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1.  C-027 Inhibits IgE-mediated passive sensitization bronchoconstriction and acts as a histamine and serotonin antagonist in human airways 
Atopic asthma is poorly controlled by current therapies. Newer therapies and novel antihistamines are, therefore, required to treat patients whose atopic asthma is not controlled. For the first time, C-027 is shown to antagonize histamine, IgE-mediated and serotonin-induced contraction in human airways and vessels. Human precision-cut lung slices (PCLS, 250 µm thick), containing an airway or blood vessel, were pretreated with either C-027 (2 hours) or with vehicle alone and were contracted with histamine or serotonin. Known antihistamine was used as a comparator in antihistamine studies. Also, human airways were contracted via IgE passive sensitization in the presence or absence of C-027 or fexofenadine. Affinity of C-027 toward human G-protein coupled receptors was also determined, as well as the drug's biodistribution in murine model. C-027 was shown to have the highest affinity toward human histamine and serotonin receptors. Subsequently, C-027 was shown to antagonize histamine- and serotonin-induced airway and vascular smooth muscle contraction, respectively, and histamine-released bronchocontraction mediated by IgE passive sensitization in human small airways. C-027 also inhibited histamine-mediated single-cell calcium ion release. Low levels of C-027 were found in murine brain tissue. Collectively, these data suggest that C-027 markedly inhibits IgE-induced bronchoconstriction and antagonizes histamine and serotonin-contraction with little biodistribution in the brain. The compound may offer a future therapy for allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness in patients with asthma.
doi:10.2500/aap.2011.32.3460
PMCID: PMC3968313  PMID: 22195688
Airway smooth muscle; allergy; antagonist; anti-histamine; anti-serotonic; asthma; IgE mediated; novel compound; PCLS; reverse agonist
2.  Trichostatin A Abrogates Airway Constriction, but Not Inflammation, in Murine and Human Asthma Models 
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors may offer novel approaches in the treatment of asthma. We postulate that trichostatin A (TSA), a Class 1 and 2 inhibitor of HDAC, inhibits airway hyperresponsiveness in antigen-challenged mice. Mice were sensitized and challenged with Aspergillus fumigatus antigen (AF) and treated with TSA, dexamethasone, or vehicle. Lung resistance (RL) and dynamic compliance were measured, and bronchial alveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was analyzed for numbers of leukocytes and concentrations of cytokines. Human precision-cut lung slices (PCLS) were treated with TSA and their agonist-induced bronchoconstriction was measured, and TSA-treated human airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells were evaluated for the agonist-induced activation of Rho and intracellular release of Ca2+. The activity of HDAC in murine lungs was enhanced by antigen and abrogated by TSA. TSA also inhibited methacholine (Mch)-induced increases in RL and decreases in dynamic compliance in naive control mice and in AF-sensitized and -challenged mice. Total cell counts, concentrations of IL-4, and numbers of eosinophils in BALF were unchanged in mice treated with TSA or vehicle, whereas dexamethasone inhibited the numbers of eosinophils in BALF and concentrations of IL-4. TSA inhibited the carbachol-induced contraction of PCLS. Treatment with TSA inhibited the intracellular release of Ca2+ in ASM cells in response to histamine, without affecting the activation of Rho. The inhibition of HDAC abrogates airway hyperresponsiveness to Mch in both naive and antigen-challenged mice. TSA inhibits the agonist-induced contraction of PCLS and mobilization of Ca2+ in ASM cells. Thus, HDAC inhibitors demonstrate a mechanism of action distinct from that of anti-inflammatory agents such as steroids, and represent a promising therapeutic agent for airway disease.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0276OC
PMCID: PMC3297166  PMID: 22298527
HDAC; asthma; allergen; mice; trichostatin A
3.  Regulator of G-Protein Signaling–5 Inhibits Bronchial Smooth Muscle Contraction in Severe Asthma 
Severe asthma is associated with fixed airway obstruction attributable to inflammation, copious luminal mucus, and increased airway smooth muscle (ASM) mass. Paradoxically, studies demonstrated that the hypertrophic and hyperplastic ASM characteristic of severe asthma has reduced contractile capacity. We compared the G-protein–coupled receptor (GPCR)–induced Ca2+ mobilization and expression of GPCRs and signaling proteins related to procontractile signaling in ASM derived postmortem from subjects who died of nonrespiratory causes, with cells from subjects who died of asthma. Despite the increased or comparable expression of contraction-promoting GPCRs (bradykinin B2 or histamine H1 and protease-activated receptor 1, respectively) in asthmatic ASM cells relative to cells from healthy donors, asthmatic ASM cells exhibited reduced histamine-induced Ca2+ mobilization and comparable responses to bradykinin and thrombin, suggesting a postreceptor signaling defect. Accordingly, the expression of regulator of G-protein signaling–5 (RGS5), an inhibitor of ASM contraction, was increased in cultured, asthmatic ASM cells and in bronchial smooth muscle bundles of both human subjects with asthma and allergen-challenged mice, relative to those of healthy human subjects or naive mice. The overexpression of RGS5 impaired the release of Ca2+ to thrombin, histamine, and carbachol, and reduced the contraction of precision-cut lung slices to carbachol. These results suggest that increased RGS5 expression contributes to decreased myocyte shortening in severe and fatal asthma.