Adiponectin, an adipose derived hormone with pleiotropic functions, binds to several proteins, including T-cadherin. We have previously reported that adiponectin deficient (Adipo−/−) mice have increased IL-17A-dependent neutrophil accumulation in their lungs after subacute exposure to ozone (0.3 ppm for 72 hrs). The purpose of this study was to determine whether this anti-inflammatory effect of adiponectin required adiponectin binding to T-cadherin. Wildtype, Adipo−/−, T-cadherin deficient (T-cad−/−), and bideficient (Adipo−/−/T-cad−/−) mice were exposed to subacute ozone or air. Compared to wildtype mice, ozone-induced increases in pulmonary IL-17A mRNA expression were augmented in T-cad−/− and Adipo−/− mice. Compared to T-cad−/− mice, there was no further increase in IL-17A in Adipo−/−/T-cad−/− mice, indicating that adiponectin binding to T-cadherin is required for suppression of ozone-induced IL-17A expression. Similar results were obtained for pulmonary mRNA expression of saa3, an acute phase protein capable of inducing IL-17A expression. Comparison of lung histological sections across genotypes also indicated that adiponectin attenuation of ozone-induced inflammatory lesions at bronchiolar branch points required T-cadherin. BAL neutrophils and G-CSF were augmented in T-cad−/− mice and further augmented in Adipo−/−/T-cad−/− mice. Taken together with previous observations indicating that augmentation of these moieties in ozone exposed Adipo−/− mice is partially IL-17A dependent, the results indicate that effects of T-cadherin deficiency on BAL neutrophils and G-CSF are likely secondary to changes in IL-17A, but that adiponectin also acts via T-cadherin independent pathways. Our results indicate that T-cadherin is required for the ability of adiponectin to suppress some but not all aspects of ozone-induced pulmonary inflammation.
Smoking and inflammation contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which involves changes in extracellular matrix. This is thought to contribute to airway remodeling and airflow obstruction. We have previously observed that long-term treatment with inhaled corticosteroids can not only reduce bronchial inflammation, but can also attenuate lung function decline in moderate-severe COPD. We hypothesized that inhaled corticosteroids and current smoking modulate bronchial extracellular matrix components in COPD.
To compare major extracellular matrix components (elastic fibers; proteoglycans [versican, decorin]; collagens type I and III) in bronchial biopsies 1) after 30-months inhaled steroids treatment or placebo; and 2) between current and ex-smokers with COPD.
We included 64 moderate-severe, steroid-naive COPD patients (24/40 (ex)-smokers, 62±7 years, 46 (31–54) packyears, post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) 62±9% predicted) at baseline in this randomized, controlled trial. 19 and 13 patients received 30-months treatment with fluticasone or placebo, respectively. Bronchial biopsies collected at baseline and after 30 months were studied using (immuno)histochemistry to evaluate extracellular matrix content. Percentage and density of stained area were calculated by digital image analysis.
30-Months inhaled steroids increased the percentage stained area of versican (9.6% [CI 0.9 to 18.3%]; p = 0.03) and collagen III (20.6% [CI 3.8 to 37.4%]; p = 0.02) compared to placebo. Increased collagen I staining density correlated with increased post-bronchodilator FEV1 after inhaled steroids treatment (Rs = 0.45, p = 0.04). There were no differences between smokers and ex-smokers with COPD in percentages and densities for all extracellular matrix proteins.
These data show that long-term inhaled corticosteroids treatment partially changes the composition of extracellular matrix in moderate-severe COPD. This is associated with increased lung function, suggesting that long-term inhaled steroids modulate airway remodeling thereby potentially preventing airway collapse in COPD. Smoking status is not associated with bronchial extracellular matrix proteins.
Mast cells (MCs) play a central role in the development of many diseases including asthma and pulmonary fibrosis. Interactions of human lung mast cells (HLMCs) with human airway smooth muscle cells (HASMCs) are partially dependent on adhesion mediated by cell adhesion molecule-1 (CADM1), but the adhesion mechanism through which HLMCs interact with human lung fibroblasts (HLFs) is not known. CADM1 is expressed as several isoforms (SP4, SP1, SP6) in HLMCs, with SP4 dominant. These isoforms differentially regulate HLMC homotypic adhesion and survival.
