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1.  Reduced Adipose Tissue Macrophage Content Is Associated With Improved Insulin Sensitivity in Thiazolidinedione-Treated Diabetic Humans 
Diabetes  2013;62(6):1843-1854.
Obesity is associated with increased adipose tissue macrophage (ATM) infiltration, and rodent studies suggest that inflammatory factors produced by ATMs contribute to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. However, a relationship between ATM content and insulin resistance has not been clearly established in humans. Since thiazolidinediones attenuate adipose tissue inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity, we examined the temporal relationship of the effects of pioglitazone on these two parameters. The effect of 10 and 21 days of pioglitazone treatment on insulin sensitivity in 26 diabetic subjects was assessed by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp studies. Because chemoattractant factors, cytokines, and immune cells have been implicated in regulating the recruitment of ATMs, we studied their temporal relationship to changes in ATM content. Improved hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity was seen after 21 days of pioglitazone. We found early reductions in macrophage chemoattractant factors after only 10 days of pioglitazone, followed by a 69% reduction in ATM content at 21 days and reduced ATM activation at both time points. Although markers for dendritic cells and neutrophils were reduced at both time points, there were no significant changes in regulatory T cells. These results are consistent with an association between adipose macrophage content and systemic insulin resistance in humans.
doi:10.2337/db12-0868
PMCID: PMC3661618  PMID: 23349486
2.  Modulation of Allergic Airway Inflammation by the Oral Pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis▿  
Infection and Immunity  2010;78(6):2488-2496.
Accumulating evidence suggests that bacteria associated with periodontal disease may exert systemic immunomodulatory effects. Although the improvement in oral hygiene practices in recent decades correlates with the increased incidence of asthma in developed nations, it is not known whether diseases of the respiratory system might be influenced by the presence of oral pathogens. The present study sought to determine whether subcutaneous infection with the anaerobic oral pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis exerts a regulatory effect on allergic airway inflammation. BALB/c mice sensitized and subsequently challenged with ovalbumin exhibited airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine aerosol and increased airway inflammatory cell influx and Th2 cytokine (interleukin-4 [IL-4], IL-5, and IL-13) content relative to those in nonallergic controls. Airway inflammatory cell and cytokine contents were significantly reduced by establishment of a subcutaneous infection with P. gingivalis prior to allergen sensitization, whereas serum levels of ovalbumin-specific IgE and airway responsiveness were not altered. Conversely, subcutaneous infection initiated after allergen sensitization did not alter inflammatory end points but did reduce airway responsiveness in spite of increased serum IgE levels. These data provide the first direct evidence of a regulatory effect of an oral pathogen on allergic airway inflammation and responsiveness. Furthermore, a temporal importance of the establishment of infection relative to allergen sensitization is demonstrated for allergic outcomes.
doi:10.1128/IAI.01270-09
PMCID: PMC2876545  PMID: 20308298
3.  Pharmacologic Inhibition of COX-1 and COX-2 in Influenza A Viral Infection in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11610.
Background
We previously demonstrated that cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 deficiency results in greater morbidity and inflammation, whereas COX-2 deficiency leads to reduced morbidity, inflammation and mortality in influenza infected mice.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We investigated the effects of COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors in influenza A viral infection. Mice were given a COX-1 inhibitor (SC-560), a COX-2 inhibitor (celecoxib) or no inhibitor beginning 2 weeks prior to influenza A viral infection (200 PFU) and throughout the course of the experiment. Body weight and temperature were measured daily as indicators of morbidity. Animals were sacrificed on days 1 and 4 post-infection and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid was collected or daily mortality was recorded up to 2 weeks post-infection. Treatment with SC-560 significantly increased mortality and was associated with profound hypothermia and greater weight loss compared to celecoxib or control groups. On day 4 of infection, BAL fluid cells were modestly elevated in celecoxib treated mice compared to SC-560 or control groups. Viral titres were similar between treatment groups. Levels of TNF-α and G-CSF were significantly attenuated in the SC-560 and celecoxib groups versus control and IL-6 levels were significantly lower in BAL fluid of celecoxib treated mice versus control and versus the SC-560 group. The chemokine KC was significantly lower in SC-560 group versus control.
