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1.  Estrogen Determines Sex Differences in Airway Responsiveness after Allergen Exposure 
The female hormone estrogen is an important factor in the regulation of airway function and inflammation, and sex differences in the prevalence of asthma are well described. Using an animal model, we determined how sex differences may underlie the development of altered airway function in response to allergen exposure. We compared sex differences in the development of airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) after allergen exposure exclusively via the airways. Ovalbumin (OVA) was administered by nebulization on 10 consecutive days in BALB/c mice. After methacholine challenge, significant AHR developed in male mice but not in female mice. Ovariectomized female mice showed significant AHR after 10-day OVA inhalation. ICI182,780, an estrogen antagonist, similarly enhanced airway responsiveness even when administered 1 hour before assay. In contrast, 17β-estradiol dose-dependently suppressed AHR in male mice. In all cases, airway responsiveness was inhibited by the administration of a neurokinin 1 receptor antagonist. These results demonstrate that sex differences in 10-day OVA-induced AHR are due to endogenous estrogen, which negatively regulates airway responsiveness in female mice. Cumulatively, the results suggest that endogenous estrogen may regulate the neurokinin 1–dependent prejunctional activation of airway smooth muscle in allergen-exposed mice.
PMCID: PMC2335333  PMID: 18063836
estrogen; sex; airway hyperresponsiveness; EFS; neuronal activation
2.  IFN-γ Production during Initial Infection Determines the Outcome of Reinfection with Respiratory Syncytial Virus 
Rationale: Severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis has been associated with deficient IFN-γ production in humans, but the role of this cytokine in determining the outcome of reinfection is unknown.
Objectives: To define the role of IFN-γ in the development of RSV-mediated airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and lung histopathology in mice.
Methods: Wild-type (WT) and IFN-γ knockout mice were infected with RSV in the newborn or weaning stages and reinfected 5 weeks later. Airway responses were assessed on Day 6 after the primary or secondary infection.
Measurements and Main Results: Both WT and IFN-γ knockout mice developed similar levels of AHR and airway inflammation after primary infection. After reinfection, IFN-γ knockout mice, but not WT mice, developed AHR, airway eosinophilia, and mucus hyperproduction. Intranasal administration of IFN-γ during primary infection but not during reinfection prevented the development of these altered airway responses on reinfection in IFN-γ knockout mice. Adoptive transfer of WT T cells into IFN-γ knockout mice before primary infection restored IFN-γ production in the lungs and prevented the development of altered airway responses on reinfection. Treatment of mice with IFN-γ during primary neonatal infection prevented the enhancement of AHR and the development of airway eosinophilia and mucus hyperproduction on reinfection.
Conclusions: IFN-γ production during primary RSV infection is critical to the development of protection against AHR and lung histopathology on reinfection. Provision of IFN-γ during primary infection in infancy may be a potential therapeutic approach to alter the course of RSV-mediated long-term sequelae.
PMCID: PMC2204078  PMID: 17962634
respiratory syncytial virus; interferon-γ; asthma; airway hyperresponsiveness; mice
3.  RANTES (CCL5) Regulates Airway Responsiveness after Repeated Allergen Challenge 
RANTES (CC chemokine ligand 5) contributes to airway inflammation through accumulation of eosinophils, but the exact role of RANTES (CCL5) is not defined. C57BL/6 mice, sensitized by injection of ovalbumin (OVA) on Days 1 and 14, were challenged with OVA on Days 28, 29, and 30 (3 challenges, short-term–challenge model) or on Days 28, 29, 30, 36, 40, 44, and 48 (7 challenges, repeated–challenge model) and evaluated 48 h later. Anti-mouse RANTES was given intravenously, and recombinant mouse RANTES or PBS was given intratracheally. These reagents were given on Days 28, 29, and 30 in the short-term–challenge study and on Days 44 and 48 in the repeated-challenge study. After short-term challenge, there were no effects after administration of anti-RANTES or RANTES. In the repeated-challenge study, although control mice showed a decrease in airway hyperresponsiveness, administration of anti-RANTES sustained and enhanced airway hyperresponsiveness and increased goblet cell numbers. In contrast, administration of RANTES normalized airway function but reduced goblet cell numbers. IL-12 and IFN-γ levels in BAL decreased in the anti-RANTES group and increased in the RANTES group. IFN-γ–producing CD4 T cells in lung, and IFN-γ production from lung T cells in response to OVA in the anti-RANTES group, were significantly decreased but were increased in the RANTES group. Anti–IFN-γ, administered with RANTES, decreased the effects of RANTES on AHR after repeated challenge. These data indicate that RANTES plays a role in the regulation of airway function after repeated allergen challenge, in part through modulation of levels of IFN-γ and IL-12.
PMCID: PMC2643254  PMID: 16528011
airway hyperresponsiveness; IFN-γ; IL-12; RANTES (CCL5)

Results 1-3 (3)