In this study we have investigated the role of CADM1 isoforms in the adhesion of HLMCs and HMC-1 cells to primary HASMCs and HLFs.
CADM1 overexpression or downregulation was achieved using adenoviral delivery of CADM1 short hairpin RNAs or isoform-specific cDNAs respectively.
Downregulation of CADM1 attenuated both HLMC and HMC-1 adhesion to both primary HASMCs and HLFs. Overexpression of either SP1 or SP4 isoforms did not alter MC adhesion to HASMCs, whereas overexpression of SP4, but not SP1, significantly increased both HMC-1 cell and HLMC adhesion to HLFs. The expression level of CADM1 SP4 strongly predicted the extent of MC adhesion; linear regression indicated that CADM1 accounts for up to 67% and 32% of adhesion to HLFs for HMC-1 cells and HLMCs, respectively. HLFs supported HLMC proliferation and survival through a CADM1-dependent mechanism. With respect to CADM1 counter-receptor expression, HLFs expressed both CADM1 and nectin-3, whereas HASMCs expressed only nectin-3.
Conclusion and Clinical Relevance
Collectively these data indicate that the CADM1 SP4 isoform is a key receptor mediating human MC adhesion to HASMCs and HLFs. The differential expression of CADM1 counter-receptors on HLFs compared to HASMCs may allow the specific targeting of either HLMC-HLF or HLMC-HASMC interactions in the lung parenchyma and airways.
Wound healing is a complex biological process involving the interaction of many cell types to replace lost or damaged tissue. Although the biology of wound healing has been extensively investigated, few studies have focused on the role of mast cells. In this study, we investigated the possible role of mast cells in wound healing by analyzing aspects of cutaneous excisional wound healing in three types of genetically mast cell-deficient mice. We found that C57BL/6-KitW-sh/W-sh, WBB6F1-KitW/W-v, and Cpa3-Cre; Mcl-1fl/fl mice re-epithelialized splinted excisional skin wounds at rates very similar to those in the corresponding wild type or control mice. Furthermore, at the time of closure, scars were similar in the genetically mast cell-deficient mice and the corresponding wild type or control mice in both quantity of collagen deposition and maturity of collagen fibers, as evaluated by Masson’s Trichrome and Picro-Sirius red staining. These data indicate that mast cells do not play a significant non-redundant role in these features of the healing of splinted full thickness excisional cutaneous wounds in mice.
To assess whether grating-based X-ray dark-field imaging can increase the sensitivity of X-ray projection images in the diagnosis of pulmonary emphysema and allow for a more accurate assessment of emphysema distribution.
Materials and Methods
Lungs from three mice with pulmonary emphysema and three healthy mice were imaged ex vivo using a laser-driven compact synchrotron X-ray source. Median signal intensities of transmission (T), dark-field (V) and a combined parameter (normalized scatter) were compared between emphysema and control group. To determine the diagnostic value of each parameter in differentiating between healthy and emphysematous lung tissue, a receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was performed both on a per-pixel and a per-individual basis. Parametric maps of emphysema distribution were generated using transmission, dark-field and normalized scatter signal and correlated with histopathology.
Transmission values relative to water were higher for emphysematous lungs than for control lungs (1.11 vs. 1.06, p<0.001). There was no difference in median dark-field signal intensities between both groups (0.66 vs. 0.66). Median normalized scatter was significantly lower in the emphysematous lungs compared to controls (4.9 vs. 10.8, p<0.001), and was the best parameter for differentiation of healthy vs. emphysematous lung tissue. In a per-pixel analysis, the area under the ROC curve (AUC) for the normalized scatter value was significantly higher than for transmission (0.86 vs. 0.78, p<0.001) and dark-field value (0.86 vs. 0.52, p<0.001) alone. Normalized scatter showed very high sensitivity for a wide range of specificity values (94% sensitivity at 75% specificity). Using the normalized scatter signal to display the regional distribution of emphysema provides color-coded parametric maps, which show the best correlation with histopathology.
