Lung macrophages use the scavenger receptor MARCO to bind and ingest bacteria, particulate matter, and post cellular debris. We investigated the role of MARCO in influenza A virus (IAV) pneumonia. In contrast to higher susceptibility to bacterial infection, MARCO−/− mice had lower morbidity and mortality from influenza pneumonia than wild-type (WT) mice. The early course of influenza in MARCO−/− lungs was marked by an enhanced but transient neutrophilic inflammatory response and significantly lower viral replication compared with the WT mice. At later time points, no significant differences in lung histopathology or absolute numbers of T lymphocyte influx were evident. Uptake of IAV by WT and MARCO−/− bronchoalveolar lavage macrophages in vitro was similar. By LPS coadministration, we demonstrated that rapid neutrophil and monocyte influx during the onset of influenza suppressed viral replication, indicating a protective role of early inflammation. We hypothesized that the presence of increased basal proinflammatory post cellular debris in the absence of scavenging function lowered the inflammatory response threshold to IAV in MARCO−/− mice. Indeed, MARCO−/− mice showed increased accumulation of proinflammatory oxidized lipoproteins in the bronchoalveolar lavage early in the infection process, which are the potential mediators of the observed enhanced inflammation. These results indicate that MARCO suppresses a protective early inflammatory response to influenza, which modulates viral clearance and delays recovery.
inflammation; scavenger receptors; leukocytes; chemokines; pathology; oxidized lipoproteins
EC activation and dysfunction have been linked to a variety of vascular inflammatory disease states. The function of microRNAs (miRNAs) in vascular EC activation and inflammation remains poorly understood. Herein, we report that microRNA-181b (miR-181b) serves as a potent regulator of downstream NF-κB signaling in the vascular endothelium by targeting importin-α3, a protein that is required for nuclear translocation of NF-κB. Overexpression of miR-181b inhibited importin-α3 expression and an enriched set of NF-κB–responsive genes such as adhesion molecules VCAM-1 and E-selectin in ECs in vitro and in vivo. In addition, treatment of mice with proinflammatory stimuli reduced miR-181b expression. Rescue of miR-181b levels by systemic administration of miR-181b “mimics” reduced downstream NF-κB signaling and leukocyte influx in the vascular endothelium and decreased lung injury and mortality in endotoxemic mice. In contrast, miR-181b inhibition exacerbated endotoxin-induced NF-κB activity, leukocyte influx, and lung injury. Finally, we observed that critically ill patients with sepsis had reduced levels of miR-181b compared with control intensive care unit (ICU) subjects. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that miR-181b regulates NF-κB–mediated EC activation and vascular inflammation in response to proinflammatory stimuli and that rescue of miR-181b expression could provide a new target for antiinflammatory therapy and critical illness.
One factor predisposing toward allergic responses is a maternal history of allergy. In a mouse model of maternal transmission of asthma risk, offspring of asthmatic, but not normal, mothers show increased allergic susceptibility, recreating epidemiologic observations in humans. Dendritic cells (DCs) capture and process antigens, and can skew immune responses toward a pro-allergic T helper 2 phenotype. Genome-wide analysis shows that neonates of allergic mothers are born with substantial changes in DNA methylation in their splenic CD11c+ DCs, findings observed without any contact with allergens. We demonstrate that these DCs from allergen-naive neonates born to asthmatic mothers, but not DCs from offspring of normal mothers, confer increased allergic susceptibility to multiple allergens when adoptively transferred into normal recipient mice, manifesting as increased airway responsiveness and allergic inflammation. Other immune splenocytes, including macrophages and CD4+ T cells, did not transfer the effect. The “asthma-susceptible” DCs also show enhanced allergen-presentation activity in vitro. Our findings suggest that maternal allergy results in an altered epigenetic profile in neonatal DCs that is independent of encounters with allergens and is linked to pro-allergic function.
