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1.  Increase in Net Activity of Serine Proteinases but Not Gelatinases after Local Endotoxin Exposure in the Peripheral Airways of Healthy Subjects 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75032.
We tested the hypothesis that activation of the innate immune response induces an imbalance in the proteolytic homeostasis in the peripheral airways of healthy subjects, towards excess serine or gelatinase proteinase activity. During bronchoscopy, 18 healthy human subjects underwent intra-bronchial exposure to endotoxin and contra-lateral exposure to vehicle. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples were harvested 24 or 48 hours (h) later. We quantified archetype proteinases, anti-proteinases, inflammatory BAL cells, and, importantly, total plus net proteinase activities using functional substrate assays. As expected, endotoxin exposure increased the concentrations of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN's) and macrophages, of proteinases and the anti-proteinases tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1, α-1-antitrypsin and, to a lesser extent, secretory leukoproteinase inhibitor, at both time points. Notably, at these time points, endotoxin exposure substantially increased the quantitative NE/SLPI ratio and the net serine proteinase activity corresponding to neutrophil elastase (NE). Endotoxin exposure also increased the total gelatinase activity corresponding to matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9; an activity dominating over that of MMP-2. However, endotoxin exposure had no impact on net gelatinolytic activity at 24 or 48 h after exposure. Thus, local activation of the innate immune response induces an imbalance towards increased net serine proteinase activity in the proteolytic homeostasis of the peripheral airways in healthy subjects. Hypothetically, this serine proteinase activity can contribute to tissue remodelling and hypersecretion via NE from PMN's, if it is triggered repeatedly, as might be the case in chronic inflammatory airway disorders.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075032
PMCID: PMC3781029  PMID: 24086430
2.  Blood Eosinophils to Direct Corticosteroid Treatment of Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Rationale: Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and responses to treatment are heterogeneous.
Objectives: Investigate the usefulness of blood eosinophils to direct corticosteroid therapy during exacerbations.
Methods: Subjects with COPD exacerbations were entered into a randomized biomarker-directed double-blind corticosteroid versus standard therapy study. Subjects in the standard arm received prednisolone for 2 weeks, whereas in the biomarker-directed arm, prednisolone or matching placebo was given according to the blood eosinophil count biomarker. Both study groups received antibiotics. Blood eosinophils were measured in the biomarker-directed and standard therapy arms to define biomarker-positive and -negative exacerbations (blood eosinophil count > and ≤ 2%, respectively). The primary outcome was to determine noninferiority in health status using the chronic respiratory questionnaire (CRQ) and in the proportion of exacerbations associated with a treatment failure between subjects allocated to the biomarker-directed and standard therapy arms.
Measurements and Main Results: There were 86 and 80 exacerbations in the biomarker-directed and standard treatment groups, respectively. In the biomarker-directed group, 49% of the exacerbations were not treated with prednisolone. CRQ improvement after treatment in the standard and biomarker-directed therapy groups was similar (0.8 vs. 1.1; mean difference, 0.3; 95% confidence interval, 0.0–0.6; P = 0.05). There was a greater improvement in CRQ in biomarker-negative exacerbations given placebo compared with those given prednisolone (mean difference, 0.45; 95% confidence interval, 0.01–0.90; P = 0.04). In biomarker-negative exacerbations, treatment failures occurred in 15% given prednisolone and 2% of those given placebo (P = 0.04).
Conclusions: The peripheral blood eosinophil count is a promising biomarker to direct corticosteroid therapy during COPD exacerbations, but larger studies are required.
Clinical trial registered with www.controlled-trials.com (ISRCTN92422949).
doi:10.1164/rccm.201108-1553OC
PMCID: PMC3400995  PMID: 22447964
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; exacerbations; prednisolone; infection; eosinophils
3.  Eosinophil associated genes in the inflammatory bowel disease 4 region: Correlation to inflammatory bowel disease revealed 
AIM: To study the association between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and genetic variations in eosinophil protein X (EPX) and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP).
METHODS: DNA was extracted from ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid blood of 587 patients with Crohn’s disease (CD), 592 with ulcerative colitis (UC) and 300 healthy subjects. The EPX405 (G > C, rs2013109), ECP434 (G > C, rs2073342) and ECP562 (G > C, rs2233860) gene polymorphisms were analysed, by the 5’-nuclease allelic discrimination assay. For determination of intracellular content of EPX and ECP in granulocytes, 39 blood samples was collected and extracted with a buffer containing cetyltrimethylammonium bromide. The intracellular content of EPX was analysed using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The intracellular content of ECP was analysed with the UniCAP® system as described by the manufacturer. Statistical tests for calculations of results were χ2 test, Fisher’s exact test, ANOVA, Student-Newman-Keuls test, and Kaplan-Meier survival curve with Log-rank test for trend, the probability values of P < 0.05 were considered statistically significant.
