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1.  Changes in the endurance shuttle walk test in COPD patients with chronic respiratory failure after pulmonary rehabilitation: the minimal important difference obtained with anchor- and distribution-based method 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):27.
Although the endurance shuttle walk test (ESWT) has proven to be responsive to change in exercise capacity after pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) for COPD, the minimally important difference (MID) has not yet been established. We aimed to establish the MID of the ESWT in patients with severe COPD and chronic hypercapnic respiratory failure following PR.
Data were derived from a randomized controlled trial, investigating the value of noninvasive positive pressure ventilation added to PR. Fifty-five patients with stable COPD, GOLD stage IV, with chronic respiratory failure were included (mean (SD) FEV1 31.1 (12.0) % pred, age 62 (9) y). MID estimates of the ESWT in seconds, percentage and meters change were calculated with anchor based and distribution based methods. Six minute walking distance (6MWD), peak work rate on bicycle ergometry (Wpeak) and Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (CRQ) were used as anchors and Cohen’s effect size was used as distribution based method.
The estimated MID of the ESWT with the different anchors ranged from 186–199 s, 76–82% and 154–164 m. Using the distribution based method the MID was 144 s, 61% and 137 m.
Estimates of the MID for the ESWT after PR showed only small differences using different anchors in patients with COPD and chronic respiratory failure. Therefore we recommend using a range of 186–199 s, 76–82% or 154–164 m as MID of the ESWT in COPD patients with chronic respiratory failure. Further research in larger populations should elucidate whether this cut-off value is also valid in other COPD populations and with other interventions.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.Gov (ID NCT00135538).
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-015-0182-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4336738
Endurance shuttle walk test; Minimally important difference; COPD; Respiratory failure
2.  Understanding the contribution of native tracheobronchial structure to lung function: CT assessment of airway morphology in never smokers 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):23.
Computed tomographic (CT) airway lumen narrowing is associated with lower lung function. Although volumetric CT measures of airways (wall volume [WV] and lumen volume [LV]) compared to cross sectional measures can more accurately reflect bronchial morphology, data of their use in never smokers is scarce. We hypothesize that native tracheobronchial tree morphology as assessed by volumetric CT metrics play a significant role in determining lung function in normal subjects. We aimed to assess the relationships between airway size, the projected branching generation number (BGN) to reach airways of <2mm lumen diameter –the site for airflow obstruction in smokers- and measures of lung function including forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced expiratory flow between 25% and 75% of vital capacity (FEF 25–75).
We assessed WV and LV of segmental and subsegmental airways from six bronchial paths as well as lung volume on CT scans from 106 never smokers. We calculated the lumen area ratio of the subsegmental to segmental airways and estimated the projected BGN to reach a <2mm-lumen-diameter airway assuming a dichotomized tracheobronchial tree model. Regression analysis was used to assess the relationships between airway size, BGN, FEF 25–75, and FEV1.
We found that in models adjusted for demographics, LV and WV of segmental and subsegmental airways were directly related to FEV1 (P <0.05 for all the models). In adjusted models for age, sex, race, LV and lung volume or height, the projected BGN was directly associated with FEF 25–75 and FEV1 (P = 0.001) where subjects with lower FEV1 had fewer calculated branch generations between the subsegmental bronchus and small airways. There was no association between airway lumen area ratio and lung volume.
We conclude that in never smokers, those with smaller central airways had lower airflow and those with lower airflow had less parallel airway pathways independent of lung size. These findings suggest that variability in the structure of the tracheobronchial tree may influence the risk of developing clinically relevant smoking related airway obstruction.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-015-0181-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4335784
Airway wall volume; Airway lumen volume; CT; Branching generation number; Never smokers
3.  Inhibition of HMGCoA reductase by simvastatin protects mice from injurious mechanical ventilation 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):24.
Mortality from severe acute respiratory distress syndrome exceeds 40% and there is no available pharmacologic treatment. Mechanical ventilation contributes to lung dysfunction and mortality by causing ventilator-induced lung injury. We explored the utility of simvastatin in a mouse model of severe ventilator-induced lung injury.
Male C57BL6 mice (n = 7/group) were pretreated with simvastatin or saline and received protective (8 mL/kg) or injurious (25 mL/kg) ventilation for four hours. Three doses of simvastatin (20 mg/kg) or saline were injected intraperitoneally on days −2, −1 and 0 of the experiment. Lung mechanics, (respiratory system elastance, tissue damping and airway resistance), were evaluated by forced oscillation technique, while respiratory system compliance was measured with quasi-static pressure-volume curves. A pathologist blinded to treatment allocation scored hematoxylin-eosin-stained lung sections for the presence of lung injury. Pulmonary endothelial dysfunction was ascertained by bronchoalveolar lavage protein content and lung tissue expression of endothelial junctional protein Vascular Endothelial cadherin by immunoblotting. To assess the inflammatory response in the lung, we determined bronchoalveolar lavage fluid total cell content and neutrophil fraction by microscopy and staining in addition to Matrix-Metalloprotease-9 by ELISA. For the systemic response, we obtained plasma levels of Tumor Necrosis Factor-α, Interleukin-6 and Matrix-Metalloprotease-9 by ELISA. Statistical hypothesis testing was undertaken using one-way analysis of variance and Tukey’s post hoc tests.
Ventilation with high tidal volume (HVt) resulted in significantly increased lung elastance by 3-fold and decreased lung compliance by 45% compared to low tidal volume (LVt) but simvastatin abrogated lung mechanical alterations of HVt. Histologic lung injury score increased four-fold by HVt but not in simvastatin-pretreated mice. Lavage pleocytosis and neutrophilia were induced by HVt but were significantly attenuated by simvastatin. Microvascular protein permeability increase 20-fold by injurious ventilation but only 4-fold with simvastatin. There was a 3-fold increase in plasma Tumor Necrosis Factor-α, a 7-fold increase in plasma Interleukin-6 and a 20-fold increase in lavage fluid Matrix-Metalloprotease-9 by HVt but simvastatin reduced these levels to control. Lung tissue vascular endothelial cadherin expression was significantly reduced by injurious ventilation but remained preserved by simvastatin.
