Chronic inflammation in lung diseases contributes to lung tissue destruction leading to the formation of chemotactic collagen fragments such as N-acetylated Proline–Glycine–Proline (N-ac-PGP). In this study, we investigated in more detail the mechanism of action of N-ac-PGP in neutrophilic inflammation. N-ac-PGP was chemotactic for human neutrophils via pertussis toxin sensitive G protein-coupled receptors in vitro and directly activated this cell type, which led to cytosolic calcium mobilization and release of CXCL8. Furthermore, using a selective CXCR2 antagonist confirmed that N-ac-PGP-induced neutrophil chemotaxis is mediated through CXCR2 activation. To determine whether N-ac-PGP was solely responsible for the migration and activation of human neutrophils in vitro and not the released CXCL8 upon stimulation with N-ac-PGP, an antibody directed against CXCL8 was used. Performing chemotaxis and calcium influx assays in the presence of this antibody did not alter the effects of N-ac-PGP whereas effects of CXCL8 were attenuated. These experiments indicate that N-ac-PGP, in addition to the direct induction of chemotaxis, also directly activates neutrophils to release CXCL8. In vivo, this may lead in the long term to a self-maintaining situation enhanced by both N-ac-PGP and CXCL8, leading to a further increase in neutrophil infiltration and chronic inflammation.
N-ac-PGP; Chemotaxis; Neutrophil; Chronic airway inflammation; CXCL8
CD4+ T cell responses against oral antigens can develop in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients, which may modulate disease. Dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) colitis is commonly used to study IBD, however, it is not considered the best model in which to study T cell involvement in intestinal disease. Our aim was to determine if antigen-specific T cells could be induced during DSS colitis and if they could be detected after disease resolution. To induce antigen-specific T cells, the tracking antigen, ovalbumin (OVA), was administered orally during colitis initiation. Disease severity was monitored, and the antigen-reactivity of CD4+ T cells examined using CD69 expression. While OVA-directed, CD4+ Foxp3+ regulatory T cells could be detected in the spleens of both OVA-treated control and DSS mice, OVA-reactive, CD4+ Foxp3-T cells were only found in the OVA and DSS-treated mice. These results indicate that during DSS colitis T cells develop that are specific against oral antigens, and they are found systemically after colitis resolution. This gives added depth and utility to the DSS model as well as a way to track T cells that are primed against luminal antigens.
This study aimed at exploring innate and adaptive immunity in allergic asthma by investigation of mRNA expression of pattern recognition receptors, T-cell-specific cytokines, and transcription factors. Mouse models for mild and severe asthma, with similar pathological characteristics observed in humans, were used to study the involved inflammatory markers as a first step in the development of phenotype-directed treatment approaches. In the mild model, mice were sensitized to ovalbumin-Imject Alum and challenged with ovalbumin. In the severe model, mice were sensitized to trinitrophenyl-conjugated ovalbumin and challenged with trinitrophenyl-ovalbumin/IgE immune complex. Pulmonary airway inflammation and mRNA expression of Toll-like receptors (TLRs), NOD-like receptors (NLRs), T cell cytokines, and transcription factors in lung tissue were examined. Different mRNA expression profiles of TLRs, NLRs, T cell cytokines, and transcription factors were observed. In the mild model, Il10 showed the largest increase in expression, whereas in the severe model, it was Infγ with the largest increase. Expression of Tbet was also significantly increased in the severe model. Inflammation and immunity are differentially regulated in mild and severe experimental asthma. This preclinical data may help in directing clinical research towards a better understanding and therapy in mild and severe asthmatic patients.
The physiology and pathology of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts are closely related. This similarity between the two organs may underlie why dysfunction in one organ may induce illness in the other. For example, smoking is a major risk factor for COPD and IBD and increases the risk of developing Crohn's disease. Probiotics have been defined as “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer health benefits on the host.” In model systems probiotics regulate innate and inflammatory immune responses. Commonly used probiotics include lactic acid bacteria, particularly Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces, and these are often used as dietary supplements to provide a health benefit in gastrointestinal diseases including infections, inflammatory bowel disease, and colon cancer. In this respect, probiotics probably act as immunomodulatory agents and activators of host defence pathways which suggest that they could influence disease severity and incidence at sites distal to the gut. There is increasing evidence that orally delivered probiotics are able to regulate immune responses in the respiratory system. This review provides an overview of the possible role of probiotics and their mechanisms of action in the prevention and treatment of respiratory diseases.
