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1.  Profile of fluticasone furoate/vilanterol dry powder inhaler combination therapy as a potential treatment for COPD 
Currently, there is no cure for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The limited efficacy of current therapies for COPD indicates a pressing need to develop new treatments to prevent the progression of the disease, which consumes a significant amount of health care resources and is an important cause of mortality worldwide. Current national and international guidelines for the management of stable COPD patients recommend the use of inhaled long-acting bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids, and their combination for maintenance treatment of moderate to severe stable COPD. Once-daily fluticasone furoate/vilanterol dry powder inhaler combination therapy has recently been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency as a new regular treatment for patients with stable COPD. Fluticasone furoate/vilanterol dry powder inhaler combination therapy has been shown to be effective in many controlled clinical trials involving thousands of patients in the regular treatment of stable COPD. This is the first once-daily combination of ultra-long-acting inhaled β2-agonists and inhaled glucocorticoids that is available for the treatment of stable COPD and has great potential to improve compliance to long-term regular inhaled therapy and hence to improve the natural history and prognosis of COPD patients.
PMCID: PMC3940640  PMID: 24596460
COPD; LABA; ULABA; ICS; bronchodilator; new drugs
2.  Correction: Cigarette Smoke Induced Airway Inflammation Is Independent of NF-κB Signalling 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):10.1371/annotation/754d7b19-2dac-479b-a23c-db9fed0431be.
PMCID: PMC3806935  PMID: 24204478
3.  Probiotics in the Management of Lung Diseases 
Mediators of Inflammation  2013;2013:751068.
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.
PMCID: PMC3662166  PMID: 23737654
4.  Inhibition of CD73 improves B cell-mediated anti-tumor immunity in a mouse model of melanoma 
CD73 is a cell surface enzyme that suppresses T-cell mediated immune responses, by producing extracellular adenosine. Increasing evidence suggest that targeting CD73 in cancer may be useful for an effective therapeutic outcome. Here, we demonstrate that administration of a specific CD73 inhibitor, APCP, to melanoma-bearing mice induced a significant tumor regression, by promoting the release of Th1- and Th17-associated cytokines in the tumor microenvironment. CD8+T cells were increased in melanoma tissue of APCP-treated mice. Accordingly, in nude mice APCP failed to reduce tumor growth. Importantly, we observed that after APCP administration the presence of B cells into the melanoma tissue was higher than control. This was associated with production of immunoglobulin (Ig)G2b within the melanoma. Depletion of CD20+ B cells partially blocked the anti-tumor effect of APCP and significantly reduced the production of IgG2b induced by APCP, implying a critical role for B cells in the anti-tumor activity of APCP. Our results also suggest that APCP could influence B cells activity to produce IgG, through IL-17A which significantly increased in the tumor tissue of APCP-treated mice. In support of this, we found that in melanoma-bearing mice receiving anti-IL-17A mAb the anti-tumor effect of APCP was ablated. This correlated with a reduced capacity of APCP-treated mice to mount an effective immune response against melanoma since neutralization of this cytokine significantly affected both the CD8+ T cell- and the B cell-mediated responses. In conclusion, we demonstrate that both T-cells and B cells play a pivotal role in the APCP-induced anti-tumor immune response.
PMCID: PMC3442235  PMID: 22826317
APCP; melanoma; Tumor immunity; B cells; IL-17A
6.  Statins as potential therapeutic drug for asthma? 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):108.
Statins are lipid-lowering agents that also exhibit pleiotropic effects in decreasing oxidative stress and inflammation. There have been several published studies reporting the use of statins in the treatment of asthma patients, but their results are not consistent. The aim of this study is to determine whether statins are beneficial for asthma administration, and explore the potential covariables that may affect their clinical effectiveness.
A systematic literature search was performed in PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Center Register of Controlled Trials from inception to September 2012. Randomized controlled trials (RCT), retrospective studies and controlled clinical trials which reported the use of statins in the treatment of asthma patients were eligible. Quality evaluation was conducted for RCT using Jadad criteria.
A total of 18 articles were included. In our study, we found no conclusive evidence to demonstrate that statins could enhance the lung function in asthmatics, although, they may reduce airway inflammation. Additionally, the results were not consistent across studies with respect to symptoms, quality of life, maintenance medication, asthma hospitalization/emergency department (ED) visits.
Statins may reduce airway inflammation in asthmatics, without having a significant effect on lung function. Further large sample and multicenter clinical trials are needed to confirm this and to see if there are more responsive phenotypes of asthma.