High-dose simvastatin prevents experimental hyperinflation lung injury by angioprotective and anti-inflammatory effects.
PMCID: PMC4336762
Ventilator lung injury; Acute respiratory distress syndrome; Acute lung injury; Pulmonary edema; Statin; Lung function; Lung compliance; Endothelial permeability
4.  Fibroblast-myofibroblast transition is differentially regulated by bronchial epithelial cells from asthmatic children 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):21.
Airway remodeling is a proposed mechanism that underlies the persistent loss of lung function associated with childhood asthma. Previous studies have demonstrated that human lung fibroblasts (HLFs) co-cultured with primary human bronchial epithelial cells (BECs) from asthmatic children exhibit greater expression of extracellular matrix (ECM) components compared to co-culture with BECs derived from healthy children. Myofibroblasts represent a population of differentiated fibroblasts that have greater synthetic activity. We hypothesized co-culture with asthmatic BECs would lead to greater fibroblast to myofibroblast transition (FMT) compared to co-culture with healthy BECs.
BECs were obtained from well-characterized asthmatic and healthy children and were proliferated and differentiated at an air-liquid interface (ALI). BEC-ALI cultures were co-cultured with HLFs for 96 hours. RT-PCR was performed in HLFs for alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and flow cytometry was used to assay for α-SMA antibody labeling of HLFs. RT-PCR was also preformed for the expression of tropomyosin-I as an additional marker of myofibroblast phenotype. In separate experiments, we investigated the role of TGFβ2 in BEC-HLF co-cultures using monoclonal antibody inhibition.
Expression of α-SMA by HLFs alone was greater than by HLFs co-cultured with healthy BECs, but not different than α-SMA expression by HLFs co-cultured with asthmatic BECs. Flow cytometry also revealed significantly less α-SMA expression by healthy co-co-cultures compared to asthmatic co-cultures or HLF alone. Monoclonal antibody inhibition of TGFβ2 led to similar expression of α-SMA between healthy and asthmatic BEC-HLF co-cultures. Expression of topomyosin-I was also significantly increased in HLF co-cultured with asthmatic BECs compared to healthy BEC-HLF co-cultures or HLF cultured alone.
These findings suggest dysregulation of FMT in HLF co-cultured with asthmatic as compared to healthy BECs. Our results suggest TGFβ2 may be involved in the differential regulation of FMT by asthmatic BECs. These findings further illustrate the importance of BEC-HLF cross-talk in asthmatic airway remodeling.
PMCID: PMC4333174
Air-liquid interface culture; Airway remodeling; Asthma; Bronchial epithelial cells; Cell culture; Fibroblasts; Myofibroblasts; α-smooth muscle actin; TGFβ2
5.  Transcription factor and microRNA interactions in lung cells: an inhibitory link between NK2 homeobox 1, miR-200c and the developmental and oncogenic factors Nfib and Myb 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):22.
The transcription factor NK2 homeobox 1 (Nkx2-1) plays essential roles in epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation in mouse and human lung development and tumorigenesis. A better understanding of genes and pathways downstream of Nkx2-1 will clarify the multiple roles of this critical lung factor. Nkx2-1 regulates directly or indirectly numerous protein-coding genes; however, there is a paucity of information about Nkx2-1-regulated microRNAs (miRNAs).
Methods and results
By miRNA array analyses of mouse epithelial cell lines in which endogenous Nkx2-1 was knocked-down, we revealed that 29 miRNAs were negatively regulated including miR-200c, and 39 miRNAs were positively regulated by Nkx2-1 including miR-1195. Mouse lungs lacking functional phosphorylated Nkx2-1 showed increased expression of miR-200c and alterations in the expression of other top regulated miRNAs. Moreover, chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed binding of NKX2-1 protein to regulatory regions of these miRNAs. Promoter reporter assays indicated that 1kb of the miR-200c 5′ flanking region was transcriptionally active but did not mediate Nkx2-1- repression of miR-200c expression. 3′UTR reporter assays support a direct regulation of the predicted targets Nfib and Myb by miR-200c.
These studies suggest that Nkx2-1 controls the expression of specific miRNAs in lung epithelial cells. In particular, we identified a regulatory link between Nkx2-1, the known tumor suppressor miR-200c, and the developmental and oncogenic transcription factors Nfib and Myb, adding new players to the regulatory mechanisms driven by Nkx2-1 in lung epithelial cells that may have implications in lung development and tumorigenesis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-015-0186-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4335692
microRNA; Transcription factors; Gene expression; Lung epithelial cells; Targets
6.  Lung function, symptoms and inflammation during exacerbations of non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis: a prospective observational cohort study 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):16.
Exacerbations of non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis cause significant morbidity but there are few detailed data on their clinical course and associated physiological changes. The biology of an exacerbation has not been previously described.
The purpose of this study was to describe changes in lung function, symptoms, health status and inflammation during the development and recovery from community-treated exacerbations.
This was a prospective observational cohort study of 32 outpatients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis conducted between August 2010 and August 2012. Patients completed a symptom diary card and measured their peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) daily. Exacerbations were defined as oral antibiotic treatment taken for a worsening of respiratory symptoms. Symptoms and peak flow at exacerbation were analysed, and further measurements including the COPD Assessment Test (CAT) and inflammatory markers were also compared to baseline values.
At baseline, health status was significantly related to lung function, prognostic severity and systemic inflammation. 51 exacerbations occurred in 22 patients. Exacerbation symptoms began a median (interquartile range) of 4 (2, 7) days before treatment started and the median exacerbation duration was 16 (10, 29) days. 16% had not recovered by 35 days. At exacerbation, mean PEFR dropped by 10.6% (95% confidence interval 6.9-14.2, p < 0.001) and mean CAT score increased by 6.3 units (3.6-9.1, p = 0.001), median symptom count by 4 (2.25, 6, p < 0.001), and mean CRP by 9.0mg/L (2.3-15.8, p = 0.011). Exacerbations where PEFR fell by ≥10% were longer with more symptoms at onset.