dendritic cells; allergy; asthma; epigenetics; DNA methylation
Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) inhibits intracellular replication of Francisella tularensis in human monocyte-derived macrophages (HMDM) and in mice, but the mechanisms of this protective effect are poorly characterized. We used genome-wide RNA interference (RNAi) screening in the human macrophage cell line THP-1 to identify genes that mediate the beneficial effects of IFN-γ on F. tularensis infection. A primary screen identified ∼200 replicated candidate genes. These were prioritized according to mRNA expression in IFN-γ-primed and F. tularensis-challenged macrophages. A panel of 20 top hits was further assessed by re-testing using individual shRNAs or siRNAs in THP-1 cells, HMDMs and primary human lung macrophages. Six of eight validated genes tested were also found to confer resistance to Listeria monocytogenes infection, suggesting a broadly shared host gene program for intracellular pathogens. The F. tularensis-validated hits included ‘druggable’ targets such as TNFRSF9, which encodes CD137. Treating HMDM with a blocking antibody to CD137 confirmed a beneficial role of CD137 in macrophage clearance of F. tularensis. These studies reveal a number of important mediators of IFN-γ activated host defense against intracellular pathogens, and implicate CD137 as a potential therapeutic target and regulator of macrophage interactions with Francisella tularensis.
Numerous receptors have been implicated in recognition of pathogenic fungi by macrophages, including the β-glucan receptor dectin-1. The role of scavenger receptors (SRs) in anti-fungal immunity is not well characterized.
We studied uptake of unopsonized Saccharomycetes cerevisiae (zymosan) and live Candida albicans yeasts as well as zymosan-stimulated H2O2 production in J774 macrophage-like cells and peritoneal exudate macrophages (PEMs). The role of different receptors was assessed with the use of competitive ligands, transfected cells and receptor-deficient macrophages.
The uptake of zymosan by untreated J774 cells was mediated approximately half by SRs and half by a β-glucan receptor which was distinct from dectin-1 and not linked to stimulation of H2O2 production. Ligands of β-glucan receptors and of SRs also inhibited uptake of C. albicans by macrophages (J774 cells and PEMs). In macrophages pretreated with a CpG motif-containing oligodeoxynucleotide (CpG-ODN) the relative contribution of SRs to yeast uptake increased and that of β-glucan receptors decreased. Whereas the class A SR MARCO participated in the uptake of both zymosan and C. albicans by CpG-ODN-pretreated, but not untreated macrophages, the related receptor SR-A/CD204 was involved in the uptake of zymosan, but not of C. albicans. The reduction of zymosan-stimulated H2O2 production observed in DS-pretreated J774 cells and in class A SRs-deficient PEMs suggest that class A SRs mediate part of this process.
Our results revealed that SRs belong to a redundant system of receptors for yeasts. Binding of yeasts to different receptors in resting versus CpG-ODN-pre-exposed macrophages may differentially affect polarization of adaptive immune responses.
MARCO; CD204; Oxidative burst
Many human epidemiologic studies demonstrate that maternal asthma confers greater risk of asthma to offspring than does paternal disease. However, a handful have shown the opposite. Given this disparity, a meta-analysis is necessary to determine the veracity and magnitude of the “maternal effect.”
We screened the medical literature from 1966 to 2009 and performed a meta-analysis to compare the effect of maternal asthma vs. paternal asthma on offspring asthma susceptibility. Aggregating data from 33 studies, the odds ratio for asthma in children of asthmatic mothers compared with non-asthmatic mothers was significantly increased at 3.04 (95% confidence interval: 2.59–3.56). The corresponding odds ratio for asthma in children of asthmatic fathers was increased at 2.44 (2.14–2.79). When comparing the odds ratios, maternal asthma conferred greater risk of disease than did paternal asthma (3.04 vs. 2.44, p = 0.037). When analyzing the studies in which asthma was diagnosed by a physician the odds ratios were attenuated and no significant differences were observed (2.85 vs. 2.48, N = 18, p = 0.37). Similarly, no significant differences were observed between maternal and paternal odds ratios when analyzing the studies in which the patient population was 5 years or older (3.15 vs. 2.60, p = 0.14). However, in all cases the trend remained the same, that maternal asthma was a greater risk factor for asthma than paternal.
The results show that maternal asthma increases offspring disease risk to a greater extent than paternal disease.
