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1.  Exposure to Electronic Cigarettes Impairs Pulmonary Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Viral Defenses in a Mouse Model 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0116861.
Electronic cigarettes (E-cigs) have experienced sharp increases in popularity over the past five years due to many factors, including aggressive marketing, increased restrictions on conventional cigarettes, and a perception that E-cigs are healthy alternatives to cigarettes. Despite this perception, studies on health effects in humans are extremely limited and in vivo animal models have not been generated. Presently, we determined that E-cig vapor contains 7x1011 free radicals per puff. To determine whether E-cig exposure impacts pulmonary responses in mice, we developed an inhalation chamber for E-cig exposure. Mice that were exposed to E-cig vapor contained serum cotinine concentrations that are comparable to human E-cig users. E-cig exposure for 2 weeks produced a significant increase in oxidative stress and moderate macrophage-mediated inflammation. Since, COPD patients are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections, we tested effects of E-cigs on immune response. Mice that were exposed to E-cig vapor showed significantly impaired pulmonary bacterial clearance, compared to air-exposed mice, following an intranasal infection with Streptococcus pneumonia. This defective bacterial clearance was partially due to reduced phagocytosis by alveolar macrophages from E-cig exposed mice. In response to Influenza A virus infection, E-cig exposed mice displayed increased lung viral titers and enhanced virus-induced illness and mortality. In summary, this study reports a murine model of E-cig exposure and demonstrates that E-cig exposure elicits impaired pulmonary anti-microbial defenses. Hence, E-cig exposure as an alternative to cigarette smoking must be rigorously tested in users for their effects on immune response and susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections.
PMCID: PMC4317176  PMID: 25651083
2.  Limited Type I Interferons and Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells during Neonatal Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection Permit Immunopathogenesis upon Reinfection 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(16):9350-9360.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is the number one cause of bronchiolitis in infants, yet no vaccines are available because of a lack of knowledge of the infant immune system. Using a neonatal mouse model, we previously revealed that mice initially infected with RSV as neonates develop Th2-biased immunopathophysiologies during reinfection, and we demonstrated a role for enhanced interleukin-4 receptor α (IL-4Rα) expression on T helper cells in these responses. Here we show that RSV infection in neonates induced limited type I interferon (IFN) and plasmacytoid dendritic cell (pDC) responses. IFN alpha (IFN-α) treatment or adoptive transfer of adult pDCs capable of inducing IFN-α prior to neonatal RSV infection decreased Th2-biased immunopathogenesis during reinfection. A reduced viral load and downregulation of IL-4Rα on Th2 cells were observed in IFN-α-treated neonatal mice, suggesting dual mechanisms of action.
IMPORTANCE Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most significant cause of lower respiratory tract infection in infancy worldwide. Despite the dire need, we have failed to produce efficacious RSV vaccines or therapeutics. Part of the reason for this failure is our lack of understanding of how RSV interacts with the infant immune system to suppress the development of protective immunity. In the study described in the present paper, we used a neonatal mouse model, which more closely mimics human infants, to study the role of the innate immune system, particularly type I interferons (IFNs) and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), in the pathogenesis of RSV infection. RSV infection in neonates induced limited type I IFN and pDC responses. IFN-α treatment or adoptive transfer of adult pDCs capable of producing IFN-α prior to neonatal RSV infection decreased Th2-biased immunopathogenesis during reinfection. These data suggest that IFN-α is a promising target for future RSV vaccine design.
PMCID: PMC4136292  PMID: 24920801
3.  Combustion By-Products and their Health Effects - Combustion Engineering and Global Health in the 21st Century: Issues and Challenges 
The 13th International Congress on Combustion By-Products and their Health Effects was held in New Orleans, Louisiana from May 15–18, 2013. The congress, sponsored by the Superfund Research Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and National Science Foundation, brought together international academic and government researchers, engineers, scientists and policymakers. With industrial growth, increased power needs and generation and coal consumption and their concomitant emissions, pernicious health effects associated with exposures to these emissions are on the rise. This congress provides a unique platform for interdisciplinary exchange and discussion of these topics. The formation, conversion, control and health effects of combustion by-products, including particulate matter and associated heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants and environmentally persistent free radicals, were discussed during the congress. This review will summarize and discuss the implications of the data presented.
PMCID: PMC3944372  PMID: 24434722
4.  Early-life exposure to combustion-derived particulate matter causes pulmonary immunosuppression 
Mucosal immunology  2013;7(3):694-704.