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0110OC
PMCID: PMC3380291  PMID: 22281988
asthma; bronchial smooth muscle; signal transduction; G-protein–coupled receptors
4.  Targeting airway smooth muscle in airways diseases: an old concept with new twists 
Airway smooth muscle (ASM) manifests a hyper-responsive phenotype in airway disorders such as asthma. ASM also modulates immune responses by secreting mediators and expressing cell-surface molecules that promote recruitment of inflammatory cells to the lungs. The aim of the current article is to highlight therapeutics that may modulate ASM responses in airway disorders and exacerbations.
doi:10.1586/ers.11.77
PMCID: PMC3276206  PMID: 22082163
antibody therapy; asthma; bronchial thermoplasty; exacerbation; remodeling
5.  An RGS4-Mediated Phenotypic Switch of Bronchial Smooth Muscle Cells Promotes Fixed Airway Obstruction in Asthma 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e28504.
In severe asthma, bronchodilator- and steroid-insensitive airflow obstruction develops through unknown mechanisms characterized by increased lung airway smooth muscle (ASM) mass and stiffness. We explored the role of a Regulator of G-protein Signaling protein (RGS4) in the ASM hyperplasia and reduced contractile capacity characteristic of advanced asthma. Using immunocytochemical staining, ASM expression of RGS4 was determined in endobronchial biopsies from healthy subjects and those from subjects with mild, moderate and severe asthma. Cell proliferation assays, agonist-induced calcium mobilization and bronchoconstriction were determined in cultured human ASM cells and in human precision cut lung slices. Using gain- and loss-of-function approaches, the precise role of RGS proteins was determined in stimulating human ASM proliferation and inhibiting bronchoconstriction. RGS4 expression was restricted to a subpopulation of ASM and was specifically upregulated by mitogens, which induced a hyperproliferative and hypocontractile ASM phenotype similar to that observed in recalcitrant asthma. RGS4 expression was markedly increased in bronchial smooth muscle of patients with severe asthma, and expression correlated significantly with reduced pulmonary function. Whereas RGS4 inhibited G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-mediated bronchoconstriction, unexpectedly RGS4 was required for PDGF-induced proliferation and sustained activation of PI3K, a mitogenic signaling molecule that regulates ASM proliferation. These studies indicate that increased RGS4 expression promotes a phenotypic switch of ASM, evoking irreversible airway obstruction in subjects with severe asthma.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028504
PMCID: PMC3257220  PMID: 22253691
6.  Glucocorticoid Receptor Interacting Protein-1 Restores Glucocorticoid Responsiveness in Steroid-Resistant Airway Structural Cells 
Glucocorticoid (GC) insensitivity represents a profound challenge in managing patients with asthma. The mutual inhibition of transcriptional activity between GC receptor (GR) and other regulators is one of the mechanisms contributing to GC resistance in asthma. We recently reported that interferon regulatory factor (IRF)-1 is a novel transcription factor that promotes GC insensitivity in human airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells by interfering with GR signaling (Tliba et al., Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 2008;38:463–472). Here, we sought to determine whether the inhibition of GR function by IRF-1 involves its interaction with the transcriptional co-regulator GR-interacting protein 1 (GRIP-1), a known GR transcriptional co-activator. We here found that siRNA-mediated GRIP-1 depletion attenuated IRF-1–dependent transcription of the luciferase reporter construct and the mRNA expression of an IRF-1–dependent gene, CD38. In parallel experiments, GRIP-1 silencing significantly reduced GR-mediated transactivation activities. Co-immunoprecipitation and GST pull-down assays showed that GRIP-1, through its repression domain, physically interacts with IRF-1 identifying GRIP-1 as a bona fide transcriptional co-activator for IRF-1. Interestingly, the previously reported inhibition of GR-mediated transactivation activities by either TNF-α and IFN-γ treatment or IRF-1 overexpression was fully reversed by increasing cellular levels of GRIP-1. Together, these data suggest that the cellular accumulation of IRF-1 may represent a potential molecular mechanism mediating altered cellular response to GC through the depletion of GRIP-1 from the GR transcriptional regulatory complexes.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2009-0239RC
