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1.  Insulin receptor substrate 1 expression enhances the sensitivity of 32D cells to chemotherapy-induced cell death 
Experimental Cell Research  2012;318(14):1745-1758.
The adaptors IRS1 and IRS2 link growth factor receptors to downstream signaling pathways that regulate proliferation and survival. Both suppress factor-withdrawal-induced apoptosis and have been implicated in cancer progression. However, recent studies suggest IRS1 and IRS2 mediate differential functions in cancer pathogenesis. IRS1 promoted breast cancer proliferation, while IRS2 promoted metastasis. The role of IRS1 and IRS2 in controlling cell responses to chemotherapy is unknown. To determine the role of IRS1 and IRS2 in the sensitivity of cells to chemotherapy, we treated 32D cells lacking or expressing IRS proteins with various concentrations of chemotherapeutic agents. We found that expression of IRS1, in contrast to IRS2, enhanced the sensitivity of 32D cells to chemotherapy-induced apoptosis. When IRS2 was expressed with IRS1, the cells no longer showed enhanced sensitivity. Expression of IRS1 did not alter the expression of pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins; however, 32D-IRS1 cells expressed higher levels of Annexin A2. In 32D-IRS1 cells, IRS1 and Annexin A2 were both located in cytoplasmic and membrane fractions. We also found that IRS1 coprecipitated with Annexin A2, while IRS2 did not. Decreasing Annexin A2 levels reduced 32D-IRS1 cell sensitivity to chemotherapy. These results suggest IRS1 enhances sensitivity to chemotherapy in part through Annexin A2.
PMCID: PMC3395425  PMID: 22652453
insulin receptor substrate; signaling; annexin A2; chemotherapy; cell death
2.  STAT6 controls the number of regulatory T cells in vivo thereby regulating allergic lung inflammation1 
STAT6 plays a central role in IL-4-mediated allergic responses. Several studies indicate that regulatory T cells (Treg) can be modulated by IL-4 in vitro. We previously showed that STAT6−/− mice are highly resistant to allergic lung inflammation even when wild type Th2 effectors were provided and that they have increased numbers of Tregs. However, the role of STAT6 in modulating Tregs in vivo during allergic lung inflammation has not been thoroughly investigated. To investigate Treg and STAT6 interaction during allergic inflammation, STAT6−/−, STAT6×RAG2−/− and RAG2−/− mice were subjected to OVA sensitization and challenge following adoptive transfer of OVA-specific, wild type Th2 effectors with or without prior Treg depletion/ inactivation using anti-CD25 (PC61). As expected, STAT6−/− mice were highly resistant to airway inflammation and remodeling. In contrast, allergic lung inflammation was partially restored in STAT6−/− mice treated with PC61 to levels observed in STAT6×RAG2−/− mice. In some cases, STAT6×RAG2−/− mice were also given natural (n) Tregs along with Th2 effectors. Adoptive transfer of nTregs caused a substantial reduction in BAL eosinophil composition and suppressed airway remodeling and T cell migration into the lung in STAT6×RAG2−/− mice to levels comparable to those in STAT6−/− mice. These results demonstrate the STAT6-dependent suppression of Tregs in vivo in order to promote allergic airway inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3735779  PMID: 23825312
3.  NF-κB signaling participates in both Receptor Activator of NF-κB Ligand- (RANKL) and interleukin-4- (IL-4) induced macrophage fusion: Receptor cross-talk leads to alterations in NF-κB pathways 
NF-κB activation is essential for RANKL-induced osteoclast formation. IL-4 is known to inhibit the RANKL-induced osteoclast differentiation, while at the same time promote macrophage fusion to form multinucleated giant cells (MNG). Several groups have proposed that IL-4 inhibition of osteoclastogenesis is mediated by suppressing the RANKL-induced activation of NF-κB. However, we found that IL-4 did not block proximal, canonical NF-κB signaling. Instead, we found that IL-4 inhibited alternative NF-κB signaling and induced p105/50 expression. Interestingly, in nfκb1−/− bone marrow macrophages (BMM), the formation of both multinucleated osteoclast and MNG induced by RANKL or IL-4 respectively was impaired. This suggests that NF-κB signaling also plays an important role in IL-4-induced macrophage fusion. Indeed, we found that the RANKL-induced and IL-4-induced macrophage fusion were both inhibited by the NF-κB inhibitors IKK2 inhibitor, and NEMO inhibitory peptide. Furthermore, overexpression of p50, p65, p52 and RelB individually in nfκb1−/− or nfκb1+/+ BMM enhanced both giant osteoclast and MNG formation. Interestingly, knockdown of nfκb2 in wild type BMM dramatically enhanced both osteoclast and MNG formation. In addition, both RANKL- and IL-4-induced macrophage fusion were impaired in NIK−/− BMM. These results suggest IL-4 influences NF-κB pathways by increasing p105/p50 and suppressing RANKL-induced p52 translocation, and that NF-κB pathways participate in both RANKL- and IL-4- induced giant cell formation.