PMCID: PMC3545889  PMID: 23176705
Statins; Asthma; Anti-inflammatory; Lung function
7.  BMP-9 Induced Endothelial Cell Tubule Formation and Inhibition of Migration Involves Smad1 Driven Endothelin-1 Production 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30075.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and their receptors, such as bone morphogenetic protein receptor (BMPR) II, have been implicated in a wide variety of disorders including pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Similarly, endothelin-1 (ET-1), a mitogen and vasoconstrictor, is upregulated in PAH and endothelin receptor antagonists are used in its treatment. We sought to determine whether there is crosstalk between BMP signalling and the ET-1 axis in human pulmonary artery endothelial cells (HPAECs), possible mechanisms involved in such crosstalk and functional consequences thereof.
Methodology/Principal Finding
Using western blot, real time RT-PCR, ELISA and small RNA interference methods we provide evidence that in HPAECs BMP-9, but not BMP-2, -4 and -6 significantly stimulated ET-1 release under physiological concentrations. This release is mediated by both Smad1 and p38 MAPK and is independent of the canonical Smad4 pathway. Moreover, knocking down the ALK1 receptor or BMPR II attenuates BMP-9 stimulated ET-1 release, whilst causing a significant increase in prepro ET-1 mRNA transcription and mature peptide release. Finally, BMP-9 induced ET-1 release is involved in both inhibition of endothelial cell migration and promotion of tubule formation.
Although our data does not support an important role for BMP-9 as a source of increased endothelial ET-1 production seen in human PAH, BMP-9 stimulated ET-1 production is likely to be important in angiogenesis and vascular stability. However, increased ET-1 production by endothelial cells as a consequence of BMPR II dysfunction may be clinically relevant in the pathogenesis of PAH.
PMCID: PMC3267722  PMID: 22299030
8.  Immune Response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection in the Parietal Pleura of Patients with Tuberculous Pleurisy 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22637.
The T lymphocyte-mediated immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in the parietal pleura of patients with tuberculous pleurisy is unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the immune response in the parietal pleura of tuberculous pleurisy compared with nonspecific pleuritis. We have measured the numbers of inflammatory cells particularly T-cell subsets (Th1/Th2/Th17/Treg cells) in biopsies of parietal pleura obtained from 14 subjects with proven tuberculous pleurisy compared with a control group of 12 subjects with nonspecific pleuritis. The number of CD3+, CD4+ and CCR4+ cells and the expression of RORC2 mRNA were significantly increased in the tuberculous pleurisy patients compared with the nonspecific pleuritis subjects. The number of toluidine blue+ cells, tryptase+ cells and GATA-3+ cells was significantly decreased in the parietal pleura of patients with tuberculous pleurisy compared with the control group of nonspecific pleuritis subjects. Logistic regression with receiver operator characteristic (ROC) analysis for the three single markers was performed and showed a better performance for GATA-3 with a sensitivity of 75%, a specificity of 100% and an AUC of 0.88. There was no significant difference between the two groups of subjects in the number of CD8, CD68, neutrophil elastase, interferon (IFN)-γ, STAT4, T-bet, CCR5, CXCR3, CRTH2, STAT6 and FOXP3 positive cells. Elevated CD3, CD4, CCR4 and Th17 cells and decreased mast cells and GATA-3+ cells in the parietal pleura distinguish patients with untreated tuberculous pleurisy from those with nonspecific pleuritis.
PMCID: PMC3145659  PMID: 21829471
9.  Systems medicine and integrated care to combat chronic noncommunicable diseases 
Genome Medicine  2011;3(7):43.
We propose an innovative, integrated, cost-effective health system to combat major non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular, chronic respiratory, metabolic, rheumatologic and neurologic disorders and cancers, which together are the predominant health problem of the 21st century. This proposed holistic strategy involves comprehensive patient-centered integrated care and multi-scale, multi-modal and multi-level systems approaches to tackle NCDs as a common group of diseases. Rather than studying each disease individually, it will take into account their intertwined gene-environment, socio-economic interactions and co-morbidities that lead to individual-specific complex phenotypes. It will implement a road map for predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory (P4) medicine based on a robust and extensive knowledge management infrastructure that contains individual patient information. It will be supported by strategic partnerships involving all stakeholders, including general practitioners associated with patient-centered care. This systems medicine strategy, which will take a holistic approach to disease, is designed to allow the results to be used globally, taking into account the needs and specificities of local economies and health systems.
PMCID: PMC3221551  PMID: 21745417
10.  Targeting Phosphoinositide-3-Kinase-δ with Theophylline Reverses Corticosteroid Insensitivity in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Rationale: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) show a poor response to corticosteroids. This has been linked to a reduction of histone deacetylase-2 as a result of oxidative stress and is reversed by theophylline.
Objectives: To determine the role of phosphoinositide-3-kinase-delta (PI3K-δ) on the development of corticosteroid insensitivity in COPD and under oxidative stress, and as a target for theophylline.
