Galectin-9 (Gal-9), a lectin having a β-galactoside-binding domain, can induce apoptosis of Th1 cells by binding to TIM-3. In addition, Gal-9 inhibits IgE/Ag-mediated degranulation of mast cell/basophilic cell lines by binding to IgE, thus blocking IgE/Ag complex formation. However, the role of Gal-9 in mast cell function in the absence of IgE is not fully understood. Here, we found that recombinant Gal-9 directly induced phosphorylation of Erk1/2 but not p38 MAPK in a human mast cell line, HMC-1, which does not express FcεRI. Gal-9 induced apoptosis and inhibited PMA/ionomycin-mediated degranulation of HMC-1 cells. On the other hand, Gal-9 induced cytokine and/or chemokine production by HMC-1 cells, dependent on activation of ERK1/2 but not p38 MAPK. In addition, the lectin activity of Gal-9 was required for Gal-9-mediated cytokine secretion by HMC-1 cells. These observations suggest that Gal-9 has dual properties as both a regulator and an activator of mast cells.
Recent epidemiologic data suggest that the prevalence of macrolide resistant Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MR-M. pneumoniae) is increasing rapidly worldwide. This study assessed the present status of M. pneumoniae infection in Japan and clinical end-points to distinguish children with MR-M. pneumoniae.
During an outbreak of M. pneumoniae infections in Fukuoka, Japan in 2010–11, a total of 105 children with clinically suspected M. pneumoniae infection were enrolled. M. pneumoniae was analyzed for macrolide resistance in domain V of the 23S rRNA gene. Sixty -five patients with PCR positive for M. pneumoniae were analyzed with regard to clinical symptoms, efficacy of several antimicrobial agents and several laboratory data.
Causative pathogens were detected in 81.0% (85 of 105) and M. pneumoniae was identified 61.9% (65 of 105). The resistance rate of M. pneumoniae was 89.2% (58 of 65) in this general pediatric outpatient setting. Patients infected with MR-M. pneumoniae showed longer times to resolution of fever and required frequent changes of the initially prescribed macrolide to another antimicrobial agent. We observed three different genotypes of M. pneumoniae including the rarely reported A2063T mutation (A2063G: 31 strains, A2063T: 27 strains, no mutation: 7 strains). Drug susceptibility testing showed different antimicrobial susceptibility profiles for each genotype. Serum IFN-gamma, IL-6 and IP-10 levels were higher in patients with MR-genotypes than in those infected with no-mutation strains (p < 0.001).
Macrolide resistance is more common than previously thought and a small epidemic of rarely reported A2063T mutation was observed in Fukuoka, Japan. Furthermore our results reveal the possibility that levels of certain inflammatory cytokines may be a candidate to predict MR-M.pneumoniae infection.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae; Macrolide resistant; A2063T; Inflammatory cytokine; Predictive factors
Synthesis of high-purity biogenic heterocyclic library enabled identification of a small molecule, which potently inhibited proliferation of several cancer cell lines and induces rapid oxidative stress. This agent elicited unusual mechanism of cell death induction, which entailed activation of both caspase-dependent and independent pathways.
chemical libraries; cell death; cytotoxicity; reactive oxygen species; caspase
IL-17A, IL-17F and IL-25 are ligands for IL-17RA. In the present study, we demonstrated that IL-25-deficient mice, but not IL-17A-, IL-17F-, IL-17A/F-, IL-23p19- and ROR-γt-deficient mice, showed significant suppression of the number of eosinophils and the levels of proinflammatory mediators in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids, airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine, or ovalbumin-specific IgG1 and IgE levels in the serum during ovalbumin-induced Th2-type/eosinophilic airway inflammation, without any effect on lung DC migration or antigen-specific memory-Th2-cell expansion during antigen sensitization. By adoptive transfer of either T cells, mast cells or bone marrow cells from IL-25-deficient mice, we found that IL-25 produced by airway structural cells such as epithelial cells—but not by such hematopoietic stem-cell-origin immune cells as T cells and mast cells—was indispensable for induction of Th2-type/eosinophilic airway inflammation by activating lung epithelial cells and eosinophils. Therefore, airway structural-cell-derived IL-25—rather than Th17-cell-derived IL-17A and IL-17F—is responsible for induction of local inflammation by promoting activation of lung epithelial cells and eosinophils in the elicitation phase—but is not required for antigen-specific Th2 cell differentiation in the sensitization phase—of Th2-type/eosinophilic airway inflammation.
