Hyperoxia leads to oxidative modification and damage of macromolecules in the respiratory tract with loss of biological functions. Given the lack of antioxidant gene induction with acute exposure to 100% oxygen, we hypothesized that clearance pathways for oxidatively modified proteins may be induced and serve in the immediate cellular response to preserve the epithelial layer. To test this, airway epithelial cells were obtained from individuals under ambient oxygen conditions and after breathing 100% oxygen for 12 h. Gene expression profiling identified induction of genes in the chaperone and proteasome-ubiquitin-conjugation pathways that together comprise an integrated cellular response to manage and degrade damaged proteins. Analyses also revealed gene expression changes associated with oxidoreductase function, cell cycle regulation, and ATP synthesis. Increased HSP70, protein ubiquitination, and intracellular ATP were validated in cells exposed to hyperoxia in vitro. Inhibition of proteasomal degradation revealed the importance of accelerated protein catabolism for energy production of cells exposed to hyperoxia. Thus, the human airway early response to hyperoxia relies predominantly upon induction of cytoprotective chaperones and the ubiquitin-proteasome–dependent protein degradation system to maintain airway homeostatic integrity.
airways; gene expression; hyperoxia; proteasome; ubiquitin
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of asthma have consistently implicated the ORM1-like 3 and gasdermin B (ORMDL3-GSDMB), IL33, IL-1 receptor–like 1 and IL-18 receptor 1 (IL1RL1-IL18R1), RAD50-IL13, thymic stromal lymphopoietin and WD repeat domain 36 region (TSLP-WDR36), and HLA-DR/DQ regions.
A GWAS of asthma was performed in a non-Hispanic white population.
A GWAS was performed in 813 Severe Asthma Research Program/Collaborative Studies on the Genetics of Asthma/Chicago Asthma Genetics Study cases and 1564 control subjects. The GWAS results were compared with those of the published GWASs of autoimmune diseases.
Multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms in the TNFAIP3 interacting protein 1 (TNIP1) gene, which interacts with TNFAIP3 and inhibits the TNF-α–induced nuclear factor κB inflammation pathway, were associated with asthma: rs1422673 (P = 3.44 × 10−7) and rs10036748 (P = 1.41 × 10−6, r2 = 0.67). rs1422673 was also associated with asthma in the published GABRIEL (P = .018) and EVE (P = 1.31 × 10−5) studies. The minor allele T of rs20541 in IL13 is the risk allele for asthma but the protective allele for psoriasis. The minor allele T of rs2395185 in HLA-DRA is the risk allele for asthma but the protective allele for ulcerative colitis. The minor allele A of rs2872507 in GSDMB is the protective allele for asthma but the risk allele for rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn disease, and ulcerative colitis. The T allele of rs10036748 in the TNIP1 gene is the minor protective allele for asthma but the minor or major risk allele for systemic lupus erythematosus and systemic sclerosis in non-Hispanic white or Chinese subjects, respectively.
Our study suggests that single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with both asthma and autoimmune diseases might have opposite effects on immunopathogenesis. (J Allergy Clin Immunol 2012;130:861-8.)
Asthma; genetics; genome-wide association study; TNFAIP3 interacting protein 1
Diagnosis and treatment of asthma are currently based on assessment of patient symptoms and physiologic tests of airway reactivity. The morbidities and costs associated with the over and/or under treatment of this common disease, as well as the growing numbers of biologically-specific targeted strategies for therapy, provide a rationale for development of biomarkers to evaluate the presence and type of inflammation in individuals with asthma in order to optimize treatment plans. Research over the past decade has identified an array of biochemical and cellular biomarkers, which reflect the heterogeneous and multiple mechanistic pathways that may lead to asthma. These mechanistic biomarkers offer hope for optimal design of therapies targeting the specific pathways that lead to inflammation. This article provides an overview of blood, urine and airway biomarkers, summarizes the pathologic pathways that they signify, and begins to describe the utility of biomarkers in the future care of patients with asthma.
asthma; biomarkers; asthma management
The IL6R SNP rs4129267 has recently been identified as an asthma susceptibility locus in subjects of European ancestry but has not been characterized with respect to asthma severity. The SNP rs4129267 is in linkage disequilibrium (r2=1) with the IL6R coding SNP rs2228145 (Asp358Ala). This IL6R coding change increases IL6 receptor shedding and promotes IL6 transsignaling.