RESULTS: The genotype frequency for males with UC and with an age of disease onset of ≥ 45 years (n = 57) was for ECP434 and ECP562, GG = 37%, GC = 60%, CC = 4% and GG = 51%, GC = 49%, CC = 0% respectively. This was significantly different from the healthy subject’s genotype frequencies of ECP434 (GG = 57%, GC = 38%, CC = 5%; P = 0.010) and ECP562 (GG = 68%, GC = 29%,CC = 3%; P = 0.009). The genotype frequencies for females, with an age of disease onset of ≥ 45 years with CD (n = 62), was for the ECP434 and ECP562 genotypes GG = 37%, GC = 52%, CC = 11% and GG = 48%, GC = 47% and CC = 5% respectively. This was also statistically different from healthy controls for both ECP434 (P = 0.010) and ECP562 (P = 0.013). The intracellular protein concentration of EPX and ECP was calculated in μg/106 eosinophils and then correlated to the EPX 405 genotypes. The protein content of EPX was highest in the patients with the CC genotype of EPX405 (GG = 4.65, GC = 5.93, and CC = 6.57) and for ECP in the patients with the GG genotype of EPX405 (GG = 2.70, GC = 2.47 and CC = 1.90). ANOVA test demonstrated a difference in intracellular protein content for EPX (P = 0.009) and ECP (P = 0.022). The age of disease onset was linked to haplotypes of the EPX405, ECP434 and ECP562 genotypes. Kaplan Maier curve showed a difference between haplotype distributions for the females with CD (P = 0.003). The highest age of disease onset was seen in females with the EPX405CC, ECP434GC, ECP562CC haplotype (34 years) and the lowest in females with the EPX405GC, ECP434GC, ECP562GG haplotype (21 years). For males with UC there was also a difference between the highest and lowest age of the disease onset (EPX405CC, ECP434CC, ECP562CC, mean 24 years vs EPX405GC, ECP434GC, ECP562GG, mean 34 years, P = 0.0009). The relative risk for UC patients with ECP434 or ECP562-GC/CC genotypes to develop dysplasia/cancer was 2.5 (95%CI: 1.2-5.4, P = 0.01) and 2.5 (95%CI: 1.1-5.4, P = 0.02) respectively, compared to patients carrying the GG-genotypes.
CONCLUSION: Polymorphisms of EPX and ECP are associated to IBD in an age and gender dependent manner, suggesting an essential role of eosinophils in the pathophysiology of IBD.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v18.i44.6409
PMCID: PMC3508635  PMID: 23197886
Eosinophil derived neurotoxin; RNase 2; RNase 3; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Inflammation bowel disease; Crohn’s disease; Ulcerative colitis
4.  Associations of ECP (eosinophil cationic protein)-gene polymorphisms to allergy, asthma, smoke habits and lung function in two Estonian and Swedish sub cohorts of the ECRHS II study 
Background
The Eosinophil Cationic Protein (ECP) is a potent multifunctional protein. Three common polymorphisms are present in the ECP gene, which determine the function and production of the protein. The aim was to study the relationship of these ECP gene polymorphisms to signs and symptoms of allergy and asthma in a community based cohort (The European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS)).
Methods
Swedish and Estonian subjects (n = 757) were selected from the larger cohort of the ECRHS II study cohort. The prevalence of the gene polymorphisms ECP434(G>C) (rs2073342), ECP562(G>C) (rs2233860) and ECP c.-38(A>C) (rs2233859) were analysed by DNA sequencing and/or real-time PCR and related to questionnaire-based information of allergy, asthma, smoking habits and to lung functions.
Results
Genotype prevalence showed both ethnic and gender differences. Close associations were found between the ECP434(G>C) and ECP562(G>C) genotypes and smoking habits, lung function and expression of allergic symptoms. Non-allergic asthma was associated with an increased prevalence of the ECP434GG genotype. The ECP c.-38(A>C) genotypes were independently associated to the subject being atopic.
Conclusion
Our results show associations of symptoms of allergy and asthma to ECP-genotypes, but also to smoking habits. ECP may be involved in impairment of lung functions in disease. Gender, ethnicity and smoking habits are major confounders in the evaluations of genetic associations to allergy and asthma.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-10-36
PMCID: PMC2890597  PMID: 20534163
5.  Acute Effects of a Fungal Volatile Compound 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2005;113(12):1775-1778.
Objective: 3-Methylfuran (3-MF) is a common fungal volatile product with active biologic properties, and previous studies have indicated a contribution to airway disease. The aim of the present study was to assess the acute health effects of this compound in humans.
Design: Acute effects were assessed via chamber exposure to (1 mg/m3) 3-MF.
Participants and measurements: Twenty-nine volunteers provided symptom reports, ocular electromyograms, measurement of eye tear film break-up time, vital staining of the eye, nasal lavage, acoustic rhinometry, transfer tests, and dynamic spirometry.
Results: No subjective ratings were significantly increased during exposure. Blinking frequency and the lavage biomarkers myeloperoxidase and lysozyme were significantly increased, and forced vital capacity was significantly decreased during exposure to 3-MF compared with air control.