Methods: Corticosteroid sensitivity was determined as the 50% inhibitory concentration of dexamethasone on tumor necrosis factor-α–induced interleukin-8 release in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with COPD (n = 17) and compared with that of nonsmoking (n = 8) and smoking (n = 7) control subjects. The effect of theophylline and a selective PI3K-δ inhibitor (IC87114) on restoration of corticosteroid sensitivity was confirmed in cigarette smoke–exposed mice.
Measurements and Main Results: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells of COPD (50% inhibitory concentration of dexamethasone: 156.8 ± 32.6 nM) were less corticosteroid sensitive than those of nonsmoking (41.2 ± 10.5 nM; P = 0.018) and smoking control subjects (47.5 ± 19.6 nM; P = 0.031). Corticosteroid insensitivity and reduced histone deacetylase-2 activity after oxidative stress were reversed by a non-selective PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) and low concentrations of theophylline. Theophylline was a potent selective inhibitor of oxidant-activated PI3K-δ, which was up-regulated in peripheral lung tissue of patients with COPD. Furthermore, cells with knock-down of PI3K-δ failed to develop corticosteroid insensitivity with oxidative stress. Both theophylline and IC87114, combined with dexamethasone, inhibited corticosteroid-insensitive lung inflammation in cigarette–smoke-exposed mice in vivo.
Conclusions: Inhibition of oxidative stress dependent PI3K-δ activation by a selective inhibitor or theophylline provides a novel approach to reversing corticosteroid insensitivity in COPD.
PMCID: PMC2970861  PMID: 20224070
Histone deacetylase 2; dexamethasone; cigarette smoke; oxidative stress; RNA interference
11.  NK1.1+ Cells and CD8+ T Cells Mediate the Antitumor Activity of Cl-IB-MECA in a Mouse Melanoma Model12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2011;13(4):365-373.
Cl-IB-MECA, synthetic A3 adenosine receptor agonist, is a potential anticancer agent. In this study, we have examined the effect of Cl-IB-MECA in a mouse melanoma model. Cl-IB-MECA significantly inhibited tumor growth in immune-competent mice. Notably, the number of tumor-infiltrating NK1.1+ cells and CD8+ T cells was significantly increased in Cl-IB-MECA-treated mice. This effect was correlated with high levels of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and interferon γ in melanoma tissue. Depletion of either CD8+ T cells or NK1.1+ cells completely abrogated the antitumor effect of Cl-IB-MECA. Accordingly, Cl-IB-MECA did not affect tumor growth in nude mice. In addition, we also found that the number of mature and active conventional dendritic cells at the tumor site was increased after Cl-IB-MECA administration. Moreover, Cl-IB-MECA significantly increased TNF-α and IL-12p40 release from splenic CD11c+ cells. In conclusion, our study provides novel insights into the mechanism by which Cl-IB-MECA leads to an effective antitumor response that involves the activation of natural killer cells and CD8+ T cells and further highlights its therapeutic potential.
PMCID: PMC3071085  PMID: 21472141
12.  Differential patterns of histone acetylation in inflammatory bowel diseases 
Post-translational modifications of histones, particularly acetylation, are associated with the regulation of inflammatory gene expression. We used two animal models of inflammation of the bowel and biopsy samples from patients with Crohn's disease (CD) to study the expression of acetylated histones (H) 3 and 4 in inflamed mucosa. Acetylation of histone H4 was significantly elevated in the inflamed mucosa in the trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid model of colitis particularly on lysine residues (K) 8 and 12 in contrast to non-inflamed tissue. In addition, acetylated H4 was localised to inflamed tissue and to Peyer's patches (PP) in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-treated rat models. Within the PP, H3 acetylation was detected in the mantle zone whereas H4 acetylation was seen in both the periphery and the germinal centre. Finally, acetylation of H4 was significantly upregulated in inflamed biopsies and PP from patients with CD. Enhanced acetylation of H4K5 and K16 was seen in the PP. These results demonstrate that histone acetylation is associated with inflammation and may provide a novel therapeutic target for mucosal inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3040698  PMID: 21272292
13.  Cigarette Smoke Exposure Alters mSin3a and Mi-2α/β Expression; implications in the control of pro-inflammatory gene transcription and glucocorticoid function 
The key co-repressor complex components HDAC-2, Mi-2α/β and mSin3a are all critical to the regulation of gene transcription. HDAC-2 function is impaired by oxidative stress in a PI3Kδ dependant manner which may be involved in the chronic glucocorticoid insensitive inflammation in the lungs of COPD patients. However, the impact of cigarette smoke exposure on the expression of mSin3a and Mi2α/β and their role in glucocorticoid responsiveness is unknown.
Wild type, PI3Kγ knock-out (PI3Kγ-/-) and PI3K kinase dead knock-in (PI3KδD910/A910) transgenic mice were exposed to cigarette smoke for 3 days and the expression levels of the co-repressor complex components HDAC-2, mSin3a, Mi-2α and Mi-2β and HDAC-2 activity in the lungs were assessed.