To evaluate the IL6R SNP rs2228145 with respect to asthma severity phenotypes.
The IL6R SNP rs2228145 was evaluated in subjects of European ancestry with asthma from the Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP). Lung function associations were replicated in the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Asthma (CSGA) cohort. Serum soluble IL6 receptor (sIL6R) levels were measured in subjects from SARP. Immunohistochemistry was used to qualitatively evaluate IL6R protein expression in BAL cells and endobronchial biopsies.
The minor C allele of IL6R SNP rs2228145 was associated with lower ppFEV1 in the SARP cohort (p=0.005), the CSGA cohort (0.008), and in combined cohort analysis (p=0.003). Additional associations with ppFVC, FEV1/FVC, and PC20 were observed. The rs2228145 C allele (Ala358) was more frequent in severe asthma phenotypic clusters. Elevated serum sIL6R was associated with lower ppFEV1 (p=0.02) and lower ppFVC (p=0.008) (N=146). IL6R protein expression was observed in BAL macrophages, airway epithelium, vascular endothelium, and airway smooth muscle.
The IL6R coding SNP rs2228145 (Asp358Ala) is a potential modifier of lung function in asthma and may identify subjects at risk for more severe asthma. IL6 transsignaling may have a pathogenic role in the lung.
soluble interleukin 6 receptor; sIL6R; interleukin 6; IL6; asthma; pulmonary lung function; severe asthma; IL6 transsignaling; genetic variation; SNP rs2228145
Pulmonary arterial hypertension is characterized by vascular remodeling associated with obliteration of pulmonary arterioles and formation of plexiform lesions comprised of hyperproliferative endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells. Here, we describe a novel, microRNA-dependent association between APLN and FGF2 pathways in the pulmonary artery endothelial cells (PAECs), where disruption of APLN signaling results in a robust increase in FGF2 expression. We show that this link is mediated by two microRNAs, miR-424 and miR-503, that are regulated by APLN and significantly downregulated in PAH. MiR-424 and miR-503 exert anti-proliferative effects by targeting FGF2 and FGFR1. Overexpression of miR-424 and miR-503 in PAECs promoted cellular quiescence and inhibited the capacity of PAEC conditioned media to induce proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells. We show that reconstitution of miR-424 and miR-503 can ameliorate pulmonary hypertension in experimental models. These studies demonstrate the importance of APLN-miR-424/503-FGF axis in maintaining pulmonary vascular homeostasis.
Pulmonary endothelial functions are critical to maintain the low pressure of the pulmonary circulation and effective diffusion capacity of the lung. To investigate pulmonary endothelial cell biology in healthy or diseased lungs, we developed methods to harvest and culture pure populations of primary pulmonary arterial endothelial cells and microvascular endothelial cells from human lung explanted at time of transplantation or from donor lungs not used in transplantation. The purity and characteristics of cultured endothelial cells is ascertained by morphologic criteria using phase contrast and electron microscopy; phenotypic expression profile for endothelial specific proteins such as endothelial nitric oxide synthase, platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule, and von Willbrand factor; and endothelial function assays such as Dil-acetylated low-density lipoprotein uptake and tube formation. This detailed method provides researchers with the ability to establish cells for molecular, genetic, and biochemical investigation of human pulmonary vascular diseases.