Exacerbations of non-CF bronchiectasis are inflammatory events, with worsened symptoms, lung function and health status, and a prolonged recovery period. Symptom diary cards, PEFR and CAT scores are responsive to changes at exacerbation and may be useful tools for their detection and monitoring.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-015-0167-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4324878
Bronchiectasis; Peak expiratory flow rate; Health-related Quality of Life; Respiratory questionnaire; Inflammation
7.  Dietary galacto-oligosaccharides prevent airway eosinophilia and hyperresponsiveness in a murine house dust mite-induced asthma model 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):17.
Allergic asthma is strongly associated with the exposure to house dust mite (HDM) and is characterized by eosinophilic pulmonary inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). Recently, there is an increased interest in using dietary oligosaccharides, also known as prebiotics, as a novel strategy to prevent the development of, or reduce, symptoms of allergy.
We investigated the preventive capacity of dietary galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) compared to an intra-airway therapeutic treatment with budesonide on the development of HDM-induced allergic asthma in mice.
BALB/c mice were intranasally sensitized with 1 μg HDM on day 0 followed by daily intranasal challenge with PBS or 10 μg HDM on days 7 to 11. Two weeks prior to the first sensitization and throughout the experiment mice were fed a control diet or a diet containing 1% GOS. Reference mice were oropharyngeally instilled with budesonide (500 μg/kg) on days 7, 9, 11, and 13, while being fed the control diet. On day 14, AHR was measured by nebulizing increasing doses of methacholine into the airways. At the end of the experiment, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lungs were collected.
Sensitization and challenge with HDM resulted in AHR. In contrast to budesonide, dietary intervention with 1% GOS prevented the development of AHR. HDM sensitization and challenge resulted in a significant increase in BALF leukocytes numbers, which was suppressed by budesonide treatment and dietary intervention with 1% GOS. Moreover, HDM sensitization and challenge resulted in significantly enhanced concentrations of IL-6, CCL17, IL-33, CCL5 and IL-13 in lung tissue. Both dietary intervention with 1% GOS or budesonide treatment significantly decreased the HDM-induced increased concentrations of CCL5 and IL-13 in lung tissue, while budesonide also reduced the HDM-enhanced concentrations of IL-6 and CCL17 in lung tissue.
Not only did dietary intervention with 1% GOS during sensitization and challenge prevent the induction of airway eosinophilia and Th2-related cytokine and chemokine concentrations in the lung equally effective as budesonide treatment, it also prevented AHR development in HDM-allergic mice. GOS might be useful for the prevention and/or treatment of symptoms in asthmatic disease.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-015-0171-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4327967
Asthma; House dust mite; Galacto-oligosaccharide; Budesonide
8.  Lung inflammatory pattern and antibiotic treatment in pneumonia 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):15.
In community-acquired pneumonia host inflammatory response against the causative microorganism is necessary for infection resolution. However an excessive response can have deleterious effects. In addition to antimicrobial effects, macrolide antibiotics are known to possess immunomodulatory properties.
We aimed to evaluate inflammatory cytokine profiles – both locally (bronchoalveolar lavage) and systemically (blood) – in community-acquired pneumonia admitted patients after at least 72 hours of antibiotic treatment (with and without macrolide containing regimens) and requiring bronchoscopic examination for inadequate response due to infection progression and/or lack of clinical stability.
A prospective study was performed on 52 admitted patients who developed an inadequate response after 72 hours of antibiotic treatment - non-responders community-acquired pneumonia - (blood and bronchoalveolar lavage), and two control groups: 1) community-acquired pneumonia control (blood) and 2) non-infection control (blood and bronchoalveolar lavage). Cytokine profiles (interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10), tumour necrosis factor α and clinical outcomes were assessed.
Non–responders patients treated with macrolide containing regimens showed significantly lower levels of IL-6 and TNF-α in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lower IL-8 and IL-10 in blood than those patients treated with non-macrolide regimens. Clinical outcomes showed that patients treated with macrolide regimens required fewer days to reach clinical stability (p < 0.01) and shorter hospitalization periods (p < 0.01).
After 72 hours of antibiotic effect, patients who received macrolide containing regimens exhibited lower inflammatory cytokine levels in pulmonary and systemic compartments along with faster stabilization of infectious parameters.
PMCID: PMC4328072
Community acquired pneumonia; Macrolides; Lung inflammation
9.  A randomised dose-ranging study of tiotropium Respimat® in children with symptomatic asthma despite inhaled corticosteroids 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):20.
A considerable number of children with asthma remain symptomatic despite treatment with inhaled corticosteroids, resulting in significant morbidity, reduced quality of life, increased healthcare costs and lost school days. The aim of our study was to assess the efficacy, safety and tolerability of once-daily tiotropium Respimat® 5 μg, 2.5 μg and 1.25 μg add-on to medium-dose inhaled corticosteroids, with or without a leukotriene modifier, in children aged 6–11 years with symptomatic asthma.
In this Phase II, double-blind, placebo-controlled, incomplete-crossover, dose-ranging study, patients were randomised to receive three of the four treatments evaluated: once-daily tiotropium Respimat® 5 μg, 2.5 μg or 1.25 μg or placebo Respimat®, in the evening during the 12-week (three × 4-week) treatment period.
In total, 76, 74, 75 and 76 patients aged 6–11 years received tiotropium Respimat® 5 μg, 2.5 μg, 1.25 μg and placebo Respimat®, respectively. For the primary end point (peak forced expiratory volume in 1 second measured within 3 hours post-dosing), the adjusted mean responses with tiotropium Respimat® 5 μg (272 mL), 2.5 μg (290 mL) and 1.25 μg (261 mL) were significantly greater than with placebo Respimat® (185 mL; p = 0.0002, p < 0.0001 and p = 0.0011, respectively). The safety and tolerability of all doses of tiotropium Respimat® were comparable with those of placebo Respimat®, with no serious adverse events and no events leading to discontinuation.
Tiotropium Respimat® add-on to medium-dose inhaled corticosteroids, with or without a leukotriene modifier, was efficacious in paediatric patients with symptomatic asthma and had comparable safety and tolerability with placebo Respimat®.