Both interleukin (IL)-33 and IL-25 induce Th2 cytokine production by various cell types, suggesting that they contribute to development of allergic disorders. However, the precise roles of IL-33 and IL-25 in house dust mite (HDM)-induced allergic rhinitis (AR) remain unclear. Both IL-33 and IL-25 were produced mainly by nasal epithelial cells during HDM-induced AR. Eosinophil and goblet cell counts in the nose and IL-5 levels in lymph node cell culture supernatants were significantly decreased in IL-33-deficient, but not IL-25-deficient, mice compared with wild-type mice during HDM-induced AR, but the serum IgE and IgG1 levels did not differ. On the other hand, HDM-induced AR developed similarly in wild-type mice transferred with either IL-33-deficient BM cells or wild-type BM cells. IL-33, but not IL-25, produced by nasal epithelial cells was crucial for the development of murine HDM-induced AR. These observations suggest that IL-33 neutralization may be a potential approach for treatment of HDM-induced AR in humans.
Many investigators have speculated that hyperintense plaques (HIPs) of the carotid artery on noncontrast T1-weighted imaging (T1WI) in cardiovascular magnetic resonance indicate the presence of mural or intraplaque hemorrhage containing methemoglobin. However, coronary plaque imaging with T1WI is challenging, and the clinical significance of coronary HIPs on T1WI remains unknown. Incidentally, it is very rare to find an intracoronary thrombus at the culprit lesion site in patients in stable condition. This article reports the case of a lesion containing an intracoronary thrombus, detected as HIP on T1WI associated with the filter no-reflow phenomenon in a patient with silent myocardial ischemia.
Coronary artery disease; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Thrombus; Optical coherence tomography
Many investigators have speculated that hyperintense plaques (HIPs) of the carotid artery on non-contrast T1-weighted imaging (T1WI) in magnetic resonance indicate the presence of mural or intraplaque haemorrhage containing methemoglobin. Coronary plaque imaging with T1WI is challenging, and the clinical significance of coronary HIP on T1WI remains unknown. The aim of this study was to compare HIPs on T1WI with coronary plaque morphology assessed by optical coherence tomography (OCT), which allows us to identify not only plaque rupture, but also fibrous cap thickness and intracoronary thrombus in vivo, in patients with angina pectoris.
Methods and results
Twenty-six lesions from 26 patients with either stable or unstable angina pectoris were examined in this study. All patients underwent T1WI within 24 h before the day on which invasive coronary angiography was performed, and pre-interventional OCT was performed on a native atherosclerotic lesion, considered to be the culprit lesion. Of the 26 lesions studied, 16 (62%) were HIPs and 10 (38%) were non-HIPs. The signal intensity of the coronary plaque to cardiac muscle ratio in HIPs was significantly higher than that in non-HIPs. There were no significant differences in the frequency of lipid-rich plaque, thin-cap fibroatheroma, plaque rupture, and calcification between HIPs and non-HIPs. In contrast, the frequency of thrombus was significantly higher in HIPs than in non-HIPs (P = 0.004).
This study shows that the HIPs on T1WI in angina patients relate to the presence of intracoronary thrombus as detected by OCT imaging.
Coronary artery disease; Atherosclerotic plaque; Magnetic resonance imaging; Thrombosis; Optical coherence tomography
Osaka City has the highest tuberculosis (TB) notification rates in Japan. In the period 1999–2003, the TB control programme was strengthened, and the Stop TB Strategy was implemented to reduce the number of notified cases. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of these control activities in Osaka City, including the implementation of directly observed treatment (DOT), by analysing TB surveillance and routinely collected data. We reviewed the surveillance data of all sputum smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) cases registered in the Osaka City Public Health Office from 2001 to 2008 and data collected from the routine TB programme. The DOT implementation rate increased from 0% in 2001 to 68% in 2008 for smear-positive PTB cases of the general public and to 61% for all PTB cases of the homeless. The proportion of smear-positive PTB cases that had treatment failure and default combined, declined from 8.0% (52 of 650) in 2001 to 3.6% (20 of 548) in 2006. The proportion of cases among the homeless with previous treatment declined from 28% in 2001 to 15% in 2008. The proportion of cases with multidrug resistant-TB (MDR-TB) among those without previous treatment declined from 1.7% in 2001 to 0.9% in 2008. It is logical that reduction in the failure and default rate would lead to the reduction of cases with previous treatment and TB transmission, including resistant TB, therefore to the reduction of MDR-TB rates.