lung; endothelium; smooth muscle cells; microvascular cells; pulmonary hypertension
This review summarizes published information on levels of nitric oxide gas (NO) in the lungs and NO-derived liquid phase molecules in the acclimatization of visitors newly arrived at altitudes of 2500m or more and adaptation of populations whose ancestors arrived thousands of years ago. Studies of acutely exposed visitors to high altitude focus on the first 24–48 hours with just a few extending to days or weeks. Among healthy visitors, NO levels in the lung, plasma and/or red blood cells fell within three hours, but then returned toward baseline or slightly higher by 48 hours, and increased above baseline by 5 days. Among visitors ill with high-altitude pulmonary edema at the time of the study or in the past, NO levels were lower than their healthy counterparts. As for highland populations, Tibetans had NO levels in the lung, plasma and red blood cells that were at least double and in some cases orders of magnitude greater than other populations regardless of altitude. Red blood cell associated nitrogen oxides were more than two hundred times higher. Other highland populations had generally higher levels although not to the degree showed by Tibetans. Overall, responses of those acclimatized and those presumed to be adapted are in the same direction although the Tibetans have much larger responses. Missing are long-term data on lowlanders at altitude showing how similar they become to the Tibetan phenotype. Also missing are data on Tibetans at low altitude to see the extent to which their phenotype is a response to the immediate environment or expressed constitutively. The mechanisms causing the visitors’ and the Tibetans’ high levels of NO and NO-derived molecules at altitude remain unknown. Limited data suggest processes including hypoxic upregulation of NO synthase gene expression, hemoglobin-NO reactions and genetic variation. Gains in understanding will require integrating appropriate methods and measurement techniques with indicators of adaptive function under hypoxic stress.
Acclimatization; adaptation; nitric oxide; hypoxia; altitude; Tibetan; pulmonary artery pressure; high-altitude pulmonary edema
Iron homeostasis influences the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) associated with hypoxia or hematologic disorders. To investigate whether severity of idiopathic PAH (IPAH) is impacted by alterations in iron metabolism, we assessed iron metabolic markers, including levels of Zinc-protoporphyrin (Zn-pp), transferrin receptor, and red blood cell numbers and morphology in IPAH, associated PAH (APAH) and sleep apnea induced pulmonary hypertension (PH) patients in comparison to healthy controls and asthmatics. Despite similarly normal measures of iron metabolism, Zn-pp levels in IPAH and sleep apnea patients were elevated ~2-fold, indicating deficient iron incorporation to form heme and levels were closely related to measures of disease severity. Consistent with high Zn-PP, PAH patients had increased red cell distribution width (RDW). In an expanded cohort including patients with IPAH and familial disease (FPAH) the RDW was validated and related to clinical parameters of severity, including pulmonary artery pressures and 6 minute walk distances. These results reveal an increased prevalence of subclinical functional iron deficiency in primary forms of PAH that is quantitatively related to disease severity. This suggests that altered iron homeostasis influences disease progression and demonstrates the importance of closely monitoring iron status in PAH patients.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP) has characterized over the past 10 years 1,644 patients with asthma, including 583 individuals with severe asthma. SARP collaboration has led to a rapid recruitment of subjects and efficient sharing of samples among participating sites to conduct independent mechanistic investigations of severe asthma. Enrolled SARP subjects underwent detailed clinical, physiologic, genomic, and radiological evaluations. In addition, SARP investigators developed safe procedures for bronchoscopy in participants with asthma, including those with severe disease. SARP studies revealed that severe asthma is a heterogeneous disease with varying molecular, biochemical, and cellular inflammatory features and unique structure–function abnormalities. Priorities for future studies include recruitment of a larger number of subjects with severe asthma, including children, to allow further characterization of anatomic, physiologic, biochemical, and genetic factors related to severe disease in a longitudinal assessment to identify factors that modulate the natural history of severe asthma and provide mechanistic rationale for management strategies.
asthma; remodeling; inflammation; bronchoscopy; imaging
asthma genetics; atopy; C11orf30; LRRC32; total serum IgE levels
Reduced gas transfer in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is traditionally attributed to remodeling and progressive loss of pulmonary arterial vasculature that results in decreased capillary blood volume available for gas exchange.
We tested this hypothesis by determination of lung diffusing capacity (DL) and its components, the alveolar capillary membrane diffusing capacity (Dm) and lung capillary blood volume (Vc) in 28 individuals with PAH in comparison to 41 healthy individuals, and in 19 PAH patients over time. Using single breath simultaneous measure of diffusion of carbon monoxide (DLCO) and nitric oxide (DLNO), DL and Dm were respectively determined, and Vc calculated. Dm and Vc were evaluated over time in relation to standard clinical indicators of disease severity, including brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) and right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) by echocardiography.