Elevated levels of combustion-derived particulate matter (CDPM) are a risk factor for the development of lung diseases such as asthma. Studies have shown that CDPM exacerbates asthma, inducing acute lung dysfunction and inflammation; however, the impact of CDPM exposure on early immunological responses to allergens remains unclear. To determine the effects of early-life CDPM exposure on allergic asthma development in infants, we exposed infant mice to CDPM and then induced a mouse model of asthma using house dust mite (HDM) allergen. Mice exposed to CDPM+HDM failed to develop a typical asthma phenotype including airway hyperresponsiveness, Th2-inflammation, Muc5ac expression, eosinophilia, and HDM-specific Ig compared to HDM-exposed mice. Although HDM-specific IgE was attenuated, total IgE was two-fold higher in CDPM+HDM mice compared to HDM-mice. We further demonstrate that CDPM exposure during early life induced an immunosuppressive environment in the lung, concurrent with increases in tolerogenic dendritic cells and Tregs, resulting in suppression of Th2 responses. Despite having early immunosuppression, these mice develop severe allergic inflammation when challenged with allergen as adults. These findings demonstrate a mechanism whereby CDPM exposure modulates adaptive immunity, inducing specific-antigen tolerance while amplifying total IgE, and leading to a predisposition to develop asthma upon rechallenge later in life.
PMCID: PMC3999175  PMID: 24172848
particulate matter; immunosuppression; neonatal
5.  Chronic Alcohol Induces M2 Polarization Enhancing Pulmonary Disease Caused by Exposure to Particulate Air Pollution 
Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research  2013;37(11):10.1111/acer.12184.
Chronic alcohol consumption causes persistent oxidative stress in the lung, leading to impaired alveolar macrophage (AM) function and impaired immune responses. AMs play a critical role in protecting the lung from particulate matter (PM) inhalation by removing particulates from the airway and secreting factors which mediate airway repair. We hypothesized AM dysfunction caused by chronic alcohol consumption increases the severity of injury caused by particulate matter inhalation.
Age- and sex-matched C57BL6 mice were fed the Lieber-DeCarli liquid diet containing either alcohol or an iso-caloric substitution (control diet) for 8 weeks. Mice from both diet groups were exposed to combustion derived PM (CDPM) for the final 2 weeks. AM number, maturation, and polarization status were assessed by flow cytometry. Noninvasive and invasive strategies were used to assess pulmonary function and correlated with histomorphological assessments of airway structure and matrix deposition.
Co-exposure to alcohol and CDPM decreased AM number and maturation status (CD11c expression) while increasing markers of M2 activation (IL-4Rα, Ym1, Fizz1 expression and IL-10 and TGF-β production). Changes in AM function were accompanied by decreased airway compliance and increased elastance. Altered lung function was attributable to elevated collagen content localized to the small airways and loss of alveolar integrity. Intranasal administration of neutralizing antibody to TGF-β during the CDPM exposure period improved changes in airway compliance and elastance while reducing collagen content caused by co-exposure.
CDPM inhalation causes enhanced disease severity in the alcoholic lung by stimulating the release of latent TGF-β stores in AMs. The combinatorial effect of elevated TGF-β, M2 polarization of AMs, and increased oxidative stress impairs pulmonary function by increasing airway collagen content and compromising alveolar integrity.
PMCID: PMC3775861  PMID: 23763452
6.  Exposure to combustion generated environmentally persistent free radicals enhances severity of influenza virus infection 
Exposures to elevated levels of particulate matter (PM) enhance severity of influenza virus infection in infants. The biological mechanism responsible for this phenomenon is unknown. The recent identification of environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) associated with PM from a variety of combustion sources suggests its role in the enhancement of influenza disease severity.
Neonatal mice (< seven days of age) were exposed to DCB230 (combustion derived PM with a chemisorbed EPFR), DCB50 (non-EPFR PM sample), or air for 30 minutes/day for seven consecutive days. Four days post-exposure, neonates were infected with influenza intranasally at 1.25 TCID50/neonate. Neonates were assessed for morbidity (% weight gain, peak pulmonary viral load, and viral clearance) and percent survival. Lungs were isolated and assessed for oxidative stress (8-isoprostanes and glutathione levels), adaptive immune response to influenza, and regulatory T cells (Tregs). The role of the EPFR was also assessed by use of transgenic mice expressing human superoxide dismutase 2.
Neonates exposed to EPFRs had significantly enhanced morbidity and decreased survival following influenza infection. Increased oxidative stress was also observed in EPFR exposed neonates. This correlated with increased pulmonary Tregs and dampened protective T cell responses to influenza infection. Reduction of EPFR-induced oxidative stress attenuated these effects.
Neonatal exposure to EPFR containing PM resulted in pulmonary oxidative stress and enhanced influenza disease severity. EPFR-induced oxidative stress resulted in increased presence of Tregs in the lungs and subsequent suppression of adaptive immune response to influenza.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12989-014-0057-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4222384  PMID: 25358535
Particulate matter; EPFR; Influenza; Infant; Neonate; Air pollution; DCB230; Oxidative stress
7.  Model combustion-generated particulate matter containing persistent free radicals redox cycle to produce reactive oxygen species 
Chemical research in toxicology  2013;26(12):1862-1871.