In a murine model, the complementary information provided by X-ray transmission and dark-field images adds incremental diagnostic value in detecting pulmonary emphysema and visualizing its regional distribution as compared to conventional X-ray projections.
Ticks developed a multitude of different immune evasion strategies in order to obtain a blood meal. Sialostatin L is an immunosuppressive cysteine protease inhibitor present in the saliva of the hard tick Ixodes scapularis. Herein we demonstrate that sialostatin L strongly inhibits the production of IL-9 by Th9 cells. Since we could show recently that Th9-derived IL-9 is essentially involved in the induction of asthma symptoms, sialostatin L was used for the treatment of experimental asthma. Application of sialostatin L in a model of experimental asthma almost completely abrogated airway hyperresponsiveness and eosinophilia. Our data suggest that sialostatin L can prevent experimental asthma, most likely by inhibiting the IL-9 production of Th9 cells. Thus, alternative to IL-9 neutralization sialostatin L provides the basis for the development of innovative therapeutic strategies to treat asthma.
Th9 cells; Lung; Allergy; Parasites; Rodents
Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is a key contributor to the morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoetic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Regulatory Foxp3+ CD4+ T cells (Treg) suppress conventional T cell activation and can control GvHD. In our previous work, we demonstrate that a basic mechanism of Treg mediated suppression occurs by the transfer of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) to responder cells. Whether this mechanism is relevant for Treg mediated suppression of GvHD is currently unknown. To address this question, bone marrow and T cells from C57BL/6 mice were transferred into lethally irradiated BALB/c recipients, and the course of GvHD and survival were monitored. Transplanted recipients developed severe GvHD that was strongly ameliorated by the transfer of donor Treg cells. Towards the underlying mechanisms, in vitro studies revealed that Treg communicated with DCs via gap junctions, resulting in functional inactivation of DC by a metabolic pathway involving cAMP that is modulated by the phosphodiesterase (PDE) 4 inhibitor rolipram. PDE2 or PDE3 inhibitors as well as rolipram suppressed allogeneic T cell activation, indirectly by enhancing Treg mediated suppression of DC activation and directly by inhibiting responder T cell proliferation. In line with this, we observed a cooperative suppression of GvHD upon Treg transfer and additional rolipram treatment. In conclusion, we propose that an important pathway of Treg mediated control of GvHD is based on a cAMP dependent mechanism. These data provide the basis for future concepts to manipulate allogeneic T cell responses to prevent GvHD.
Previous work has shown that disruption of the gene for group X secreted phospholipase A2 (sPLA2-X) markedly diminishes airway hyperresponsiveness and remodeling in a mouse asthma model. With the large number of additional sPLA2s in the mammalian genome, the involvement of other sPLA2s in the asthma model is possible – in particular, the group V sPLA2 (sPLA2-V) that like sPLA2-X is highly active at hydrolyzing membranes of mammalian cells.
Methodology and Principal Findings
The allergen-driven asthma phenotype was significantly reduced in sPLA2-V-deficient mice but to a lesser extent than observed previously in sPLA2-X-deficient mice. The most striking difference observed between the sPLA2-V and sPLA2-X knockouts was the significant impairment of the primary immune response to the allergen ovalbumin (OVA) in the sPLA2-V−/− mice. The impairment in eicosanoid generation and dendritic cell activation in sPLA2-V−/− mice diminishes Th2 cytokine responses in the airways.
This paper illustrates the diverse roles of sPLA2s in the immunopathogenesis of the asthma phenotype and directs attention to developing specific inhibitors of sPLA2-V as a potential new therapy to treat asthma and other allergic disorders.