PMCID: PMC2809222  PMID: 19805480
glucocorticoid; cytokine; airway smooth muscle; IRF-1; GRIP-1
7.  Transcriptional regulation of cytokine function in airway smooth muscle cells 
The immuno-modulatory properties of airway smooth muscle have become of increasing importance in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying chronic inflammation and structural remodeling of the airway wall in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). ASM cells respond to many cytokines, growth factors and lipid mediators to produce a wide array of immuno-modulatory molecules which may in turn orchestrate and perpetuate the disease process in asthma and COPD. Despite numerous studies of the cellular effects of cytokines on cultured ASM, few have identified intracellular signaling pathways by which cytokines modulate or induce these cellular responses. In this review we provide an overview of the transcriptional mechanisms as well as intracellular signaling pathways regulating cytokine functions in ASM cells. The recent discovery of toll-like receptors in ASM cells represents a significant development in our understanding of the immuno-modulatory capabilities of ASM cells. Thus, we also review emerging evidence of the inflammatory response to toll-like receptor activation in ASM cells.
doi:10.1016/j.pupt.2009.04.003
PMCID: PMC2736328  PMID: 19393330
Airway smooth muscle; cytokines; asthma; airway inflammation; toll-like receptors (TLR); corticosteroids; nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB); mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK); janus activated kinase/Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription (JAK/STAT)
8.  Airway Smooth Muscle as an Immunomodulatory Cell 
Although pivotal in regulating bronchomotor tone in asthma, airway smooth muscle (ASM) also modulates airway inflammation in asthma. ASM myocytes secrete or express a wide array of immunomodulatory mediators in response to extracellular stimuli, and in chronic severe asthma, increases in ASM mass may also render the airway irreversibly obstructed. Although the mechanisms by which ASM secretes cytokines and chemokines are shared with those regulating immune cells, there exist unique ASM signaling pathways that may provide novel therapeutic targets. This review provides an overview of our current understanding of the proliferative as well as synthetic properties of ASM.
doi:10.1016/j.pupt.2008.12.006
PMCID: PMC2736352  PMID: 19121407
Synthetic function; airway remodeling; mesenchymal cells; airway hyperresponsiveness; hyperplasia; hypertrophy
9.  Cytokines Induce an Early Steroid Resistance in Airway Smooth Muscle Cells 
We have previously shown that long-term treatment of airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells with a combination of TNF-α and IFN-γ impaired steroid anti-inflammatory action through the up-regulation of glucocorticoid receptor beta isoform (GRβ) (Mol Pharmacol 2006;69:588–596). We here found that steroid actions could also be suppressed by short-term exposure of ASM cells to TNF-α and IFN-γ (6 h) as shown by the abrogated glucocorticoid responsive element (GRE)-dependent gene transcription; surprisingly, neither GRα nuclear translocation nor GRβ expression was affected by cytokine mixture. The earlier induction of CD38, a molecule recently involved in asthma, seen with TNF-α and IFN-γ combination but not with cytokine alone, was also completely insensitive to steroid pretreatment. Chromatin-immunoprecipitation (IP) and siRNA strategies revealed not only increased binding of interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1) transcription factor to CD38 promoter, but also its implication in regulating CD38 gene transcription. Interestingly, the capacity of fluticasone to completely inhibit TNF-α–induced IRF-1 expression, IRF-1 DNA binding, and transactivation activities was completely lost in cells exposed to TNF-α and IFN-γ in combination. This early steroid dysfunction seen with cytokine combination could be reproduced by enhancing IRF-1 cellular levels using constitutively active IRF-1, which dose-dependently inhibited GRE-dependent gene transcription. Consistently, reducing IRF-1 cellular levels using siRNA approach significantly restored steroid transactivation activities. Collectively, our findings demonstrate for the first time that IRF-1 is a novel alternative GRβ-independent mechanism mediating steroid dysfunction induced by pro-asthmatic cytokines, in part via the suppression of GRα activities.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2007-0226OC
PMCID: PMC2274949  PMID: 17947510
transcription factor; glucocorticoid; inflammation; asthma; mesenchymal cells
10.  IL-4 induced MUC4 enhancement in respiratory epithelial cells in vitro is mediated through JAK-3 selective signaling 
Respiratory Research  2006;7(1):39.