Particular matter (PM) is emitted during thermal decomposition of waste. During this process, aromatic compounds chemisorb to the surface of metal-oxide-containing PM, forming a surface-stabilized environmentally persistent free radical (EPFR). We hypothesized that EPFR-containing PM redox cycle to produce ROS and that this redox cycle is maintained in biological environments. To test our hypothesis, we incubated model EPFRs with the fluorescent probe dihydrorhodamine (DHR). Marked increases in DHR fluorescence were observed. Using a more specific assay, hydroxyl radicals (•OH) were also detected, and their level was further increased by co-treatment with thiols or ascorbic acid (AA), known components of epithelial lining fluid. Next, we incubated our model EPFR in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) or serum. Detection of EPFRs and •OH verified that PM generate ROS in biological fluids. Moreover, incubation of pulmonary epithelial cells with EPFR-containing PM increased •OH levels compared to PM lacking EPFRs. Finally, measurements of oxidant injury in neonatal rats exposed to EPFRs by inhalation suggested that EPFRs induce an oxidant injury within lung lining fluid and that the lung responds by increasing antioxidant levels. In summary, our EPFR-containing PM redox cycle to produce ROS, and these ROS are maintained in biological fluids and environments. Moreover, these ROS may modulate toxic responses of PM in biological tissues such as the lung.
PMCID: PMC4112599  PMID: 24224526
Particulate matter; reactive oxygen species; combustion; free radicals; epithelial cells
8.  Hepatitis E Antibodies in Laboratory Rabbits from 2 US Vendors 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(4):693-696.
We tested laboratory rabbits from 2 US vendors for antibodies against hepatitis E virus (HEV); Seroprevalences were 40% and 50%. Retrospective analysis of an ocular herpes simplex 1 experiment demonstrated that HEV seropositivity had no effect on experiment outcome. HEV probably is widespread in research rabbits, but effects on research remain unknown.
PMCID: PMC3966401  PMID: 24655426
Hepatitis E virus; herpes simplex 1 virus; rabbits; HEV; viruses; zoonoses
9.  Radical-Containing Ultrafine Particulate Matter Initiates Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transitions in Airway Epithelial Cells 
Environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) in combustion-generated particulate matter (PM) are capable of inducing pulmonary pathologies and contributing to the development of environmental asthma. In vivo exposure of infant rats to EPFRs demonstrates their ability to induce airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine, a hallmark of asthma. However, the mechanisms by which combustion-derived EPFRs elicit in vivo responses remain elusive. In this study, we used a chemically defined EPFR consisting of approximately 0.2 μm amorphrous silica containing 3% cupric oxide with the organic pollutant 1,2-dichlorobenzene (DCB-230). DCB-230 possesses similar radical content to urban-collected EPFRs but offers several advantages, including lack of contaminants and chemical uniformity. DCB-230 was readily taken up by BEAS-2B and at high doses (200 μg/cm2) caused substantial necrosis. At low doses (20 μg/cm2), DCB-230 particles caused lysosomal membrane permeabilization, oxidative stress, and lipid peroxidation within 24 hours of exposure. During this period, BEAS-2B underwent epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), including loss of epithelial cell morphology, decreased E-cadherin expression, and increased α–smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and collagen I production. Similar results were observed in neonatal air–liquid interface culture (i.e., disruption of epithelial integrity and EMT). Acute exposure of infant mice to DCB-230 resulted in EMT, as confirmed by lineage tracing studies and evidenced by coexpression of epithelial E-cadherin and mesenchymal α-SMA proteins in airway cells and increased SNAI1 expression in the lungs. EMT in neonatal mouse lungs after EPFR exposure may provide an explanation for epidemiological evidence supporting PM exposure and increased risk of asthma.
PMCID: PMC3604062  PMID: 23087054
particulate matter; epithelial–mesenchymal transition; environmental asthma; pediatric
10.  Particulate Matter Containing Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals and Adverse Infant Respiratory Health Effects: A Review 
The health impacts of airborne particulate matter (PM) are of global concern, and the direct implications to the development/exacerbation of lung disease are immediately obvious. Most studies to date have sought to understand mechanisms associated with PM exposure in adults/adult animal models; however, infants are also at significant risk for exposure. Infants are affected differently than adults due to drastic immaturities, both physiologically and immunologically, and it is becoming apparent that they represent a critically understudied population. Highlighting our work funded by the ONES award, in this review we argue the understated importance of utilizing infant models to truly understand the etiology of PM-induced predisposition to severe, persistent lung disease. We also touch upon various mechanisms of PM-mediated respiratory damage, with a focus on the emerging importance of environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) ubiquitously present in combustion-derived PM. In conclusion, we briefly comment on strengths/challenges facing current PM research, while giving perspective on how we may address these challenges in the future.