Cigarette smoke exposure impaired glucocorticoid function and reduced HDAC-2 activity which was protected in the PI3KδD910/A910 mice. Both mSin3a and Mi-2α protein expression was reduced in smoke-exposed mice. Budesonide alone protected mSin3a protein expression with no additional effect seen with abrogation of PI3Kγ/δ activity, however Mi-2α, but not Mi-2β, expression was protected in both PI3KδD910/A910 and PI3Kγ-/- budesonide-treated smoke-exposed mice. The restoration of glucocorticoid function coincided with the protection of both HDAC activity and mSin3a and Mi-2α protein expression.
Cigarette smoke exposure induced glucocorticoid insensitivity and alters co-repressor activity and expression which is prevented by blockade of PI3K signaling with glucocorticoid treatment. Inhibition of PI3Kδ signalling in combination with glucocorticoid treatment may therefore provide a therapeutic strategy for restoring oxidant-induced glucocortiocid unresponsiveness.
PMCID: PMC2912298  PMID: 20637110
14.  Exhaled carbon monoxide in asthmatics: a meta-analysis 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):50.
The non-invasive assessment of airway inflammation is potentially advantageous in asthma management. Exhaled carbon monoxide (eCO) measurement is cheap and has been proposed to reflect airway inflammation and oxidative stress but current data are conflicting. The purpose of this meta-analysis is to determine whether eCO is elevated in asthmatics, is regulated by steroid treatment and reflects disease severity and control.
A systematic search for English language articles published between 1997 and 2009 was performed using Medline, Embase and Cochrane databases. Observational studies comparing eCO in non-smoking asthmatics and healthy subjects or asthmatics before and after steroid treatment were included. Data were independently extracted by two investigators and analyzed to generate weighted mean differences using either a fixed or random effects meta-analysis depending upon the degree of heterogeneity.
18 studies were included in the meta-analysis. The eCO level was significantly higher in asthmatics as compared to healthy subjects and in intermittent asthma as compared to persistent asthma. However, eCO could not distinguish between steroid-treated asthmatics and steroid-free patients nor separate controlled and partly-controlled asthma from uncontrolled asthma in cross-sectional studies. In contrast, eCO was significantly reduced following a course of corticosteroid treatment.
eCO is elevated in asthmatics but levels only partially reflect disease severity and control. eCO might be a potentially useful non-invasive biomarker of airway inflammation and oxidative stress in nonsmoking asthmatics.
PMCID: PMC2874770  PMID: 20433745
15.  Histone deacetylase inhibitors induce apoptosis in human eosinophils and neutrophils 
Granulocytes are important in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory diseases. Apoptosis is pivotal in the resolution of inflammation. Apoptosis in malignant cells is induced by histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, whereas HDAC inhibitors do not usually induce apoptosis in non-malignant cells. The aim of the present study was to explore the effects of HDAC inhibitors on apoptosis in human eosinophils and neutrophils.
Apoptosis was assessed by relative DNA fragmentation assay, annexin-V binding, and morphologic analysis. HDAC activity in nuclear extracts was measured with a nonisotopic assay. HDAC expression was measured by real-time PCR.
A HDAC inhibitor Trichostatin A (TSA) induced apoptosis in the presence of survival-prolonging cytokines interleukin-5 and granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in eosinophils and neutrophils. TSA enhanced constitutive eosinophil and neutrophil apoptosis. Similar effects were seen with a structurally dissimilar HDAC inhibitor apicidin. TSA showed additive effect on the glucocorticoid-induced eosinophil apoptosis, but antagonized glucocorticoid-induced neutrophil survival. Eosinophils and neutrophils expressed all HDACs at the mRNA level except that HDAC5 and HDAC11 mRNA expression was very low in both cell types, HDAC8 mRNA was very low in neutrophils and HDAC9 mRNA low in eosinophils. TSA reduced eosinophil and neutrophil nuclear HDAC activities by ~50-60%, suggesting a non-histone target. However, TSA did not increase the acetylation of a non-histone target NF-κB p65. c-jun-N-terminal kinase and caspases 3 and 6 may be involved in the mechanism of TSA-induced apoptosis, whereas PI3-kinase and caspase 8 are not.
HDAC inhibitors enhance apoptosis in human eosinophils and neutrophils in the absence and presence of survival-prolonging cytokines and glucocorticoids.
PMCID: PMC2841159  PMID: 20181093
16.  MicroRNA Expression Profiling in Mild Asthmatic Human Airways and Effect of Corticosteroid Therapy 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(6):e5889.