PMCID: PMC3150418  PMID: 21734075
4.  STAT6 Expression in Multiple Cell Types Mediates the Cooperative Development of Allergic Airway Disease 
Th2 cells induce asthma through the secretion of cytokines. Two such cytokines, IL-4 and IL-13, are critical mediators of many features of this disease. They both share a common receptor subunit, IL-4Rα, and signal through the STAT6 pathway. STAT6−/− mice have impaired Th2 differentiation and reduced airway response to allergen. Transferred Th2 cells were not able to elicit eosinophilia in response to OVA in STAT6−/− mice. To clarify the role of STAT6 in allergic airway inflammation, we generated mouse bone marrow (BM) chimeras. We observed little to no eosinophilia in OVA-treated STAT6−/− mice even when STAT6+/+ BM or Th2 cells were provided. However, when Th2 cells were transferred to STAT6×Rag2−/− mice, we observed an eosinophilic response to OVA. Nevertheless, the expression of STAT6 on either BM-derived cells or lung resident cells enhanced the severity of OVA-induced eosinophilia. Moreover, when both the BM donor and recipient lacked lymphocytes, transferred Th2 cells were sufficient to induce the level of eosinophilia comparable with that of wild-type (WT) mice. The expression of STAT6 in BM-derived cells was more critical for the enhanced eosinophilic response. Furthermore, we found a significantly higher number of CD4+CD25+ Foxp3+ T cells (regulatory T cells [Tregs]) in PBS- and OVA-treated STAT6−/− mouse lungs compared with that in WT animals suggesting that STAT6 limits both naturally occurring and Ag-induced Tregs. Tregs obtained from either WT or STAT6−/− mice were equally efficient in suppressing CD4+ T cell proliferation in vitro. Taken together, our studies demonstrate multiple STAT6-dependent and -independent features of allergic inflammation, which may impact treatments targeting STAT6.
PMCID: PMC3139332  PMID: 21242523
5.  An atopy-associated polymorphism in the ectodomain of the IL-4Rα chain (V50) regulates the persistence of STAT6 phosphorylation1 
Several commonly occurring polymorphisms in the IL-4Rα have been associated with atopy in humans; the Q576R and the S503P polymorphisms reside in the cytoplasmic domain, while the I50 to V (V50) polymorphism resides in the extracellular domain of the IL-4Rα. The effects of these polymorphisms on signaling remain controversial. To determine the effect of the polymorphisms on IL-4 signaling in human cells, we stably transfected the human monocytic cell line U937 with muIL-4Rα cDNA bearing the I or V at position 50 and the P503/R576 double mutant. Each form of the muIL-4Rα mediated tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT6 in response to murine IL-4 treatment similar to the induction of tyrosine phosphorylation by human IL-4 signaling through the endogenous human IL-4Rα. After IL-4 removal, tyrosine-phosphorylated STAT6 rapidly decayed in cells expressing I50 or P503R576 muIL-4Rα. In contrast, STAT6 remained significantly phosphorylated for several hours after muIL-4 withdrawal in cells expressing the V50 polymorphism. This persistence in pSTAT6 was associated with persistence in CIS mRNA expression. Blocking IL-4 signaling during the decay phase using the JAK inhibitor AG490 or the anti-IL-4Rα antibody M1 abrogated the persistence of pSTAT6 observed in the V50-IL-4Rα expressing cells. These results indicate that the V50 polymorphism promotes sustained STAT6 phosphorylation and that this process is mediated by continued engagement of the IL-4Rα suggesting enhanced responses of V50 IL-4 receptors when IL-4 is limiting.
PMCID: PMC2751580  PMID: 19592641
IL-4; STAT6; IL-4Rα; polymorphisms
6.  IRS1 is highly expressed in localized breast tumors and regulates the sensitivity of breast cancer cells to chemotherapy, while IRS2 is highly expressed in invasive breast tumors 
Cancer letters  2013;338(2):239-248.