Allergic inflammation and severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) are important in allergen induced diseases. Bacterial products such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) are ubiquitous and can facilitate allergen induced Th2 immune responses. Phosphatase SHP-1 is critical in regulating immunological homeostasis and in allergen induced Th2 immune responses in the lung. However, the mechanisms underlying the initiation of allergic inflammation and allergen induced anaphylaxis are still not completely elucidated and it is unclear whether SHP-1 plays any role in LPS-induced airway inflammation and in allergen-induced anaphylaxis. In this study we tested the hypothesis that phosphatase SHP-1 plays an important role in allergic inflammation and anaphylaxis and determined whether its effects are through regulation of mast cell functions. SHP-1 deficient (mev/+ and mev/mev) and mast cell deficient (KitW-sh) mice were examined in their responses to LPS airway stimulation and to ovalbumin (OVA) allergen induced systemic anaphylaxis. Compared to wild type mice, mev/+ mice had significantly enhanced LPS induced airway inflammation and OVA induced anaphylactic responses, including hypothermia and clinical symptoms. These changes were mast cell dependent as KitW-sh mice had reduced responses whereas adoptive transfer of mast cells restored the responses. However, T and B cells were not involved and macrophages did not play a significant role in LPS induced airway inflammation. Interestingly, basophil differentiation from SHP-1 deficient bone marrow cells was significantly reduced. These findings provided evidence that through regulation of mast cell functions SHP-1 plays a critical role as a negative regulator in allergic inflammation and in allergen induced anaphylaxis. In addition, SHP-1 seems to be required for normal basophil development.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) plays an important role in cell growth/differentiation, integrating environmental cues, and regulating immune responses. Our lab previously demonstrated that inhibition of mTOR with rapamycin prevented house dust mite (HDM)-induced allergic asthma in mice. Here, we utilized two treatment protocols to investigate whether rapamycin, compared to the steroid, dexamethasone, could inhibit allergic responses during the later stages of the disease process, namely allergen re-exposure and/or during progression of chronic allergic disease. In protocol 1, BALB/c mice were sensitized to HDM (three i.p. injections) and administered two intranasal HDM exposures. After 6 weeks of rest/recovery, mice were re-exposed to HDM while being treated with rapamycin or dexamethasone. In protocol 2, mice were exposed to HDM for 3 or 6 weeks and treated with rapamycin or dexamethasone during weeks 4–6. Characteristic features of allergic asthma, including IgE, goblet cells, airway hyperreactivity (AHR), inflammatory cells, cytokines/chemokines, and T cell responses were assessed. In protocol 1, both rapamycin and dexamethasone suppressed goblet cells and total CD4+ T cells including activated, effector, and regulatory T cells in the lung tissue, with no effect on AHR or total inflammatory cell numbers in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Rapamycin also suppressed IgE, although IL-4 and eotaxin 1 levels were augmented. In protocol 2, both drugs suppressed total CD4+ T cells, including activated, effector, and regulatory T cells and IgE levels. IL-4, eotaxin, and inflammatory cell numbers were increased after rapamycin and no effect on AHR was observed. Dexamethasone suppressed inflammatory cell numbers, especially eosinophils, but had limited effects on AHR. We conclude that while mTOR signaling is critical during the early phases of allergic asthma, its role is much more limited once disease is established.
Allergens produced by domestic mites (DM) are among the most common allergic sensitizers and risk factors for asthma. To compare exposure levels between workplaces and living areas a new assay able to measure airborne DM antigen concentrations was developed.
At workplaces and in living areas, 213 floor dust samples and 92 personal inhalable dust samples were collected. For sensitive quantification of DM antigens, a new enzyme immunoassay (EIA) based on polyclonal antibodies to Dermatophagoides farinae extract was developed. Reactivity of five house dust mite and four storage mite species was tested. All dust samples were tested with the new EIA and with the Der f 1 and Der p 1-EIAs (Indoor Biotechnologies, UK) which detect major allergens from D. farinae and D. pteronyssinus by monoclonal antibodies. Samples below the detection limit in the DM-EIA were retested in an assay variant with a fluorogenic substrate (DM-FEIA).
The newly developed DM-EIA detects antigens from all nine tested domestic mite species. It has a lower detection limit of 200 pg/ml of D.farinae protein, compared to 50 pg/ml for the DM-FEIA. DM antigens were detected by DM-EIA/FEIA in all floor dust and 80 (87%) of airborne samples. Der f 1 was found in 133 (62%) floor dust and in only 6 airborne samples, Der p 1 was found in 70 (33%) of floor samples and in one airborne sample. Der f 1 and DM concentrations were highly correlated. DM-antigens were significantly higher in inhalable airborne samples from textile recycling, bed feather filling, feed production, grain storage and cattle stables in comparison to living areas.