Background
Recent studies have identified MUC4 mucin as a ligand for activation of ErbB2, a receptor tyrosine kinase that modulates epithelial cell proliferation following epithelial damage in airways of asthmatics. In this study, we investigated the potential role of IL-4, one of the Th2 inflammatory cytokines persistent in asthmatic airways, in regulating MUC4 expression using a cell line NCI-H650.
Methods
Real time PCR analysis was performed to determine concentration and time dependent effects of IL-4 upon MUC4 expression. Nuclear run on experiments were carried out to explore potential transcriptional modulation. Western blotting experiments using a monoclonal antibody specific to ASGP-2 domain of MUC4 were performed to analyze MUC4 glycoprotein levels in plasma membrane fractions. To analyze potential signal transduction cascades, IL-4 treated confluent cultures were co-incubated, separately with a pan-JAK inhibitor, a JAK-3 selective inhibitor or a MEK-1, 2 (MAPK) inhibitor at various concentrations before MUC4 transcript analysis. Corresponding transcription factor activation was tested by western blotting using a monoclonal p-STAT-6 antibody.
Results
MUC4 levels increased in a concentration and time specific fashion reaching peak expression at 2.5 ng/ml and 8 h. Nuclear run on experiments revealed transcriptional enhancement. Corresponding increases in MUC4 glycoprotein levels were observed in plasma membrane fractions. Pan-JAK inhibitor revealed marked reduction in IL-4 stimulated MUC4 levels and JAK3 selective inhibitor down-regulated MUC4 mRNA expression in a concentration-dependent fashion. In accordance with the above observations, STAT-6 activation was detected within 5 minutes of IL-4 stimulus. No effect in MUC4 levels was observed on using a MAPK inhibitor.
Conclusion
These observations signify a potential role for IL-4 in MUC4 up-regulation in airway epithelia.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-7-39
PMCID: PMC1435893  PMID: 16551361
11.  Differential expression of MUC genes in endometrial and cervical tissues and tumors 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:124.
Background
Mucin glycoprotein's are major components of mucus and are considered an important class of tumor associated antigens. The objective of this study was to investigate the expression of human MUC genes (MUC1, MUC2, MUC5B, MUC5AC and MUC8) in human endometrium and cervix, and to compare and quantitate the expression of MUC genes in normal and cancerous tissues.
Methods
Slot blot techniques were used to study the MUC gene expression and quantitation.
Results
Of the five-mucin genes studied, MUC1, MUC5B and MUC8 showed high expression levels in the normal and cancerous endometrial and cervical tissues, MUC2 and MUC5AC showed considerably lower expression. Statistically, higher levels of MUC1, MUC5B and MUC8 were observed in endometrial adenocarcinomas compared to normal tissues. In contrast, only MUC1 levels increased with no significant changes in expression of MUC5B and MUC8 in cervical tumors over normal cervical tissues.
Conclusion
Endometrial tumors showed increased expression of MUC1, MUC5B and MUC8 over normal tissues. Only MUC1 appears to be increase, in cervical tumors. All the studied tissues showed high and consistent expression of MUC8 mRNA. Low to neglible levels of MUC2 and MUC5AC were observed in all studied endometrial and cervical tissues.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-124
PMCID: PMC1249559  PMID: 16188033

Results 1-11 (11)