Alveolar macrophages (AMs) can phagocytose unopsonized pathogens such as S. aureus via innate immune receptors, such as scavenger receptors (SRs). Cytoskeletal events and signaling pathways involved in phagocytosis of unopsonized bacteria likely govern the fate of ingested pathogens, but are poorly characterized. We have developed a high-throughput scanning cytometry-based assay to quantify phagocytosis of S. aureus by adherent human blood-derived AM-like macrophages in a 96-well microplate format. Differential fluorescent labeling of internalized vs. bound bacteria or beads allowed automated image analysis of collapsed confocal stack images acquired by scanning cytometry, and quantification of total particles bound and percent of particles internalized. We compared the effects of the classic SR blocker polyinosinic acid, the cytoskeletal inhibitors cytochalasin D and nocodazole, and the signaling inhibitors staurosporine, Gö 6976, JNK Inhibitor I and KN-93, on phagocytosis of a panel of live unopsonized S. aureus strains, (Wood, Seattle 1945 (ATCC 25923), and RN6390), as well as a commercial killed Wood strain, heat-killed Wood strain and latex beads. Our results revealed failure of the SR inhibitor polyinosinic acid to block binding of any live S. aureus strains, suggesting that SR-mediated uptake of a commercial killed fluorescent bacterial particle does not accurately model interaction with viable bacteria. We also observed heterogeneity in the effects of cytoskeletal and signaling inhibitors on internalization of different S. aureus strains. The data suggest that uptake of unopsonized live S. aureus by human macrophages is not mediated by SRs, and that the cellular mechanical and signaling processes that mediate S. aureus phagocytosis vary. The findings also demonstrate the potential utility of high-throughput scanning cytometry techniques to study phagocytosis of S. aureus and other organisms in greater detail.
The mechanisms by which prenatal events affect development of adult disease are incompletely characterized. Based on findings in a murine model of maternal transmission of asthma risk, we sought to test the role of the pro-asthmatic cytokines interleukin IL-4 and -13. To assess transplacental passage of functional cytokines, we assayed phosphorylation of STAT-6, a marker of IL-4 and -13 signaling via heterodimeric receptor complexes which require an IL-4 receptor alpha subunit. IL-4 receptor alpha−/− females were mated to wild-type males, and pregnant females were injected with supraphysiologic doses of IL-4 or 13. One hour after injection, the receptor heterozygotic embryos were harvested and tissue nuclear proteins extracts assayed for phosphorylation of STAT-6 by Western blot. While direct injection of embryos produced a robust positive control, no phosphorylation was seen after maternal injection with either IL-4 or -13, indicating that neither crossed the placenta in detectable amounts. The data demonstrate a useful approach to assay for transplacental passage of functional maternal molecules, and indicate that molecules other than IL-4 and IL-13 may mediate transplacental effects in maternal transmission of asthma risk.
Maternal immune responses can promote allergy development in offspring, as shown in a model of increased susceptibility to asthma in babies of ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized and -challenged mother mice. We investigated whether inflammatory responses to air pollution particles (diesel exhaust particles, DEP) or control “inert” titanium dioxide (TiO2) particles are enhanced during pregnancy and whether exposure to particles can cause increased neonatal susceptibility to asthma. Pregnant BALB/c mice (or nonpregnant controls) received particle suspensions intranasally at Day 14 of pregnancy. Lung inflammatory responses were evaluated 48 hours after exposure. Offspring of particle- or buffer-treated mothers were sensitized and aerosolized with OVA, followed by assays of airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and allergic inflammation (AI). Nonpregnant females had the expected minimal response to “inert” TiO2. In contrast, pregnant mice showed robust and persistent acute inflammation after both TiO2 and DEP. Genomic profiling identified genes differentially expressed in pregnant lungs exposed to TiO2. Neonates of mothers exposed to TiO2 (and DEP, but not PBS) developed AHR and AI, indicating that pregnancy exposure to both “inert” TiO2 and DEP caused increased asthma susceptibility in offspring. We conclude that (1) pregnancy enhances lung inflammatory responses to otherwise relatively innocuous inert particles; and (2) exposures of nonallergic pregnant females to inert or toxic environmental air particles can cause increased allergic susceptibility in offspring.
