Hyaluronan is a high molecular weight component of pulmonary extracelluar matrix and lung injury can generate low molecular weight hyaluronan fragment (HA) that functions as endogenous ligand to cell surface receptors CD44 and toll like receptor 4 (TLR4). This leads to activation of intracellular NFκB signaling and pro-inflammatory cytokine production. Based on previous information that ozone exposure causes increased HA in bronchial alveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and ozone pre-exposure primes immune response to inhaled LPS, we hypothesized that HA production during ozone exposure augments the inflammatory response to LPS. We demonstrate that acute ozone exposure at 1ppm for 3 hours primes the immune response to low dose aerosolized LPS in C57BL/6J mice, resulting in increased neutrophil recruitment into the airspaces, increased levels of protein and pro-inflammatory cytokines in the BALF, and increased airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). Intratracheal instillation of endotoxin-free HA (25 μg) enhances the biological response to inhaled LPS in a manner similar to ozone pre-exposure. In vitro studies using bone marrow-derived macrophages indicate that HA enhances LPS responses measured by TNFα production while immunofluorescence staining of murine alveolar macrophages demonstrates that HA induces TLR4 peripheralization and lipid raft co-localization. Collectively, our observations support that ozone primes macrophage responsiveness to low dose LPS, in part, due to hyaluronan-induced TLR4 peripheralization in lung macrophages.
environmental; ozone; lipopolysaccharide; hyaluronan; TLR4; toll-like receptor; innate immunity; macrophage; lung injury
The lung is constantly challenged during normal breathing by a myriad of environmental irritants and infectious insults. Pulmonary host defense mechanisms maintain homeostasis between inhibition/clearance of pathogens and regulation of inflammatory responses that could injure the airway epithelium. One component of this defense mechanism, surfactant protein-A (SP-A), exerts multifunctional roles in mediating host responses to inflammatory and infectious agents. SP-A has a bacteriostatic effect on Mycoplasma pneumoniae (Mp), which occurs by binding surface disaturated phosphatidylglycerols. SP-A can also bind the Mp membrane protein, MPN372. In this study we investigated the role of SP-A during acute phase pulmonary infection with Mp using mice deficient in SP-A. Biologic responses, inflammation and cellular infiltration, were much greater in Mp infected SP-A−/− mice than wild type mice. Likewise, physiologic responses (airway hyperresponsiveness and lung compliance) to Mp infection were more severely affected in SP-A−/− mice. Both Mp-induced biologic and physiologic changes were attenuated by pharmacologic inhibition of TNF-α. Our findings demonstrate that SP-A is vital to preserving lung homeostasis and host defense to this clinically relevant strain of Mp by curtailing inflammatory cell recruitment and limiting an overzealous TNF-α response.
lung; inflammation; bacterial
Asthma remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality with an incidence that continues to rise. Despite the importance of this disease, the mechanisms by which the host develops allergic airways disease remain poorly understood. The development of allergic airways disease appears to be contingent on activation of both the innate and adaptive immune system, but little is known about the cross-talk between these two systems. The extracellular matrix protein mindin (Spondin 2) has been previously demonstrated to have functional roles in both the innate and adaptive immunological responses. Previous work supports that pulmonary challenge with fungal-associated allergenic proteinase (FAP) induces an innate allergic response. We hypothesized that mindin would modify the biological response to FAP. Saline or FAP was administered by oropharyngeal aspiration to C57BL/6 wild type or mindin-null mice every 4 days for a total of five exposures. FAP exposed C57BL/6 mice developed enhanced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to methacholine challenge and increased neutrophils and eosinophils in the bronchoalveolar lavage as compared to saline exposed controls. These responses were significantly reduced in mindin-null mice exposed to FAP. FAP challenge was associated with a broad induction of cytokines (IL-1β, TNFα, Th1, Th2, and IL-17), chemokines, and growth factors, which were reduced in mindin-null mice exposed to FAP. RNA expression in lung monocytes for representative M1 and M2 activation markers were increased by FAP, but were independent of mindin. Our observations support that challenge with FAP results in activation of both innate and adaptive immune signaling pathways in a manner partially dependent on mindin. These findings suggest a potential role for the extracellular matrix protein mindin in cross-talk between the innate and adaptive immune systems.