Insulin receptor substrate (IRS) proteins have been shown to play an important role in breast cancer by differentially regulating cancer cell survival, proliferation, and motility. Furthermore, the IL-4-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of the transcription factor STAT6 was shown to protect breast cancer cells from apoptosis. Here, we analyzed human breast cancer tissues for the expression of IRS1, IRS2, STAT6, and tyrosine phosphorylated STAT6 (pSTAT6). We found that IRS1 and pSTAT6 were both highly expressed in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). On the other hand, IRS2 expression was low in DCIS, but increased significantly in relation to tumor invasiveness. We utilized cell lines with disparate IRS1 expression, MDA-MB-231, MCF7, and MCF7 cells with depleted IRS1 due to shRNA lentiviral infection, to examine the role of IRS1 and IRS2 in the responsiveness of breast cancer cells to chemotherapy. We report that high IRS1 sensitized MCF7 cells to specific chemotherapeutic agents. These results suggest that high IRS1 with low IRS2 expression may predict the effectiveness of specific types of chemotherapy in breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3761875  PMID: 23562473
Insulin receptor substrate; STAT6; Breast cancer; Chemotherapy; Cell death
7.  Dissociation of Endotoxin Tolerance and Differentiation of Alternatively Activated Macrophages1 
Endotoxin tolerance is a complex phenomenon characterized primarily by decreased production of proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and other inflammatory mediators, while other genes are induced or unchanged in expression. Endotoxin tolerance is induced by prior exposure of murine macrophages/human monocytes, experimental animals, or people to TLR ligands. Although recent studies have reported a possible relationship between endotoxin tolerance and differentiation of alternatively activated macrophages (AA-Mφ or M2), we show herein that LPS pretreatment of IL-4Rα−/− and STAT6−/− macrophages, that fail to develop into AA-Mφ, resulted in tolerance of proinflammatory cytokines as well as molecules and chemokines previously associated with AA-Mφ (e.g., arginase-1, mannose receptor, CCL2, CCL17, and CCL22). In contrast to LPS, wild-type (WT) macrophages pretreated with IL-4, the prototype inducer of AA-Mφ, did not induce endotoxin tolerance with respect to proinflammatory cytokines, AA-Mφ-associated chemokines, negative regulators, NF-κB binding and subunit composition, and MAPKs, and conversely, IL-13−/− macrophages were tolerized equivalently to WT macrophages by LPS pretreatment. Further, IL-4Rα-deficiency did not affect the reversal of endotoxin tolerance exerted by histone deacetylase inhibitor, TSA. Like WT mice, 100% of LPS-tolerized IL-4Rα-deficient mice survived LPS + D-galactosamine-induced lethal toxicity and exhibited decreased serum levels of proinflammatory cytokines and AA-Mφ-associated chemokines induced by LPS challenge when compared to non-tolerized mice. These data indicate that the signaling pathways leading to endotoxin tolerance and differentiation of AA-Mφ are dissociable.
PMCID: PMC3633613  PMID: 23543762
8.  A Potential New Target for Asthma Therapy: A Disintegrin and Metalloprotease 10 (ADAM10) involvement in murine experimental asthma 
Allergy  2011;66(9):1193-1200.
Elevated levels of CD23, a natural regulator of IgE production, have been shown to decrease the signs of lung inflammation in mice. The aim of this study was to study the involvement of ADAM10, the primary CD23 sheddase, in experimental asthma.
ADAM10 was blocked either by using mice with a B cell specific deletion of the protease or pharmacologically by intranasal administration of selective ADAM10 inhibitors. Airway hypersensitivity (AHR) and bronchoaveolar lavage fluid (BALF) eosinophilia and select BALF cytokine/chemokine levels were then determined.
Using an IgE and mast cell dependent mouse model, B cell specific ADAM10 -/- mice (C57B/6 background) exhibited decreased eosinophilia and AHR when compared to littermate controls. Treatment of C57B/6 mice with selective inhibitors of ADAM10 resulted in an even further decrease in BALF eosinophilia, as compared with the ADAM10-/- animals. Even in the Th2 selective strain, Balb/c, BALF eosinophilia was reduced from 60 to 23% respectively. In contrast when an IgE/mast cell independent model of lung inflammation was used, the B cell ADAM10-/- animals and ADAM10 inhibitor treated animals had lung inflammation levels that were similar to the controls.
These results thus show that ADAM10 is important in the progression of IgE dependent lung inflammation. The use of the inhibitor further suggested that ADAM10 was important for maintaining Th2 levels in the lung. These results thus suggest that decreasing ADAM10 activity could be beneficial in controlling asthma and possible other IgE dependent diseases.
PMCID: PMC3963393  PMID: 21557750
ADAM10; Asthma; CD23; IgE; Th2
9.  Absence of the Common Gamma Chain (γc), a Critical Component of the Type I IL-4 Receptor, Increases the Severity of Allergic Lung Inflammation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71344.
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.
PMCID: PMC3734063  PMID: 23940740
10.  Macrophages as IL-25/IL-33-Responsive Cells Play an Important Role in the Induction of Type 2 Immunity 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59441.
Type 2 immunity is essential for host protection against nematode infection but is detrimental in allergic inflammation or asthma. There is a major research focus on the effector molecules and specific cell types involved in the initiation of type 2 immunity. Recent work has implicated an important role of epithelial-derived cytokines, IL-25 and IL-33, acting on innate immune cells that are believed to be the initial sources of type 2 cytokines IL-4/IL-5/IL-13. The identities of the cell types that mediate the effects of IL-25/IL-33, however, remain to be fully elucidated. In the present study, we demonstrate that macrophages as IL-25/IL-33-responsive cells play an important role in inducing type 2 immunity using both in vitro and in vivo approaches. Macrophages produced type 2 cytokines IL-5 and IL-13 in response to the stimulation of IL-25/IL-33 in vitro, or were the IL-13-producing cells in mice administrated with exogenous IL-33 or infected with Heligmosomoides bakeri. In addition, IL-33 induced alternative activation of macrophages primarily through autocrine IL-13 activating the IL-4Rα-STAT6 pathway. Moreover, depletion of macrophages attenuated the IL-25/IL-33-induced type 2 immunity in mice, while adoptive transfer of IL-33-activated macrophages into mice with a chronic Heligmosomoides bakeri infection induced worm expulsion accompanied by a potent type 2 protective immune response. Thus, macrophages represent a unique population of the innate immune cells pivotal to type 2 immunity and a potential therapeutic target in controlling type 2 immunity-mediated inflammatory pathologies.