Both DLCO and DLNO were reduced in PAH as compared to controls and the lower DL in PAH was due to loss of both Dm and Vc (all p < 0.01). While DLCO of PAH patients did not change over time, DLNO decreased by 24 ml/min/mmHg/year (p = 0.01). Consequently, Dm decreased and Vc tended to increase over time, which led to deterioration of the Dm/Vc ratio, a measure of alveolar-capillary membrane functional efficiency without changes in clinical markers.
The findings indicate that lower than normal gas transfer in PAH is due to loss of both Dm and Vc, but that deterioration of Dm/Vc over time is related to worsening membrane diffusion.
Membrane diffusion; Pulmonary arterial hypertension; Lung capillary blood volume
Survival rates for patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH) remain low, and our understanding of the mechanisms involved are incomplete. Here we show in a mouse model of chronic hypoxia (CH)-induced PH that the nuclear protein and damage-associate molecular pattern molecule (DAMP) high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) contributes to PH via a Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-dependent mechanism. We demonstrate extranuclear HMGB1 in pulmonary vascular lesions and increased serum HMGB1 in patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. The increase in circulating HMGB1 correlated with mean pulmonary artery pressure. In mice, we similarly detected the translocation and release of HMGB1 after exposure to CH. HMGB1-neutralizing antibody attenuated the development of CH-induced PH, as assessed by measurement of right ventricular systolic pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy, pulmonary vascular remodeling and endothelial activation and inflammation. Genetic deletion of the pattern recognition receptor TLR4, but not the receptor for advanced glycation end products, likewise attenuated CH-induced PH. Finally, daily treatment of mice with recombinant human HMGB1 exacerbated CH-induced PH in wild-type (WT) but not Tlr4−/− mice. These data demonstrate that HMGB1-mediated activation of TLR4 promotes experimental PH and identify HMGB1 and/or TLR4 as potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of PH.
Rationale: Heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension (HPAH) is primarily caused by mutations of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) type-II receptor (BMPR2). Recent identification of mutations in the downstream mediator Smad-8 (gene, SMAD9) was surprising, because loss of Smad-8 function in canonical BMP signaling is largely compensated by Smad-1 and -5. We therefore hypothesized that noncanonical pathways may play an important role in PAH.
Objectives: To determine whether HPAH mutations disrupt noncanonical Smad-mediated microRNA (miR) processing.
Methods: Expression of miR-21, miR-27a, and miR-100 was studied in pulmonary artery endothelial (PAEC) and pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMC) from explant lungs of patients with PAH.
Measurements and Main Results: SMAD9 mutation completely abrogated miR induction, whereas canonical signaling was only reduced by one-third. miR-21 levels actually decreased, suggesting that residual canonical signaling uses up or degrades existing miR-21. BMPR2 mutations also led to loss of miR induction in two of three cases. HPAH cells proliferated faster than other PAH or controls. miR-21 and miR-27a each showed antiproliferative effects in PAEC and PASMC, and PAEC growth rate after BMP treatment correlated strongly with miR-21 fold-change. Overexpression of SMAD9 corrected miR processing and reversed the hyperproliferative phenotype.
Conclusions: HPAH-associated mutations engender a primary defect in noncanonical miR processing, whereas canonical BMP signaling is partially maintained. Smad-8 is essential for this miR pathway and its loss was not complemented by Smad-1 and -5; this may represent the first nonredundant role for Smad-8. Induction of miR-21 and miR-27a may be a critical component of BMP-induced growth suppression, loss of which likely contributes to vascular cell proliferation in HPAH.
bone morphogenetic protein signaling; mutation; endothelium; smooth muscle
Asthma, a chronic inflammatory disease is typically characterized by bronchoconstriction and airway hyper-reactivity. A wealth of studies applying chemistry, molecular and cell biology to animal model systems and human asthma over the last decade have revealed that asthma is associated with increased synthesis of the gaseous molecule nitric oxide (NO). The high NO levels in the oxidative environment of the asthmatic airway lead to greater formation of reactive nitrogen species (RNS) and subsequent oxidation and nitration of proteins, which adversely affect protein functions that are biologically relevant to chronic inflammation. In contrast to the high levels of NO and nitrated products, there are lower levels of beneficial S-nitrosothiols (RSNO), which mediate bronchodilation, due to greater enzymatic catabolism of RSNO in the asthmatic airways. This review discusses the rapidly accruing data linking metabolic products of NO as critical determinants in the chronic inflammation and airway reactivity of asthma.