Asthma is a common disease characterised by reversible airflow obstruction, bronchial hyperresponsiveness and chronic inflammation, which is commonly treated using corticosteroids such as budesonide. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a recently identified family of non-protein encoding genes that regulate protein translation by a mechanism entitled RNA interference. Previous studies have shown lung-specific miRNA expression profiles, although their importance in regulating gene expression is unresolved. We determined whether miRNA expression was differentially expressed in mild asthma and the effect of corticosteroid treatment.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We have examined changes in miRNA using a highly sensitive RT-PCR based approach to measure the expression of 227 miRNAs in airway biopsies obtained from normal and mild asthmatic patients. We have also determined whether the anti-inflammatory action of corticosteroids are mediated through miRNAs by determining the profile of miRNA expression in mild asthmatics, before and following 1 month twice daily treatment with inhaled budesonide. Furthermore, we have analysed the expression of miRNAs from individual cell populations from the airway and lung.
We found no significant difference in the expression of 227 miRNAs in the airway biopsies obtained from normal and mild asthmatic patients. In addition, despite improved lung function, we found no significant difference in the miRNA expression following one month treatment with the corticosteroid, budesonide. However, analysis of bronchial and alveolar epithelial cells, airway smooth muscle cells, alveolar macrophages and lung fibroblasts demonstrate a miRNA expression profile that is specific to individual cell types and demonstrates the complex cellular heterogeneity within whole tissue samples.
Changes in miRNA expression do not appear to be involved in the development of a mild asthmatic phenotype or in the anti-inflammatory action of the corticosteroid budesonide.
PMCID: PMC2690402  PMID: 19521514
17.  Suppression of GATA-3 Nuclear Import and Phosphorylation: A Novel Mechanism of Corticosteroid Action in Allergic Disease 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(5):e1000076.
Peter Barnes and colleagues show that corticosteroids have a potent inhibitory effect on GATA-3 via two interacting mechanisms that suppress Th2 cytokine expression. This novel mechanism of corticosteroid action may help explain the efficacy of corticosteroids in allergic diseases.
GATA-3 plays a critical role in regulating the expression of the cytokines interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-13 from T helper-2 (Th2) cells and therefore is a key mediator of allergic diseases. Corticosteroids are highly effective in suppressing allergic inflammation, but their effects on GATA-3 are unknown. We investigated the effect of the corticosteroid fluticasone propionate on GATA-3 regulation in human T-lymphocytes in vitro and in vivo.
Methods and Findings
In a T lymphocyte cell line (HuT-78) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated by anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 in vitro we demonstrated that fluticasone inhibits nuclear translocation of GATA-3 and expression of Th2 cytokines via a mechanism independent of nuclear factor-κB and is due, in part, to competition between GATA-3 and the ligand-activated glucocorticoid receptor for nuclear transport through the nuclear importer importin-α. In addition, fluticasone induces the expression of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphatase-1 (MKP-1), the endogenous inhibitor of p38 MAPK, which is necessary for GATA-3 nuclear translocation. These inhibitory effects of fluticasone are rapid, potent, and prolonged. We also demonstrated that inhaled fluticasone inhibits GATA-3 nuclear translocation in peripheral blood lymphocytes of patients with asthma in vivo.
Corticosteroids have a potent inhibitory effect on GATA-3 via two interacting mechanisms that potently suppress Th2 cytokine expression. This novel mechanism of action of corticosteroids may account for the striking clinical efficacy of corticosteroids in the treatment of allergic diseases.
Please see later in the article for Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The immune system protects the human body from viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. When one of these foreign invaders enters the body, immune system cells called T lymphocytes recognize specific molecules on the invader's surface and release chemical messengers (cytokines) that recruit and activate other types of immune cell, which then attack the invader. Sometimes, however, the immune system responds to a normally harmless material (for example, house-dust mites or grass pollen; scientists call these materials allergens) and triggers an allergic disease such as asthma or hay fever. Contact with an allergen activates a type of T lymphocyte called a T helper-2 (Th2) cell that subsequently makes (expresses) three cytokines called interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5, and IL-13. These cytokines ultimately cause inflammation (swelling) of the part of the body exposed to the allergen. Corticosteroids, which suppress the expression of cytokines by Th2 cells, are often used to treat inflammation in allergic diseases. Other treatments for these common conditions—about 50 million people in the US have an allergic disease—include minimizing exposure to allergens and diminishing the response of the immune system to allergens by using various immunotherapies.
Why Was This Study Done?
