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2.  Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin Gene Promoter Polymorphisms Are Associated with Susceptibility to Bronchial Asthma 
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) triggers dendritic cell–mediated T helper (Th) 2 inflammatory responses. A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs3806933, in the promoter region of the TSLP gene creates a binding site for the transcription factor activating protein (AP)–1. The variant enhances AP-1 binding to the regulatory element, and increases the promoter–reporter activity of TSLP in response to polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly[I:C]) stimulation in normal human bronchial epithelium (NHBE). We investigated whether polymorphisms including the SNP rs3806933 could affect the susceptibility to and clinical phenotypes of bronchial asthma. We selected three representative (i.e., Tag) SNPs and conducted association studies of the TSLP gene, using two independent populations (639 patients with childhood atopic asthma and 838 control subjects, and 641 patients with adult asthma and 376 control subjects, respectively). We further examined the effects of corticosteroids and a long-acting β2-agonist (salmeterol) on the expression levels of the TSLP gene in response to poly(I:C) in NHBE. We found that the promoter polymorphisms rs3806933 and rs2289276 were significantly associated with disease susceptibility in both childhood atopic and adult asthma. The functional SNP rs3806933 was associated with asthma (meta-analysis, P = 0.000056; odds ratio, 1.29; 95% confidence interval, 1.14–1.47). A genotype of rs2289278 was correlated with pulmonary function. Moreover, the induction of TSLP mRNA and protein expression induced by poly(I:C) in NHBE was synergistically impaired by a corticosteroid and salmeterol. TSLP variants are significantly associated with bronchial asthma and pulmonary function. Thus, TSLP may serve as a therapeutic target molecule for combination therapy.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2009-0418OC
PMCID: PMC3159073  PMID: 20656951
asthma; TSLP; bronchial epithelial cells; combination therapy; genetic polymorphisms
3.  Effects of lysed Enterococcus faecalis FK-23 on experimental allergic rhinitis in a murine model 
Journal of Biomedical Research  2012;26(3):226-234.
In the current study, we sought to investigate whether lysed Enterococcus faecalis FK-23 (LFK), a heat-killed probiotic preparation, attenuated eosinophil influx into the upper airway and had immunomodulatory activity in a murine allergic rhinitis model. Eighteen BALB/c mice were divided into three groups; the ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized/challenged group, which received saline orally for 6 weeks (OVA group), the OVA-sensitized/challenged group, which received LFK orally for 6 weeks (LFK-fed group), and the non-sensitized group, which received saline for 6 weeks (saline control group). Nasal rubbing and sneezing were monitored during the study. After the final challenge, interleukin (IL)-4, interferon (IFN)-γ, and OVA-specific IgE levels in the sera and splenocyte culture supernatants were determined, eosinophilic infiltrate into the upper airway was quantified, and splenic CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) were examined by flow cytometry. We found that nasal rubbing was significantly reduced in LFK-fed mice compared to the OVA group on d 27 and 35, and sneezing was significantly inhibited by LFK administration for 35 d. LFK-fed mice had significantly less eosinophil influx into the nasal mucosa than the OVA group. There were no significant differences between the LFK-fed group and OVA group in the serum and splenocyte culture supernatant levels of IL-4, IFN-γ, and OVA-specific IgE. Interestingly, the LFK-fed mice had a significantly greater percentage of splenic CD4+CD25+ Tregs than OVA group. Our results indicate that oral administration of LFK may alleviate nasal symptoms, reduce nasal eosinophilia, and increase the percentage of CD4+CD25+ Tregs in experimental allergic rhinitis.
doi:10.7555/JBR.26.20120023
PMCID: PMC3596073  PMID: 23554753
allergic rhinitis; probiotics; Enterococcus faecalis; cytokines; eosinophils; regulatory T-lymphocytes; mice
4.  ORAI1 Genetic Polymorphisms Associated with the Susceptibility of Atopic Dermatitis in Japanese and Taiwanese Populations 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29387.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease. Multiple genetic and environmental factors are thought to be responsible for susceptibility to AD. In this study, we collected 2,478 DNA samples including 209 AD patients and 729 control subjects from Taiwanese population and 513 AD patients and 1027 control subject from Japanese population for sequencing and genotyping ORAI1. A total of 14 genetic variants including 3 novel single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the ORAI1 gene were identified. Our results indicated that a non-synonymous SNP (rs3741596, Ser218Gly) associated with the susceptibility of AD in the Japanese population but not in the Taiwanese population. However, there is another SNP of ORAI1 (rs3741595) associated with the risk of AD in the Taiwanese population but not in the Japanese population. Taken together, our results indicated that genetic polymorphisms of ORAI1 are very likely to be involved in the susceptibility of AD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029387
PMCID: PMC3258251  PMID: 22253717
5.  Variants of C-C Motif Chemokine 22 (CCL22) Are Associated with Susceptibility to Atopic Dermatitis: Case-Control Studies 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e26987.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common inflammatory skin disease caused by multiple genetic and environmental factors. AD is characterized by the local infiltration of T helper type 2 (Th2) cells. Recent clinical studies have shown important roles of the Th2 chemokines, CCL22 and CCL17 in the pathogenesis of AD. To investigate whether polymorphisms of the CCL22 gene affect the susceptibility to AD, we conducted association studies and functional studies of the related variants. We first resequenced the CCL22 gene and found a total of 39 SNPs. We selected seven tag SNPs in the CCL22 gene, and conducted association studies using two independent Japanese populations (1st population, 916 cases and 1,032 controls; 2nd population 1,034 cases and 1,004 controls). After the association results were combined by inverse variance method, we observed a significant association at rs4359426 (meta-analysis, combined P = 9.6×10−6; OR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.65–0.85). Functional analysis revealed that the risk allele of rs4359426 contributed to higher expression levels of CCL22 mRNA. We further examined the allelic differences in the binding of nuclear proteins by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. The signal intensity of the DNA-protein complex derived from the G allele of rs223821, which was in absolute LD with rs4359426, was higher than that from the A allele. Although further functional analyses are needed, it is likely that related variants play a role in susceptibility to AD in a gain-of-function manner. Our findings provide a new insight into the etiology and pathogenesis of AD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026987
PMCID: PMC3219642  PMID: 22125604
6.  Distribution of Different Species of the Bacteroides fragilis Group in Individuals with Japanese Cedar Pollinosis▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2008;74(21):6814-6817.
We investigated associations of species of the Bacteroides fragilis group with Japanese cedar pollinosis (JCPsis). Cell numbers of Bacteroides fragilis and Bacteroides intestinalis were significantly higher in JCPsis subjects than in non-JCPsis subjects before the pollen season. They correlated positively with both symptom scores and JCPsis-specific immunoglobulin E levels.
doi:10.1128/AEM.01106-08
PMCID: PMC2576713  PMID: 18791010

Results 1-6 (6)