Environment; Asthma; Reactive airways disease; Extracellular matrix; Allergy; Aspergillus
Air pollutant exposure is linked with childhood asthma incidence and exacerbations, and maternal exposure to airborne pollutants during pregnancy increases airway hyperreactivity (AHR) in offspring. To determine if exposure to diesel exhaust (DE) during pregnancy worsened postnatal ozone-induced AHR, timed pregnant C57BL/6 mice were exposed to DE (0.5 or 2.0 mg/m3) 4 hours daily from Gestation Day 9–17, or received twice-weekly oropharyngeal aspirations of the collected DE particles (DEPs). Placentas and fetal lungs were harvested on Gestation Day 18 for cytokine analysis. In other litters, pups born to dams exposed to air or DE, or to dams treated with aspirated diesel particles, were exposed to filtered air or 1 ppm ozone beginning the day after birth, for 3 hours per day, 3 days per week for 4 weeks. Additional pups were monitored after a 4-week recovery period. Diesel inhalation or aspiration during pregnancy increased levels of placental and fetal lung cytokines. There were no significant effects on airway leukocytes, but prenatal diesel augmented ozone-induced elevations of bronchoalveolar lavage cytokines at 4 weeks. Mice born to the high-concentration diesel–exposed dams had worse ozone-induced AHR, which persisted in the 4-week recovery animals. Prenatal diesel exposure combined with postnatal ozone exposure also worsened secondary alveolar crest development. We conclude that maternal inhalation of DE in pregnancy provokes a fetal inflammatory response that, combined with postnatal ozone exposure, impairs alveolar development, and causes a more severe and long-lasting AHR to ozone exposure.
diesel; fetal inflammation; ozone; airway hyperreactivity
Inhalation of ambient ozone alters populations of lung macrophages. However, the impact of altered lung macrophage populations on the pathobiology of ozone is poorly understood. We hypothesized that sub-populations of macrophages modulate the response to ozone. We exposed C57BL/6 mice to ozone (2 ppm × 3h) or filtered air. 24 h after the exposure, the lungs were harvested and digested and the cells underwent flow cytometry. Analysis revealed a novel macrophage subset present in ozone exposed mice, which were distinct from resident alveolar macrophages (AM) and identified by enhanced Gr-1+ expression (Gr-1 Macs). Further analysis identified that Gr-1+ Macs exhibited high expression of MARCO, CX3CR1, and NQO1. Gr-1+ Macs were present in the absence of CCR2, suggesting that they were not derived from a CCR2-dependent circulating intermediate. Using PKH26-PCL to label resident phagocytic cells, we demonstrated that Gr-1 Macs were derived from resident lung cells. This new subset was diminished in the absence of CX3CR1. Interestingly, CX3CR1-null mice exhibited enhanced responses to ozone, including increased airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), exacerbated neutrophil influx, accumulation of 8-isoprostanes and protein carbonyls, and increased expression of cytokines (CXCL2, IL-1β, IL-6, CCL2, and TNF-α). Our results identify a novel subset of lung macrophages, which are derived from a resident intermediate, dependent upon CX3CR1, and appear to protect the host from the biological response to ozone.
NAD(P)H oxidase is one of the critical enzymes mediating cellular production of reactive oxygen species and has a central role in airway smooth muscle (ASM) cell proliferation. Since reactive oxygen species also affect ASM contractile response, we hypothesized a regulatory role of NAD(P)H oxidase in ASM contractility. We therefore studied ASM function in wild type mice (C57BL/6J) and mice deficient in a component (p47phox) of NAD(P)H oxidase. In histological sections of the trachea we found that the area occupied by ASM was 17% more in p47phox−/− than in wild type mice. After correcting for the difference in ASM content, we found that force generation did not vary between the two genotypes. Similarly, their ASM shortening velocity, maximal power, and sensitivity to acetylcholine, as well as airway responsiveness to methacholine in vivo were not significantly different. The main finding of this study was a significantly reduced ASM relaxation in p47phox−/− compared with wild type mice both during the stimulus and after the end of stimulation. The tension relaxation attained at the 20th s of electric field stimulation was respectively 17.6±2.4 and 9.2±2.3% in null and wild type mice (p<0.01 by t-test). Similar significant differences were found in the rate of tension relaxation and the time required to reduce tension by half. Our data suggest that NAD(P)H oxidase may have a role in the structural arrangement and mechanical properties of the airway tissue. Most importantly, we report the first evidence that the p47phox subunit of NAD(P)H oxidase plays a role in ASM relaxation.