Conclusions/Significance
Treatment with a COX-1 inhibitor during influenza A viral infection is detrimental to the host whereas inhibition of COX-2 does not significantly modulate disease severity. COX-1 plays a critical role in controlling the thermoregulatory response to influenza A viral infection in mice.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011610
PMCID: PMC2904706  PMID: 20657653
4.  Male Sex Hormones Exacerbate Lung Function Impairment after Bleomycin-Induced Pulmonary Fibrosis 
The roles of sex hormones as modulators of lung function and disease have received significant attention as differential sex responses to various lung insults have been recently reported. The present study used a bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis model in C57BL/6 mice to examine potential sex differences in physiological and pathological outcomes. Endpoints measured included invasive lung function assessment, immunological response, lung collagen deposition, and a quantitative histological analysis of pulmonary fibrosis. Male mice had significantly higher basal static lung compliance than female mice (P < 0.05) and a more pronounced decline in static compliance after bleomycin administration when expressed as overall change or percentage of baseline change (P < 0.05). In contrast, there were no significant differences between the sexes in immune cell infiltration into the lung or in total lung collagen content after bleomycin. Total lung histopathology scores measured using the Ashcroft method did not differ between the sexes, while a quantitative histopathology scoring system designed to determine where within the lung the fibrosis occurred indicated a tendency toward more fibrosis immediately adjacent to airways in bleomycin-treated male versus female mice. Furthermore, castrated male mice exhibited a female-like response to bleomycin while female mice given exogenous androgen exhibited a male-like response. These data indicate that androgens play an exacerbating role in decreased lung function after bleomycin administration, and traditional measures of fibrosis may miss critical differences in lung function between the sexes. Sex differences should be carefully considered when designing and interpreting experimental models of pulmonary fibrosis in mice.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2007-0340OC
PMCID: PMC2438447  PMID: 18276795
fibrosis; bleomycin; sex; respiratory mechanics
5.  Cyclooxygenase-2 Deficiency Exacerbates Bleomycin-Induced Lung Dysfunction but Not Fibrosis 
Cyclooxygenase (COX)-derived eicosanoids have been implicated in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis. Uncertainty regarding the influence of COX-2 on experimental pulmonary fibrosis prompted us to clarify the fibrotic and functional effects of intratracheal bleomycin administration in mice genetically deficient in COX-2. Further, the effects of airway-specific COX-1 overexpression on fibrotic and functional outcomes in wild-type and COX-2 knockout mice were assessed. Equivalent increases in airway cell influx, lung collagen content, and histopathologic evidence of fibrosis were observed in wild-type and COX-2 knockout mice 21 d after bleomycin treatment, suggesting that COX-2 deficiency did not alter the extent or severity of fibrosis in this model. However, bleomycin-induced alterations in respiratory mechanics were more severe in COX-2 knockout mice than in wild-type mice, as illustrated by a greater decrease in static compliance compared with genotype-matched, saline-treated control mice (26 ± 3% versus 11 ± 4% decreases for COX-2 knockout and wild-type mice, respectively; P < 0.05). The influence of COX-1 overexpression in airway Clara cells was also examined. Whereas the fibrotic effects of bleomycin were not altered in wild-type or COX-2 knockout mice overexpressing COX-1, the exaggerated lung function decrement in bleomycin-treated COX-2 knockout mice was prevented by COX-1 overexpression and coincided with decreased airway cysteinyl leukotriene levels. Collectively, these data suggest an important regulatory role for COX-2 in the maintenance of lung function in the setting of lung fibrosis, but not in the progression of the fibrotic process per se.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2007-0057OC
PMCID: PMC1994226  PMID: 17496151
cyclooxygenase; fibrosis; respiratory mechanics; prostaglandin; transgenic
6.  It's all about sex: male-female differences in lung development and disease 
Accumulating evidence suggests that gender impacts the incidence, susceptibility and severity of several lung diseases. Gender also influences lung development and physiology. Data from both human and animal studies suggests that sex hormones may contribute to disease pathogenesis or serve as protective factors, depending on the disease involved. In this review, the influence of gender and sex hormones on lung development and pathology will be discussed, with specific emphasis on pulmonary fibrosis, asthma and cancer.