PMCID: PMC3607614  PMID: 23536877
11.  Cytokines in chronic respiratory diseases 
Cytokines are small, secreted proteins that control immune responses. Within the lung, they can control host responses to injuries or infection, resulting in clearance of the insult, repair of lung tissue, and return to homeostasis. Problems can arise when this response is over exuberant and/or cytokine production becomes dysregulated. In such cases, chronic and repeated inflammatory reactions and cytokine production can be established, leading to airway remodeling and fibrosis with unintended, maladaptive consequences. In this report, we describe the cytokines and molecular mechanisms behind the pathology observed in three major chronic diseases of the lung: asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pulmonary fibrosis. Overlapping mechanisms are presented as potential sites for therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC3564216  PMID: 23413371
12.  TLR2 signaling and Th2 responses drive Tannerella forsythia-induced periodontal bone loss1 
Periodontal disease (PD) is a chronic inflammation of the tooth supporting soft tissue and alveolar bone due to infection by a select group of gram negative microbes, and leads to tooth loss if untreated. Since mice deficient in CD4+ cells are resistant to infection-induced alveolar bone loss, Th cells have been implicated in bone destructive processes during PD. However, the extent to which different Th-cell subtypes play roles in pathogenesis or host protection remains to be defined, and is likely to vary depending on the dominant microorganism involved. By far the best studied periodontal microbe in PD is Porphyromonas gingivalis. Even though the gram negative anaerobe Tannerella forsythia is also a vital contributor to periodontal bone loss, almost nothing is known about immune responses to this organism. Previous studies from our laboratory have revealed that T. forsythia induces periodontal bone loss in mice, and that this bone loss depends on the bacterially-expressed BspA protein. In this study, we show that T. forsythia activates murine APCs primarily through TLR2-dependent signaling via BspA. Furthermore, T. forsythia infection causes a pronounced Th2 bias, evidenced by T cell expression of IL-5 but not IFN-γ or IL-17 in draining LN. Consistently, deficiencies in TLR2 or STAT6 result in resistance to T. forsythia-induced alveolar bone loss. Thus, TLR2 signaling and Th2 cells play pathogenic roles in T. forsythia-induced alveolar bone destruction.
PMCID: PMC3119786  PMID: 21632710
13.  Transcriptional control of rapid recall by memory CD4 T cells1 
Memory T cells are distinguished from naive T cells by their rapid production of effector cytokines, although mechanisms for this recall response remain undefined. Here, we investigated transcriptional mechanisms for rapid IFN-γ production by antigen-specific memory CD4 T cells. In naive CD4 T cells, IFN-γ production only occurred following sustained antigen activation and was associated with high expression of the T-bet transcription factor required for Th1 differentiation, and T-bet binding to the IFN-γ promoter as assessed by chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis (ChIP). By contrast, immediate IFN-γ production by antigen-stimulated memory CD4 T cells occurred in the absence of significant nuclear T-bet expression or T-bet engagement on the IFN-γ promoter. We identified rapid induction of NFκB transcriptional activity and increased engagement of NFκB on the IFN-γ promoter at rapid times following TCR stimulation of memory compared to naive CD4 T cells. Moreover, pharmacologic inhibition of NFκB activity or peptide-mediated inhibition of NFκB p50 translocation abrogated early memory T cell signaling and TCR-mediated effector function. Our results reveal a molecular mechanism for memory T cell recall through enhanced NFκB p50 activation and promoter engagement, with important implications for memory T cell modulation in vaccines, autoimmunity and transplantation.
PMCID: PMC3131107  PMID: 21642544
Memory; T cells; Cell activation; transcription; signal transduction
14.  IL-4 Engagement of the Type I IL-4 Receptor Complex Enhances Mouse Eosinophil Migration to Eotaxin-1 In Vitro 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39673.
Previous work from our laboratory demonstrated that IL-4Rα expression on a myeloid cell type was responsible for enhancement of Th2-driven eosinophilic inflammation in a mouse model of allergic lung inflammation. Subsequently, we have shown that IL-4 signaling through type I IL-4 receptors on monocytes/macrophages strongly induced activation of the IRS-2 pathway and a subset of genes characteristic of alternatively activated macrophages. The direct effect(s) of IL-4 and IL-13 on mouse eosinophils are not clear. The goal of this study was determine the effect of IL-4 and IL-13 on mouse eosinophil function.