maternal asthma; environmental particles; titanuim dioxide; diesel exhaust particles; susceptibility
Epidemiological studies reveal increased incidence of lung infection when air pollution particle levels are increased. We postulate that one risk factor for bacterial pneumonia, prior viral infection, can prime the lung for greater deleterious effects of particles via the γ-interferon (IFN-γ) characteristic of successful host anti-viral responses. To test this postulate, we developed a mouse model in which mice were treated with γ-interferon aerosol, followed by exposure to concentrated ambient particles (CAPs) collected from urban air. The mice were then infected with Streptococcus pneumoniae and the effect of these treatments on the lung innate immune response was evaluated. The combination of IFN-γ priming and CAPs exposure enhanced lung inflammation, manifest as increased polymorphonuclear granulocyte (PMN) recruitment to the lung, and elevated expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNAs. Combined priming and CAPs exposure resulted in impaired pulmonary bacterial clearance, as well as increased oxidant production and diminished bacterial uptake by alveolar macrophages (AMs) and PMNs. The data suggest that priming and CAPs exposure lead to an inflamed alveolar milieu where oxidant stress causes loss of antibacterial functions in AMs and recruited PMNs. The model reported here will allow further analysis of priming and CAPs exposure on lung sensitivity to infection.
γ-interferon priming; air pollution particles; Streptococcus pneumoniae; AMs; PMNs
Scavenger receptors are important components of the innate immune system in the lung, allowing alveolar macrophages to bind and phagocytose numerous unopsonized targets. Mice with genetic deletions of scavenger receptors, such as SR-A and MARCO, are susceptible to infection or inflammation from inhaled pathogens or dusts. However, the signaling pathways required for scavenger receptor-mediated phagocytosis of unopsonized particles have not been characterized.
We developed a scanning cytometry-based high-throughput assay of macrophage phagocytosis that quantitates bound and internalized unopsonized latex beads. This assay allowed the testing of a panel of signaling inhibitors which have previously been shown to target opsonin-dependent phagocytosis for their effect on unopsonized bead uptake by human in vitro-derived alveolar macrophage-like cells. The non-selective scavenger receptor inhibitor poly(I) and the actin destabilizer cytochalasin D were used to validate the assay and caused near complete abrogation of bead binding and internalization, respectively.
Microtubule destabilization using nocodazole dramatically inhibited bead internalization. Internalization was also significantly reduced by inhibitors of tyrosine kinases (genistein and herbimycin A), protein kinase C (staurosporine, chelerythrine chloride and Gö 6976), phosphoinositide-3 kinase (LY294002 and wortmannin), and the JNK and ERK pathways. In contrast, inhibition of phospholipase C by U-73122 had no effect.
These data indicate the utility of scanning cytometry for the analysis of phagocytosis and that phagocytosis of unopsonized particles has both shared and distinct features when compared to opsonin-mediated phagocytosis.
Alveolar macrophages (AM) avidly bind and ingest unopsonized inhaled particles and bacteria through class A scavenger receptors (SRAs) MARCO and SR-AI/II. Studies to characterize the function of these SRAs have used AMs from MARCO or SR-AI/II null mice, but this approach is limited by the relatively low yield of AMs. Moreover, studies using both MARCO and SR-AI/II-deficient (MS-/-) mice have not been reported yet. Hence, we sought to develop continuous cell lines from primary alveolar macrophages from MS-/- mice.
We used in vitro infection of the primary AMs with the J2 retrovirus carrying the v-raf and v-myc oncogenes. Following initial isolation in media supplemented with murine macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF), we subcloned three AM cell lines, designated ZK-1, ZK-2 and ZK-6. These cell lines grow well in RPMI-1640-10% FBS in the absence of M-CSF. These adherent but trypsin-sensitive cell lines have a doubling time of approximately 14 hours, exhibit typical macrophage morphology, and express macrophage-associated cell surface Mac-1 (CD11b) and F4/80 antigens. The cell lines show robust Fc-receptor dependent phagocytosis of opsonized red blood cells. Similar to freshly isolated AMs from MS-/- mice, the cell lines exhibit decreased phagocytosis of unopsonized titanium dioxide (TiO2), fluorescent latex beads and bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus) compared with the primary AMs from wild type (WT) C57BL/6 mice.