Scientists know that corticosteroids reduce allergic inflammation by binding to proteins in immune system cells called glucocorticoid receptors. After binding to a corticosteroid, these receptors move into the nucleus of the cell (the part of the cell that contains its genes), where they suppress the expression of certain proinflammatory genes. However, it is still not known how corticosteroids inhibit the expression of Th2 cytokines. A key regulator of the expression of these cytokines and of allergic inflammation is a transcription factor called GATA-3. Transcription factors are proteins that control the expression of other proteins by binding to specific sequences in the genes that encode them. In this study, the researchers try to discover more about how corticosteroids reduce allergic inflammation by investigating the effects of the corticosteroid fluticasone on the regulation of GATA-3 activity in T lymphocytes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Transcription factors have to move into the nucleus of cells (so-called nuclear translocation) to control the expression of their target genes, so the researchers first asked whether fluticasone affects the cellular localization of GATA-3. Fluticasone treatment of activated T lymphocytes growing in dishes, they report, inhibited the nuclear translocation of GATA-3 and reduced Th2 cytokine expression. Other experiments showed that the inhibition of GATA-3 nuclear translocation was partly caused by competition between the glucocorticoid receptor bound to fluticasone and GATA-3 for binding to importin-α, a protein that is required for nuclear import. However, fluticasone also prevented the nuclear translocation of GATA-3 in a second way. Before GATA-3 can bind to importin-α, phosphate groups have to be added to specific sites in GATA-3. This “phosphorylation” requires an enzyme called p38 MAP kinase, and the researchers found that fluticasone treatment of activated T lymphocytes induced the expression of MAP kinase phophatase-1, a p38 MAP kinase inhibitor. Finally, when the researchers treated seven patients with mild asthma with inhaled fluticasone, they found that fluticasone also inhibited GATA-3 nuclear translocation in the lymphocytes circulating in the patients' blood.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings, obtained both in the laboratory and in patients, suggest that corticosteroids inhibit the expression of Th2 cytokines and thus reduce allergic inflammation through two interacting mechanisms. They suggest that corticosteroids prevent the nuclear translocation of GATA-3, a key regulator of Th2 cytokine expression, by competing with GATA-3 for binding to importin-α and by preventing the phosphorylation of GATA-3, a modification that allows GATA-3 to bind to importin-α. This dual mechanism of corticosteroid action may help to explain why these drugs are so effective in the treatment of allergic diseases, although further experiments are needed to show that the lymphocytes resident at sites of allergic inflammation respond to corticosteroids in the same way as lymphocytes in the blood. Finally, these findings suggest that the interaction between phosphorylated GATA-3 and importin-α might be a potential target for new treatments for allergic diseases.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases provides information on allergic diseases and a simple description of the immune system
The UK National Health Service Choices service provides information about allergies
Links to other information about allergies are available from MedlinePlus (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC2674207  PMID: 19436703
18.  Tumour Necrosis Factor-α Regulates Human Eosinophil Apoptosis via Ligation of TNF-Receptor 1 and Balance between NF-κB and AP-1 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e90298.
Eosinophils play a central role in asthma. The present study was performed to investigate the effect of tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) on longevity of isolated human eosinophils. In contrast to Fas, TNF-α inhibited eosinophil apoptosis as evidenced by a combination of flow cytometry, DNA fragmentation assay and morphological analyses. The effect of TNF-α on eosinophil apoptosis was reversed by a TNF-α neutralising antibody. The anti-apoptotic effect of TNF-α was not due to autocrine release of known survival-prolonging cytokines interleukins 3 and 5 or granulocyte-macrophage-colony-stimulating factor as their neutralisation did not affect the effect of TNF-α. The anti-apoptotic signal was mediated mainly by the TNF-receptor 1. TNF-α induced phosphorylation and degradation of IκB and an increase in NF-κB DNA-binding activity. The survival-prolonging effect of TNF-α was reversed by inhibitors of NF-κB pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate and gliotoxin and by an inhibitor of IκB kinase, BMS-345541. TNF-α induced also an increase in AP-1 DNA-binding activity and the antiapoptotic effect of TNF-α was potentiated by inhibitors of AP-1, SR 11302 and tanshinone IIA and by an inhibitor of c-jun-N-terminal kinase, SP600125, which is an upstream kinase activating AP-1. Our results thus suggest that TNF-α delays human eosinophil apoptosis via TNF-receptor 1 and the resulting changes in longevity depend on yin-yang balance between activation of NF-κB and AP-1.