Imaging of the lungs in patients with asthma has evolved dramatically over the last decade with sophisticated techniques, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). New insights into current and future modalities for imaging in asthma and their application are discussed to potentially shed a clearer picture of the underlying pathophysiology of asthma, especially severe asthma, and the proposed clinical utility of imaging in this common disease.
asthma; imaging; CT chest; MRI
Measurement of biomarkers has been incorporated within clinical research studies of asthma to characterize the population and associate the disease with environmental and therapeutic effects.
National Institutes of Health institutes and federal agencies convened an expert group to propose which biomarkers should be assessed as standardized asthma outcomes in future clinical research studies.
We conducted a comprehensive search of the literature to identify studies that developed and/or tested asthma biomarkers. We identified biomarkers relevant to the underlying disease process progression and response to treatment. We classified the biomarkers as either core (required in future studies), supplemental (used according to study aims and standardized), or emerging (requiring validation and standardization). This work was discussed at an National Institutes of Health–organized workshop convened in March 2010 and finalized in September 2011.
Ten measures were identified; only 1, multiallergen screening to define atopy, is recommended as a core asthma outcome. Complete blood counts to measure total eosinophils, fractional exhaled nitric oxide (Feno), sputum eosinophils, urinary leukotrienes, and total and allergen-specific IgE are recommended as supplemental measures. Measurement of sputum polymorphonuclear leukocytes and other analytes, cortisol measures, airway imaging, breath markers, and system-wide studies (eg, genomics, proteomics) are considered as emerging outcome measures.
The working group participants propose the use of multiallergen screening in all asthma clinical trials to characterize study populations with respect to atopic status. Blood, sputum, and urine specimens should be stored in biobanks, and standard procedures should be developed to harmonize sample collection for clinical trial biorepositories.
Multiallergen screen; fractional exhaled nitric oxide; sputum eosinophils; total eosinophils; IgE; urinary leukotriene E4
Investigative bronchoscopy was performed in a subset of participants in the Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP) to gain insights into the pathobiology of severe disease. We evaluated the safety aspects of this procedure in this cohort with specific focus on patients with severe asthma.
To prospectively evaluate changes in lung function and the frequency of adverse events related to investigative bronchoscopy.
Bronchoscopy was performed using a common Manual of Procedures. A subset of very severe asthma was defined by severe airflow obstruction, chronic oral corticosteroid use and recent asthma exacerbations. Subjects were monitored for changes in lung function and contacted by telephone for 3 days after the procedure.
436 subjects underwent bronchoscopy (97 normal, 196 not severe, 102 severe and 41 very severe asthma). Nine subjects were evaluated in hospital settings after bronchoscopy; seven of these were respiratory related events. Recent Emergency Department visits, chronic oral corticosteroid use and a history of pneumonia were more frequent in subjects who had asthma exacerbations after bronchoscopy. The fall in FEV1 following bronchoscopy was similar in the severe compared to milder asthma group. Pre-bronchodilator FEV1 was the strongest predictor of change in FEV1 after bronchoscopy with larger decreases observed in subjects with better lung function.
Bronchoscopy in severe asthma subjects was well tolerated. Asthma exacerbations were rare and reduction in pulmonary function after the procedure was similar to subjects with less severe asthma. With proper precautions, investigative bronchoscopy can be performed safely in severe asthma.
investigative bronchoscopy; safety; severe asthma; exacerbation
Pulmonary arterioles respond to hypoxia with constriction that raises vascular resistance and pulmonary artery blood pressure. The response is sustained indefinitely by the chronic hypoxia of high-altitude residence among highlanders of European and Andean descent, but not Tibetans. The objective of this study was to identify the consequences of lifelong hypoxia exposure for the pulmonary vasculature among Amhara high-altitude natives from Ethiopia.