Standard Transwell chemotaxis assay was used to assay migration of mouse eosinophils and signal transduction was assessed by Western blotting.
Here we determined that (i) mouse eosinophils express both type I and type II IL-4 receptors, (ii) in contrast to human eosinophils, mouse eosinophils do not chemotax to IL-4 or IL-13 although (iii) pre-treatment with IL-4 but not IL-13 enhanced migration to eotaxin-1. This IL-4-mediated enhancement was dependent on type I IL-4 receptor expression: γC-deficient eosinophils did not show enhancement of migratory capacity when pre-treated with IL-4. In addition, mouse eosinophils responded to IL-4 with the robust tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT6 and IRS-2, while IL-13-induced responses were considerably weaker.
The presence of IL-4 in combination with eotaxin-1 in the allergic inflammatory milieu could potentiate infiltration of eosinophils into the lungs. Therapies that block IL-4 and chemokine receptors on eosinophils might be more effective clinically in reducing eosinophilic lung inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3386270  PMID: 22761864
15.  Suppression of the Inflammatory Immune Response Prevents the Development of Chronic Biofilm Infection Due to Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus ▿  
Infection and Immunity  2011;79(12):5010-5018.
Staphylococcus aureus is a common cause of prosthetic implant infections, which can become chronic due to the ability of S. aureus to grow as a biofilm. Little is known about adaptive immune responses to these infections in vivo. We hypothesized that S. aureus elicits inflammatory Th1/Th17 responses, associated with biofilm formation, instead of protective Th2/Treg responses. We used an adapted mouse model of biofilm-mediated prosthetic implant infection to determine chronic infection rates, Treg cell frequencies, and local cytokine levels in Th1-biased C57BL/6 and Th2-biased BALB/c mice. All C57BL/6 mice developed chronic S. aureus implant infection at all time points tested. However, over 75% of BALB/c mice spontaneously cleared the infection without adjunctive therapy and demonstrated higher levels of Th2 cytokines and anti-inflammatory Treg cells. When chronic infection rates in mice deficient in the Th2 cytokine interleukin-4 (IL-4) via STAT6 mutation in a BALB/c background were assessed, the mice were unable to clear the S. aureus implant infection. Additionally, BALB/c mice depleted of Treg cells via an anti-CD25 monoclonal antibody (MAb) were also unable to clear the infection. In contrast, the C57BL/6 mice that were susceptible to infection were able to eliminate S. aureus biofilm populations on infected intramedullary pins once the Th1 and Th17 responses were diminished by MAb treatment with anti-IL-12 p40. Together, these results indicate that Th2/Treg responses are mechanisms of protection against chronic S. aureus implant infection, as opposed to Th1/Th17 responses, which may play a role in the development of chronic infection.
PMCID: PMC3232664  PMID: 21947772
16.  Adoptive transfer of IL-4Rα+ macrophages is sufficient to enhance eosinophilic inflammation in a mouse model of allergic lung inflammation 
BMC Immunology  2012;13:6.
The IL-4 receptor α (IL-4Rα) chain has a broad expression pattern and participates in IL-4 and IL-13 signaling, allowing it to influence several pathological components of allergic lung inflammation. We previously reported that IL-4Rα expression on both bone marrow-derived and non-bone marrow-derived cells contributed to the severity of allergic lung inflammation. There was a correlation between the number of macrophages expressing the IL-4Rα, CD11b, and IAd, and the degree of eosinophilia in ovalbumin challenged mice. The engagement of the IL-4Rα by IL-4 or IL-13 is able to stimulate the alternative activation of macrophages (AAM). The presence of AAM has been correlated with inflammatory responses to parasites and allergens. Therefore, we hypothesized that IL-4Rα+ AAM play an active role in allergic lung inflammation. To directly determine the role of AAM in allergic lung inflammation, M-CSF-dependent macrophages (BMM) were prepared from the bone-marrow of IL-4Rα positive and negative mice and transferred to IL-4RαxRAG2-/- mice. Wild type TH2 cells were provided exogenously.
Mice receiving IL-4Rα+/+ BMM showed a marked increase in the recruitment of eosinophils to the lung after challenge with ovalbumin as compared to mice receiving IL-4Rα-/- BMM. As expected, the eosinophilic inflammation was dependent on the presence of TH2 cells. Furthermore, we observed an increase in cells expressing F4/80 and Mac3, and the AAM marker YM1/2 in the lungs of mice receiving IL-4Rα+/+ BMM. The BAL fluid from these mice contained elevated levels of eotaxin-1, RANTES, and CCL2.
These results demonstrate that transfer of IL-4Rα + macrophages is sufficient to enhance TH2-driven, allergic inflammation. They further show that stimulation of macrophages through IL-4Rα leads to their alternative activation and positive contribution to the TH2-driven allergic inflammatory response in the lung. Since an increase in AAM and their products has been observed in patients with asthma exacerbations, these results suggest that AAM may be targeted to alleviate exacerbations.