Oxytocin is known to be related to social behaviors, including trust. However, few studies have investigated the association between oxytocin levels and social capital. Thus, we tested the hypothesis that endogenous oxytocin levels are positively associated with social capital. We also considered whether the association differed across gender because previous studies have shown differential effects of OT on social behaviors depending on gender.
We recruited a convenience sample of 50 women and 31 men in Japan via community sampling from whom we obtained urine sample with which to measure oxytocin levels. Individual-level cognitive social capital (social trust and mutual aid) and structural social capital (community participation) were assessed using a questionnaire. We used multivariate regression, adjusted for covariates (age, number of children, self-rated health, and education), and stratified by gender to consider associations between oxytocin and social capital.
Among women, oxytocin was inversely associated with social trust and mutual aid (p<0.05). However, women participating in only 1 organization in the community showed higher oxytocin than women who participated in either no organizations (p<0.05) or 2 or more organization (i.e. inverse-U shape association). Among men, no association was observed between oxytocin and either form of cognitive and structural social capital.
Women who perceived low cognitive social capital showed higher oxytocin levels, while structural social capital showed inverse-U shape association with oxytocin. No association between oxytocin and social capital was found among men. Further study is needed to elucidate why oxytocin was inversely associated with cognitive social capital only among women.
eosinophil disorders; hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES); global consensus; classification
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.
asthma; TSLP; bronchial epithelial cells; combination therapy; genetic polymorphisms
Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) is a T helper type 1 (Th1) cytokine which has antiviral, anti-proliferative, and immunomodulatory properties. Despite the presence of IFN-γ in the conjunctiva or tear fluid of patients with severe allergic conjunctivitis, the role of IFN-γ in allergic conjunctivitis is controversial and enigmatic. In this study, we assess the effect of long-term treatment of IFN-γ on human conjuctival fibroblasts.
Primary cultured fibroblasts derived from human conjunctiva specimens were established. Cultured fibroblasts were incubated with or without IFN-γ (10 ng/mL) for up to 14 days. After IFN-γ treatment, cells were washed out and were re-stimulated with combinations of IL-4 (10 ng/mL) and TNFα (10 ng/mL) for 6 hours. Then, total mRNAs were isolated and mRNA expression levels were measured using a microarray and real time-PCR.
In IFN-γ treated fibroblasts in short-term (6 hours), we confirmed the increased expression levels of well-known interferon induced genes, such as MHC class II, IRF1 and CXCL10. Increased expression of CCL11 stimulated by IL-4 + TNFα was suppressed by short-term IFN-γ treatment as described previously. In long-term (14 days) IFN-γ treated cells, the expression of CCL11 and several proinflammatory chemokines, which were associated with Th2 cell and eosinophil migration, was slightly but significantly increased without any other stimulations. Interestingly, IL-4 + TNFα stimulation greatly enhanced the expression levels of these chemokines, suggesting that long-term IFN-γ treatment alters the competency of gene expression potential on these gene loci in contrast to the situation for short term treatment. Time-course analysis of IFN-γ treatment revealed that the treatment of IFN-γ up to 24 hours suppressed the IL-4 + TNFα-induced CCL11 expression, whereas the CCL11 expression was enhanced 3 days after the treatment.
These results uncovered previously unsuspected contribution of IFN-γ to the fibroblasts in allergic inflammatory milieu in terms of the change in production of certain chemokines. In other words, the antagonistic function of IFN-γ to Th2 cells at the early phase may represent only a small part. The intracellular signaling and IFN-γ-dependent secondary events are needed to be explored to explain the long-term effect or the late phase phenomenon after IFN-γ administration.