A three-way static group comparison tested for the effect of Amhara ancestry and high residence altitude on pulmonary hemodynamics measured using echocardiography in samples of 76 healthy adult Amhara lifelong residents at 3700m, 54 Amhara lifelong residents at 1200m, and 46 U.S. low-altitude residents at 282m.
Amhara at 3700m had average Doppler-estimated pulmonary artery systolic pressure (tricuspid regurgitant gradient) of 27.9 ± 8.4 (SD) mmHg as compared with 21.9 ± 4.0 among Amhara at low altitude and 16.5 ± 3.6 in the U.S. low-altitude reference sample. However, there was no residence altitude effect on pulmonary blood flow or vascular resistance. Amhara ancestry was associated with greater pulmonary artery systolic pressure and pulmonary blood flow, yet lower pulmonary vascular resistance.
The Amhara at 3700m had elevated pulmonary artery pressure, but without the elevated pulmonary vascular resistance characteristic of the classic model of the response to long-term hypoxia by the pulmonary vasculature. The elevated pressure among Amhara may be a consequence of high pulmonary blood flow regardless of altitude and represent a newly identified pattern of response.
hypoxia; pulmonary circulation; angiotensin converting enzyme genotype
Two recent large meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies of lung function in general populations of European descent identified 11 candidate genes/regions. The importance of these genes in lung function in whites and African Americans with asthma is unknown.
To determine if genes that regulate lung function in general populations are associated with lung function abnormalities in subjects with asthma from different racial groups.
SNPs were tested in five asthma populations (n = 1,441) for association with pulmonary function and meta-analysis was performed across populations. The SNPs with the highest significance were then tested for association with bronchodilator reversibility and bronchial hyperresponsiveness to methacholine (BHR). A joint analysis of consistently replicated SNPs was performed to predict lung function in asthma.
Hedgehog interacting protein (HHIP) on chromosome 4q31 was associated with lung function in all five populations, rs1512288: Pmeta = 9.62E-05 and 3.23E-05 for ppFEV1 and ppFVC, respectively. The SNPs in HHIP were also associated with reversibility (P < 0.05) but not BHR. Because of differences in linkage disequilibrium in the African-American subjects, the most relevant SNPs in HHIP were identified. A subset of normal lung function genes, including HHIP, family with sequence similarity 13, member A (FAM13A), and patched homolog 1 (PTCH1), together predict lung function abnormalities, a measure of severity in whites and African Americans with asthma.
A subset of the genes, including HHIP, which regulate lung function in general populations are associated with abnormal lung function in asthma in non-Hispanic whites and African Americans.
Asthma; Genetics; Asthma severity; Meta-analysis; FEV1; FVC; FEV1/FVC; HHIP; FAM13A; PTCH1
Studies of asthma phenotypes have identified obesity as a component of a group characterized by a high proportion of adult-onset asthmatics. However, whether age of asthma onset modifies the association between obesity and asthma is unknown.
From the Severe Asthma Project (SARP), we defined age of asthma onset as early (before 12 years of age) and late-onset (12 and higher). Comparisons of body mass index (BMI) categories were done within age of onset groups and obesity was also compared across these groups. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was done to evaluate the association between BMI categories with healthcare utilization and respiratory symptoms and multivariable linear regression for the association between duration of asthma and weight gain (BMI change/yr). An interaction between obesity and age of asthma onset was included in the multivariable analyses.
The study population consisted on 1,049 subjects of which the median age for asthma onset was 10 years (IQR 4 – 25); 48% were late-onset (≥ 12) and 52% were early-onset (<12). Compared to late-onset obese asthmatics, early-onset obese asthmatics had more airway obstruction, bronchial hyperresponsiveness, and higher OR of ever having 3 or more oral steroid tapers preceding/year or ICU admissions for asthma/preceding year (Interactions between obesity and age of asthma onset were respectively p=0.055 and p=0.02). In early-onset, but not in late-onset asthmatics, there was a significant association between increasing BMI and duration of asthma, after adjusting for confounders. The interaction between asthma duration and age of asthma onset was p < 0.01.
Asthmatics are differentially affected by obesity, based on whether they developed asthma early (<12 years) or later in life. These results highlight the need to understand obesity as a comorbidity that affects specific clinical phenotypes and not all asthma subjects alike.