PMCID: PMC3580159  PMID: 23281110
Particulate Matter; Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals; Infant; Respiratory Health; Immunomodulation
11.  Maternal exposure to combustion generated PM inhibits pulmonary Th1 maturation and concomitantly enhances postnatal asthma development in offspring 
Epidemiological studies suggest that maternal exposure to environmental hazards, such as particulate matter, is associated with increased incidence of asthma in childhood. We hypothesized that maternal exposure to combustion derived ultrafine particles containing persistent free radicals (MCP230) disrupts the development of the infant immune system and results in aberrant immune responses to allergens and enhances asthma severity.
Pregnant C57/BL6 mice received MCP230 or saline by oropharyngeal aspiration on gestational days 10 and 17. Three days after the second administration, blood was collected from MCP230 or saline treated dams and 8-isoprostanes in the serum were measured to assess maternal oxidative stress. Pulmonary T cell populations were assayed in the infant mice at six days, three and six weeks of postnatal age. When the infant mice matured to adults (i.e. six weeks of age), an asthma model was established with ovalbumin (OVA). Airway inflammation, mucus production and airway hyperresponsiveness were then examined.
Maternal exposure to MCP230 induced systemic oxidative stress. The development of pulmonary T helper (Th1/Th2/Th17) and T regulatory (Treg) cells were inhibited in the infant offspring from MCP230-exposed dams. As the offspring matured, the development of Th2 and Treg cells recovered and eventually became equivalent to that of offspring from non-exposed dams. However, Th1 and Th17 cells remained attenuated through 6 weeks of age. Following OVA sensitization and challenge, mice from MCP230-exposed dams exhibited greater airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophilia and pulmonary Th2 responses compared to offspring from non-exposed dams.
Our data suggest that maternal exposure to MCP230 enhances postnatal asthma development in mice, which might be related to the inhibition of pulmonary Th1 maturation and systemic oxidative stress in the dams.
PMCID: PMC3717277  PMID: 23856009
Maternal exposure; Particulate matter; Offspring; Asthma
12.  Eosinophil Infiltration of Solid Tumors Is an Early and Persistent Inflammatory Host Response 
Journal of leukocyte biology  2006;79(6):1131-1139.
Tumor-associated eosinophilia has been observed in numerous human cancers and several tumor models in animals, however, the details surrounding this eosinophilia remain largely undefined and anecdotal. We used a B16-F10 melanoma cell injection model to demonstrate that eosinophil infiltration of tumors occurred from the earliest palpable stages with significant accumulations only in the necrotic and capsule regions. Furthermore, the presence of diffuse extracellular matrix staining for eosinophil major basic protein was restricted to the necrotic areas of tumors indicating that eosinophil degranulation was limited to this region. Antibody-mediated depletion of CD4+ T cells and adoptive transfer of eosinophils suggested, respectively, that the accumulation of eosinophils is not associated with Th2-dependent immune responses and that recruitment is a dynamic ongoing process, occurring throughout tumor growth. Ex vivo migration studies have identified what appears to be a novel chemotactic factor(s) released by stressed/dying melanoma cells, suggesting that the accumulation of eosinophils in tumors occurs, in part, through a unique mechanism dependent on a signal(s) released from areas of necrosis. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that the infiltration of tumors by eosinophils is an early and persistent response that is spatial restricted. More importantly, these data also show that the mechanism(s) that elicits this host response occurs independent of immune surveillance, suggesting that eosinophils are part of an early inflammatory reaction at the site of tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3496422  PMID: 16617160
Eosinophils; Tumor Immunology; Cancer; Mice; B16 Melanoma Cells
13.  Radical-Containing Particles Activate Dendritic Cells and Enhance Th17 Inflammation in a Mouse Model of Asthma 
We identified a previously unrecognized component of airborne particulate matter (PM) formed in combustion and thermal processes, namely, environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs). The pulmonary health effects of EPFRs are currently unknown. In the present study, we used a model EPFR-containing pollutant-particle system referred to as MCP230. We evaluated the effects of MCP230 on the phenotype and function of bone marrow–derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) in vitro and lung dendritic cells (DCs) in vivo, and the subsequent T-cell response. We also investigated the adjuvant role of MCP230 on airway inflammation in a mouse model of asthma. MCP230 decreased intracellular reduced glutathione (GSH) and the GSH/oxidized glutathione ratio in BMDCs, and up-regulated the expression of costimulatory molecules CD80 and CD86 on DCs. The maturation of DCs was blocked by inhibiting oxidative stress or the uptake of MCP230. BMDCs exposed to MCP230 increased their antigen-specific T-cell proliferation in vitro. In a model of asthma, exposure to MCP230 exacerbated pulmonary inflammation, which was attributed to the increase of neutrophils and macrophages but not eosinophils. This result correlated with an increase in Th17 cells and cytokines, compared with non–MCP230-treated but ovalbumin (OVA)–challenged mice. The percentage of Th2 cells was comparable between OVA and OVA + MCP230 mice. Our data demonstrate that combustion-generated, EPFR-containing PM directly induced the maturation of DCs in an uptake-dependent and oxidative stress–dependent manner. Furthermore, EPFR-containing PM induced a Th17-biased phenotype in lung, accompanied by significant pulmonary neutrophilia. Exposure to EPFR-containing PM may constitute an important and unrecognized risk factor in the exacerbation and development of a severe asthma phenotype in humans.