PMCID: PMC3283450  PMID: 22292924
17.  Transfer of in vivo primed transgenic T cells supports allergic lung inflammation and FIZZ1 and Ym1 production in an IL-4Rα and STAT6 dependent manner 
BMC Immunology  2011;12:60.
CD4+ T helper type 2 (TH2) cells, their cytokines IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 and the transcription factor STAT6 are known to regulate various features of asthma including lung inflammation, mucus production and airway hyperreactivity and also drive alternative activation of macrophages (AAM). However, the precise roles played by the IL-4/IL-13 receptors and STAT6 in inducing AAM protein expression and modulating specific features of airway inflammation are still unclear. Since TH2 differentiation and activation plays a pivotal role in this disease, we explored the possibility of developing an asthma model in mice using T cells that were differentiated in vivo.
In this study, we monitored the activation and proliferation status of adoptively transferred allergen-specific naïve or in vivo primed CD4+ T cells. We found that both the naïve and in vivo primed T cells expressed similar levels of CD44 and IL-4. However, in vivo primed T cells underwent reduced proliferation in a lymphopenic environment when compared to naïve T cells. We then used these in vivo generated effector T cells in an asthma model. Although there was reduced inflammation in mice lacking IL-4Rα or STAT6, significant amounts of eosinophils were still present in the BAL and lung tissue. Moreover, specific AAM proteins YM1 and FIZZ1 were expressed by epithelial cells, while macrophages expressed only YM1 in RAG2-/- mice. We further show that FIZZ1 and YM1 protein expression in the lung was completely dependent on signaling through the IL-4Rα and STAT6. Consistent with the enhanced inflammation and AAM protein expression, there was a significant increase in collagen deposition and smooth muscle thickening in RAG2-/- mice compared to mice deficient in IL-4Rα or STAT6.
These results establish that transfer of in vivo primed CD4+ T cells can induce allergic lung inflammation. Furthermore, while IL-4/IL-13 signaling through IL-4Rα and STAT6 is essential for AAM protein expression, lung inflammation and eosinophilia are only partially dependent on this pathway. Further studies are required to identify other proteins and signaling pathways involved in airway inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3212823  PMID: 22014099
18.  Expression of neuroimmune semaphorins 4A and 4D and their receptors in the lung is enhanced by allergen and vascular endothelial growth factor 
BMC Immunology  2011;12:30.
Semaphorins were originally identified as molecules regulating a functional activity of axons in the nervous system. Sema4A and Sema4D were the first semaphorins found to be expressed on immune cells and were termed "immune semaphorins". It is known that Sema4A and Sema4D bind Tim-2 and CD72 expressed on leukocytes and PlexinD1 and B1 present on non-immune cells. These neuroimmune semaphorins and their receptors have been shown to play critical roles in many physiological and pathological processes including neuronal development, immune response regulation, cancer, autoimmune, cardiovascular, renal, and infectious diseases. However, the expression and regulation of Sema4A, Sema4D, and their receptors in normal and allergic lungs is undefined.
Allergen treatment and lung-specific vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression induced asthma-like pathologies in the murine lungs. These experimental models of allergic airway inflammation were used for the expression analysis of immune semaphorins and their receptors employing immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry techniques. We found that besides accessory-like cells, Sema4A was also detected on bronchial epithelial and smooth muscle cells, whereas Sema4D expression was high on immune cells such as T and B lymphocytes. Surprisingly, under inflammation various cell types including macrophages, lymphocytes, and granulocytes in the lung expressed Tim-2, a previously defined marker for Th2 cells. CD72 was found on lung immune, inflammatory, and epithelial cells. Bronchial epithelial cells were positive for both plexins, whereas some endothelial cells selectively expressed Plexin D1. Plexin B1 expression was also detected on lung DC. Both allergen and VEGF upregulated the expression of neuroimmune semaphorins and their receptors in the lung tissue. However, the lung tissue Sema4A-Tim2 expression was rather weak, whereas Sema4D-CD72 ligand-receptor pair was vastly upregulated by allergen. Soluble Sema4D protein was present in the lung lysates and a whole Sema4A protein plus its dimer were readily detected in the bronchoalveolar (BAL) fluids under inflammation.
This study clearly shows that neuroimmune semaphorins Sema4A and Sema4D and their receptors might serve as potential markers for the allergic airway inflammatory diseases. Our current findings pave the way for further investigations of the role of immune semaphorins in inflammation and their use as potential therapeutic targets for the inflammatory lung conditions.
PMCID: PMC3118960  PMID: 21595947
19.  Control of RSV-induced Lung Injury by Alternatively Activated Macrophages Is IL-4Rα-, TLR4-, and IFN-β-dependent 
Mucosal immunology  2010;3(3):291-300.