Cigarette smoking induces inflammatory responses in all smokers and is the major risk factor for lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In this progressive disease, chronic inflammation in the lung contributes to lung tissue destruction leading to the formation of chemotactic collagen fragments such as N-acetylated Proline-Glycine-Proline (N-ac-PGP). The generation of this tripeptide is mediated by a multistep pathway involving matrix metalloproteases (MMPs) 8 and 9 and prolyl endopeptidase (PE). Here we investigated whether cigarette smoke extract (CSE) stimulates human PMNs to breakdown whole matrix collagen leading to the generation of the chemotactic collagen fragment N-ac-PGP.
Incubating PMNs with CSE led to the release of chemo-attractant CXCL8 and proteases MMP8 and MMP9. PMNs constitutively expressed PE activity as well as PE protein. Incubating CSE-primed PMNs with collagen resulted in collagen breakdown and in N-ac-PGP generation. Incubation of PMNs with the tripeptide N-ac-PGP resulted in the release of CXCL8, MMP8 and MMP9. Moreover, we tested whether PMNs from COPD patients are different from PMNs from healthy donors. Here we show that the intracellular basal PE activity of PMNs from COPD patients increased 25-fold compared to PMNs from healthy donors. Immunohistological staining of human lung tissue for PE showed that besides neutrophils, macrophages and epithelial cells express PE.
This study indicates that neutrophils activated by cigarette smoke extract can breakdown collagen into N-ac-PGP and that this collagen fragment itself can activate neutrophils, which may lead in vivo to a self-propagating cycle of neutrophil infiltration, chronic inflammation and lung emphysema. MMP-, PE- or PGP-inhibitors can serve as an attractive therapeutic target and may open new avenues towards effective treatment of COPD.
Cigarette smoking induces peripheral inflammatory responses in all smokers and is the major risk factor for neutrophilic lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of cigarette smoke on neutrophil migration and on β2-integrin activation and function in neutrophilic transmigration through endothelium.
Methods and results
Utilizing freshly isolated human PMNs, the effect of cigarette smoke on migration and β2-integrin activation and function in neutrophilic transmigration was studied. In this report, we demonstrated that cigarette smoke extract (CSE) dose dependently induced migration of neutrophils in vitro. Moreover, CSE promoted neutrophil adherence to fibrinogen. Using functional blocking antibodies against CD11b and CD18, it was demonstrated that Mac-1 (CD11b/CD18) is responsible for the cigarette smoke-induced firm adhesion of neutrophils to fibrinogen. Furthermore, neutrophils transmigrated through endothelium by cigarette smoke due to the activation of β2-integrins, since pre-incubation of neutrophils with functional blocking antibodies against CD11b and CD18 attenuated this transmigration.
This is the first study to describe that cigarette smoke extract induces a direct migratory effect on neutrophils and that CSE is an activator of β2-integrins on the cell surface. Blocking this activation of β2-integrins might be an important target in cigarette smoke induced neutrophilic diseases.
Tobacco smoking irritates and damages the respiratory tract and contributes to a higher risk of developing lung emphysema. At present, smoking cessation is the only effective treatment for reducing the progression of lung emphysema, however, there is hardly anything known about the effects of smoking cessation on cytokine and chemokine levels in the airways. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported in vivo study in which cytokine profiles were determined after cessation of cigarette smoke exposure.
The severity of airway remodeling and inflammation was studied by analyzing alveolar enlargement, heart hypertrophy, inflammatory cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lung tissue and by determining the cytokine and chemokine profiles in the BALF of A/J mice exposed to cigarette smoke for 20 weeks and 8 weeks after smoking cessation.
The alveolar enlargement and right ventricle heart hypertrophy found in smoke-exposed mice remained unchanged after smoking cessation. Although the neutrophilic inflammation in the BALF of cigarette smoke-exposed animals was reduced after smoking cessation, a sustained inflammation in the lung tissue was observed. The elevated cytokine (IL-1α and TNF-α) and chemokine (CCL2 and CCL3) levels in the BALF of smoke-exposed mice returned to basal levels after smoking cessation, while the increased IL-12 levels did not return to its basal level. The cigarette smoke-enhanced VEGF levels did not significantly change after smoking cessation. Moreover, IL-10 levels were reduced in the BALF of smoke-exposed mice and these levels were still significantly decreased after smoking cessation compared to the control animals.
The inflammatory changes in the airways caused by cigarette smoke exposure were only partially reversed after smoking cessation. Although smoking cessation should be the first step in reducing the progression of lung emphysema, additional medication could be provided to tackle the sustained airway inflammation.