Trial registration identifier NCT01383499
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-015-0175-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4331449
Asthma; Asthma control; Children; Once-daily; Tiotropium; Lung function; Paediatric; Respimat®
10.  Regulation of IL-17A responses in human airway smooth muscle cells by Oncostatin M 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):14.
Regulation of human airway smooth muscle cells (HASMC) by cytokines contributes to chemotactic factor levels and thus to inflammatory cell accumulation in lung diseases. Cytokines such as the gp130 family member Oncostatin M (OSM) can act synergistically with Th2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-13) to modulate lung cells, however whether IL-17A responses by HASMC can be altered is not known.
To determine the effects of recombinant OSM, or other gp130 cytokines (LIF, IL-31, and IL-6) in regulating HASMC responses to IL-17A, assessing MCP-1/CCL2 and IL-6 expression and cell signaling pathways.
Cell responses of primary HASMC cultures were measured by the assessment of protein levels in supernatants (ELISA) and mRNA levels (qRT-PCR) in cell extracts. Activation of STAT, MAPK (p38) and Akt pathways were measured by immunoblot. Pharmacological agents were used to assess the effects of inhibition of these pathways.
OSM but not LIF, IL-31 or IL-6 could induce detectable responses in HASMC, elevating MCP-1/CCL2, IL-6 levels and activation of STAT-1, 3, 5, p38 and Akt cell signaling pathways. OSM induced synergistic action with IL-17A enhancing MCP-1/CCL-2 and IL-6 mRNA and protein expression, but not eotaxin-1 expression, while OSM in combination with IL-4 or IL-13 synergistically induced eotaxin-1 and MCP-1/CCL2. OSM elevated steady state mRNA levels of IL-4Rα, OSMRβ and gp130, but not IL-17RA or IL-17RC. Pharmacologic inhibition of STAT3 activation using Stattic down-regulated OSM, OSM/IL-4 or OSM/IL-13, and OSM/IL-17A synergistic responses of MCP-1/CCL-2 induction, whereas, inhibitors of Akt and p38 MAPK resulted in less reduction in MCP-1/CCL2 levels. IL-6 expression was more sensitive to inhibition of p38 (using SB203580) and was affected by Stattic in response to IL-17A/OSM stimulation.
Oncostatin M can regulate HASMC responses alone or in synergy with IL-17A. OSM/IL-17A combinations enhance MCP-1/CCL2 and IL-6 but not eotaxin-1. Thus, OSM through STAT3 activation of HASMC may participate in inflammatory cell recruitment in inflammatory airway disease.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-014-0164-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4332894
Asthma; Cytokines; Chemokines; STAT signaling; Oncostatin M; Airway smooth muscle
11.  Imbalance of dendritic cell co-stimulation in COPD 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):19.
Dendritic cells (DCs) control immunity and play a role in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the expression of function-associated surface molecules on circulating DCs in COPD is unknown.
Four-colour flow cytometry was used to compare blood DC surface molecules of 54 patients with COPD (median age: 59 years; median FEV1: 38% predicted, median CAT score: 24) with two age-matched control groups with normal lung function: 21 current smokers and 21 never-smokers.
Concentrations of plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) and myeloid DCs (mDCs) and the mDC/pDC ratio did not differ between the groups. The increased expression of BDCA-1, BDCA-3, CD86 and CCR5 on mDCs in patients with COPD did not significantly differ from smokers with normal lung function. In contrast, COPD was specifically characterised by a decreased expression of the anti-inflammatory co-stimulatory molecule PD-L1 on pDCs and an increased expression of the pro-inflammatory co-stimulatory molecule OX40 ligand (OX40L) on mDCs. These changes were not confined to patients with elevated systemic inflammation markers (leukocytes, c-reactive protein, interleukin-6, fibrinogen). The ratio of OX40L to PD-L1 expression (OX40L/PD-L1 ratio), a quantitative measure of imbalanced DC co-stimulation, correlated with the severity of pulmonary emphysema in patients with COPD.
An imbalance of DC co-stimulation might contribute to the pathogenesis of COPD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-015-0174-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4335663
COPD; Dendritic cells; Chronic inflammation; Emphysema
12.  The role of IL-27 in susceptibility to post-influenza Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):10.
Influenza is a common respiratory virus and Staphylococcus aureus frequently causes secondary pneumonia during influenza infection, leading to increased morbidity and mortality. Influenza has been found to attenuate subsequent Type 17 immunity, enhancing susceptibility to secondary bacterial infections. IL-27 is known to inhibit Type 17 immunity, suggesting a potential critical role for IL-27 in viral and bacterial co-infection.
A murine model of influenza and Staphylococcus aureus infection was used to mimic human viral, bacterial co-infection. C57BL/6 wild-type, IL-27 receptor α knock-out, and IL-10 knock-out mice were infected with Influenza H1N1 (A/PR/8/34) or vehicle for 6 days followed by challenge with Staphylococcus aureus or vehicle for 24 hours. Lung inflammation, bacterial burden, gene expression, and cytokine production were determined.
IL-27 receptor α knock-out mice challenged with influenza A had increased morbidity compared to controls, but no change in viral burden. IL-27 receptor α knock-out mice infected with influenza displayed significantly decreased IL-10 production compared to wild-type. IL-27 receptor α knock-out mice co-infected with influenza and S. aureus had improved bacterial clearance compared to wild-type controls. Importantly, there were significantly increased Type 17 responses and decreased IL-10 production in IL-27 receptor α knock-out mice. Dual infected IL-10−/− mice had significantly less bacterial burden compared to dual infected WT mice.
These data reveal that IL-27 regulates enhanced susceptibility to S. aureus pneumonia following influenza infection, potentially through the induction of IL-10 and suppression of IL-17.
PMCID: PMC4324414  PMID: 25651926
IL-27; Influenza; Staphylococcus aureus; Type 17 immunity
13.  Denatonium inhibits growth and induces apoptosis of airway epithelial cells through mitochondrial signaling pathways 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):13.