Severe RSV-induced bronchiolitis has been associated with a mixed “Th1” and “Th2” cytokine storm. We hypothesized that differentiation of “alternatively activated” macrophages (AA-Mϕ) would mediate resolution of RSV-induced lung injury. RSV induced IL-4 and IL-13 by murine lung and peritoneal macrophages, IL-4Rα/STAT6-dependent AA-Mϕ differentiation, and significantly enhanced inflammation in lungs of IL-4Rα−/− mice. Adoptive transfer of wild type (WT) macrophages to IL-4Rα−/− mice restored RSV-inducible AA-Mϕ phenotype and diminished lung pathology. RSV-infected TLR4−/− and IFN-β−/− macrophages and mice also failed to express AA-Mϕ markers, but exhibited sustained proinflammatory cytokine production (e.g., IL-12) in vitro and in vivo and epithelial damage in vivo. TLR4 signaling is required for PPARγ expression, a DNA-binding protein that induces AA-Mϕ genes, while IFN-β regulates IL-4, IL-13, IL-4Rα, and IL-10 expression in response to RSV. RSV-infected cotton rats treated with a COX-2 inhibitor increased expression of lung AA-Mϕ. These data suggest new treatment strategies for RSV that promote AA-Mϕ differentiation.
PMCID: PMC2875872  PMID: 20404812
20.  Lung vascular endothelial growth factor expression induces local myeloid dendritic cell activation 
Clinical immunology (Orlando, Fla.)  2009;132(3):371-384.
We previously demonstrated that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression in the murine lung increases local CD11c+ MHCII+ DC number and activation. In this study, employing a multicolor flow cytometry, we report increases in both myeloid (mDC) and plasmacytoid (pDC) DC in the lungs of VEGF transgenic (tg) compared to WT mice. Lung pDC from VEGF tg mice exhibited higher levels of activation with increased expression of MHCII and costimulatory molecules. As VEGF tg mice display an asthma-like phenotype and lung mDC play a critical role in asthmatic setting, studies were undertaken to further characterize murine lung mDC. Evaluations of sorted mDC from VEGF tg lungs demonstrated a selective upregulation of cathepsin K, MMP-8, -9, -12, and -14, and chemokine receptors as compared to those obtained from WT control mice. They also had increased VEGFR2 but downregulated VEGFR1 expression. Analysis of chemokine and regulatory cytokine expression in these cells showed an upregulation of macrophage chemotactic protein-3 (MCP-3), thymus-expressed chemokine (TECK), secondary lymphoid organ chemokine (SLC), macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC), IL-1β, IL-6, IL-12 and IL-13. The antigen (Ag) OVA-FITC uptake by lung DC and the migration of Ag-loaded DC to local lymph nodes were significantly increased in VEGF tg mice compared to WT mice. Thus, VEGF may predispose the lung to inflammation and/or repair by activating local DC. It regulates lung mDC expression of innate immunity effector molecules. The data presented here demonstrate how lung VEGF expression functionally affects local mDC for the transition from the innate response to a Th2-type inflammatory response.
PMCID: PMC2780370  PMID: 19553159
Rodent; lung; inflammation; dendritic cells; cell activation
21.  Novel Approach to Inhibit Asthma-Mediated Lung Inflammation Using Anti-CD147 Intervention1 
Extracellular cyclophilins have been well described as chemotactic factors for various leukocyte subsets. This chemotactic capacity is dependent upon interaction of cyclophilins with the cell surface signaling receptor CD147. Elevated levels of extracellular cyclophilins have been documented in several inflammatory diseases. We propose that extracellular cyclophilins, via interaction with CD147, may contribute to the recruitment of leukocytes from the periphery into tissues during inflammatory responses. In this study, we examined whether extracellular cyclophilin-CD147 interactions might influence leukocyte recruitment in the inflammatory disease allergic asthma. Using a mouse model of asthmatic inflammation, we show that 1) extracellular cyclophilins are elevated in the airways of asthmatic mice; 2) mouse eosinophils and CD4+ T cells express CD147, which is up-regulated on CD4+ T cells upon activation; 3) cyclophilins induce CD147-dependent chemotaxis of activated CD4+ T cells in vitro; 4) in vivo treatment with anti-CD147 mAb significantly reduces (by up to 50%) the accumulation of eosinophils and effector/memory CD4+ T lymphocytes, as well as Ag-specific Th2 cytokine secretion, in lung tissues; and 5) anti-CD147 treatment significantly reduces airway epithelial mucin production and bronchial hyperreactivity to methacholine challenge. These findings provide a novel mechanism whereby asthmatic lung inflammation may be reduced by targeting cyclophilin-CD147 interactions.