doi:10.1016/j.tem.2007.08.003
PMCID: PMC2391086  PMID: 17764971
7.  Gender Differences in Murine Airway Responsiveness and Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Inflammation1 
The roles of gender and sex hormones in lung function and disease are complex and not completely understood. The present study examined the influence of gender on lung function and respiratory mechanics in naive mice and on acute airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness induced by intratracheal LPS administration. Basal lung function characteristics did not differ between naive males and females, but males demonstrated significantly greater airway responsiveness than females following aerosolized methacholine challenge as evidenced by increased respiratory system resistance and elastance (p < 0.05). Following LPS administration, males developed more severe hypothermia and greater airway hyperresponsiveness than females (p < 0.05). Inflammatory indices including bronchoalveolar lavage fluid total cells, neutrophils, and TNF-α content were greater in males than in females 6 h following LPS administration (p < 0.05), whereas whole-lung TLR-4 protein levels did not differ among treatment groups, suggesting that differential expression of TLR-4 before or after LPS exposure did not underlie the observed inflammatory outcomes. Gonadectomy decreased airway inflammation in males but did not alter inflammation in females, whereas administration of exogenous testosterone to intact females increased their inflammatory responses to levels observed in intact males. LPS-induced airway hyperresponsiveness was also decreased in castrated males and was increased in females administered exogenous testosterone. Collectively, these data indicate that airway responsiveness in naive mice is influenced by gender, and that male mice have exaggerated airway inflammatory and functional responses to LPS compared with females. These gender differences are mediated, at least in part, by effects of androgens.
PMCID: PMC2262913  PMID: 16785560
8.  Cyclooxygenase-1 Overexpression Decreases Basal Airway Responsiveness but Not Allergic Inflammation1 
Pharmacological inhibition or genetic disruption of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 or COX-2 exacerbates the inflammatory and functional responses of the lung to environmentally relevant stimuli. To further examine the contribution of COX-derived eicosanoids to basal lung function and to allergic lung inflammation, transgenic (Tr) mice were generated in which overexpression of human COX-1 was targeted to airway epithelium. Although no differences in basal respiratory or lung mechanical parameters were observed, COX-1 Tr mice had increased bronchoalveolar lavage fluid PGE2 content compared with wild-type littermates (23.0 ± 3.6 vs 8.4 ± 1.4 pg/ml; p < 0.05) and exhibited decreased airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine. In an OVA-induced allergic airway inflammation model, comparable up-regulation of COX-2 protein was observed in the lungs of allergic wild-type and COX-1 Tr mice. Furthermore, no genotype differences were observed in allergic mice in total cell number, eosinophil content (70 vs 76% of total cells, respectively), and inflammatory cytokine content of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, or in airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine (p > 0.05). To eliminate the presumed confounding effects of COX-2 up-regulation, COX-1 Tr mice were bred into a COX-2 null background. In these mice, the presence of the COX-1 transgene did not alter allergen-induced inflammation but significantly attenuated allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness, coincident with reduced airway leuko-triene levels. Collectively, these data indicate that COX-1 overexpression attenuates airway responsiveness under basal conditions but does not influence allergic airway inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2222891  PMID: 16982919
9.  Spontaneous Airway Hyperresponsiveness in Estrogen Receptor-α–deficient Mice 
Rationale: Airway hyperresponsiveness is a critical feature of asthma. Substantial epidemiologic evidence supports a role for female sex hormones in modulating lung function and airway hyperresponsiveness in humans.