Our results indicated that three contiguous murine alveolar macrophage cell lines with MS-/- (ZK1, ZK2 and ZK6) were established successfully. These cell lines demonstrated macrophage morphology and functional activity. Interestingly, similar to freshly isolated AMs from MS-/- mice, the cell lines have a reduced, but not absent, ability to bind and ingest particles, with an altered pattern of blockade by scavenger receptor inhibitors. These cell lines will facilitate in vitro studies to further define MARCO and SR-AI/II function, and may also be useful to identify other novel scavenger-type macrophage receptors and for additional studies of particle toxicology.
Particulate air pollution is linked to increased pneumonia epidemiologically and diminished lung bacterial clearance experimentally. We investigated the effect of concentrated ambient particles (CAPs, ⩽ PM2.5) on the interaction of murine primary alveolar macrophages (AMs) and the murine macrophage cell line, J774 A.1, with Streptococcus pneumoniae. We found that CAPs increased binding of bacteria by both primary AMs and J774 cells (66.7 ± 10.6% and 58.9 ± 4.0%, respectively, n = 4). In contrast to bacterial binding, CAPs decreased internalization in both AMs and J774 (55.4 ± 8.5% and 54.7 ± 5.1%, respectively, n = 4). The rate of killing of internalized bacteria was similar, but CAPs caused a decrease in the absolute number of bacteria killed by macrophages, mainly due to decreased internalization. Additional analyses showed that soluble components of CAPs mediated the enhanced binding and decreased internalization of S. pneumoniae. Chelation of iron in soluble CAPs substantially reversed, while addition of iron as ferric ammonium citrate restored inhibition of phagocytosis of S. pneumoniae in vitro. The results identify phagocytic internalization as a specific target for toxic effects of air pollution particles on AMs.
concentrated ambient particles; macrophages; Streptococcus pneumoniae; phagocytosis; killing
Alveolar macrophages (AMs) primed with LPS and treated with concentrated ambient air particles (CAPs) showed enhanced release of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and provide an in vitro model for the amplified effects of air pollution particles seen in people with preexisting lung disease. To investigate the mechanism(s) by which CAPs mediate TNF release in primed rat AMs, we first tested the effect of a panel of antioxidants. N-acetyl cysteine (20mM), dimethyl thiourea (20 mM) and catalase (5 uM) significantly inhibited TNF release by primed AMs incubated with CAPs. Conversely, when LPS-primed AMs were treated with CAPs in the presence of exogenous oxidants (H2O2 generated by glucose oxidase, 10 uM/hr), TNF release and cell toxicity was significantly increased. The soluble fraction of CAPs suspensions caused most of the increased bioactivity in the presence of exogenous H2O2. The metal chelator deferoxamine (DFO) strongly inhibited the interaction of the soluble fraction with H2O2 but had no effect on the bioactivity of the insoluble CAPs fraction. We conclude that CAPs can mediate their effects in primed AMs by acting on oxidant-sensitive cytokine release in at least two distinct ways. In the primed cell, insoluble components of PM mediate enhanced TNF production that is H2O2-dependent (catalase-sensitive) yet independent of iron (DFO-insensitive). In the presence of exogenous H2O2 released by AMs, PMNs, or other lung cells within an inflamed alveolar milieu, soluble iron released from air particles can also mediate cytokine release and cell toxicity.
alveolar macrophage; cytokines; air pollution; particles; oxidants
An estimated 8 million people are infected each year with the pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and over 2 million die annually1. Yet only about 10% of those infected develop tuberculosis. Genetic variation within host populations is known to play a significant role in humans and animals 2,3, but the nature of genetic control of host resistance to tuberculosis remains poorly understood. Previously we mapped a new genetic locus on mouse chromosome 1, designated sst1 (for supersusceptibility to tuberculosis1)4. Here we demonstrate in sst1 congenic mouse strains that this locus mediates innate immunity, and identify a candidate gene, Intracellular Pathogen Resistance 1 (Ipr1), within the sst1 locus. The Ipr1 gene is upregulated in the sst1 resistant macrophages upon activation and infection, but is not expressed in the sst1 susceptible macrophages. Expression of the Ipr1 transgene in the sst1 susceptible macrophages limits multiplication not only of MTB but also Listeria monocytogenes and switches a cell death pathway of the infected macrophages from necrosis to apoptosis. Our data suggest that the Ipr1 gene product may play a novel role in integrating signals generated by intracellular pathogens with mechanisms controlling innate immunity, cell death and pathogenesis.