PMCID: PMC3938678  PMID: 24587316
19.  New drugs targeting Th2 lymphocytes in asthma 
Asthma represents a profound worldwide public health problem. The most effective anti-asthmatic drugs currently available include inhaled β2-agonists and glucocorticoids and control asthma in about 90-95% of patients. The current asthma therapies are not cures and symptoms return soon after treatment is stopped even after long term therapy. Although glucocorticoids are highly effective in controlling the inflammatory process in asthma, they appear to have little effect on the lower airway remodelling processes that appear to play a role in the pathophysiology of asthma at currently prescribed doses. The development of novel drugs may allow resolution of these changes. In addition, severe glucocorticoid-dependent and resistant asthma presents a great clinical burden and reducing the side-effects of glucocorticoids using novel steroid-sparing agents is needed. Furthermore, the mechanisms involved in the persistence of inflammation are poorly understood and the reasons why some patients have severe life threatening asthma and others have very mild disease are still unknown. Drug development for asthma has been directed at improving currently available drugs and findings new compounds that usually target the Th2-driven airway inflammatory response. Considering the apparently central role of T lymphocytes in the pathogenesis of asthma, drugs targeting disease-inducing Th2 cells are promising therapeutic strategies. However, although animal models of asthma suggest that this is feasible, the translation of these types of studies for the treatment of human asthma remains poor due to the limitations of the models currently used. The myriad of new compounds that are in development directed to modulate Th2 cells recruitment and/or activation will clarify in the near future the relative importance of these cells and their mediators in the complex interactions with the other pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory cells and mediators responsible of the different asthmatic phenotypes. Some of these new Th2-oriented strategies may in the future not only control symptoms and modify the natural course of asthma, but also potentially prevent or cure the disease.
PMCID: PMC2259400  PMID: 18315837
20.  Modulation of LPS stimulated NF-kappaB mediated Nitric Oxide production by PKCε and JAK2 in RAW macrophages 
Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) has been shown to play an important role in regulating the expression of many genes involved in cell survival, immunity and in the inflammatory processes. NF-κB activation upregulates inducible nitric oxide synthase leading to enhanced nitric oxide production during an inflammatory response. NF-κB activation is regulated by distinct kinase pathways independent of inhibitor of κB kinase (IKK). Here, we examine the role of protein kinase C isoforms and janus activated kinase 2 (JAK2) activation in NF-κB activation and LPS-stimulated NO production.
Murine RAW 264.7 macrophages were treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and a combination of LPS and PMA in the presence or absence of various inhibitors of PKC isoforms and JAK2. Nuclear translocation of the NF-κB p65 subunit, was assessed by Western blot analysis whilst NO levels were assessed by Greiss assay.
LPS-stimulated NO production was attenuated by PMA whilst PMA alone did not affect NO release. These effects were associated with changes in p65 nuclear translocation. The PKCα, β, γ, δ and ζ inhibitor Gö 6983 (Go) had no effect on LPS-induced NO release. In contrast, Bisindolymalemide I (Bis), a PKC α, βI, βII, γ, δ and ε isoform inhibitors completely inhibited LPS-stimulated NO production without affecting p65 nuclear translocation. Furthermore, a partial inhibitory effect on LPS-induced NO release was seen with the JAK2 inhibitor AG-490 and the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB 203850.
The results further define the role of NF-κB in LPS stimulated NO production in RAW macrophages. The data support a function for PKCε, JAK2 and p38 MAPK in NF-κB activation following p65 nuclear import.
PMCID: PMC2211292  PMID: 18036230
21.  Histone deacetylase 2–mediated deacetylation of the glucocorticoid receptor enables NF-κB suppression 
Glucocorticoids are the most effective antiinflammatory agents for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases even though some diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are relatively glucocorticoid insensitive. However, the molecular mechanism of this glucocorticoid insensitivity remains uncertain. We show that a defect of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) deacetylation caused by impaired histone deacetylase (HDAC) 2 induces glucocorticoid insensitivity toward nuclear factor (NF)-κB–mediated gene expression. Specific knockdown of HDAC2 by RNA interference resulted in reduced sensitivity to dexamethasone suppression of interleukin 1β–induced granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor production. Loss of HDAC2 did not reduce GR nuclear translocation, GR binding to glucocorticoid response element (GRE) on DNA, or GR-induced DNA or gene induction but inhibited the association between GR and NF-κB. GR becomes acetylated after ligand binding, and HDAC2-mediated GR deacetylation enables GR binding to the NF-κB complex. Site-directed mutagenesis of K494 and K495 reduced GR acetylation, and the ability to repress NF-κB–dependent gene expression becomes insensitive to histone deacetylase inhibition. In conclusion, we show that overexpression of HDAC2 in glucocorticoid-insensitive alveolar macrophages from patients with COPD is able to restore glucocorticoid sensitivity. Thus, reduction of HDAC2 plays a critical role in glucocorticoid insensitivity in repressing NF-κB–mediated, but not GRE-mediated, gene expression.
PMCID: PMC2118081  PMID: 16380507
22.  Epigenetics and airways disease 
Respiratory Research  2006;7(1):21.
Epigenetics is the term used to describe heritable changes in gene expression that are not coded in the DNA sequence itself but by post-translational modifications in DNA and histone proteins. These modifications include histone acetylation, methylation, ubiquitination, sumoylation and phosphorylation. Epigenetic regulation is not only critical for generating diversity of cell types during mammalian development, but it is also important for maintaining the stability and integrity of the expression profiles of different cell types. Until recently, the study of human disease has focused on genetic mechanisms rather than on non-coding events. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that disruption of epigenetic processes can lead to several major pathologies, including cancer, syndromes involving chromosomal instabilities, and mental retardation. Furthermore, the expression and activity of enzymes that regulate these epigenetic modifications have been reported to be abnormal in the airways of patients with respiratory disease. The development of new diagnostic tools might reveal other diseases that are caused by epigenetic alterations. These changes, despite being heritable and stably maintained, are also potentially reversible and there is scope for the development of 'epigenetic therapies' for disease.