PMCID: PMC3262685  PMID: 21493781
EPFR; dendritic cell; asthma; Th17; neutrophil
14.  By-products of the Thermal Treatment of Hazardous Waste: Formation and Health Effects 
EM (Pittsburgh, Pa.)  2010;26-30.
Destruction of toxic chemicals by thermal treatment can be a highly effective method for remediation of sites contaminated with hazardous substances. Of the 977 Superfund source control treatment projects in the United States from 1982 to 2005, 16% used incineration or other thermal treatments (the proportion is similar for 126 projects in the period 2002–2005).1 However, as with other technologies, if thermal treatments are not matched correctly with the site or are improperly operated, harmful by-products can form, requiring further treatment.
PMCID: PMC3368582  PMID: 22684359
15.  Environmentally persistent free radicals decrease cardiac function before and after ischemia/reperfusion injury in vivo 
Exposure to airborne particles is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. During the combustion of chlorine-containing hazardous materials and fuels, chlorinated hydrocarbons chemisorb to the surface of transition metal-oxide-containing particles, reduce the metal, and form an organic free radical. These radical-particle systems can survive in the environment for days and are called environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs). This study determined whether EPFRs could decrease left ventricular function before and after ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) in vivo. Male Brown Norway rats were dosed (8 mg/kg, i.t.) 24 hr prior to testing with particles containing the EPFR of 1, 2-dichlorobenzene (DCB230). DCB230 treatment decreased systolic and diastolic function. DCB230 also produced pulmonary and cardiac inflammation. After ischemia, systolic, but not diastolic function was significantly decreased in DCB230-treated rats. Ventricular function was not affected by I/R in control rats. There was greater oxidative stress in the heart and increased 8-isoprostane (biomarker of oxidative stress) in the plasma of treated vs control rats after I/R. These data demonstrate for the first time that DCB230 can produce inflammation and significantly decrease cardiac function at baseline and after I/R in vivo. Furthermore, these data suggest that EPFRs may be a risk factor for cardiac toxicity in healthy individuals and individuals with ischemic heart disease. Potential mechanisms involving cytokines/chemokines and/or oxidative stress are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3152960  PMID: 21385100
inflammation; cytokines; chemokines; pressure-volume; particles; oxidative stress
16.  Immunomodulation with IL-4 Receptor-α Antisense Oligonucleotide Prevents RSV-Mediated Pulmonary Disease1 
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes significant morbidity and mortality in infants worldwide. Severe RSV infections in infants cause bronchiolitis, wheeze, and/or cough and significantly increase the risk of developing asthma. RSV pathogenesis is thought to be due to a Th2-type immune response initiated in response to RSV infection specifically in the infant. Using a neonatal mouse system as an appropriate model for human infants, we sought to determine if local inhibition of IL-4Rα expression during primary RSV infection in the neonate would prevent Th2-skewed responses to secondary RSV infection and improve long-term pulmonary function. To reduce IL-4Rα expression, antisense oligonucleotides (ASO) specific for IL-4Rα were administered intranasally to neonatal mice at the time of primary infection. Mice were initially infected with RSV at one week of age and reinfected at six weeks of age. Administration of IL-4Rα ASO during primary RSV infection in neonatal mice abolished the pulmonary dysfunction normally observed following reinfection in the adult. This ablation of pulmonary dysfunction correlated with a persistent rebalancing of the Th cell compartment with decreased Th2 responses (i.e. reduced goblet cell hyperplasia and Th2 cells and cytokine secretion) and increased Th1 responses (i.e. elevated Th1 cell numbers and type I antibodies and cytokines). Our data support our hypothesis that a reduction in the Th2 immune response during primary infection in neonates prevents Th2-mediated pulmonary pathology initially and upon reinfection; and further suggest that vaccine strategies incorporating IL-4Rα ASO may be of significant benefit to infants.