Bacterial; Lung; Inflammation; Innate Immunity; Tuberculosis; Rodent
The class A macrophage scavenger receptor SR-AI/II is implicated as a pattern recognition receptor for innate immunity, but its functional role in lung defense has not been studied. We used mice genetically deficient in SR-AI/II and their wild-type C57BL/6 counterparts to investigate the contribution of this receptor to defense against pneumococcal infection and inhaled particles. SR-AI/II deficiency caused impaired phagocytosis of fluorescent bacteria in vivo, diminished clearance of live bacteria from the lungs, and substantially increased pneumonic inflammation. Survival studies also showed increased mortality in SR-AI/II–deficient mice with pneumococcal lung infection. Similarly, after challenge of the airways with TiO2 particles, SR-AI/II–deficient mice showed increased proinflammatory cytokine levels in lung lavage fluid and a more pronounced neutrophilic inflammation. The data indicate that the lung macrophage class A scavenger receptor SR-AI/II contributes to innate defense against bacteria and inhaled particles.
environmental particles; lung; macrophages; scavenger receptors
Offspring of asthmatic mothers have increased risk of developing asthma, based on human epidemiologic data and experimental animal models. The objective of this study was to determine whether maternal allergy at non-pulmonary sites can increase asthma risk in offspring.
BALB/c female mice received 2 topical applications of vehicle, dinitrochlorobenzene, or toluene diisocyanate before mating with untreated males. Dinitrochlorobenzene is a skin-sensitizer only and known to induce a Th1 response, while toluene diisocyanate is both a skin and respiratory sensitizer that causes a Th2 response. Both cause allergic contact dermatitis. Offspring underwent an intentionally suboptimal protocol of allergen sensitization and aerosol challenge, followed by evaluation of airway hyperresponsiveness, allergic airway inflammation, and cytokine production. Mothers were tested for allergic airway disease, evidence of dermatitis, cellularity of the draining lymph nodes, and systemic cytokine levels. The role of interleukin-4 was also explored using interleukin-4 deficient mice.
Offspring of toluene diisocyanate but not dinitrochlorobenzene-treated mothers developed an asthmatic phenotype following allergen sensitization and challenge, seen as increased Penh values, airway inflammation, bronchoalveolar lavage total cell counts and eosinophilia, and Th2 cytokine imbalance in the lung. Toluene diisocyanate treated interleukin-4 deficient mothers were able to transfer asthma risk to offspring. Mothers in both experimental groups developed allergic contact dermatitis, but not allergic airway disease.
Maternal non-respiratory allergy (Th2-skewed dermatitis caused by toluene diisocyanate) can result in the maternal transmission of asthma risk in mice.
Alveolar macrophages (AMs) express the class A scavenger receptors (SRAs) macrophage receptor with collagenous structure (MARCO) and scavenger receptor AI/II (SRA-I/II), which recognize oxidized lipids and provide innate defense against inhaled pathogens and particles. Increased MARCO expression in lungs of ozone-resistant mice suggested an additional role protecting against inhaled oxidants. After ozone exposure, MARCO–/– mice showed greater lung injury than did MARCO+/+ mice. Ozone is known to generate oxidized, proinflammatory lipids in lung lining fluid, such as 5β,6β-epoxycholesterol (β-epoxide) and 1-palmitoyl-2-(9′-oxo-nonanoyl)-glycerophosphocholine (PON-GPC). Intratracheal instillation of either lipid caused substantial neutrophil influx in MARCO–/– mice, but had no effect in MARCO+/+ mice. Normal AMs showed greater uptake in vitro of β-epoxide compared with MARCO–/– AMs, consistent with SRA function in binding oxidized lipids. SR-AI/II–/– mice showed similar enhanced acute lung inflammation after β-epoxide or another inhaled oxidant (aerosolized leachate of residual oil fly ash). In contrast, subacute ozone exposure did not enhance inflammation in SR-AI/II–/– versus SR-AI/II+/+ mice, reflecting increased AM expression of MARCO. These data identify what we believe to be a novel function for AM SRAs in decreasing pulmonary inflammation after oxidant inhalation by scavenging proinflammatory oxidized lipids from lung lining fluids.
