDM-exposed neonates from Week 3, and peribronchiolar collagen was significantly greater from Week 4. HDM-exposed neonates had increased AHR from Week 2 onward. Although inflammation and AHR had subsided after 4 weeks without allergen challenge, the increased reticulin and collagen deposition persisted in HDM-exposed mice. Neonatal mice exposed to intranasal HDM developed eosinophilic inflammation, airway remodeling, and AHR as reported in pediatric asthma. Importantly, all abnormalities developed in parallel, not sequentially, between 2 and 3 weeks of age.
PMCID: PMC3380517  PMID: 19151316
pediatric; remodeling; asthma pathophysiology; mouse model; allergic airways disease
3.  Overexpression of Smad2 Drives House Dust Mite–mediated Airway Remodeling and Airway Hyperresponsiveness via Activin and IL-25 
Rationale: Airway hyperreactivity and remodeling are characteristic features of asthma. Interactions between the airway epithelium and environmental allergens are believed to be important in driving development of pathology, particularly because altered epithelial gene expression is common in individuals with asthma.
Objectives: To investigate the interactions between a modified airway epithelium and a common aeroallergen in vivo.
Methods: We used an adenoviral vector to generate mice overexpressing the transforming growth factor-β signaling molecule, Smad2, in the airway epithelium and exposed them to house dust mite (HDM) extract intranasally.
Measurements and Main Results: Smad2 overexpression resulted in enhanced airway hyperreactivity after allergen challenge concomitant with changes in airway remodeling. Subepithelial collagen deposition was increased and smooth muscle hyperplasia was evident resulting in thickening of the airway smooth muscle layer. However, there was no increase in airway inflammation in mice given the Smad2 vector compared with the control vector. Enhanced airway hyperreactivity and remodeling did not correlate with elevated levels of Th2 cytokines, such as IL-13 or IL-4. However, mice overexpressing Smad2 in the airway epithelium showed significantly enhanced levels of IL-25 and activin A after HDM exposure. Blocking activin A with a neutralizing antibody prevented the increase in lung IL-25 and inhibited subsequent collagen deposition and also the enhanced airway hyperreactivity observed in the Smad2 overexpressing HDM-exposed mice.
Conclusions: Epithelial overexpression of Smad2 can specifically alter airway hyperreactivity and remodeling in response to an aeroallergen. Moreover, we have identified novel roles for IL-25 and activin A in driving airway hyperreactivity and remodeling.
PMCID: PMC2913231  PMID: 20339149
asthma; lung; epithelium; smooth muscle; collagen
4.  Resolution of Allergic Inflammation and Airway Hyperreactivity Is Dependent upon Disruption of the T1/ST2–IL-33 Pathway 
Rationale: Although there have been numerous studies on the development of allergen-induced inflammation, the mechanisms leading to resolution of inflammation remain poorly understood. This represents an important consideration because failure to resolve allergen driven inflammation potentially leads to irreversible airway remodeling, characteristic of chronic asthma.
Objectives: We investigated the resolution of allergic inflammation and identified the factors responsible.
Methods: BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were sensitized to ovalbumin and challenged through the airways to induce allergic inflammation. Mice were analyzed at 24 hours and 7 days after the final challenge.
Measurements and Main Results: Airway hyperreactivity (AHR) and increased mucus production were present 7 days after the cessation of allergen challenge in BALB/c mice. Persisting AHR correlated with the continued presence of Th2 cells but not eosinophils in the lungs. The role of Th2 cells in maintaining AHR was confirmed using blocking antibodies against T1/ST2, IL-4, and IL-13 during the resolution period. Moreover, AHR in the “Th1 type” C57BL/6 mouse strain was resolved 1 week after allergen challenge, concomitant with clearance of Th2 cells from the lung. Expression of the T1/ST2 ligand, IL-33, also correlated with maintenance of AHR.
Conclusions: We have used blockade of Th2 function and strain differences to show for the first time that resolution of allergic inflammation and AHR may be dependent on the T1/ST2-IL-33 pathway and the presence of Th2 cells, suggesting they are necessary not only for the development of an allergic response but also for its maintenance.
PMCID: PMC2675564  PMID: 19179489
Th2 cells; IL-13; IL-4
5.  Phosphatidylethanolamine-esterified Eicosanoids in the Mouse 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2009;284(32):21185-21191.
In this study, murine peritoneal macrophages from naïve lavage were found to generate four phospholipids that contain 12-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (12-HETE). They comprise three plasmalogen and one diacyl phosphatidylethanolamines (PEs) (16:0p, 18:1p, 18:0p, and 18:0a at sn-1) and are absent in macrophages from 12/15-lipoxygenase (12/15-LOX)-deficient mice. They are generated acutely in response to calcium mobilization, are primarily cell-associated, and are detected on the outside of the plasma membrane. Levels of 12-HETE-PEs in naïve lavage are in a similar range to those of free 12-HETE (5.5 ± 0.2 ng or 18.5 ± 1.03 ng/lavage for esterified versus free, respectively). In healthy mice, 12/15-LOX-derived 12-HETE-PEs are found in the peritoneal cavity, peritoneal membrane, lymph node, and intestine, with a similar distribution to 12/15-LOX-derived 12-HETE. In vivo generation of 12-HETE-PEs occurs in a Th2-dependent model of murine lung inflammation associated with interleukin-4/interleukin-13 expression. In contrast, in Toll receptor-dependent peritonitis mediated either by live bacteria or bacterial products, 12-HETE-PEs are rapidly cleared during the acute phase then reappear during resolution. The human homolog, 18:0a/15-HETE-PE inhibited human monocyte generation of cytokines in response to lipopolysaccharide. In summary, a new family of lipid mediators generated by murine macrophages during Th2 inflammation are identified and structurally characterized. The studies suggest a new paradigm for lipids generated by 12/15-LOX in inflammation involving formation of esterified eicosanoids.
PMCID: PMC2755841  PMID: 19531470

Results 1-5 (5)