Denatonium, a widely used bitter agonist, activates bitter taste receptors on many cell types and plays important roles in chemical release, ciliary beating and smooth muscle relaxation through intracellular Ca2+-dependent pathways. However, the effects of denatonium on the proliferation of airway epithelial cells and on the integrity of cellular components such as mitochondria have not been studied. In this study, we hypothesize that denatonium might induce airway epithelial cell injury by damaging mitochondria.
Bright-field microscopy, cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay and flow cytometry analysis were used to examine cellular morphology, proliferation and cell cycle, respectively. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to examine mitochondrial integrity. JC-1 dye and western blotting techniques were used to measure mitochondrial membrane potential and protein expression, respectively.
For airway epithelial cells, we observed that denatonium significantly effects cellular morphology, decreases cell proliferation and reduces the number of cells in S phase in a dose-dependent manner. TEM analysis demonstrated that denatonium causes large amplitude swelling of mitochondria, which was confirmed by the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, the down-regulation of Bcl-2 protein and the subsequent enhancement of the mitochondrial release of cytochrome c and Smac/DIABLO after denatonium treatment.
In this study, we demonstrated for the first time that denatonium damages mitochondria and thus induces apoptosis in airway epithelial cells.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-015-0183-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4326484  PMID: 25652218
Denatonium; Bitter taste receptors; Epithelium injury; Mitochondria; Cytochrome c
14.  MMP-12-mediated by SARM-TRIF signaling pathway contributes to IFN-γ-independent airway inflammation and AHR post RSV infection in nude mice 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):11.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is one of the most frequently observed pathogens during infancy and childhood. However, the corresponding pathogenesis has not been determined to date. We previously demonstrated that IFN-γ plays an important role in RSV pathogenesis, and SARM-TRIF-signaling pathway could regulate the production of IFN-γ. This study is to investigate whether T cells or innate immune cells are the predominant producers of IFN-γ, and further to explore other culprits in addition to IFN-γ in the condition of RSV infection.
Normal BALB/c mice and nude mice deficient in T cells were infected intranasally with RSV. Leukocytes in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were counted, lung histopathology was examined, and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) was measured by whole-body plethysmography. IFN-γ and MMP-12 were detected by ELISA. MMP408, a selective MMP-12 inhibitor, was given intragastrically. Resveratrol, IFN-γ neutralizing antibody and recombinant murine IFN-γ were administered intraperitoneally. SARM and TRIF protein were semi-quantified by Western blot. siRNA was used to knock-down SARM expression.
RSV induced significant airway inflammation and AHR in both mice; IFN-γ was significantly increased in BALB/c mice but not in nude mice. MMP-12 was dramatically increased in both mice but earlier in nude mice. When MMP-12 was inhibited by MMP408, RSV-induced respiratory symptoms were alleviated. SARM was significantly suppressed while TRIF was significantly enhanced in both mice strains. Following resveratrol administration in nude mice, 1) SARM inhibition was prevented, 2) TRIF and MMP-12 were correspondingly down-regulated and 3) airway disorders were subsequently alleviated. Moreover, when SARM was efficiently knocked down using siRNA, TRIF and MMP-12 were markedly enhanced, and the anti-RSV effects of resveratrol were remarkably abrogated. MMP-12 was significantly increased in the IFN-γ neutralizing antibody-treated BALB/c mice but reduced in the recombinant murine IFN-γ-treated nude mice.
MMP-12 can result in at least part of the airway inflammation and AHR independent of IFN-γ. And SARM-TRIF- signaling pathway is involved in regulating the overproduction of MMP-12. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first that has examined the effects of SARM on MMP-12 and further highlights the potential to target SARM-TRIF-MMP-12 cascades to treat RSV infection.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-015-0176-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4332892  PMID: 25652021
RSV; MMP-12; SARM; TRIF; Airway inflammation; AHR
15.  Roflumilast improves corticosteroid resistance COPD bronchial epithelial cells stimulated with toll like receptor 3 agonist 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):12.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by chronic pulmonary inflammation punctuated by periods of viral exacerbations. Recent evidence suggests that the combination of roflumilast with corticosteroids may improve the compromised anti-inflammatory properties of corticosteroids in COPD. We analyzed differential and combination anti-inflammatory effects of dexamethasone and roflumilast N-oxide in human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) stimulated with viral toll like receptor (TLR) agonists.
Lung tissue and HBECs were isolated from healthy (n = 15), smokers (n = 12) and smokers with COPD (15). TLR3 expression was measured in lung tissue and in HBECs. IL-8 secretion was measured in cell cultures after TLR3 stimulation with poly I:C 10 μg/mL.
We found that TLR3 expression was increased by 1.95 fold (protein) and 2.5 fold (mRNA) in lung tissues from smokers with COPD and inversely correlated with lung function. The TLR3 agonist poly I:C 10 μg/mL increased the IL-8 release in HBECs that was poorly inhibited by dexamethasone in smokers (24.5%) and smokers with COPD (21.6%). In contrast, roflumilast showed similar inhibitory effects on IL-8 release in healthy (58.8%), smokers (56.6%) and smokers with COPD (50.5%). The combination of roflumilast N-oxide and dexamethasone showed additive inhibitory effects. Mechanistically, roflumilast N-oxide when combined with dexamethasone increased the expression of MKP1, and enhanced the inhibitory effects on phospho-p38, AP1 and NFκB activities which may explain the additive anti-inflammatory effects.
Altogether, our data provide in vitro evidence for a possible clinical utility to add roflumilast on top of inhaled corticosteroid in COPD.
PMCID: PMC4335416  PMID: 25652132
Roflimilast; Corticosteroid resistance; Toll like receptors; COPD; Viral exacerbation
16.  Reviewer acknowledgement 2014 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):9.
Contributing reviewers
The editors of Respiratory Research would like to thank all of our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 15 (2014).
PMCID: PMC4314788  PMID: 25644987
17.  Increased in vivo mitochondrial oxygenation with right ventricular failure induced by pulmonary arterial hypertension: mitochondrial inhibition as driver of cardiac failure? 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):6.