A 74-year-old man with coronary artery disease was suffering from acute nonobstructive cholecystitis and was admitted to a nearby hospital. Dual antiplatelet (aspirin and ticlopidine) therapy was discontinued before preparation for surgical resection of the gall bladder. During his time in hospital he was aware of lumbar pain and weakness in both legs. He was transferred to our hospital for further evaluation and therapy. Diffuse intra-aortic thrombi were revealed by computed tomography with contrast media, and magnetic resonance imaging showed spinal cord infarction. However, computed tomography scans of the descending aorta obtained 4 months before admission exhibited no signs of atherosclerotic plaques or intra-aortic thrombi. Laboratory data suggest that antiphospholipid antibody syndrome might have caused these acute multiple intra-arterial thrombi. By restarting dual antiplatelet therapy and increasing the dose of heparin (from 10,000 IU/day to 15,000 IU/day) we successfully managed the patient’s clinical condition and symptoms. It is important to understand that stopping antiplatelet therapy may rapidly grow thrombi in patients with a hypercoagulative state.
intra-aortic thrombus; antiphospholipid antibody syndrome; spinal cord infarction
IgE-mediated activation of mast cells and basophils underlies allergic diseases such as asthma. Histamine-releasing factor (HRF; also known as translationally controlled tumor protein [TCTP] and fortilin) has been implicated in late-phase allergic reactions (LPRs) and chronic allergic inflammation, but its functions during asthma are not well understood. Here, we identified a subset of IgE and IgG antibodies as HRF-interacting molecules in vitro. HRF was able to dimerize and bind to Igs via interactions of its N-terminal and internal regions with the Fab region of Igs. Therefore, HRF together with HRF-reactive IgE was able to activate mast cells in vitro. In mouse models of asthma and allergy, Ig-interacting HRF peptides that were shown to block HRF/Ig interactions in vitro inhibited IgE/HRF-induced mast cell activation and in vivo cutaneous anaphylaxis and airway inflammation. Intranasally administered HRF recruited inflammatory immune cells to the lung in naive mice in a mast cell– and Fc receptor–dependent manner. These results indicate that HRF has a proinflammatory role in asthma and skin immediate hypersensitivity, leading us to suggest HRF as a potential therapeutic target.
Asthma is a complex phenotype influenced by genetic and environmental factors. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) with 938 Japanese pediatric asthma patients and 2,376 controls. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) showing strong associations (P<1×10−8) in GWAS were further genotyped in an independent Japanese samples (818 cases and 1,032 controls) and in Korean samples (835 cases and 421 controls). SNP rs987870, located between HLA-DPA1 and HLA-DPB1, was consistently associated with pediatric asthma in 3 independent populations (Pcombined = 2.3×10−10, odds ratio [OR] = 1.40). HLA-DP allele analysis showed that DPA1*0201 and DPB1*0901, which were in strong linkage disequilibrium, were strongly associated with pediatric asthma (DPA1*0201: P = 5.5×10−10, OR = 1.52, and DPB1*0901: P = 2.0×10−7, OR = 1.49). Our findings show that genetic variants in the HLA-DP locus are associated with the risk of pediatric asthma in Asian populations.
Asthma is the most common chronic disorder in children, and asthma exacerbation is an important cause of childhood morbidity and hospitalization. Here, taking advantage of recent technological advances in human genetics, we performed a genome-wide association study and follow-up validation studies to identify genetic variants for asthma. By examining 6,428 Asians, we found rs987870 and HLA-DPA1*0201/DPB1*0901 were associated with pediatric asthma. The association signal was stretched in the region of HLA-DPB2, collagen, type XI, alpha 2 (COL11A2), and Retinoid X receptor beta (RXRB), but strong linkage disequilibrium in this region made it difficult to specifically identify causative variants. Interestingly, the SNP (or the HLA-DP allele) associated with pediatric asthma (Th-2 type immune diseases) in the present study confers protection against Th-1 type immune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, the association results obtained in the present study could partially explain the inverse relationship between asthma and Th-1 type immune diseases and may lead to better understanding of Th-1/Th-2 immune diseases.