Objectives: To examine the role of estrogen receptors in modulating lung function and airway responsiveness using estrogen receptor–deficient mice.
Methods: Lung function was assessed by a combination of whole-body barometric plethysmography, invasive measurement of airway resistance, and isometric force measurements in isolated bronchial rings. M2 muscarinic receptor expression was assessed by Western blotting, and function was assessed by electrical field stimulation of tracheas in the presence/absence of gallamine. Allergic airway disease was examined after ovalbumin sensitization and exposure.
Measurements and Main Results: Estrogen receptor-α knockout mice exhibit a variety of lung function abnormalities and have enhanced airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine and serotonin under basal conditions. This is associated with reduced M2 muscarinic receptor expression and function in the lungs. Absence of estrogen receptor-α also leads to increased airway responsiveness without increased inflammation after allergen sensitization and challenge.
Conclusions: These data suggest that estrogen receptor-α is a critical regulator of airway hyperresponsiveness in mice.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200509-1493OC
PMCID: PMC1899278  PMID: 17095746
lung function; asthma; hyperreactivity; M2 muscarinic receptor; estrogen receptor
10.  Cyclooxygenase-2 deficiency exacerbates bleomycin-induced lung dysfunction but not fibrosis 
Cyclooxygenase (COX)-derived eicosanoids have been implicated in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis. Uncertainty regarding the influence of COX-2 on experimental pulmonary fibrosis prompted us to clarify the fibrotic and functional effects of intratracheal bleomycin administration in mice genetically deficient in COX-2. Further, the effects of airway-specific COX-1 overexpression on fibrotic and functional outcomes in wild type and COX-2 knockout mice were assessed. Equivalent increases in airway cell influx, lung collagen content and histopathological evidence of fibrosis were observed in wild type and COX-2 knockout mice 21 days following bleomycin treatment, suggesting that COX-2 deficiency did not alter the extent or severity of fibrosis in this model. However, bleomycin- induced alterations in respiratory mechanics were more severe in COX-2 knockout mice than in wild type mice as illustrated by a greater decrease in static compliance compared to genotype- matched, saline-treated control mice (26 ± 3% vs. 11 ± 4% decreases for COX-2 knockout and wild type mice, respectively; p<0.05). The influence of COX-1 overexpression in airway Clara cells was also examined. Whereas the fibrotic effects of bleomycin were not altered in wild type or COX-2 knockout mice overexpressing COX-1, the exaggerated lung function decrement in bleomycin-treated COX-2 knockout mice was prevented by COX-1 overexpression and coincided with decreased airway cysteinyl leukotriene levels. Collectively, these data suggest an important regulatory role for COX-2 in the maintenance of lung function in the setting of lung fibrosis, but not in the progression of the fibrotic process per se.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2007-0057OC
PMCID: PMC1994226  PMID: 17496151
cyclooxygenase; fibrosis; respiratory mechanics; prostaglandin; transgenic
11.  Role of Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase in Postischemic Recovery of Heart Contractile Function 
Circulation research  2006;99(4):442-450.
Cytochrome P450 epoxygenases metabolize arachidonic acid to epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs) which are converted to dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acids (DHETs) by soluble epoxide hydrolase (Ephx2, sEH). To examine the functional role of sEH in the heart, mice with targeted disruption of the Ephx2 gene were studied. Hearts from sEH null mice have undetectable levels of sEH mRNA and protein and cannot convert EETs to DHETs. sEH null mice have normal heart anatomy and basal contractile function, but have higher fatty acid epoxide:diol ratios in plasma and cardiomyocyte cell culture media compared with wild type (WT). sEH null hearts have improved recovery of left ventricular developed pressure (LVDP) and less infarction compared with WT hearts after 20 minutes ischemia. Perfusion with the putative EET receptor antagonist 14,15-epoxyeicosa-5(Z)-enoic acid (10 to 100 nmol/L) before ischemia abolishes this cardioprotective phenotype. Inhibitor studies demonstrate that perfusion with phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) inhibitors wortmannin (200 nmol/L) or LY294002 (5 μmol/L), the ATP-sensitive K+ channel (KATP) inhibitor glibenclamide (1 μmol/L), the mitochondrial KATP (mitoKATP) inhibitor 5-hydroxydecanoate (100 to 200 μmol/L), or the Ca2+-sensitive K+ channel (KCa) inhibitor paxilline (10 μmol/L) abolishes the cardioprotection in sEH null hearts. Consistent with increased activation of the PI3K cascade, sEH null mice exhibit increased cardiac expression of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) phospho-protein after ischemia. Together, these data suggest that targeted disruption of sEH increases the availability of cardioprotective EETs that work by activating PI3K signaling pathways and K+ channels.