The leading cause of mortality due to pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is failure of the cardiac right ventricle. It has long been hypothesized that during the development of chronic cardiac failure the heart becomes energy deprived, possibly due to shortage of oxygen at the level of cardiomyocyte mitochondria. However, direct evaluation of oxygen tension levels within the in vivo right ventricle during PAH is currently lacking. Here we directly evaluated this hypothesis by using a recently reported technique of oxygen-dependent quenching of delayed fluorescence of mitochondrial protoprophyrin IX, to determine the distribution of mitochondrial oxygen tension (mitoPO2) within the right ventricle (RV) subjected to progressive PAH.
PAH was induced through a single injection of monocrotaline (MCT). Control (saline-injected), compensated RV hypertrophy (30 mg/kg MCT; MCT30), and RV failure (60 mg/kg MCT; MCT60) rats were compared 4 wk after treatment. The distribution of mitoPO2 within the RV was determined in mechanically-ventilated, anaesthetized animals, applying different inspired oxygen (FiO2) levels and two increment dosages of dobutamine.
MCT60 resulted in RV failure (increased mortality, weight loss, increased lung weight), MCT30 resulted in compensated RV hypertrophy. At 30% or 40% FiO2, necessary to obtain physiological arterial PO2 in the diseased animals, RV failure rats had significantly less mitochondria (15% of total mitochondria) in the 0-20 mmHg mitoPO2 range than hypertrophied RV rats (48%) or control rats (54%). Only when oxygen supply was reduced to 21% FiO2, resulting in low arterial PO2 for the MCT60 animals, or when oxygen demand increased with high dose dobutamine, the number of failing RV mitochondria with low oxygen became similar to control RV. In addition, metabolic enzyme analysis revealed similar mitochondrial mass, increased glycolytic hexokinase activity following MCT, with increased lactate dehydrogenase activity only in compensated hypertrophied RV.
Our novel observation of increased mitochondrial oxygenation suggests down-regulation of in vivo mitochondrial oxygen consumption, in the absence of hypoxia, with transition towards right ventricular failure induced by pulmonary arterial hypertension.
PMCID: PMC4320611  PMID: 25645252
Oxygen; Mitochondria; Heart hypertrophy; Heart failure; Pulmonary arterial hypertension
18.  Treatment with a sphingosine analog after the inception of house dust mite-induced airway inflammation alleviates key features of experimental asthma 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):7.
In vivo phosphorylation of sphingosine analogs with their ensuing binding and activation of their cell-surface sphingosine-1-phosphate receptors is regarded as the main immunomodulatory mechanism of this new class of drugs. Prophylactic treatment with sphingosine analogs interferes with experimental asthma by impeding the migration of dendritic cells to draining lymph nodes. However, whether these drugs can also alleviate allergic airway inflammation after its onset remains to be determined. Herein, we investigated to which extent and by which mechanisms the sphingosine analog AAL-R interferes with key features of asthma in a murine model during ongoing allergic inflammation induced by Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus.
BALB/c mice were exposed to either D. pteronyssinus or saline, intranasally, once-daily for 10 consecutive days. Mice were treated intratracheally with either AAL-R, its pre-phosphorylated form AFD-R, or the vehicle before every allergen challenge over the last four days, i.e. after the onset of allergic airway inflammation. On day 11, airway responsiveness to methacholine was measured; inflammatory cells and cytokines were quantified in the airways; and the numbers and/or viability of T cells, B cells and dendritic cells were assessed in the lungs and draining lymph nodes.
AAL-R decreased airway hyperresponsiveness induced by D. pteronyssinus by nearly 70%. This was associated with a strong reduction of IL-5 and IL-13 levels in the airways and with a decreased eosinophilic response. Notably, the lung CD4+ T cells were almost entirely eliminated by AAL-R, which concurred with enhanced apoptosis/necrosis in that cell population. This inhibition occurred in the absence of dendritic cell number modulation in draining lymph nodes. On the other hand, the pre-phosphorylated form AFD-R, which preferentially acts on cell-surface sphingosine-1-phosphate receptors, was relatively impotent at enhancing cell death, which led to a less efficient control of T cell and eosinophil responses in the lungs.
Airway delivery of the non-phosphorylated sphingosine analog, but not its pre-phosphorylated counterpart, is highly efficient at controlling the local T cell response after the onset of allergic airway inflammation. The mechanism appears to involve local induction of lymphocyte apoptosis/necrosis, while mildly affecting dendritic cell and T cell accumulation in draining lymph nodes.
PMCID: PMC4330646  PMID: 25645346
FTY720; Fingolimod; Gilenya; Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus; Apoptosis; Dendritic cells; CD4+ T cells; Asthma; S1P; AAL-R; AAL-S; Sphingosine
19.  Long term effects of an integrated care intervention on hospital utilization in patients with severe COPD: a single centre controlled study 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):8.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality globally. In Trondheim in 2008 an integrated care model (COPD-Home) consisting of an education program, self-management plan, home visits and a call centre for patient support and communication was developed. The objective was to determine the efficacy of an intervention according to the COPD-Home model in reducing hospital utilization among patients with COPD stage III and IV (GOLD 2007) discharged after hospitalization for acute exacerbations of COPD (AECOPD).
A single centre, prospective, open, controlled clinical study comparing COPD-Home integrated care (IC) with usual care (UC).
Ninety-one versus 81 patients mean age 73.4 ± 9.3 years (57% women) were included in the IC group (ICG) and the UC group (UCG) respectively, and after 2 years 51 and 49 patients were available for control in the respective groups. During the year prior to study start there were 71 hospital admissions (HA) in the ICG and 84 in the UCG. There was a 12.6% reduction in HA in the ICG during the first year of follow-up and a 46.5% reduction during the second year (p = 0.01) compared to an 8.3% increase during the first year and no change during the second year in the ICG. During the year prior to study start, the number of hospital days (HD) was 468 in the ICG and 479 in the UCG. In the IC group, the number of HD was reduced by 48.3% during the first year (p = 0.01), and remained low during the second year of follow-up (p=0.02). In the UC group, the number of HD remained unchanged during the follow-up period. There was a trend towards a shorter survival time among patients in the ICG compared to the UCG, hazard ratio 1.33 [95% CI 0.77 to 2.33].
Intervention according to the COPD-Home model reduced hospital utilization in patients with COPD III and IV with a persisting effect throughout the 2 years of follow-up. However, there was a trend towards a shorter survival time in the intervention group.