PMCID: PMC2855298  PMID: 16982929
22.  Francisella tularensis LVS induces Macrophage Alternative Activation As a Survival Mechanism1 
Francisella tularensis(Ft), the causative agent of tularemia, elicits a potent inflammatory response early in infection, yet persists within host macrophages and can be lethal if left unchecked. We report herein that Ft live vaccine strain (LVS) infection of murine macrophages induced TLR2-dependent expression of “alternative activation” markers that followed the appearance of “classically activated” markers. Intraperitoneal infection with Ft LVS also resulted in induction of alternatively activated macrophages (AA-Mφ). Induction of AA-Mφ by treatment of cells with rIL-4 or by infection with Ft LVS promoted replication of intracellular Ft, in contrast to classically activated (IFN-γ + LPS) macrophages that promoted intracellular killing of Ft LVS. Ft LVS failed to induce alternative activation in IL-4Rα−/− or STAT6−/− macrophages and prolonged the classical inflammatory response in these cells, resulting in intracellular killing of Ft. Treatment of macrophages with anti-IL-4 and anti-IL-13 antibody blunted Ft-induced AA-Mφ differentiation and resulted in increased expression of IL-12 p70 and decreased bacterial replication. In vivo, Ft-infected IL-4Rα−/− mice exhibited increased survival compared to WT mice. Thus, redirection of macrophage differentiation by Ft LVS from a classical to an alternative activation state enables the organism to survive at the expense of the host.
PMCID: PMC2637804  PMID: 18768873
Monocytes/macrophages; Bacterial; Tularemia; Innate Immunity; Alternative Activation
23.  Type I IL-4 Receptors Selectively Activate IRS-2 to Induce Target Gene Expression in Macrophages 
Science signaling  2008;1(51):ra17.
Although interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 participate in allergic inflammation and share a receptor subunit (IL-4Rα), differential functions for these cytokines have been reported. Therefore, we compared cells expressing type I and II IL-4 receptors with cells expressing only type II receptors for their responsiveness to these cytokines. IL-4 induced highly efficient, γC-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate 2 (IRS-2), whereas IL-13 was less effective, even when phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 (STAT6) was maximal. Only type I receptor-γC+ signaling induced efficient association of IRS-2 with p85 or GRB2. IL-4 signaling through type I receptor complexes induced more robust expression of a subset of genes associated with alternatively activated macrophages than did IL-13, despite equivalent activation of STAT6. Thus, IL-4 activates signaling pathways through the type I receptor complex, qualitatively differently from IL-13, which cooperate to induce optimal gene expression.
PMCID: PMC2739727  PMID: 19109239
24.  Molecular and structural basis of cytokine receptor pleiotropy in the Interleukin-4/13 system 
Cell  2008;132(2):259-272.
Interleukin-4 and Interleukin-13 are cytokines critical to the development of T cell-mediated humoral immune responses, which are associated with allergy and asthma, and exert their actions through three different combinations of shared receptors. Here we present the crystal structures of the complete set of Type I (IL-4Rα/γc/IL-4) and Type II (IL-4Rα/IL-13Rα1/IL-4, IL-4Rα/IL-13Rα1/IL-13) ternary signaling complexes. The Type I complex reveals a structural basis for γc’s ability to recognize six different γc-cytokines. The two Type II complexes utilize an unusual top-mounted Ig-like domain on IL-13Rα1 for a novel mode of cytokine engagement that contributes to a reversal in the IL-4 versus IL-13 ternary complex assembly sequences, which are mediated through substantially different recognition chemistries. We also show that the Type II receptor heterodimer signals with different potencies in response to IL-4 versus IL-13, and suggest that the extracellular cytokine-receptor interactions are modulating intracellular membrane-proximal signaling events.
PMCID: PMC2265076  PMID: 18243101
25.  Induction of Uteroglobin-Related Protein 2 (Ugrp2) Gene Expression by the Th2 Cytokines IL-4 and IL-131 
Uteroglobin-related proteins 1 and 2 (UGRP1 and -2) are thought to play important roles in inflammation and immunologic responses in the lung. In this study we demonstrate that IL-4 and IL-13 enhance Ugrp2 gene expression in the mouse transformed Clara cell line, mtCC, in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Addition of actinomycin D abrogated the IL-4- and IL-13-induced increase of Ugrp2 expression, demonstrating that this increase occurs at the transcriptional level. When mtCC cells were pretreated with IFN-γ before the addition of IL-4 or IL-13, IL-4- and 13-induced Ugrp2 mRNA increase was markedly decreased. IL-4 and IL-13 induced phosphorylation of STAT6 in mtCC cells, which binds to the proximal STAT-binding element (SBE) in the Ugrp2 gene promoter, leading to transcriptional activation of this gene. Mutations of the proximal SBE abrogated the binding of activated STAT6 to this site and the IL-4-induced increase in Ugrp2 gene promoter activity. IFN-γ-activated STAT1 binds to the same SBE in the Ugrp2 gene promoter to which STAT6 binds and decreases the binding of STAT6 to this site. Furthermore, an IL-4-induced increase in Ugrp2 expression was not observed in primary cultures of lung cells derived from STAT6-deficient mice. These results indicate that Ugrp2 expression is enhanced by IL-4 and IL-13 through STAT6 binding to the proximal SBE located in the Ugrp2 gene promoter.
PMCID: PMC1364478  PMID: 16237061

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