The novel polyI:C-inducible membrane protein INAM triggers dendritic cell–mediated natural killer cell activation.
In myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs), TLR3 is expressed in the endosomal membrane and interacts with the adaptor toll/interleukin 1 receptor homology domain–containing adaptor molecule 1 (TICAM-1; TRIF). TICAM-1 signals culminate in interferon (IFN) regulatory factor (IRF) 3 activation. Co-culture of mDC pretreated with the TLR3 ligand polyI:C and natural killer (NK) cells resulted in NK cell activation. This activation was triggered by cell-to-cell contact but not cytokines. Using expression profiling and gain/loss-of-function analyses of mDC genes, we tried to identify a TICAM-1–inducing membrane protein that participates in mDC-mediated NK activation. Of the nine candidates screened, one contained a tetraspanin-like sequence and satisfied the screening criteria. The protein, referred to as IRF-3–dependent NK-activating molecule (INAM), functioned in both the mDC and NK cell to facilitate NK activation. In the mDC, TICAM-1, IFN promoter stimulator 1, and IRF-3, but not IRF-7, were required for mDC-mediated NK activation. INAM was minimally expressed on NK cells, was up-regulated in response to polyI:C, and contributed to mDC–NK reciprocal activation via its cytoplasmic tail, which was crucial for the activation signal in NK cells. Adoptive transfer of INAM-expressing mDCs into mice implanted with NK-sensitive tumors caused NK-mediated tumor regression. We identify a new pathway for mDC–NK contact-mediated NK activation that is governed by a TLR signal-derived membrane molecule.
IL-33, a member of the IL-1 family of cytokines, provokes Th2-type inflammation accompanied by accumulation of eosinophils through IL-33R, which consists of ST2 and IL-1RAcP. We previously demonstrated that macrophages produce IL-33 in response to LPS. Some immune responses were shown to differ between ST2-deficient mice and soluble ST2-Fc fusion protein-treated mice. Even in anti-ST2 antibody (Ab)-treated mice, the phenotypes differed between distinct Ab clones, because the characterization of such Abs (i.e., depletion, agonistic or blocking Abs) was unclear in some cases.
To elucidate the precise role of IL-33, we newly generated neutralizing monoclonal Abs for IL-33. Exogenous IL-33 potentiated LPS-mediated cytokine production by macrophages. That LPS-mediated cytokine production by macrophages was suppressed by inhibition of endogenous IL-33 by the anti-IL-33 neutralizing mAbs.
Our findings suggest that LPS-mediated macrophage activation is accelerated by macrophage-derived paracrine IL-33 stimulation.
Interleukin-33 (IL-33) is the 11th member of IL-1 cytokine family which includes IL-1 and IL-18. Unlike IL-1β and IL-18, IL-33 is suggested to function as an alarmin that is released upon endothelial or epithelial cell damage and may not enhance acquired immune responses through activation of inflammasome. ST2, a IL-33 receptor component, is preferentially expressed by T-helper type (Th) 2 cells, mast cells, eosinophils and basophils, compared to Th1 cells, Th17 cells and neutrophils. Thus, IL-33 profoundly enhances allergic inflammation through increased expression of proallergic cytokines and chemokines. Indeed, IL-33 and its receptor genes are recognized as the most susceptible genes for asthma by several recent genomewide association studies. It has also recently been shown that IL-33 plays a crucial role in innate eosinophilic airway inflammation rather than acquired immune responses such as IgE production. As such, IL-33 provides a unique therapeutic way for asthma, i.e., ameliorating innate airway inflammation.
IL-33; ST2; host defense; allergy; autoimmunity; chronic disease; mast cell; basophil; eosinophil
Synovial mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have high proliferative and chondrogenic potentials, and MSCs transplanted into the articular cartilage defect produce abundant extracellular matrix. Because of similarities between the articular cartilage and the intervertebral disc cartilage, synovial MSCs are a potential cell source for disc regeneration. Here, we examined the effect of intradiscal transplantation of synovial MSCs after aspiration of nucleus pulposus in rabbits.