Alveolar macrophages (AMs) express the class A scavenger receptor macrophage receptor with collagenous structure (MARCO), but its role in vivo in lung defense against bacteria and environmental particles has not been studied. We used MARCO-deficient mice to directly test the in vivo role of AM MARCO in innate defense against pneumococcal infection and environmental particles. In a murine model of pneumococcal pneumonia, MARCO−/− mice displayed an impaired ability to clear bacteria from the lungs, increased pulmonary inflammation and cytokine release, and diminished survival. In vitro binding of Streptococcus pneumoniae and in vivo uptake of unopsonized particles by MARCO−/− AMs were dramatically impaired. MARCO−/− mice treated with the “inert” environmental particle TiO2 showed enhanced inflammation and chemokine expression, indicating that MARCO-mediated clearance of inert particles by AMs prevents inflammatory responses otherwise initiated by other lung cells. Our findings point to an important role of MARCO in mounting an efficient and appropriately regulated innate immune response against inhaled particles and airborne pathogens.
macrophage; phagocytosis; environment; innate immunity
Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by increased airway responsiveness and airway inflammation. The functional role of nitric oxide (NO) and the various nitric oxide synthase (NOS) isoforms in human asthma is controversial. To investigate the role of NO in an established model of allergic asthma, mice with targeted deletions of the three known isoforms of NOS (NOS1, 2, and 3) were studied. Although the inducible (NOS2) isoform was significantly upregulated in the lungs of ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized and -challenged (OVA/OVA) wild-type (WT) mice and was undetectable in similarly treated NOS2-deficient mice, airway responsiveness was not significantly different between these groups. OVA/OVA endothelial (NOS3)-deficient mice were significantly more responsive to methacholine challenge compared with similarly treated NOS1 and NOS1&3-deficient mice. Airway responsiveness in OVA/OVA neuronal (NOS1)-deficient and neuronal/endothelial (NOS1&3) double-deficient mice was significantly less than that observed in similarly treated NOS2 and WT groups. These findings demonstrate an important function for the nNOS isoform in controlling the inducibility of airway hyperresponsiveness in this model of allergic asthma.
nitric oxide; allergen; mice; asthma; nitric oxide synthase
Alveolar macrophages (AMs) avidly bind and ingest unopsonized environmental particles and bacteria through scavenger-type receptors (SRs). AMs from mice with a genetic deletion of the major macrophage SR (types AI and AII; SR−/−) showed no decrease in particle binding compared with SR+/+ mice, suggesting that other SRs are involved. To identify these receptors, we generated a monoclonal antibody (mAb), PAL-1, that inhibits hamster AM binding of unopsonized particles (TiO2, Fe2O3, and latex beads; 66 ± 5, 77 ± 2, and 85 ± 2% inhibition, respectively, measured by flow cytometry). This antibody identifies a protein of ∼70 kD on the AM surface (immunoprecipitation) that is expressed by AMs and other macrophages in situ. A cDNA clone encoding the mAb PAL-1–reactive protein isolated by means of COS cell expression was found to be 84 and 77% homologous to mouse and human scavenger receptor MARCO mRNA, respectively. Transfection of COS cells with MARCO cDNA conferred mAb-inhibitable TiO2 binding. Hamster MARCO also mediates AM binding of unopsonized bacteria (67 ± 5 and 47 ± 4% inhibition of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus binding by mAb PAL-1). A polyclonal antibody to human MARCO identified the expected ∼70-kD band on Western blots of lysates of normal bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells (>90% AMs) and showed strong immunolabeling of human AMs in BAL cytocentrifuge preparations and within lung tissue specimens. In normal mouse AMs, the anti-MARCO mAb ED31 also showed immunoreactivity and inhibited binding of unopsonized particles (e.g., TiO2 ∼40%) and bacteria. The novel function of binding unopsonized environmental dusts and pathogens suggests an important role for MARCO in the lungs' response to inhaled particles.