airways; airway responsiveness; contractility; reactive oxygen species
Rationale: Previously, we demonstrated a candidate region for susceptibility to airspace enlargement on mouse chromosome 5. However, the specific candidate genes within this region accounting for emphysema-like changes remain unrecognized. c-Kit is a receptor tyrosine kinase within this candidate gene region that has previously been recognized to contribute to the survival, proliferation, and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells. Increases in the percentage of cells expressing c-Kit have previously been associated with protection against injury-induced emphysema.
Objectives: Determine whether genetic variants of c-Kit are associated with spontaneous airspace enlargement.
Methods: Perform single-nucleotide polymorphism association studies in the mouse strains at the extremes of airspace enlargement phenotype for variants in c-Kit tyrosine kinase. Characterize mice bearing functional variants of c-Kit compared with wild-type controls for the development of spontaneous airspace enlargement. Epithelial cell proliferation was measured in culture.
Measurements and Main Results: Upstream regulatory single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the divergent mouse strains were associated with the lung compliance difference observed between the extreme strains. c-Kit mutant mice (KitW-sh/W-sh), when compared with genetic controls, developed altered lung histology, increased total lung capacity, increased residual volume, and increased lung compliance that persist into adulthood. c-Kit inhibition with imatinib attenuated in vitro proliferation of cells expressing epithelial cell adhesion molecule.
Conclusions: Our findings indicate that c-Kit sustains and/or maintains normal alveolar architecture in the lungs of mice. In vitro data suggest that c-Kit can regulate epithelial cell clonal expansion. The precise mechanisms that c-Kit contributes to the development of airspace enlargement and increased lung compliance remain unclear and warrants further investigation.
genetic; tyrosine kinase; SASH; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; aging
Background: Our previous work demonstrated that the extracellular matrix protein mindin contributes to allergic airways disease. However, the role of mindin in nonallergic airways disease has not previously been explored.
Objectives: We hypothesized that mindin would contribute to airways disease after inhalation of either lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or ozone.
Methods: We exposed C57BL/6J and mindin-deficient (–/–) mice to aerosolized LPS (0.9 μg/m3 for 2.5 hr), saline, ozone (1 ppm for 3 hr), or filtered air (FA). All mice were evaluated 4 hr after LPS/saline
exposure or 24 hr after ozone/FA exposure. We characterized the physiological and biological responses by analysis of airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) with a computer-controlled small-animal ventilator (FlexiVent), inflammatory cellular recruitment, total protein in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), proinflammatory cytokine profiling, and ex vivo bronchial ring studies.
Results: After inhalation of LPS, mindin–/– mice demonstrated significantly reduced total cell and neutrophil recruitment into the airspace compared with their wild-type counterparts. Mindin–/– mice also exhibited reduced proinflammatory cytokine production and lower AHR to methacholine challenge by FlexiVent. After inhalation of ozone, mice had no detectible differences in cellular inflammation or total BALF protein dependent on mindin. However, mindin–/– mice were protected from increased proinflammatory cytokine production and AHR compared with their C57BL/6J counterparts. After ozone exposure, bronchial rings derived from mindin–/– mice demonstrated reduced constriction in response to carbachol.