Myeloid and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (mDCs, pDC) are crucial to the immune system, detecting microorganisms and linking the innate and adaptive immunity. pDC are present in small quantities in tissues that are in contact with the external environment; mainly the skin, the inner lining of the nose, lungs, stomach and intestines. They produce large amounts of IFN-α after stimulation and are pivotal for the induction of antiviral responses. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients are known to be more susceptible to viral infections. We have demonstrated that exposure of mDC to cigarette smoke extract (CSE) leads to the release of chemokines, however, not much is known about the role of pDC in COPD. In this study, we addressed several key questions with respect to the mechanism of action of CSE on human pDC in an in vitro model. Human pDCs were isolated from normal healthy volunteers and subjected to fresh CSE and the levels of IL-8, TNF-α, IP-10, IL-6, IL-1, IL-12 and IL-10 and IFN-α were studied by both ELISA and real time PCR methods. We observed that CSE augmented the production of IL-8 and suppressed the release of TNF-α, IL-6 and IFN-α. Moreover, CSE suppressed PI3K/Akt signalling in pDC. In conclusion, our data indicate that CSE has both the potential to diminish anti-viral immunity by downregulating the release of IFN-α and other pro-inflammatory cytokines while, at the same time, augmenting the pathogenesis of COPD via an IL-8 induced recruitment of neutrophils.
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are present on monocytes and alveolar macrophages that form the first line of defense against inhaled particles. The importance of those cells in the pathophysiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has well been documented. Cigarette smoke contains high concentration of oxidants which can stimulate immune cells to produce reactive oxygen species, cytokines and chemokines.
In this study, we evaluated the effects of cigarette smoke medium (CSM) on TLR4 expression and interleukin (IL)-8 production by human macrophages investigating the involvement of ROS.
Results and Discussion
TLR4 surface expression was downregulated on short term exposure (1 h) of CSM. The downregulation could be explained by internalization of the TLR4 and the upregulation by an increase in TLR4 mRNA. IL-8 mRNA and protein were also increased by CSM. CSM stimulation increased intracellular ROS-production and decreased glutathione (GSH) levels. The modulation of TLR4 mRNA and surface receptors expression, IRAK activation, IκB-α degradation, IL-8 mRNA and protein, GSH depletion and ROS production were all prevented by antioxidants such as N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC).
TLR4 may be involved in the pathogenesis of lung emphysema and oxidative stress and seems to be a crucial contributor in lung inflammation.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by chronic airway inflammation. Cigarette smoke has been considered a major player in the pathogenesis of COPD. The inflamed airways of COPD patients contain several inflammatory cells including neutrophils, macrophages,T lymphocytes, and dendritic cells (DCs). The relative contributions of these various inflammatory cells to airway injury and remodeling are not well documented. In particular, the potential role of DCs as mediators of inflammation in the smoker's airways and COPD patients is poorly understood. In the current study we analyzed the effects of cigarette smoke extract on mouse bone marrow derived DC and the production of chemokines and cytokines were studied. In addition, we assessed CSE-induced changes in cDC function in the mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) examining CD4+ and CD8+ T cell proliferation. Cigarette smoke extract induces the release of the chemokines CCL3 and CXCL2 (but not cytokines), via the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In a mixed-leukocyte reaction assay, cigarette smoke-primed DCs potentiate CD8+T cell proliferation via CCL3. In contrast, proliferation of CD4+T cells is suppressed via an unknown mechanism. The cigarette smoke-induced release of CCL3 and CXCL2 by DCs may contribute to the influx of CD8+T cells and neutrophils into the airways, respectively.
The combination of inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting β2-adrenoceptor agonists is increasingly used in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Recently, we have demonstrated that combination of salmeterol and fluticasone propionate (FP) additionally suppress the production of IL-8 by human monocyte. In this study, the molecular mechanism behind the effectiveness of this combination therapy is investigated in human neutrophils. Human neutrophils were preincubated with salmeterol or FP or the combination. The amount of interleukin-8 (IL-8), elastase and matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-2 and -9 releases, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and expression of MAP kinase phosphatase (MKP-1) and glucocorticoid receptor (GR) were determined. Cigarette smoke medium (CSM) induces an increased expression of CXC receptors and the production of ROS that may explain the strong production of IL-8 by neutrophils. The expression of CXC receptors, the production of ROS, and the release of elastase and MMP-2 and -9 were not influenced by salmeterol, FP, or the combination. Interestingly, the combination therapy had an additive suppressive effect on the CSM-induced production of IL-8. The latter could be explained by an increased mRNA expression of MKP-1, the GR and an increased translocation of the GR to the nucleus. This leads eventually to suppression of both the NF-κB and MAPK pathways and, hence, to less IL-8 production by the neutrophil. These data are in support for the use of a combination therapy in COPD patients.
