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1.  Expression and activation of the oxytocin receptor in airway smooth muscle cells: Regulation by TNFα and IL-13 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):104.
Background
During pregnancy asthma may remain stable, improve or worsen. The factors underlying the deleterious effect of pregnancy on asthma remain unknown. Oxytocin is a neurohypophyseal protein that regulates a number of central and peripheral responses such as uterine contractions and milk ejection. Additional evidence suggests that oxytocin regulates inflammatory processes in other tissues given the ubiquitous expression of the oxytocin receptor. The purpose of this study was to define the role of oxytocin in modulating human airway smooth muscle (HASMCs) function in the presence and absence of IL-13 and TNFα, cytokines known to be important in asthma.
Method
Expression of oxytocin receptor in cultured HASMCs was performed by real time PCR and flow cytomery assays. Responses to oxytocin was assessed by fluorimetry to detect calcium signals while isolated tracheal rings and precision cut lung slices (PCLS) were used to measure contractile responses. Finally, ELISA was used to compare oxytocin levels in the bronchoalveloar lavage (BAL) samples from healthy subjects and those with asthma.
Results
PCR analysis demonstrates that OXTR is expressed in HASMCs under basal conditions and that both interleukin (IL)-13 and tumor necrosis factor (TNFα) stimulate a time-dependent increase in OXTR expression at 6 and 18 hr. Additionally, oxytocin increases cytosolic calcium levels in fura-2-loaded HASMCs that were enhanced in cells treated for 24 hr with IL-13. Interestingly, TNFα had little effect on oxytocin-induced calcium response despite increasing receptor expression. Using isolated murine tracheal rings and PCLS, oxytocin also promoted force generation and airway narrowing. Further, oxytocin levels are detectable in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid derived from healthy subjects as well as from those with asthma.
Conclusion
Taken together, we show that cytokines modulate the expression of functional oxytocin receptors in HASMCs suggesting a potential role for inflammation-induced changes in oxytocin receptor signaling in the regulation of airway hyper-responsiveness in asthma.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-11-104
PMCID: PMC2922094  PMID: 20670427
2.  Long-term activation of TLR3 by Poly(I:C) induces inflammation and impairs lung function in mice 
Respiratory Research  2009;10(1):43.
Background
The immune mechanisms associated with infection-induced disease exacerbations in asthma and COPD are not fully understood. Toll-like receptor (TLR) 3 has an important role in recognition of double-stranded viral RNA, which leads to the production of various inflammatory mediators. Thus, an understanding of TLR3 activation should provide insight into the mechanisms underlying virus-induced exacerbations of pulmonary diseases.
Methods
TLR3 knock-out (KO) mice and C57B6 (WT) mice were intranasally administered repeated doses of the synthetic double stranded RNA analog poly(I:C).
Results
There was a significant increase in total cells, especially neutrophils, in BALF samples from poly(I:C)-treated mice. In addition, IL-6, CXCL10, JE, KC, mGCSF, CCL3, CCL5, and TNFα were up regulated. Histological analyses of the lungs revealed a cellular infiltrate in the interstitium and epithelial cell hypertrophy in small bronchioles. Associated with the pro-inflammatory effects of poly(I:C), the mice exhibited significant impairment of lung function both at baseline and in response to methacholine challenge as measured by whole body plethysmography and an invasive measure of airway resistance. Importantly, TLR3 KO mice were protected from poly(I:C)-induced changes in lung function at baseline, which correlated with milder inflammation in the lung, and significantly reduced epithelial cell hypertrophy.
Conclusion
These findings demonstrate that TLR3 activation by poly(I:C) modulates the local inflammatory response in the lung and suggest a critical role of TLR3 activation in driving lung function impairment. Thus, TLR3 activation may be one mechanism through which viral infections contribute toward exacerbation of respiratory disease.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-10-43
PMCID: PMC2694181  PMID: 19486528
3.  The effect of IL-13 and IL-13R130Q, a naturally occurring IL-13 polymorphism, on the gene expression of human airway smooth muscle cells 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):9.
Background
Growing evidence shows that interleukin 13 (IL-13) may play an essential role in the development of airway inflammation and bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR), two defining features of asthma. Although the underlying mechanisms remain unknown, a number of reports have shown that IL-13 may exert its deleterious effects in asthma by directly acting on airway resident cells, including epithelial cells and airway smooth muscle cells. In this report, we hypothesize that IL-13 may participate in the pathogenesis of asthma by activating a set of "pro-asthmatic" genes in airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells.
Methods
Microarray technology was used to study the modulation of gene expression of airway smooth muscle by IL-13 and IL-13R130Q. TaqMan™ Real Time PCR and flow cytometry was used to validate the gene array data.
Results
IL-13 and the IL-13 polymorphism IL-13R130Q (Arg130Gln), recently associated with allergic asthma, seem to modulate the same set of genes, which encode many potentially interesting proteins including vascular cellular adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1, IL-13Rα2, Tenascin C and Histamine Receptor H1, that may be relevant for the pathogenesis of asthma.
Conclusions
The data supports the hypothesis that gene modulation by IL-13 in ASM may be essential for the events leading to the development of allergic asthma.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-6-9
PMCID: PMC548512  PMID: 15661077
4.  Anti-TNF-α antibody allows healing of joint damage in polyarthritic transgenic mice 
Arthritis Research  2002;4(5):R7.
Anti-tumor-necrosis-factor-α (TNF-α) monoclonal antibody was used to treat Tg197 transgenic mice, which constitutively produce human TNF-α (hTNF-α) and develop a progressive polyarthritic disease. Treatment of both young (7- or 8-week-old) and aged (27- or 28-week-old) mice commenced when at least two limbs showed signs of moderate to severe arthritis. The therapeutic efficacy of anti-TNF-α antibody was assessed using various pathological indicators of disease progression. The clinical severity of arthritis in Tg197 mice was significantly reduced after anti-TNF-α treatment in comparison with saline-treated mice and in comparison with baseline assessments in both young and aged mice. The treatment with anti-TNF-α prevented loss of body weight. Inflammatory pathways as reflected by elevated circulating hTNF-α and local expression of various proinflammatory mediators were all diminished by anti-TNF-α treatment, confirming a critical role of hTNF-α in this model of progressive polyarthritis. More importantly, the amelioration of the disease was associated with reversal of existing structural damage, including synovitis and periosteal bone erosions evident on histology. Repair of cartilage was age dependent: reversal of cartilage degradation after anti-TNF-α treatment was observed in young mice but not in aged mice.
doi:10.1186/ar430
PMCID: PMC125301  PMID: 12223110
antibody; animal models; cytokines; rheumatoid arthritis; tumor necrosis factor alpha

Results 1-4 (4)