The nucleus pulposus tissues of rabbit's intervertebral discs were aspirated to induce disc degeneration, and allogenic synovial MSCs were transplanted. At 2, 4, 6, 8, 16, 24 weeks postoperatively, we evaluated with imaging analyses such as X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and histological analysis. To investigate interaction between synovial MSCs and nucleus pulposus cells, human synovial MSCs and rat nucleus pulposus cells were co-cultured, and species specific microarray were performed.
The existence of transplanted cells labeled with DiI or derived from green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing transgenic rabbits was confirmed up until 24 weeks. X-ray analyses demonstrated that intervertebral disc height in the MSC group remained higher than that in the degeneration group. T2 weighted MR imaging showed higher signal intensity of nucleus pulposus in the MSC group. Immunohistological analyses revealed higher expression of type II collagen around nucleus pulposus cells in the MSC group compared with even that of the normal group. In co-culture of rat nucleus pulposus cells and human synovial MSCs, species specific microarray revealed that gene profiles of nucleus pulposus were altered markedly with suppression of genes relating matrix degradative enzymes and inflammatory cytokines.
Synovial MSCs injected into the nucleus pulposus space promoted synthesis of the remaining nucleus pulposus cells to type II collagen and inhibition of expressions of degradative enzymes and inflammatory cytokines, resulting in maintaining the structure of the intervertebral disc being maintained.
This review summarizes selected articles appearing in 2008 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI). Papers chosen include those improving our understanding of mechanisms of allergic diseases by focusing on human basophil, mast cell and eosinophil biology; IgE and its high affinity receptor on various cells; novel properties of omalizumab; airways remodeling; and genetics. Papers from other journals have been included to supplement the topics being presented.
Mast cells produce a large amount of several chemokines after cross-linking of FcεRI and participate in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases. The objective of this study was to comprehensively investigate FcεRI-mediated chemokine induction in human mast cells and the effect of a corticosteroid (dexamethasone) and a calcineurin inhibitor (FK506). Human peripheral blood-derived mast cells were stimulated with anti-IgE Ab in the presence of dexamethasone or FK506. Gene expression profiles were evaluated using GeneChip and confirmed by real-time PCR, and chemokine concentrations were measured by cytometric bead arrays and ELISA. Expression of eight chemokines was significantly induced in mast cells by anti-IgE stimulation. Induction of CCL2, CCL7, CXCL3, and CXCL8 by anti-IgE was significantly inhibited by dexamethasone but was enhanced by FK506. In contrast, induction of CCL1, CCL3, CCL4, and CCL18 was significantly inhibited by FK506 but, with the exception of CCL1, was enhanced by dexamethasone. Combination of dexamethasone and FK506 suppressed production of all chemokines by anti-IgE stimulation. Studies using protease inhibitors indicate that mast cell proteases may degrade several of the chemokines. These results suggest that corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors inhibit expression of distinct subsets of chemokines, and a combination of these drugs almost completely suppresses the induction of all chemokine genes in human mast cells in response to FcεRI-dependent stimulation. This implies that a combination of a corticosteroid and a calcineurin inhibitor may be more effective than each single agent for the treatment of allergic diseases in which mast cell-derived chemokines play a major role.
Activation of B cells in the airways is now believed to be of great importance in immunity to pathogens, and it participates in the pathogenesis of airway diseases. However, little is known about the mechanisms of local activation of B cells in airway mucosa. We investigated the expression of members of the B cell-activating TNF superfamily (B cell-activating factor of TNF family (BAFF) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL)) in resting and TLR ligand-treated BEAS-2B cells and primary human bronchial epithelial cells (PBEC). In unstimulated cells, expression of BAFF and APRIL was minimal. However, BAFF mRNA was significantly up-regulated by TLR3 ligand (dsRNA), but not by other TLR ligands, in both BEAS-2B cells (376-fold) and PBEC (224-fold). APRIL mRNA was up-regulated by dsRNA in PBEC (7-fold), but not in BEAS-2B cells. Membrane-bound BAFF protein was detectable after stimulation with dsRNA. Soluble BAFF protein was also induced by dsRNA (>200 pg/ml). The biological activity of the epithelial cell-produced BAFF was verified using a B cell survival assay. BAFF was also strongly induced by IFN-β, a cytokine induced by dsRNA. Induction of BAFF by dsRNA was dependent upon protein synthesis and IFN-αβ receptor-JAK-STAT signaling, as indicated by studies with cycloheximide, the JAK inhibitor I, and small interfering RNA against STAT1 and IFN-αβ receptor 2. These results suggest that BAFF is induced by dsRNA in airway epithelial cells and that the response results via an autocrine pathway involving IFN-β. The production of BAFF and APRIL by epithelial cells may contribute to local accumulation, activation, class switch recombination, and Ig synthesis by B cells in the airways.