PMCID: PMC3063095  PMID: 20861354
17.  The use of a neonatal mouse model to study respiratory syncytial virus infections 
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is the most significant cause of viral death in infants worldwide. The significant morbidity and mortality associated with this disease underscores the urgent need for the development of an RSV vaccine. The development of an RSV vaccine has been hampered by our limited understanding of the human host immune system, which plays a significant role in RSV pathogenesis, susceptibility and vaccine efficacy. As a result, animal models have been developed to better understand the mechanisms by which RSV causes disease. Within the past few years, a revolutionary variation on these animal models has emerged – age at time of initial infection – and early studies in neonatal mice (aged <7 days at time of initial infection) indicate the validity of this model to understand RSV infection in infants. This article reviews available information on current murine and emerging neonatal mouse RSV models.
PMCID: PMC3033119  PMID: 21133663
cotton rat; human; infant; mouse; neonate; respiratory syncytial virus
18.  Environmentally persistent free radicals induce airway hyperresponsiveness in neonatal rat lungs 
Increased asthma risk/exacerbation in children and infants is associated with exposure to elevated levels of ultrafine particulate matter (PM). The presence of a newly realized class of pollutants, environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs), in PM from combustion sources suggests a potentially unrecognized risk factor for the development and/or exacerbation of asthma.
Neonatal rats (7-days of age) were exposed to EPFR-containing combustion generated ultrafine particles (CGUFP), non-EPFR containing CGUFP, or air for 20 minutes per day for one week. Pulmonary function was assessed in exposed rats and age matched controls. Lavage fluid was isolated and assayed for cellularity and cytokines and in vivo indicators of oxidative stress. Pulmonary histopathology and characterization of differential protein expression in lung homogenates was also performed.
Neonates exposed to EPFR-containing CGUFP developed significant pulmonary inflammation, and airway hyperreactivity. This correlated with increased levels of oxidative stress in the lungs. Using differential two-dimensional electrophoresis, we identified 16 differentially expressed proteins between control and CGUFP exposed groups. In the rats exposed to EPFR-containing CGUFP; peroxiredoxin-6, cofilin1, and annexin A8 were upregulated.
Exposure of neonates to EPFR-containing CGUFP induced pulmonary oxidative stress and lung dysfunction. This correlated with alterations in the expression of various proteins associated with the response to oxidative stress and the regulation of glucocorticoid receptor translocation in T lymphocytes.
PMCID: PMC3061909  PMID: 21388553
19.  In Vitro and In Vivo Assessment of Pulmonary Risk Associated with Exposure to Combustion Generated Fine Particles 
Strong correlations exist between exposure to PM2.5 and adverse pulmonary effects. PM2.5 consists of fine (≤2.5 μm) and ultrafine (≤0.1 μm) particles with ultrafine particles accounting for >70% of the total particles. Environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) have recently been identified in airborne PM2.5. To determine the adverse pulmonary effects of EPFRs associated with exposure to elevated levels of PM2.5, we engineered 2.5 μm surrogate EPFR-particle systems. We demonstrated that EPFRs generated greater oxidative stress in vitro, which was partly responsible for the enhanced cytotoxicity following exposure. In vivo studies using rats exposed to EPFRs containing particles demonstrated minimal adverse pulmonary effects. Additional studies revealed that fine particles failed to reach the alveolar region. Overall, our study implies qualitative differences between the health effects of PM size fractions.
PMCID: PMC2848491  PMID: 20369027
Fine particles; HEp-2 cells; Persistent free radical; Oxidative stress; Resveratrol
20.  Copper Oxide Nanoparticles Induce Oxidative Stress and Cytotoxicity in Airway Epithelial Cells 
Metal oxide nanoparticles are often used as industrial catalysts and elevated levels of these particles have been clearly demonstrated at sites surrounding factories. To date, limited toxicity data on metal oxide nanoparticles are available. To understand the impact of these airborne pollutants on the respiratory system, airway epithelial (HEp-2) cells were exposed to increasing doses of silicon oxide (SiO2), ferric oxide (Fe2O3) and copper oxide (CuO) nanoparticles, the leading metal oxides found in ambient air surrounding factories. CuO induced the greatest amount of cytotoxicity in a dose dependent manner; while even high doses (400 µg/cm2) of SiO2 and Fe2O3 were non-toxic to HEp-2 cells. Although all metal oxide nanoparticles were able to generate ROS in HEp-2 cells, CuO was better able to overwhelm antioxidant defenses (e.g. catalase and glutathione reductase). A significant increase in the level of 8-isoprostanes and in the ratio of GSSG to total glutathione in cells exposed to CuO suggested that ROS generated by CuO induced oxidative stress in HEp-2 cells. Co-treatment of cells with CuO and the antioxidant resveratrol increased cell viability suggesting that oxidative stress may be the cause of the cytotoxic effect of CuO. These studies demonstrated that there is a high degree of variability in the cytotoxic effects of metal oxides, that this variability is not due to the solubility of the transition metal, and that this variability appears to involve sustained oxidative stress possibly due to redox cycling.