A new sensitive EIA directed at DM antigens was developed. DM antigen quantities were well correlated to Der f 1 values and were measurable in the majority (87%) of airborne dust samples. Some workplaces had significantly higher DM antigen concentrations than living areas.
Umeclidinium bromide (GSK573719; UMEC), a new long-acting muscarinic receptor antagonist (LAMA), is in development with vilanterol (GW642444; VI), a selective long-acting β2 agonist (LABA), as a once-daily inhaled combination therapy for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A single dose healthy volunteer study was conducted to assess the safety and tolerability, pharmacodynamics (PD) and pharmacokinetics (PK) of inhaled umeclidinium (500 µg) and vilanterol (50 µg) when administered separately and in combination using a novel dry powder inhaler (NDPI). Co-administration of single inhaled doses of umeclidinium and vilanterol to healthy Japanese subjects was well tolerated and not associated with meaningful changes in systemic exposure or PD effects compared with administration of either compound individually. Pharmacokinetic assessments showed rapid absorption for both drugs (Tmax = 5 min for both umeclidinium and vilanterol) followed by rapid elimination with median tlast of 4–5 h for umeclidinium and median tlast of 1.5–2.0 h for vilanterol. Assessments of pharmacokinetic interaction were inconclusive since for umeclidinium, Cmax following combination was higher than umeclidinium alone but not AUC whereas for vilanterol, AUC following combination was higher than vilanterol alone but not Cmax. There were no obvious trends observed between individual maximum supine heart rate and umeclidinium Cmax or vilanterol Cmax when delivered as umeclidinium 500 µg and vilanterol 50 µg combination or when delivered as umeclidinium or vilanterol alone.
Air pollution by diesel exhaust particles is associated with elevated mortality and increased hospital admissions in individuals with respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. During active inflammation monocytes are recruited to the airways and can replace resident alveolar macrophages. We therefore investigated whether chronic fourteen day exposure to low concentrations of diesel exhaust particles can alter the phenotype and function of monocytes from healthy individuals and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Monocytes were purified from the blood of healthy individuals and people with a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Monocyte-derived macrophages were generated in the presence or absence of diesel exhaust particles and their phenotypes studied through investigation of their lifespan, cytokine generation in response to Toll like receptor agonists and heat killed bacteria, and expression of surface markers. Chronic fourteen day exposure of monocyte-derived macrophages to concentrations of diesel exhaust particles >10 µg/ml caused mitochondrial and lysosomal dysfunction, and a gradual loss of cells over time both in healthy and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease individuals. Chronic exposure to lower concentrations of diesel exhaust particles impaired CXCL8 cytokine responses to lipopolysaccharide and heat killed E. coli, and this phenotype was associated with a reduction in CD14 and CD11b expression. Chronic diesel exhaust particle exposure may therefore alter both numbers and function of lung macrophages differentiating from locally recruited monocytes in the lungs of healthy people and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Nonadherence to medications occurs in up to 70% of patients with asthma. The effect of improving adherence is not well quantified. We developed a mathematical model with which to assess the population-level effects of improving medication prescribing and adherence for asthma.
A mathematical model, calibrated to clinical trial data from the U.S. NHLBI-funded SOCS trial and validated using data from the NHLBI SLIC trial, was used to model the effects of increased prescribing and adherence to asthma controllers. The simulated population consisted of 4,930 individuals with asthma, derived from a sample the National Asthma Survey. Main outcomes were controller use, reliever use, unscheduled doctor visits, emergency department (ED) visits, and hospitalizations.
For the calibration, simulated outcomes agreed closely with SOCS trial outcomes, with treatment failure hazard ratios [95% confidence interval] of 0.92 [0.58–1.26], 0.97 [0.49–1.45], and 1.01 [0–1.87] for simulation vs. trial in the in placebo, salmeterol, and triamcinolone arms, respectively. For validation, simulated outcomes predicted mid- and end-point treatment failure rates, hazard ratios 1.21 [0.08–2.34] and 0.83 [0.60–1.07], respectively, for patients treated with salmeterol/triamcinolone during the first half of the SLIC study and salmeterol monotherapy during the second half. The model performed less well for patients treated with salmeterol/triamcinolone during the entire study duration, with mid- and end-point hazard ratios 0.83 [0.00–2.12] and 0.37 [0.10–0.65], respectively. Simulation of optimal adherence and prescribing indicated that closing adherence and prescription gaps could prevent as many as nine million unscheduled doctor visits, four million emergency department visits, and one million asthma-related hospitalizations each year in the U.S.