Severe; asthma; obesity; SARP
To determine the usefulness of urinary bromotyrosine, a noninvasive marker of eosinophil-catalyzed protein oxidation, in tracking with indexes of asthma control and in predicting future asthma exacerbations in children.
Children with asthma were recruited consecutively at the time of clinic visit. Urine was obtained, along with spirometry, exhaled nitric oxide, and Asthma Control Questionnaire data. Follow-up phone calls were made 6 weeks after enrollment.
Fifty-seven participants were enrolled. Urinary bromotyrosine levels tracked significantly with indexes of asthma control as assessed by Asthma Control Questionnaire scores at baseline (R = 0.38, P = .004) and follow-up (R = 0.39, P = .008). Participants with high baseline levels of bromotyrosine were 18.1-fold (95% CI 2.1–153.1, P = .0004) more likely to have inadequately controlled asthma and 4.0-fold more likely (95% CI 1.1–14.7, P = .03) to have an asthma exacerbation (unexpected emergency department visit; doctor’s appointment or phone call; oral or parenteral corticosteroid burst; acute asthma-related respiratory symptoms) over the ensuing 6 weeks. Exhaled nitric oxide levels did not track with Asthma Control Questionnaire data; and immunoglobulin E, eosinophil count, spirometry, and exhaled nitric oxide levels failed to predict asthma exacerbations.
Urinary bromotyrosine tracks with asthma control and predicts the risk of future asthma exacerbations in children.
Rationale: Severe asthma (SA) remains poorly understood. Mast cells (MC) are implicated in asthma pathogenesis, but it remains unknown how their phenotype, location, and activation relate to asthma severity.
Objectives: To compare MC-related markers measured in bronchoscopically obtained samples with clinically relevant parameters between normal subjects and subjects with asthma to clarify their pathobiologic importance.
Methods: Endobronchial biopsies, epithelial brushings, and bronchoalveolar lavage were obtained from subjects with asthma and normal subjects from the Severe Asthma Research Program (N = 199). Tryptase, chymase, and carboxypeptidase A (CPA)3 were used to identify total MC (MCTot) and the MCTC subset (MCs positive for both tryptase and chymase) using immunostaining and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Lavage was analyzed for tryptase and prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) by ELISA.
Measurements and Main Results: Submucosal MCTot (tryptase-positive by immunostaining) numbers were highest in “mild asthma/no inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy” subjects and decreased with greater asthma severity (P = 0.002). In contrast, MCTC (chymase-positive by immunostaining) were the predominant (MCTC/MCTot > 50%) MC phenotype in SA (overall P = 0.005). Epithelial MCTot were also highest in mild asthma/no ICS, but were not lower in SA. Instead, they persisted and were predominantly MCTC. Epithelial CPA3 and tryptase mRNA supported the immunostaining data (overall P = 0.008 and P = 0.02, respectively). Lavage PGD2 was higher in SA than in other steroid-treated groups (overall P = 0.02), whereas tryptase did not differentiate the groups. In statistical models, PGD2 and MCTC/MCTot predicted SA.
Conclusions: Severe asthma is associated with a predominance of MCTC in the airway submucosa and epithelium. Activation of those MCTC may contribute to the increases in PGD2 levels. The data suggest an altered and active MC population contributes to SA pathology.
prostaglandin D2; chymase; carboxypeptidase A
Rationale: Vascular remodeling in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) involves proliferation and migration of endothelial and smooth muscle cells, leading to obliterative vascular lesions. Previous studies have indicated that the endothelial cell proliferation is quasineoplastic, with evidence of monoclonality and instability of short DNA microsatellite sequences.
Objectives: To assess whether there is larger-scale genomic instability.
Methods: We performed genome-wide microarray copy number analysis on pulmonary artery endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells isolated from the lungs of patients with PAH.