MARCO; alveolar; macrophage; unopsonized; environmental particle
Expression of innate immune response proteins, including IL-1β, TNF, and the cytokine-inducible isoform of nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), have been documented in the hearts of humans and experimental animals with heart failure regardless of etiology, although the proximal events leading to their expression are unknown. Noting that expression of a human homologue of Drosophila Toll, a proximal innate immunity transmembrane signaling protein in the fly, now termed human Toll-like receptor 4 (hTLR4), appeared to be relatively high in the heart, we examined TLR4 mRNA and protein abundance in isolated cellular constituents of cardiac muscle and in normal and abnormal murine, rat, and human myocardium. TLR4 expression levels in cardiac myocytes and in coronary microvascular endothelial cells could be enhanced by either LPS or IL-1β, an effect inhibited by the oxygen radical scavenger PDTC. Transfection of a constitutively active TLR4 construct, CD4/hTLR4, resulted in activation of a nuclear factor-κB reporter construct, but not of an AP-1 or an iNOS reporter construct, in cardiac myocytes. In normal murine, rat, and human myocardium, TLR4 expression was diffuse, and presumably cytoplasmic, in cardiac myocytes. However, in remodeling murine myocardium remote from sites of ischemic injury and in heart tissue from patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, focal areas of intense TLR4 staining were observed in juxtaposed regions of 2 or more adjacent myocytes; this staining was not observed in control myocardium. Increased expression and signaling by TLR4, and perhaps other Toll homologues, may contribute to the activation of innate immunity in injured myocardium.
J. Clin. Invest. 104:271–280 (1999).
Heme oxygenase (HO) catalyzes the oxidation of heme to generate carbon monoxide (CO) and bilirubin. CO increases cellular levels of cGMP, which regulates vascular tone and smooth muscle development. Bilirubin is a potent antioxidant. Hypoxia increases expression of the inducible HO isoform (HO-1) but not the constitutive isoform (HO-2). To determine whether HO-1 affects cellular adaptation to chronic hypoxia in vivo, we generated HO-1 null (HO-1–/–) mice and subjected them to hypoxia (10% oxygen) for five to seven weeks. Hypoxia caused similar increases in right ventricular systolic pressure in wild-type and HO-1–/– mice. Although ventricular weight increased in wild-type mice, the increase was greater in HO-1–/– mice. Similarly, the right ventricles were more dilated in HO-1–/– mice. After seven weeks of hypoxia, only HO-1–/– mice developed right ventricular infarcts with organized mural thrombi. No left ventricular infarcts were observed. Lipid peroxidation and oxidative damage occurred in right ventricular cardiomyocytes in HO-1–/–, but not wild-type, mice. We also detected apoptotic cardiomyocytes surrounding areas of infarcted myocardium by terminal deoxynucleotide transferase–mediated dUTP nick end-labeling (TUNEL) assays. Our data suggest that in the absence of HO-1, cardiomyocytes have a maladaptive response to hypoxia and subsequent pulmonary hypertension.
J.Clin. Invest. 103:R23–R29 (1999).
Intranasal Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection of mice caused pneumonia. Manifestations of the disease included: histological pneumonitis, pulmonary influx of lymphocytes, decreased pulmonary compliance, and decreased survival. Immunohistochemical staining demonstrated iNOS induction and the nitrotyrosine antigen in the lungs of infected, but not uninfected mice, suggesting that nitric oxide contributes to the development of pneumonia. To elucidate the role of nitric oxide in the pathogenesis of HSV-1 pneumonia, infected mice were treated either with the inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase activity, NG-monomethyl-l-arginine (l-NMMA), or, as a control, with PBS or d-NMMA. l-NMMA treatment decreased the histological evidence of pneumonia and reduced the bronchoalveolar lavage lymphocyte number to one-quarter of the total measured in control-treated mice. l-NMMA treatment significantly improved survival and pulmonary compliance of HSV-1–infected mice. Strikingly, the l-NMMA–mediated suppression of pneumonia occurred despite the presence of a 17-fold higher pulmonary viral titer. Taken together, these data demonstrated a previously unrecognized role of nitric oxide in HSV-1–induced pneumonia. Of note, suppression of pneumonia occurred despite higher pulmonary virus content; therefore, our data suggest that HSV-1 pneumonia is due to aspects of the inflammatory response rather than to direct viral cytopathic effects.