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1.  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.
ABSTRACT
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.
doi:10.1128/JVI.00818-14
PMCID: PMC4136292  PMID: 24920801
2.  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.
doi:10.1038/mi.2013.88
PMCID: PMC3999175  PMID: 24172848
particulate matter; immunosuppression; neonatal
3.  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.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1111/acer.12184
PMCID: PMC3775861  PMID: 23763452
4.  Exposure to combustion generated environmentally persistent free radicals enhances severity of influenza virus infection 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/s12989-014-0057-1
PMCID: PMC4222384  PMID: 25358535
Particulate matter; EPFR; Influenza; Infant; Neonate; Air pollution; DCB230; Oxidative stress
5.  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.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2012-0052OC
PMCID: PMC3604062  PMID: 23087054
particulate matter; epithelial–mesenchymal transition; environmental asthma; pediatric
6.  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.
doi:10.1002/jbt.21465
PMCID: PMC3580159  PMID: 23281110
Particulate Matter; Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals; Infant; Respiratory Health; Immunomodulation
7.  Maternal exposure to combustion generated PM inhibits pulmonary Th1 maturation and concomitantly enhances postnatal asthma development in offspring 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1743-8977-10-29
PMCID: PMC3717277  PMID: 23856009
Maternal exposure; Particulate matter; Offspring; Asthma
8.  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.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0001OC
PMCID: PMC3262685  PMID: 21493781
EPFR; dendritic cell; asthma; Th17; neutrophil
9.  Environmentally persistent free radicals induce airway hyperresponsiveness in neonatal rat lungs 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1743-8977-8-11
PMCID: PMC3061909  PMID: 21388553

Results 1-9 (9)