PMCID: PMC4335409  PMID: 25645122
COPD; Pulmonary disease; Education; Self-management; Integrated care
20.  Anti-inflammatory deficiencies in neutrophilic asthma: reduced galectin-3 and IL-1RA/IL-1β 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):5.
Galectin-3 (gal-3), a member of the β-galactoside-binding animal lectins, is involved in the recruitment, activation and removal of neutrophils. Neutrophilic asthma is characterized by a persistent elevation of airway neutrophils and impaired efferocytosis. We hypothesized that sputum gal-3 would be reduced in neutrophilic asthma and the expression of gal-3 would be associated with other markers of neutrophilic inflammation.
Adults with asthma (n = 80) underwent a sputum induction following clinical assessment and blood collection. Sputum was dispersed for a differential cell count and ELISA assessment of gal-3, gal-3 binding protein (BP), interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-1 receptor antagonist (RA), IL-8 and IL-6. Gal-3 and gal-3BP immunoreactivity were assessed in mixed sputum cells.
Sputum gal-3 (median, (q1,q3)) was significantly reduced in neutrophilic asthma (183 ng/mL (91,287)) compared with eosinophilic (293 ng/mL (188,471), p = 0.021) and paucigranulocytic asthma (399 ng/mL (213,514), p = 0.004). The gal-3/gal-3BP ratio and IL-1RA/IL-1β ratio were significantly reduced, while gal-3BP and IL-1β were significantly elevated in neutrophilic asthma compared with eosinophilic and paucigranulocytic asthma.
Patients with neutrophilic asthma have impairment in anti-inflammatory ratio of gal-3/gal-3BP and IL-1RA/IL-1β which provides a further framework for exploration into pathologic mechanisms of asthma phenotypes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-014-0163-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4314745  PMID: 25616863
Asthma; Galectin-3; Induced sputum; Neutrophil; Macrophage; IL-1β; lectin
21.  Conditional overexpression of TGFβ1 promotes pulmonary inflammation, apoptosis and mortality via TGFβR2 in the developing mouse lung 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):4.
Earlier studies have reported that transforming growth factor beta 1(TGFβ1) is a critical mediator of hyperoxia-induced acute lung injury (HALI) in developing lungs, leading to impaired alveolarization and a pulmonary phenotype of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). However, the mechanisms responsible for the TGFβ1-induced inflammatory signals that lead to cell death and abnormal alveolarization are poorly understood. We hypothesized that TGFβ1 signaling via TGFβR2 is necessary for the pathogenesis of the BPD pulmonary phenotype resulting from HALI.
We utilized lung epithelial cell-specific TGFβ1 overexpressing transgenic and TGFβR2 null mutant mice to evaluate the effects on neonatal mortality as well as pulmonary inflammation and apoptosis in developing lungs. Lung morphometry was performed to determine the impaired alveolarization and multicolor flow cytometry studies were performed to detect inflammatory macrophages and monocytes in lungs. Apoptotic cell death was measured with TUNEL assay, immunohistochemistry and western blotting and protein expression of angiogenic mediators were also analyzed.
Our data reveals that increased TGFβ1 expression in newborn mice lungs leads to increased mortality, macrophage and immature monocyte infiltration, apoptotic cell death specifically in Type II alveolar epithelial cells (AECs), impaired alveolarization, and dysregulated angiogenic molecular markers.
Our study has demonstrated the potential role of inhibition of TGFβ1 signaling via TGFβR2 for improved survival, reduced inflammation and apoptosis that may provide insights for the development of potential therapeutic strategies targeted against HALI and BPD.
PMCID: PMC4307226  PMID: 25591994
Transforming growth factor; Oxygen; Inflammation; Cell death; Angiopoietin; Newborn; Pulmonary; Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
22.  Sleepiness, inflammation and oxidative stress markers in middle-aged males with obstructive sleep apnea without metabolic syndrome: a cross-sectional study 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):3.
The simultaneous occurrence of metabolic syndrome and excessive daytime sleepiness are very common in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients. Both conditions, if present in OSA, have been reported to be associated with inflammation and disruption of oxidative stress balance that impair the cardiovascular system. To verify the impact of daytime sleepiness on inflammatory and oxidative stress markers, we evaluated OSA patients without significant metabolic disturbance.
Thirty-five male subjects without diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome (Adult Treatment Panel III) were distributed into a control group (n = 10) (43 ± 10.56 years, apnea-hypopnea index - AHI 2.71 ± 1.48/hour), a non-sleepy OSA group (n = 11) (42.36 ± 9.48 years, AHI 29.48 ± 22.83/hour) and a sleepy OSA group (n = 14) (45.43 ± 10.06 years, AHI 38.20 ± 25.54/hour). Excessive daytime sleepiness was considered when Epworth sleepiness scale score was ≥ 10. Levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, homocysteine and cysteine, and paraoxonase-1 activity and arylesterase activity of paraoxonase-1 were evaluated.
Patients with OSA and excessive daytime sleepiness presented increased high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels even after controlling for confounders. No significant differences were found among the groups in paraoxonase-1 activity nor arylesterase activity of paraoxonase-1. AHI was independently associated and excessive daytime sleepiness tended to have an association with high-sensitivity C-reactive protein.
In the absence of metabolic syndrome, increased inflammatory response was associated with AHI and daytime sleepiness, while OSA was not associated with abnormalities in oxidative stress markers.
PMCID: PMC4301978  PMID: 25586501
Obstructive sleep apnea; Excessive daytime sleepiness; Metabolic syndrome; Inflammation; C- reactive protein; Oxidative stress
23.  Lymphocyte senescence in COPD is associated with loss of glucocorticoid receptor expression by pro-inflammatory/cytotoxic lymphocytes 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):2.
Glucocorticoid (GC) resistance is a major barrier in COPD treatment. We have shown increased expression of the drug efflux pump, Pgp1 in cytotoxic/pro-inflammatory lymphocytes in COPD. Loss of lymphocyte co-stimulatory molecule CD28 (lymphocyte senescence) was associated with a further increase in their pro-inflammatory/cytotoxic potential and resistance to GC. We hypothesized that lymphocyte senescence and increased Pgp1 are also associated with down-regulation of the GC receptor (GCR).