doi:10.1161/01.RES.0000237390.92932.37
PMCID: PMC2072806  PMID: 16857962
arachidonic acid; cytochrome P450; eicosanoid; ischemia/reperfusion
12.  Male sex hormones promote vagally mediated reflex airway responsiveness to cholinergic stimulation 
A sex disparity in airway responsiveness to cholinergic stimulation has been observed in laboratory mice in that males are considerably more responsive than females, but the basis for this difference is unclear. In this report, we demonstrate that male sex hormones promote murine airway responsiveness to cholinergic stimulation via vagus nerve-mediated reflex mechanisms. In tissue bath preparations, no sex-based differences were observed in the contractile responses of isolated tracheal and bronchial ring segments to carbachol, indicating that the mechanism(s) responsible for the in vivo sex difference is (are) absent ex vivo. Bilateral cervical vagotomy was found to abolish in vivo airway responsiveness to methacholine in male mice, whereas it did not alter the responses of females, suggesting a regulatory role for male sex hormones in promoting reflex airway constriction. To test this possibility, we next studied mice with altered circulating male sex hormone levels. Castrated male mice displayed airway responsiveness equivalent to that observed in intact females, whereas administration of exogenous testosterone to castrated males restored responsiveness, albeit not to the level observed in intact males. Administration of exogenous testosterone to intact female mice similarly enhanced responsiveness. Importantly, the promotive effects of exogenous testosterone in castrated male and intact female mice were absent when bilateral vagotomy was performed. Together, these data indicate that male sex hormones promote cholinergic airway responsiveness via a vagally mediated reflex mechanism that may be important in the regulation of airway tone in the normal and diseased lung.
doi:10.1152/ajplung.00407.2006
PMCID: PMC2066189  PMID: 17158599
respiratory mechanics; methacholine; androgens
13.  Spontaneous Airway Hyperresponsiveness in Estrogen Receptor-α–deficient Mice 
Rationale
Airway hyperresponsiveness is a critical feature of asthma. Substantial epidemiologic evidence supports a role for female sex hormones in modulating lung function and airway hyperresponsiveness in humans.
Objectives
To examine the role of estrogen receptors in modulating lung function and airway responsiveness using estrogen receptor–deficient mice.
Methods
Lung function was assessed by a combination of whole-body barometric plethysmography, invasive measurement of airway resistance, and isometric force measurements in isolated bronchial rings. M2 muscarinic receptor expression was assessed by Western blotting, and function was assessed by electrical field stimulation of tracheas in the presence/absence of gallamine. Allergic airway disease was examined after ovalbumin sensitization and exposure.
Measurements and Main Results
Estrogen receptor-α knockout mice exhibit a variety of lung function abnormalities and have enhanced airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine and serotonin under basal conditions. This is associated with reduced M2 muscarinic receptor expression and function in the lungs. Absence of estrogen receptor-α also leads to increased airway responsiveness without increased inflammation after allergen sensitization and challenge.
Conclusions
These data suggest that estrogen receptor-α is a critical regulator of airway hyperresponsiveness in mice.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200509-1493OC
PMCID: PMC1899278  PMID: 17095746
lung function; asthma; hyperreactivity; M2 muscarinic receptor; estrogen receptor

Results 1-13 (13)