Glucocorticoids; Neutrophil; Chemokine
It has been reported that Chlamydophila (C.) pneumoniae is involved in the initiation and promotion of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD). Surprisingly, the effect of C. pneumoniae on airway function has never been investigated.
In this study, mice were inoculated intranasally with C. pneumoniae (strain AR39) on day 0 and experiments were performed on day 2, 7, 14 and 21.
We found that from day 7, C. pneumoniae infection causes both a sustained airway hyperresponsiveness and an inflammation. Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and macrophage inflammatory chemokine-2 (MIP-2) levels in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL)-fluid were increased on all experimental days with exception of day 7 where MIP-2 concentrations dropped to control levels. In contrast, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) levels were only increased on day 7. From day 7 to 21 epithelial damage and secretory cell hypertrophy was observed. It is suggested that, the inflammatory cells/mediators, the epithelial damage and secretory cell hypertrophy contribute to initiation of airway hyperresponsiveness.
Our study demonstrates for the first time that C. pneumoniae infection can modify bronchial responsiveness. This has clinical implications, since additional changes in airway responsiveness and inflammation-status induced by this bacterium may worsen and/or provoke breathlessness in asthma and COPD.
The major risk factor for the development of COPD is cigarette smoking. Smoking causes activation of resident cells and the recruitment of inflammatory cells into the lungs, which leads to release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemotactic factors, oxygen radicals and proteases. In the present study evidence is found for a new cellular mechanism that refers to a link between smoking and inflammation in lungs.
Employing human monocyte-derived macrophages, different techniques including FACS analysis, Cytometric Bead Array Assay and ELISA were achieved to evaluate the effects of CS on pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion including IL-8. Then, Toll-like receptor neutralization was performed to study the involvement of Toll-like receptor-4 in IL-8 production. Finally, signaling pathways in macrophages after exposure to CS medium were investigated performing ELISA and Western analysis.
We demonstrate that especially human monocytes are sensitive to produce IL-8 upon cigarette smoke stimulation compared to lymphocytes or neutrophils. Moreover, monocyte-derived macrophages produce high amounts of the cytokine. The IL-8 production is dependent on Toll-like receptor 4 stimulation and LPS is not involved. Further research resolved the cellular mechanism by which cigarette smoke induces cytokine production in monocyte-derived macrophages. Cigarette smoke causes subsequently a concentration-dependent phosphorylation of IRAK and degradation of TRAF6. Moreover, IκBα was phosphorylated which suggests involvement of NF-κB. In addition, NFκB -inhibitor blocked cigarette smoke-induced IL-8 production.
These findings link cigarette smoke to inflammation and lead to new insights/therapeutic strategies in the pathogenesis of lung emphysema.
Asthma is associated with airway hyperresponsiveness and enhanced T-cell number/activity on one hand and increased levels of exhaled nitric oxide (NO) with expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) on the other hand. These findings are in paradox, as NO also relaxes airway smooth muscle and has immunosuppressive properties. The exact role of the endothelial NOS (eNOS) isoform in asthma is still unknown. We hypothezised that a delicate regulation in the production of NO and its bioactive forms by eNOS might be the key to the pathogenesis of asthma.
The contribution of eNOS on the development of asthmatic features was examined. We used transgenic mice that overexpress eNOS and measured characteristic features of allergic asthma after sensitisation and challenge of these mice with the allergen ovalbumin.
eNOS overexpression resulted in both increased eNOS activity and NO production in the lungs. Isolated thoracic lymph nodes cells from eNOS overexpressing mice that have been sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin produced significantly less of the cytokines IFN-γ, IL-5 and IL-10. No difference in serum IgE levels could be found. Further, there was a 50% reduction in the number of lymphocytes and eosinophils in the lung lavage fluid of these animals. Finally, airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine was abolished in eNOS overexpressing mice.
These findings demonstrate that eNOS overexpression attenuates both airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness in a model of allergic asthma. We suggest that a delicate balance in the production of bioactive forms of NO derived from eNOS might be essential in the pathophysiology of asthma.