PMCID: PMC2756312  PMID: 19699289
Nanoparticles; HEp-2 cells; CuO; Oxidative stress; Resveratrol
21.  Inchoate CD8+ T Cell Responses in Neonatal Mice Permit Influenza Induced Persistent Pulmonary Dysfunction1 
Influenza infection remains a significant cause of pulmonary morbidity and mortality worldwide with the highest hospitalization and mortality rates occurring in infants and elder adults. The mechanisms inducing this considerable morbidity and mortality are largely unknown. To address this question, we established a neonatal mouse model of influenza infection to test the hypothesis that the immaturity of the neonatal immune system is responsible for the severe pulmonary disease observed in infants. Seven-day-old mice were infected with influenza A virus (H1N1) and allowed to mature. As adults, these mice showed enhanced airway hyperreactivity, chronic pulmonary inflammation, and diffuse emphysematous-type lesions in the lungs. The adaptive immune responses of the neonates were much weaker than those of adults. This insufficiency appeared to be in both magnitude and functionality and was most apparent in the CD8+ T cell population. To determine the role of neonatal CD8+ T cells in disease outcome, adult, naive CD8+ T cells were adoptively transferred into neonates prior to infection. Neonatal mice receiving the adult CD8+ T cells had significantly lower pulmonary viral titers and greatly improved pulmonary function as adults (airway resistance similar to SHAM). Additional adoptive transfer studies using adult CD8+ T cells from IFN-γ-deficient mice demonstrated the importance of IFN-γ from CD8+ T cells in controlling the infection and in determining disease outcome. Our data indicate that neonates are more vulnerable to severe infections due to immaturity of their immune system and emphasize the importance of vaccination in infants.
PMCID: PMC2659373  PMID: 18714021
Rodents; T Cells, Cytotoxic; Viral infection; Inflammation; Lung
22.  Modulation of lung inflammation by vessel dilator in a mouse model of allergic asthma 
Respiratory Research  2009;10(1):66.
Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and its receptor, NPRA, have been extensively studied in terms of cardiovascular effects. We have found that the ANP-NPRA signaling pathway is also involved in airway allergic inflammation and asthma. ANP, a C-terminal peptide (amino acid 99–126) of pro-atrial natriuretic factor (proANF) and a recombinant peptide, NP73-102 (amino acid 73–102 of proANF) have been reported to induce bronchoprotective effects in a mouse model of allergic asthma. In this report, we evaluated the effects of vessel dilator (VD), another N-terminal natriuretic peptide covering amino acids 31–67 of proANF, on acute lung inflammation in a mouse model of allergic asthma.
A549 cells were transfected with pVD or the pVAX1 control plasmid and cells were collected 24 hrs after transfection to analyze the effect of VD on inactivation of the extracellular-signal regulated receptor kinase (ERK1/2) through western blot. Luciferase assay, western blot and RT-PCR were also performed to analyze the effect of VD on NPRA expression. For determination of VD's attenuation of lung inflammation, BALB/c mice were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin and then treated intranasally with chitosan nanoparticles containing pVD. Parameters of airway inflammation, such as airway hyperreactivity, proinflammatory cytokine levels, eosinophil recruitment and lung histopathology were compared with control mice receiving nanoparticles containing pVAX1 control plasmid.
pVD nanoparticles inactivated ERK1/2 and downregulated NPRA expression in vitro, and intranasal treatment with pVD nanoparticles protected mice from airway inflammation.
VD's modulation of airway inflammation may result from its inactivation of ERK1/2 and downregulation of NPRA expression. Chitosan nanoparticles containing pVD may be therapeutically effective in preventing allergic airway inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2716304  PMID: 19615076
23.  Environmentally persistent free radicals amplify ultrafine particle mediated cellular oxidative stress and cytotoxicity 
Combustion generated particulate matter is deposited in the respiratory tract and pose a hazard to the lungs through their potential to cause oxidative stress and inflammation. We have previously shown that combustion of fuels and chlorinated hydrocarbons produce semiquinone-type radicals that are stabilized on particle surfaces (i.e. environmentally persistent free radicals; EPFRs). Because the composition and properties of actual combustion-generated particles are complex, heterogeneous in origin, and vary from day-to-day, we have chosen to use surrogate particle systems. In particular, we have chosen to use the radical of 2-monochlorophenol (MCP230) as the EPFR because we have previously shown that it forms a EPFR on Cu(II)O surfaces and catalyzes formation of PCDD/F. To understand the physicochemical properties responsible for the adverse pulmonary effects of combustion by-products, we have exposed human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) to MCP230 or the CuO/silica substrate. Our general hypothesis was that the EPFR-containing particle would have greater toxicity than the substrate species.