Improvements in medication adherence and prescribing could have a substantial impact on asthma morbidity and healthcare utilization.
Internet-based self-management (IBSM) support cost-effectively improves asthma control, asthma related quality of life, number of symptom-free days, and lung function in patients with mild to moderate persistent asthma. The current challenge is to implement IBSM in clinical practice.
This study is a three-arm cluster randomized trial with a cluster pre-randomisation design and 12 months follow-up per practice comparing the following three IBSM implementation strategies: minimum strategy (MS): dissemination of the IBSM program; intermediate strategy (IS): MS + start-up support for professionals (i.e., support in selection of the appropriate population and training of professionals); and extended strategy (ES): IS + additional training and ongoing support for professionals. Because the implementation strategies (interventions) are primarily targeted at general practices, randomisation will occur at practice level.
In this study, we aim to evaluate 14 primary care practices per strategy in the Leiden-The Hague region, involving 140 patients per arm. Patients aged 18 to 50 years, with a physician diagnosis of asthma, prescription of inhaled corticosteroids, and/or montelukast for ≥3 months in the previous year are eligible to participate. Primary outcome measures are the proportion of referred patients that participate in IBSM, and the proportion of patients that have clinically relevant improvement in the asthma-related quality of life. The secondary effect measures are clinical outcomes (asthma control, lung function, usage of airway treatment, and presence of exacerbations); self-management related outcomes (health education impact, medication adherence, and illness perceptions); and patient utilities. Process measures are the proportion of practices that participate in IBSM and adherence of professionals to implementation strategies. Cost-effective measurements are medical costs and healthcare consumption. Follow-up is six months per patient.
This study provides insight in the amount of support that is required by general practices for cost-effective implementation of IBSM. Additionally, design and results can be beneficial for implementation of other self-management initiatives in clinical practice.
the Netherlands National Trial Register NTR2970
Asthma; Self-management; Telemanagement; E-health; Self-management; Implementation; Chronic care
Vitamin D deficiency is increasing in incidence around the world. Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, has documented effects on the innate and adaptive immune system, including macrophage and T regulatory (Treg) cell function. Since Treg cells are important in acute lung injury resolution, we hypothesized that vitamin D deficiency increases the severity of injury and delays injury resolution in lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced acute lung injury. Vitamin D deficient mice were generated, using C57BL/6 mice, through diet modification and limited exposure to ultraviolet light. At 8 weeks of age, vitamin D deficient and sufficient mice received 2.5 g/kg of LPS or saline intratracheal. At 1 day, 3 days and 10 days, mice were anesthetized and lung elastance measured. Mice were euthanized and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, lungs and serum were collected. Ex vivo neutrophil chemotaxis was evaluated, using neutrophils from vitamin D sufficient and deficient mice exposed to the chemoattractants, KC/CXCL1 and C5a, and to bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from LPS-exposed mice. We found no difference in the degree of lung injury. Leukocytes were mildly decreased in the bronchoalveolar fluid of vitamin D deficient mice at 1 day. Ex-vivo, neutrophils from vitamin D deficient mice showed impaired chemotaxis to KC but not to C5a. Vitamin D deficiency modestly impairs neutrophil chemotaxis; however, it does not affect lung injury or its resolution in an LPS model of acute lung injury.
Diseases like asthma have dramatically increased in the last decades. The reasons for the rising prevalence are still controversially discussed. Besides the genetic predisposition a number of different causes are thought to affect the increase of allergies. These include the hygiene hypothesis as well as changes in intestinal microbiota. Allergic airway inflammation is driven by T cells but it has become clear that tolerance and also suppression of allergic inflammation are mediated by so called regulatory T cells (Tregs). Indeed, naturally occurring Treg as well as induced Tregs have been shown to suppress allergic airway disease. In addition, the effectiveness of different therapeutic strategies (e.g. allergen immunotherapy) are mediated via Tregs. In addition, several Treg based approaches have been shown to effectively suppress allergic airway disease in different models. However, more research is needed to explore these potentially interesting approaches for the treatment of human disease.