Measurements and Main Results: Mosaic chromosomal abnormalities were detected in PAEC cultures from five of nine PAH lungs but not in normal (n = 8) or disease control subjects (n = 5). Fluorescent in situ hybridization analysis confirmed the presence of these abnormalities in vivo in two of three cases. One patient harbored a germline mutation of BMPR2, the primary genetic cause of PAH, and somatic loss of chromosome-13, which constitutes a second hit in the same pathway by deleting Smad-8. In two female subjects with mosaic loss of the X chromosome, methylation analysis showed that the active X was deleted. One subject also showed completely skewed X-inactivation in the nondeleted cells, suggesting the pulmonary artery endothelial cell population was clonal before the acquisition of the chromosome abnormality.
Conclusions: Our data indicate a high frequency of genetically abnormal subclones within PAH lung vessels and provide the first definitive evidence of a second genetic hit in a patient with a germline BMPR2 mutation. We propose that these chromosome abnormalities may confer a growth advantage and thus contribute to the progression of PAH.
endothelium; somatic genetics; chromosome deletion
Proliferative pulmonary vascular remodeling is the pathologic hallmark of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) that ultimately leads to right heart failure and death. Highly proliferative endothelial cells known as endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFC) participate in vascular homeostasis in health as well as in pathological angiogenic remodeling in disease. ECFC are distinguished by the capacity to clonally proliferate from a single cell. The presence of ECFC in the human pulmonary arteries and their role in PAH pathogenesis is largely unknown. In this study, we established a simple technique for isolating and growing ECFC from cultured pulmonary artery endothelial cells (PAEC) to test the hypothesis that ECFC reside in human pulmonary arteries and that the proliferative vasculopathy of PAH is related to greater numbers and/or more proliferative ECFC in the pulmonary vascular wall. Flow cytometric forward and side scatter properties and aggregate correction were utilized to sort unmanipulated, single PAEC to enumerate ECFC in primary PAEC cultures derived from PAH and healthy lungs. After 2 weeks, wells were assessed for ECFC formation. ECFC derived from PAH PAEC were more proliferative than control. A greater proportion of PAH ECFC formed colonies following subculturing, demonstrating the presence of more ECFC with high proliferative potential among PAH PAEC. Human androgen receptor assay showed clonality of progeny, confirming that proliferative colonies were single cell-derived. ECFC expressed CD31, von Willebrand factor, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, caveolin-1 and CD34, consistent with an endothelial cell phenotype. We established a simple flow cytometry method that allows ECFC quantification using unmanipulated cells. We conclude that ECFC reside among PAEC and that PAH PAEC contain ECFC that are more proliferative than ECFC in control cultures, which likely contributes to the proliferative angiopathic process in PAH.
endothelium; endothelial colony forming cell; endothelial progenitor cell; pulmonary arterial hypertension; angiogenesis
Eosinophilic inflammation is closely related to angiogenesis in asthmatic airway remodeling. In ovalbumin-sensitized mice, bone marrow-derived pro-angiogenic endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are rapidly recruited into the lungs after ovalbumin aerosol challenge, and promptly followed by mobilization and recruitment of eosinophils.
We hypothesized that bone marrow-derived EPCs initiate the recruitment of eosinophils through expression of eosinophil chemoattractant eotaxin-1.
EPCs were isolated from ovalbumin murine model of allergic airway inflammation and from asthma patients. Endothelial and smooth muscle cells were isolated from mice. Eotaxin-1 expression was analyzed by immunofluorescence, real-time PCR or by ELISA. In vivo recruitment of eosinophils by EPCs was analyzed in mice.
Circulating EPCs of asthmatic individuals had higher levels of eotaxin-1 as compared to controls. In the murine model, ovalbumin allergen exposure augmented eotaxin-1 mRNA and protein levels in EPCs. The EPCs from ovalbumin-sensitized and challenged mice released high levels of eotaxin-1 upon contact with lung endothelial cells from sensitized and challenged mice, but not from control animals, and not upon contact with cardiac or hepatic endothelial cells from sensitized and challenged mice. Intranasal administration of the eotaxin-rich media overlying cultures of EPCs caused recruitment into lungs, confirming functional chemoattractant activity.
Bone marrow-derived EPCs are early responders to environmental allergen exposures, and initiate a parallel switch to a pro-angiogenic and pro-eosinophilic environment in the asthmatic lungs.
eosinophils; allergy; airway inflammation; angiogenesis; bone marrow; eotaxin