Conclusions: These data demonstrate that the extracellular matrix protein mindin modifies the airway response to both LPS and ozone. Our data support a conserved role of mindin in production of proinflammatory cytokines and the development of AHR in two divergent models of reactive airways disease, as well as a role of mindin in airway smooth muscle contractility after exposure to ozone.
airway smooth muscle; endotoxin; innate immunity; lipopolysaccharide; LPS; lung; mindin; ozone; Tlr4; toll-like receptor
Premature infants are at increased risk of developing airway hyper-reactivity following oxidative stress and inflammation. Mast cells contribute to airway hyper-reactivity partly by mediator release, so we sought to determine if blocking mast cell degranulation or recruitment prevents hyperoxia-induced airway hyper-reactivity, mast cell accumulation, and airway smooth muscle changes. Rats were exposed at birth to air or 60% O2 for 14 days, inducing significantly increased airway hyper-reactivity (AHR) in the latter group, induced by nebulized methacholine challenge, measured by forced oscillometry. Daily treatment (postnatal days 1-14) with intraperitoneal cromolyn prevented hyperoxia-induced AHR, as did treatment with imatinib on postnatal days 5-14, compared with vehicle treated controls. Cromolyn prevented mast cell degranulation in the trachea but not hilar airways, and blocked mast cell accumulation in the hilar airways. Imatinib treatment completely blocked mast cell accumulation in tracheal/hilar airway tissues. Hyperoxia-induced AHR in neonatal rats is mediated, at least in part, via the mast cell.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive disease causing unremitting extracellular matrix deposition with resultant distortion of pulmonary architecture and impaired gas exchange. β-arrestins regulate G-protein-coupled receptors through receptor desensitization while acting as signaling scaffolds that facilitate numerous effector pathways. Here we examine the role of β-arrestin1 and β-arrestin2 in the pathobiology of pulmonary fibrosis. In the bleomycin-induced mouse lung fibrosis model, loss of eitherβ-arrestin1 or β-arrestin2 results in protection from mortality, inhibition of matrix deposition, and protected lung function. Fibrosis is prevented despite preserved recruitment of inflammatory cells and fibroblast chemotaxis. However, isolated lung fibroblasts from bleomycin-treated β-arrestin null mice fail to invade extracellular matrix while displaying altered expression of genes involved in matrix production and degradation. Furthermore, knockdown of β-arrestin2 in fibroblasts from IPF patients attenuated the invasive phenotype. These data implicate β-arrestins as mediators of fibroblast invasion and development of pulmonary fibrosis, thus representing a potential target for therapeutic intervention for patients with IPF.
Rationale: Ozone is a common environmental air pollutant that contributes to hospitalizations for respiratory illness. The mechanisms, which regulate ozone-induced airway hyperresponsiveness, remain poorly understood. We have previously reported that toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)–deficient animals are protected against ozone-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and that hyaluronan (HA) mediates ozone-induced AHR. However, the relation between TLR4 and hyaluronan in the airway response to ozone remains unexplored.
Objectives: We hypothesized that HA acts as an endogenous TLR4 ligand for the development of AHR after ozone-induced environmental airway injury.
Methods: TLR4-deficient and wild-type C57BL/6 mice were exposed to either inhaled ozone or intratracheal HA and the inflammatory and AHR response was measured.
Measurements and Main Results: TLR4-deficient mice have similar levels of cellular inflammation, lung injury, and soluble HA levels as those of C57BL/6 mice after inhaled ozone exposure. However, TLR4-deficient mice are partially protected from AHR after ozone exposure as well as after direct intratracheal instillation of endotoxin-free low molecular weight HA. Similar patterns of TLR4-dependent cytokines were observed in the bronchial alveolar lavage fluid after exposure to either ozone or HA. Exposure to ozone increased immunohistological staining of TLR4 on lung macrophages. Furthermore, in vitro HA exposure of bone marrow–derived macrophages induced NF-κB and production of a similar pattern of proinflammatory cytokines in a manner dependent on TLR4.