Allergy; asthma; inflammation; regulatory T cell; suppression
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory disorder characterized by incompletely reversible airflow obstruction. Bacterial infection of the lower respiratory tract contributes to approximately 50% of COPD exacerbations. Even during periods of stable lung function, the lung harbors a community of bacteria, termed the microbiome. The role of the lung microbiome in the pathogenesis of COPD remains unknown. The COPD lung microbiome, like the healthy lung microbiome, appears to reflect microaspiration of oral microflora. Here we describe the COPD lung microbiome of 22 patients with Moderate or Severe COPD compared to 10 healthy control patients. The composition of the lung microbiomes was determined using 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rDNA found in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Sequences were analyzed using mothur, Ribosomal Database Project, Fast UniFrac, and Metastats. Our results showed a significant increase in microbial diversity with the development of COPD. The main phyla in all samples were Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, and Proteobacteria. Principal coordinate analyses demonstrated separation of control and COPD samples, but samples did not cluster based on disease severity. However, samples did cluster based on the use of inhaled corticosteroids and inhaled bronchodilators. Metastats analyses demonstrated an increased abundance of several oral bacteria in COPD samples.
The airway mucosal epithelium is permanently exposed to airborne particles. A network of immune cells patrols at this interface to the environment. The interplay of immune cells is orchestrated by different mediators. In the current study we investigated the impact of neuronal signals on key functions of dendritic cells (DC). Using two-photon microscopic time-lapse analysis of living lung sections from CD11c-EYFP transgenic mice we studied the influence of neuropeptides on airway DC motility. Additionally, using a confocal microscopic approach, the phagocytotic capacity of CD11c+ cells after neuropeptide stimulation was determined. Electrical field stimulation (EFS) leads to an unspecific release of neuropeptides from nerves. After EFS and treatment with the neuropeptides vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) or calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), airway DC in living lung slices showed an altered motility. Furthermore, the EFS-mediated effect could partially be blocked by pre-treatment with the receptor antagonist CGRP8–37. Additionally, the phagocytotic capacity of bone marrow-derived and whole lung CD11c+ cells could be inhibited by neuropeptides CGRP, VIP, and Substance P. We then cross-linked these data with the in vivo situation by analyzing DC motility in two different OVA asthma models. Both in the acute and prolonged OVA asthma model altered neuropeptide amounts and DC motility in the airways could be measured. In summary, our data suggest that neuropeptides modulate key features motility and phagocytosis of mouse airway DC. Therefore altered neuropeptide levels in airways during allergic inflammation have impact on regulation of airway immune mechanisms and therefore might contribute to the pathophysiology of asthma.
Crataegus pinnatifida (Chinese hawthorn) has long been used as a herbal medicine in Asia and Europe. It has been used for the treatment of various cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial weakness, tachycardia, hypertension and arteriosclerosis. In this study, we investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of Crataegus pinnatifida ethanolic extracts (CPEE) on Th2-type cytokines, eosinophil infiltration, expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, and other factors, using an ovalbumin (OVA)-induced murine asthma model.
Airways of OVA-sensitized mice exposed to OVA challenge developed eosinophilia, mucus hypersecretion and increased cytokine levels. CPEE was applied 1 h prior to OVA challenge. Mice were administered CPEE orally at doses of 100 and 200 mg/kg once daily on days 18–23. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was collected 48 h after the final OVA challenge. Levels of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-5 in BALF were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent (ELISA) assays. Lung tissue sections 4 µm in thickness were stained with Mayer’s hematoxylin and eosin for assessment of cell infiltration and mucus production with PAS staining, in conjunction with ELISA, and Western blot analyses for the expression of MMP-9, intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 protein expression. CPEE significantly decreased the Th2 cytokines including IL-4 and IL-5 levels, reduced the number of inflammatory cells in BALF and airway hyperresponsiveness, suppressed the infiltration of eosinophil-rich inflammatory cells and mucus hypersecretion and reduced the expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and MMP-9 and the activity of MMP-9 in lung tissue of OVA-challenged mice.