Conclusions and relevance to clinical practice: Acute effects in the eyes, nose, and airways were detected and might be the result of the biologically active properties of 3-MF. Thus, 3-MF may contribute to building-related illness.
doi:10.1289/ehp.8193
PMCID: PMC1314919  PMID: 16330362
3-methylfuran; airway physiology; biomarker; building-related illness; fungi; hypersensitivity pneumonitis; lung; microbial volatile organic compound (MVOC); mold
6.  Uncoordinated production of Laminin-5 chains in airways epithelium of allergic asthmatics 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):110.
Background
Laminins are a group of proteins largely responsible for the anchorage of cells to basement membranes. We hypothesized that altered Laminin chain production in the bronchial mucosa might explain the phenomenon of epithelial cell shedding in asthma. The aim was to characterize the presence of Laminin chains in the SEBM and epithelium in allergic and non-allergic asthmatics.
Patients and methods
Biopsies were taken from the bronchi of 11 patients with allergic and 9 patients with non-allergic asthma and from 7 controls and stained with antibodies against the Laminin (ln) chains alpha1-alpha5, beta1-beta2 and gamma1-gamma2.
Results
Lns-2,-5 and -10 were the main Laminins of SEBM. The layer of ln-10 was thicker in the two asthmatic groups while an increased thickness of lns-2 and -5 was only seen in allergic asthmatics. The ln gamma2-chain, which is only found in ln 5, was exclusively expressed in epithelial cells in association with epithelial injury and in the columnar epithelium of allergic asthmatics.
Conclusion
The uncoordinated production of chains of ln-5 in allergic asthma could have a bearing on the poor epithelial cell anchorage in these patients.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-6-110
PMCID: PMC1261536  PMID: 16179086
7.  Interleukin-17A mRNA and protein expression within cells from the human bronchoalveolar space after exposure to organic dust 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):44.
Background
In mice, the cytokine interleukin (IL)-17A causes a local accumulation of neutrophils within the bronchoalveolar space. IL-17A may thereby also contribute to an increased local proteolytic burden. In the current study, we determined whether mRNA for IL-17A is elevated and protein expression of IL-17A occurs locally in inflammatory cells within the human bronchoalveolar space during severe inflammation caused by organic dust. We also assessed the expression of the elastinolytic protease MMP-9 in this airway compartment.
Methods
Six healthy, non-smoking human volunteers were exposed to organic dust in a swine confinement, a potent stimulus of neutrophil accumulation within the human bronchoalveolar space. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid was harvested 2 weeks before and 24 hours after the exposure and total and differential counts were conducted for inflammatory BAL cells. Messenger RNA for IL-17A was measured using reverse transcript polymerase chain reaction-enzyme linked immunoassay (RT-PCR-ELISA). Intracellular immunoreactivity (IR) for IL-17A and MMP-9, respectively, was determined in BAL cells.
Results
The exposure to organic dust caused more than a forty-fold increase of mRNA for IL-17A in BAL cells. IL-17A immunoreactivity was detected mainly in BAL lymphocytes, and the number of these IL-17A expressing lymphocytes displayed an eight-fold increase, even though not statistically significant. The increase in IL-17A mRNA was associated with a substantial increase of the number of BAL neutrophils expressing MMP-9 immunoreactivity.
Conclusion
Exposure to organic dust increases local IL-17A mRNA and because there is intracellular expression in BAL lymphocytes, this suggests that IL-17A protein can originate from lymphocytes within the human bronchoalveolar space. The fact that the increased IL-17A mRNA is associated with an increased number of MMP-9-expressing neutrophils is compatible with IL-17A increasing the local proteolytic burden through its neutrophil-accumulating effect.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-6-44
PMCID: PMC1166577  PMID: 15916703
8.  Expression of the C5a receptor (CD88) on granulocytes and monocytes in patients with severe sepsis 
Critical Care  2002;6(4):363-370.
Introduction
Treatment of patients with severe sepsis with agents antagonising the effects of C5a has been proposed based on beneficial effects in animal experiments and in vitro studies demonstrating upregulation of the C5a receptor (CD88) on granulocytes by endotoxin.
Materials and methods
CD88 expression on leukocytes from 12 patients with severe sepsis or septic shock was analysed by flow cytometer, and serum complement factors C3a and C5b-9 were measured by enzyme immunoassay techniques.
Results
The granulocyte CD88 expression on day 1 was lowered (36; range, 2–59) in comparison with controls (63; range, 25–88) (P < 0.001), despite complement activation, while the monocyte CD88 expression was unchanged. The receptor reduction correlated significantly to the APACHE II score (r2 = 0.35, P < 0.05). The recovery of CD88 expression was slow.
Discussion
In contrast to the findings in animals, it is concluded that granulocyte CD88 expression is reduced at the time when the diagnosis of severe sepsis or septic shock can clinically be made. The reason for this needs further investigation but it may be due to a previous complement activation or to cytokine effects.
PMCID: PMC125318  PMID: 12225614
antiC5a treatment; complement receptor; leukocytes; septic shock

Results 1-8 (8)