Tuberculosis (TB) often coincides with nutritional deficiencies. The effects of micronutrient supplementation on TB treatment outcomes, clinical complications, and mortality are uncertain.
We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of micronutrients (vitamins A, B complex, C, and E, as well as selenium) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. We enrolled 471 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected and 416 HIV-negative adults with pulmonary TB at the time of initiating chemotherapy and monitored them for a median of 43 months.
Micronutrients decreased the risk of TB recurrence by 45% overall (95% confidence interval [CI], 7% to 67%; P = .02) and by 63% in HIV-infected patients (95% CI, 8% to 85%; P = .02). There were no significant effects on mortality overall; however, we noted a marginally significant 64% reduction of deaths in HIV-negative subjects (95% CI, −14% to 88%; P = .08). Supplementation increased CD3+ and CD4+ cell counts and decreased the incidence of extrapulmonary TB and genital ulcers in HIV-negative patients. Micronutrients reduced the incidence of peripheral neuropathy by 57% (95% CI, 41% to 69%; P < .001), irrespective of HIV status. There were no significant effects on weight gain, body composition, anemia, or HIV load.
Micronutrient supplementation could improve the outcome in patients undergoing TB chemotherapy in Tanzania.
Asthma is a complex phenotype that is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Genome-wide linkage and association studies have been performed to identify susceptibility genes for asthma. These studies identified new genes and pathways implicated in this disease, many of which were previously unknown.
To perform a large-scale genotyping study to identify asthma-susceptibility genes in the Japanese population.
We performed a large-scale, three-stage association study on 288 atopic asthmatics and 1032 controls, by using multiplex PCR-Invader assay methods at 82,935 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (1st stage). SNPs that were strongly associated with asthma were further genotyped in samples from asthmatic families (216 families, 762 members, 2nd stage), 541 independent patients, and 744 controls (3rd stage).
SNPs located in the 5' region of PEX19 (rs2820421) were significantly associated with P < 0.05 through the 1st to the 3rd stage analyses; however, the P values did not reach statistically significant levels (combined, P = 3.8 × 10-5; statistically significant levels with Bonferroni correction, P = 6.57 × 10-7). SNPs on HPCAL1 (rs3771140) and on IL18R1 (rs3213733) were associated with asthma in the 1st and 2nd stage analyses, but the associations were not observed in the 3rd stage analysis.
No association attained genome-wide significance, but several loci for possible association emerged. Future studies are required to validate these results for the prevention and treatment of asthma.
The cellular ontogeny of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) remains poorly understood because their isolation from and their identification in early developing small embryos are difficult. We attempted to dissect early developmental stages of HSCs using an in vitro mouse embryonic stem cell (ESC) differentiation system combined with inducible HOXB4 expression. Here we report the identification of pre-HSCs and an embryonic type of HSCs (embryonic HSCs) as intermediate cells between ESCs and HSCs. Both pre-HSCs and embryonic HSCs were isolated by their c-Kit+CD41+CD45− phenotype. Pre-HSCs did not engraft in irradiated adult mice. After co-culture with OP9 stromal cells and conditional expression of HOXB4, pre-HSCs gave rise to embryonic HSCs capable of engraftment and long-term reconstitution in irradiated adult mice. Blast colony assays revealed that most hemangioblast activity was detected apart from the pre-HSC population, implying the early divergence of pre-HSCs from hemangioblasts. Gene expression profiling suggests that a particular set of transcripts closely associated with adult HSCs is involved in the transition of pre-HSC to embryonic HSCs. We propose an HSC developmental model in which pre-HSCs and embryonic HSCs sequentially give rise to adult types of HSCs in a stepwise manner.