Exposure of BEAS-2B cells to our combustion generated particle systems significantly increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and decreased cellular antioxidants resulting in cell death. Resveratrol treatment reversed the decline in cellular glutathione (GSH), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) levels for both types of combustion-generated particle systems.
The enhanced cytotoxicity upon exposure to MCP230 correlated with its ability to generate more cellular oxidative stress and concurrently reduce the antioxidant defenses of the epithelial cells (i.e. reduced GSH, SOD activity, and GPx). The EPFRs in MCP230 also seem to be of greater biological concern due to their ability to induce lipid peroxidation. These results are consistent with the oxidizing nature of the CuO/silica ultrafine particles and the reducing nature and prolonged environmental and biological lifetimes of the EPFRs in MCP230.
PMCID: PMC2676242  PMID: 19374750
24.  Sediment from Hurricane Katrina: Potential to Produce Pulmonary Dysfunction in Mice 
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the Gulf Coast as a Category 3 hurricane. The associated storm surge and heavy rainfall resulted in major flooding throughout the New Orleans area. As the flood waters receded, thick sediment was left covering the ground and coating the interior of homes. This sediment was dispersed into the air and inhaled as dust by returning residents and workers. Our objective in this study was to evaluate the potential pulmonary effects associated with the respirable particulate matter (PM) derived from Hurricane Katrina (HK-PM) in mice. Samples of PM were collected from several locations along the Gulf Coast on September 30 and October 2, 2005 and had a mean aerodynamic diameter ranging from 3-5 μm). Chemical analysis and cytotoxicity assays were performed for all HK-PM samples. A few samples with varying levels of cytotoxicity were chosen for an acute inhalation exposure study. Airborne PM10 levels recorded in the New Orleans area post-Katrina were variable, ranging from 70 μg/m3 in Gentilly to 688 μg/m3 in Lakeview (residential areas). Mice exposed to one of these samples developed significant pulmonary inflammation and airways resistance and hyperresponsiveness to methacholine challenge. These studies demonstrate that dispersion of certain Katrina sediment samples through either natural (e.g., wind) or mechanical (e.g., vehicles) processes promotes airflow obstruction in mice.
PMCID: PMC2596316  PMID: 19079667
Hurricane Katrina; pulmonary dysfunction; respiratory toxicology
25.  Exposure of neonates to Respiratory Syncytial Virus is critical in determining subsequent airway response in adults 
Respiratory Research  2006;7(1):107.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of acute bronchiolitis in infants and the elderly. Furthermore, epidemiological data suggest that RSV infection during infancy is a potent trigger of subsequent wheeze and asthma development. However, the mechanism by which RSV contributes to asthma is complex and remains largely unknown. A recent study indicates that the age of initial RSV infection is a key factor in determining airway response to RSV rechallenge. We hypothesized that severe RSV infection during neonatal development significantly alters lung structure and the pulmonary immune micro-environment; and thus, neonatal RSV infection is crucial in the development of or predisposition to allergic inflammatory diseases such as asthma.
To investigate this hypothesis the present study was conducted in a neonatal mouse model of RSV-induced pulmonary inflammation and airway dysfunction. Seven-day-old mice were infected with RSV (2 × 105 TCID50/g body weight) and allowed to mature to adulthood. To determine if neonatal RSV infection predisposed adult animals to enhanced pathophysiological responses to allergens, these mice were then sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin. Various endpoints including lung function, histopathology, cytokine production, and cellularity in bronchoalveolar lavage were examined.
RSV infection in neonates alone led to inflammatory airway disease characterized by airway hyperreactivity, peribronchial and perivascular inflammation, and subepithelial fibrosis in adults. If early RSV infection was followed by allergen exposure, this pulmonary phenotype was exacerbated. The initial response to neonatal RSV infection resulted in increased TNF-α levels in bronchoalveolar lavage. Interestingly, increased levels of IL-13 and mucus hyperproduction were observed almost three months after the initial infection with RSV.
Neonatal RSV exposure results in long term pulmonary inflammation and exacerbates allergic airways disease. The early increase in TNF-α in the bronchoalveolar lavage implicates this inflammatory cytokine in orchestrating these events. Finally, the data presented emphasize IL-13 and TNF-α as potential therapeutic targets for treating RSV induced-asthma.
PMCID: PMC1563465  PMID: 16893457

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