Conclusions: Our observations support the observation that extracellular matrix HA contributes to ozone-induced airways disease. Furthermore, our results support that TLR4 contributes to the biological response to HA by mediating both the production of proinflammatory cytokines and the development of ozone-induced AHR.
environmental airways injury; asthma; toll-like receptor; macrophage; TNF-α
Allergic asthma is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness, inflammation, and a cellular infiltrate dominated by eosinophils. Numerous epidemiological studies have related the exacerbation of allergic asthma with an increase in ambient inhalable particulate matter from air pollutants. This is because inhalable particles efficiently deliver airborne allergens deep into the airways, where they can aggravate allergic asthma symptoms. However, the cellular mechanisms by which inhalable particulate allergens (pAgs) potentiate asthmatic symptoms remain unknown, in part because most in vivo and in vitro studies exploring the pathogenesis of allergic asthma use soluble allergens (sAgs). Using a mouse model of allergic asthma, we found that, compared with their sAg counterparts, pAgs triggered markedly heightened airway hyperresponsiveness and pulmonary eosinophilia in allergen-sensitized mice. Mast cells (MCs) were implicated in this divergent response, as the differences in airway inflammatory responses provoked by the physical nature of the allergens were attenuated in MC-deficient mice. The pAgs were found to mediate MC-dependent responses by enhancing retention of pAg/IgE/FcεRI complexes within lipid raft–enriched, CD63+ endocytic compartments, which prolonged IgE/FcεRI-initiated signaling and resulted in heightened cytokine responses. These results reveal how the physical attributes of allergens can co-opt MC endocytic circuitry and signaling responses to aggravate pathological responses of allergic asthma in mice.
Rationale: Epidemiologic studies implicate air pollutant exposure during pregnancy as a risk factor for wheezing in offspring. Ozone exposure is linked to exacerbations of wheezing in children.
Objectives: To determine if maternal pulmonary exposure to traffic-related particles during pregnancy augments ozone–induced airway hyperresponsiveness in offspring.
Methods: C57BL6 time-mated mice were given NIST SRM#1648 (particulate matter [PM]) 0.48 mg, saline vehicle, or no treatment by tracheal insufflation twice weekly for 3 weeks. PM exposure augmented maternal lung inflammation and placental TNF-α, Keratinocyte-derived cytokine (KC), and IL-6 (measured at gestation Day 18). After parturition, dams and litters were exposed to air or ozone 1 ppm 3 h/d, every other day, thrice weekly for 4 weeks. Respiratory system resistance in pups was measured at baseline and after administration of nebulized methacholine.
Measurements and Main Results: Ozone increased airway hyperresponsiveness, but the increase was greatest in pups born to PM-treated dams. Whole-lung TNF-α, IL-1β, KC, IL-6, and MCP-1 were increased in ozone–treated pups, with the greatest increase in pups born to dams given PM. Airway epithelial mucous metaplasia estimated by periodic acid-Schiff Alcian blue staining was increased in ozone–exposed pups born to PM-treated dams. Alveolar development, determined by morphometry, and airway smooth muscle bulk, estimated using α-actin histochemistry, were unaffected by prenatal or postnatal treatment.
Conclusions: Maternal pulmonary exposure to PM during pregnancy augments placental cytokine expression and postnatal ozone–induced pulmonary inflammatory cytokine responses and ozone–induced airway hyperresponsiveness without altering airway structure.
Rationale: S-Nitrosothiols (SNO) inhibit immune activation of the respiratory epithelium and airway SNO levels are decreased in inflammatory lung disease. Ethyl nitrite (ENO) is a gas with chemical properties favoring SNO formation. Augmentation of airway SNO by inhaled ENO treatment may decrease lung inflammation and subsequent injury by inhibiting activation of the airway epithelium.
Objectives: To determine the effect of inhaled ENO on airway SNO levels and LPS-induced lung inflammation/injury.
Methods: Mice were treated overnight with inhaled ENO (10 ppm) or air, followed immediately by exposure to aerosolized LPS or saline. Parameters of inflammation and lung injury were quantified 1 hour after completion of the aerosol exposure and correlated to lung airway and tissue SNO levels.
Measurements and Main Results: Aerosolized LPS induced a decrease in airway and lung tissue SNO levels including S-nitrosylated NF-κB. The decrease in lung SNO was associated with an increase in lung NF-κB activity, cytokine/chemokine expression (keratinocyte-derived chemokine, tumor necrosis factor-α, and IL-6), airway neutrophil influx, and worsened lung compliance. Pretreatment with inhaled ENO restored airway SNO levels and reduced LPS-mediated NF-κB activation thereby inhibiting the downstream inflammatory response and preserving lung compliance.
