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1.  IL-9 Governs Allergen-induced Mast Cell Numbers in the Lung and Chronic Remodeling of the Airways 
IL-9 is a pleiotropic cytokine that has multiple effects on structural as well as numerous hematopoietic cells, which are central to the pathogenesis of asthma.
The contribution of IL-9 to asthma pathogenesis has thus far been unclear, due to conflicting reports in the literature. These earlier studies focused on the role of IL-9 in acute inflammatory models; here we have investigated the effects of IL-9 blockade during chronic allergic inflammation.
Mice were exposed to either prolonged ovalbumin or house dust mite allergen challenge to induce chronic inflammation and airway remodeling.
Measurements and Main Results
We found that IL-9 governs allergen-induced mast cell (MC) numbers in the lung and has pronounced effects on chronic allergic inflammation. Anti–IL-9 antibody–treated mice were protected from airway remodeling with a concomitant reduction in mature MC numbers and activation, in addition to decreased expression of the profibrotic mediators transforming growth factor-β1, vascular endothelial growth factor, and fibroblast growth factor-2 in the lung. Airway remodeling was associated with impaired lung function in the peripheral airways and this was reversed by IL-9 neutralization. In human asthmatic lung tissue, we identified MCs as the main IL-9 receptor expressing population and found them to be sources of vascular endothelial growth factor and fibroblast growth factor-2.
Our data suggest an important role for an IL-9-MC axis in the pathology associated with chronic asthma and demonstrate that an impact on this axis could lead to a reduction in chronic inflammation and improved lung function in patients with asthma.
PMCID: PMC3385369  PMID: 20971830
IL-9; mast cells; asthma; airway remodeling; AHR
2.  Combined forced oscillation and forced expiration measurements in mice for the assessment of airway hyperresponsiveness 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):82.
Pulmonary function has been reported in mice using negative pressure-driven forced expiratory manoeuvres (NPFE) and the forced oscillation technique (FOT). However, both techniques have always been studied using separate cohorts of animals or systems. The objective of this study was to obtain NPFE and FOT measurements at baseline and following bronchoconstriction from a single cohort of mice using a combined system in order to assess both techniques through a refined approach.
Groups of allergen- or sham-challenged ovalbumin-sensitized mice that were either vehicle (saline) or drug (dexamethasone 1 mg/kg ip)-treated were studied. Surgically prepared animals were connected to an extended flexiVent system (SCIREQ Inc., Montreal, Canada) permitting NPFE and FOT measurements. Lung function was assessed concomitantly by both techniques at baseline and following doubling concentrations of aerosolized methacholine (MCh; 31.25 - 250 mg/ml). The effect of the NPFE manoeuvre on respiratory mechanics was also studied.
The expected exaggerated MCh airway response of allergic mice and its inhibition by dexamethasone were detected by both techniques. We observed significant changes in FOT parameters at either the highest (Ers, H) or the two highest (Rrs, RN, G) MCh concentrations. The flow-volume (F-V) curves obtained following NPFE manoeuvres demonstrated similar MCh concentration-dependent changes. A dexamethasone-sensitive decrease in the area under the flow-volume curve at the highest MCh concentration was observed in the allergic mice. Two of the four NPFE parameters calculated from the F-V curves, FEV0.1 and FEF50, also captured the expected changes but only at the highest MCh concentration. Normalization to baseline improved the sensitivity of NPFE parameters at detecting the exaggerated MCh airway response of allergic mice but had minimal impact on FOT responses. Finally, the combination with FOT allowed us to demonstrate that NPFE induced persistent airway closure that was reversible by deep lung inflation.
We conclude that FOT and NPFE can be concurrently assessed in the same cohort of animals to determine airway mechanics and expiratory flow limitation during methacholine responses, and that the combination of the two techniques offers a refined control and an improved reproducibility of the NPFE.
PMCID: PMC2904286  PMID: 20565957
3.  Deletion of phosphodiesterase 4D in mice shortens α2-adrenoceptor–mediated anesthesia, a behavioral correlate of emesis 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2002;110(7):1045-1052.
A combination of pharmacological and genetic approaches was used to determine the role of type 4 cAMP-specific cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) in reversing α2-adrenoceptor–mediated anesthesia, a behavioral correlate of emesis in non-vomiting species. Among the family-specific PDE inhibitors, PDE4 inhibitors reduced the duration of xylazine/ketamine–induced anesthesia in mice, with no effect on pentobarbital-induced anesthesia. The rank order of the PDE4 inhibitors tested was 6-(4-pyridylmethyl)-8-(3-nitrophenyl)quinoline (PMNPQ) > (R)-rolipram > (S)-rolipram >> (R)-N-{4-[1-(3-cyclopentyloxy-4-methoxyphenyl)-2-(4-pyridyl)ethyl]phenyl}N′-ethylurea (CT-2450). The specific roles of PDE4B and PDE4D in this model were studied using mice deficient in either subtype. PDE4D-deficient mice, but not PDE4B-deficient mice, had a shorter sleeping time than their wild-type littermates under xylazine/ketamine–induced anesthesia, but not under that induced with pentobarbital. Concomitantly, rolipram-sensitive PDE activity in the brain stem was decreased only in PDE4D-deficient mice compared with their wild-type littermates. While PMNPQ significantly reduced the xylazine/ketamine–induced anesthesia period in wild-type mice and in PDE4B-null mice, it had no effect in PDE4D-deficient mice. These findings strongly support the hypothesis that inhibition of PDE4D is pivotal to the anesthesia-reversing effect of PMNPQ and is likely responsible for emesis induced by PDE4 inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC151147  PMID: 12370283

Results 1-3 (3)