Blood was collected from 10 COPD and 10 healthy aged-matched controls. Flow cytometry was applied to assess intracellular pro-inflammatory cytokines, CD28, Pgp1, GCR, steroid binding and relative cytoplasm/nuclear GCR by CD28+ and CD28null T, NKT-like cells. GCR localization was confirmed by fluorescent microscopy.
COPD was associated with increased numbers of CD28nullCD8+ T and NKT-like cells. Loss of CD28 was associated with an increased percentage of T and NKT-like cells producing IFNγ or TNFα and associated with a loss of GCR and Dex-Fluor staining but unchanged Pgp1. There was a significant loss of GCR in CD8 + CD28null compared with CD8 + CD28+ T and NKT-like cells from both COPD and controls (eg, mean ± SEM 8 ± 3% GCR + CD8 + CD28null T-cells vs 49 ± 5% GCR + CD8 + CD28+ T-cells in COPD). There was a significant negative correlation between GCR expression and IFNγ and TNFα production by T and NKT-like cells(eg, COPD: T-cell IFNγ R = −.615; ) and with FEV1 in COPD (R = −.777).
COPD is associated with loss of GCR in senescent CD28null and NKT-like cells suggesting alternative treatment options to GC are required to inhibit these pro-inflammatory/cytotoxic cells.
PMCID: PMC4301939  PMID: 25573300
Lymphocyte senescence; COPD; Glucocorticoid receptor; CD28null T and NKT-like cells; IFNγ and TNFα
24.  Genome-wide mRNA expression profiling in vastus lateralis of COPD patients with low and normal fat free mass index and healthy controls 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):1.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) has significant systemic effects beyond the lungs amongst which muscle wasting is a prominent contributor to exercise limitation and an independent predictor of morbidity and mortality. The molecular mechanisms leading to skeletal muscle dysfunction/wasting are not fully understood and are likely to be multi-factorial. The need to develop therapeutic strategies aimed at improving skeletal muscle dysfunction/wasting requires a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms responsible for these abnormalities. Microarrays are powerful tools that allow the investigation of the expression of thousands of genes, virtually the whole genome, simultaneously. We aim at identifying genes and molecular pathways involved in skeletal muscle wasting in COPD.
We assessed and compared the vastus lateralis transcriptome of COPD patients with low fat free mass index (FFMI) as a surrogate of muscle mass (COPDL) (FEV1 30 ± 3.6%pred, FFMI 15 ± 0.2 Kg.m−2) with patients with COPD and normal FFMI (COPDN) (FEV1 44 ± 5.8%pred, FFMI 19 ± 0.5 Kg.m−2) and a group of age and sex matched healthy controls (C) (FEV1 95 ± 3.9%pred, FFMI 20 ± 0.8 Kg.m−2) using Agilent Human Whole Genome 4x44K microarrays. The altered expression of several of these genes was confirmed by real time TaqMan PCR. Protein levels of P21 were assessed by immunoblotting.
A subset of 42 genes was differentially expressed in COPDL in comparison to both COPDN and C (PFP < 0.05; −1.5 ≥ FC ≥ 1.5). The altered expression of several of these genes was confirmed by real time TaqMan PCR and correlated with different functional and structural muscle parameters. Five of these genes (CDKN1A, GADD45A, PMP22, BEX2, CGREF1, CYR61), were associated with cell cycle arrest and growth regulation and had been previously identified in studies relating muscle wasting and ageing. Protein levels of CDKN1A, a recognized marker of premature ageing/cell cycle arrest, were also found to be increased in COPDL.
This study provides evidence of differentially expressed genes in peripheral muscle in COPD patients corresponding to relevant biological processes associated with skeletal muscle wasting and provides potential targets for future therapeutic interventions to prevent loss of muscle function and mass in COPD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-014-0139-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4333166  PMID: 25567521
COPD; Skeletal Muscle Dysfunction; Skeletal muscle wasting; Gene expression; Ageing
25.  17β-estradiol suppresses lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury through PI3K/Akt/SGK1 mediated up-regulation of epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) in vivo and in vitro 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):159.
17β-estradiol can suppress acute lung injury (ALI) and regulate alveolar epithelial sodium channel (ENaC). However the relationship between these two functions remains unclear. This study is conducted to assess the role of ENaC and the PI3K/Akt/SGK1 signaling pathway in 17β-estradiol therapy in attenuating LPS-induced ALI.
ALI was induced in C57BL/J male mice by intratracheal administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Concurrent with LPS administration, 17β-estradiol or sterile saline was administered to ALI model with or without the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor wortmannin. The lung histological changes, inflammatory mediators in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), wet/dry weight ratio (W/D) and alveolar fluid clearance (AFC) were measured 4 hours after LPS challenge in vivo. For in vitro studies, LPS-challenged MLE-12 cells were pre-incubated with or without wortmannin for 30 minutes prior to 17β-estradiol treatment. Expression of ENaC subunits was assessed by reverse transcriptase PCR, western blot, cell surface biotinylation, and immunohistochemistry. The levels of phosphorylated Akt and SGK1 in lung tissue and lung cell lines were investigated by western blot.
17β-estradiol suppressed LPS-mediated ALI in mice by diminishing inflammatory mediators and enhancing AFC. 17β-estradiol promoted the expression and surface abundance of α-ENaC, and increased the levels of phosphorylated-Akt and phosphorylated-SGK1 following LPS challenge. This induction was abolished by the PI3K inhibitor wortmannin in vivo and in vitro.
17β-estradiol attenuates LPS-induced ALI not only by repressing inflammation, but also by reducing pulmonary edema via elevation of α-ENaC expression and membrane abundance. These effects were mediated, at least partially, via activation of the PI3K/Akt/SGK1 signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4299800  PMID: 25551628
Acute lung injury (ALI); 17β-estradiol; Epithelial sodium channel (ENaC); Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K); Akt; Serum and glucocorticoid-induced kinanse-1 (SGK1)

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