PMCID: PMC1382219  PMID: 16460559
23.  Theophylline Restores Histone Deacetylase Activity and Steroid Responses in COPD Macrophages 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs with little or no response to glucocorticoids and a high level of oxidative stress. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity is reduced in cells of cigarette smokers, and low concentrations of theophylline can increase HDAC activity. We measured the effect of theophylline on HDAC activity and inflammatory gene expression in alveolar macrophages (AM) from patients with COPD. AM from normal smokers showed a decrease in HDAC activity compared with normal control subjects, and this was further reduced in COPD patients (51% decrease, P < 0.01). COPD AMs also showed increased basal release of IL-8 and TNF-α, which was poorly suppressed by dexamethasone. Theophylline induced a sixfold increase in HDAC activity in COPD AM lysates and significantly enhanced dexamethasone suppression of induced IL-8 release, an effect that was blocked by the HDAC inhibitor trichostatin A. Therefore, theophylline might restore steroid responsiveness in COPD patients.
PMCID: PMC2212744  PMID: 15337792
histone deacetylase; theophylline; steroid resistance; COPD; interleukin-8
24.  Glucocorticoid Receptor Recruitment of Histone Deacetylase 2 Inhibits Interleukin-1β-Induced Histone H4 Acetylation on Lysines 8 and 12 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(18):6891-6903.
We have investigated the ability of dexamethasone to regulate interleukin-1β (IL-1β)-induced gene expression, histone acetyltransferase (HAT) and histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity. Low concentrations of dexamethasone (10−10 M) repress IL-1β-stimulated granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) expression and fail to stimulate secretory leukocyte proteinase inhibitor expression. Dexamethasone (10−7 M) and IL-1β (1 ng/ml) both stimulated HAT activity but showed a different pattern of histone H4 acetylation. Dexamethasone targeted lysines K5 and K16, whereas IL-1β targeted K8 and K12. Low concentrations of dexamethasone (10−10 M), which do not transactivate, repressed IL-1β-stimulated K8 and K12 acetylation. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, we show that dexamethasone inhibits IL-1β-enhanced acetylated K8-associated GM-CSF promoter enrichment in a concentration-dependent manner. Neither IL-1β nor dexamethasone elicited any GM-CSF promoter association at acetylated K5 residues. Furthermore, we show that GR acts both as a direct inhibitor of CREB binding protein (CBP)-associated HAT activity and also by recruiting HDAC2 to the p65-CBP HAT complex. This action does not involve de novo synthesis of HDAC protein or altered expression of CBP or p300/CBP-associated factor. This mechanism for glucocorticoid repression is novel and establishes that inhibition of histone acetylation is an additional level of control of inflammatory gene expression. This further suggests that pharmacological manipulation of of specific histone acetylation status is a potentially useful approach for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.
PMCID: PMC88765  PMID: 10958685
25.  Albuterol-induced downregulation of Gsα accounts for pulmonary β2-adrenoceptor desensitization in vivo 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2000;106(1):125-135.
The aim of the present study was to develop a chronic in vivo model of pulmonary β2-adrenoceptor desensitization and to elucidate the nature and molecular basis of this state. Subcutaneous infusion of rats with albuterol for 7 days compromised the ability of albuterol, given acutely, to protect against acetylcholine-induced bronchoconstriction. The bronchoprotective effect of prostaglandin E2, but not forskolin, was also impaired, indicating that the desensitization was heterologous and that the primary defect in signaling was upstream of adenylyl cyclase. β2-Adrenoceptor density was reduced in lung membranes harvested from albuterol-treated animals, and this was associated with impaired albuterol-induced cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) accumulation and activation of cAMP-dependent protein kinase ex vivo. Gsα expression was reduced in the lung and tracheae of albuterol-treated rats, and cholera toxin–induced cAMP accumulation was blunted. Chronic treatment of rats with albuterol also increased cAMP phosphodiesterase activity and G protein–coupled receptor kinase-2, but the extent to which these events contributed to β2-adrenoceptor desensitization was unclear given that forskolin was active in both groups of animals and that desensitization was heterologous. Collectively, these results indicate that albuterol effects heterologous desensitization of pulmonary Gs-coupled receptors in this model, with downregulation of Gsα representing a primary molecular etiology.
PMCID: PMC314356  PMID: 10880056

Results 1-25 (32)