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1.  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
2.  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
3.  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
4.  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 1-4 (4)