Conclusions: Airway SNO serves an antiinflammatory role in the lung. Inhaled ENO can be used to augment airway SNO and protect from LPS-induced acute lung injury.
ethyl nitrite; NF-κB; nitric oxide; S-nitrosylation
One host susceptibility factor for ozone identified in epidemiologic studies is NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1). We hypothesized that after ozone exposure, NQO1 is required to increase 8-isoprostane (also known as F2-isoprostane) production, a recognized marker of ozone-induced oxidative stress, and to enhance airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness. In this report, we demonstrate that in contrast to wild-type mice, NQO1-null mice are resistant to ozone and have blunted responses, including decreased production of F2-isoprostane and keratinocyte chemokine, decreased airway inflammation, and diminished airway hyperreponsiveness. Importantly, these results in mice correlate with in vitro findings in humans. In primary human airway epithelial cells, inhibition of NQO1 by dicumarol blocks ozone-induced F2-isoprostane production and IL-8 gene expression. Together, these results demonstrate that NQO1 modulates cellular redox status and influences the biologic and physiologic effects of ozone.
ozone; NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1; F2-isoprostane
Hyperpolarized 3He magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) NEED TO INTRODUCE TERM, UNLESS YOU ARE OVER THE WORD COUNThas been recently used to produce high-resolution images of pulmonary ventilation after methacholine challenge in mouse models of allergic inflammation. This capability presents an opportunity to gain new insights about these models and to more sensitively evaluate new drug treatments in the pre-clinical setting. In the current study, we present our initial experience using two-dimensional, time-resolved 3He MRI of methacholine challenge-induced airways hyperreactivity to compare ovalbumin-sensitized and challenged (N=8) mice to controls (N=8). Imaging demonstrated that ovalbumin-sensitized and challenged animals exhibited many large ventilation defects even prior to methacholine challenge (4 out of 8) compared to no defects in the control animals. Additionally, the ovalbumin sensitized and challenged animals experienced a greater number of ventilation defects (4.5±0.4) following methacholine infusion than did controls (3.3±0.6). However, due to variability in methacholine delivery that was specific to the small animal MRI environment, the difference in mean defect number was not statistically significant. These findings are reviewed in detail and a comprehensive solution to the variability problem is presented that has greatly enhanced the magnitude and reproducibility of the methacholine response. This has permitted us to develop a new imaging protocol consisting of a baseline 3D image, a time-resolved 2D series during methacholine challenge, and a post-methacholine 3D image that reveals persistent ventilation defects.
hyperpolarized; 3He MRI; bronchoconstriction; ovalbumin; methacholine; asthma; mice
Asthma is a complex heritable disease that is increasing in prevalence and severity, particularly in developed countries such as the United States, where 11% of the population is affected. The contribution of environmental and genetic factors to this growing epidemic is currently not well understood. We developed the hypothesis, based on previous literature, that changes in DNA methylation resulting in aberrant gene transcription may enhance the risk of developing allergic airway disease. Our findings indicate that in mice, a maternal diet supplemented with methyl donors enhanced the severity of allergic airway disease that was inherited transgenerationally. Using a genomic approach, we discovered 82 gene-associated loci that were differentially methylated after in utero supplementation with a methyl-rich diet. These methylation changes were associated with decreased transcriptional activity and increased disease severity. Runt-related transcription factor 3 (Runx3), a gene known to negatively regulate allergic airway disease, was found to be excessively methylated, and Runx3 mRNA and protein levels were suppressed in progeny exposed in utero to a high-methylation diet. Moreover, treatment with a demethylating agent increased Runx3 gene transcription, further supporting our claim that a methyl-rich diet can affect methylation status and consequent transcriptional regulation. Our findings indicate that dietary factors can modify the heritable risk of allergic airway disease through epigenetic mechanisms during a vulnerable period of fetal development in mice.