These results showed that CPEE can protect against allergic airway inflammation and can act as an MMP-9 modulator to induce a reduction in ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression. In conclusion, we strongly suggest the feasibility of CPEE as a therapeutic drug for allergic asthma.
We have previously shown that Th2-polarized airway inflammation facilitates sensitization towards new, protein antigens. In this context, we could demonstrate that IL-4 needs to act on cells of the hematopoetic and the structural compartment in order to facilitate sensitization towards new antigens. We thus aimed to elucidate possible mechanisms of action of IL-4 on structural cells choosing to analyze pulmonary epithelial cells as an important part of the lung's structural system. We used a co-culture system of DC- or APC-dependent in vitro priming of T cells, co-cultivated on a layer of cells of a murine pulmonary epithelial cell line (LA-4) pretreated with or without IL-4. Effects on T cell priming were analyzed via CFSE-dilution and flow cytometric assessment of activation status. Pulmonary epithelial cells suppressed T cell proliferation in vitro but this effect was attenuated by pre-treatment of the epithelial cells with IL-4. Transwell experiments suggest that epithelial-mediated suppression of T cell activation is mostly cell-contact dependent and leads to attenuation in an early naive T cell phenotype. Secretion of soluble factors like TARC, TSLP, GM-CSF and CCL20 by epithelial cells did not change after IL-4 treatment. However, analysis of co-stimulatory expression on pulmonary epithelial cells revealed that pre-treatment of epithelial cells with IL-4 changed expression GITR-L, suggesting a possible mechanism for the effects observed. Our studies provide new insight into the role of IL-4 during the early phases of pulmonary sensitization: The inhibitory activity of pulmonary epithelial cells in homeostasis is reversed in the presence of IL-4, which is secreted in the context of Th2-dominated allergic airway inflammation. This mechanism might serve to explain facilitated sensitization in the clinical context of polysensitization where due to a pre-existing sensitization increased levels of IL-4 in the airways might facilitate T cell priming towards new antigens.
Identification and characterization of asthma phenotypes are challenging due to disease complexity and heterogeneity. The Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP) used unsupervised cluster analysis to define 5 phenotypically distinct asthma clusters that they replicated using 3 variables in a simplified algorithm. We evaluated whether this simplified SARP algorithm could be used in a separate and diverse urban asthma population to recreate these 5 phenotypic clusters.
The SARP simplified algorithm was applied to adults with asthma recruited to the New York University/Bellevue Asthma Registry (NYUBAR) to classify patients into five groups. The clinical phenotypes were summarized and compared.
Asthma subjects in NYUBAR (n = 471) were predominantly women (70%) and Hispanic (57%), which were demographically different from the SARP population. The clinical phenotypes of the five groups generated by the simplified SARP algorithm were distinct across groups and distributed similarly to those described for the SARP population. Groups 1 and 2 (6 and 63%, respectively) had predominantly childhood onset atopic asthma. Groups 4 and 5 (20%) were older, with the longest duration of asthma, increased symptoms and exacerbations. Group 4 subjects were the most atopic and had the highest peripheral eosinophils. Group 3 (10%) had the least atopy, but included older obese women with adult-onset asthma, and increased exacerbations.
Application of the simplified SARP algorithm to the NYUBAR yielded groups that were phenotypically distinct and useful to characterize disease heterogeneity. Differences across NYUBAR groups support phenotypic variation and support the use of the simplified SARP algorithm for classification of asthma phenotypes in future prospective studies to investigate treatment and outcome differences between these distinct groups.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease noteworthy for its vulnerability to stress and emotion-induced symptom intensification. The fact that psychological stress and mood and anxiety disorders appear to increase expression of asthma symptoms suggests that neural signaling between the brain and lung at least partially modulates the inflammatory response and lung function. However, the precise nature of the neural pathways implicated in modulating asthma symptoms is unknown. Moreover, the extent to which variations in neural signaling predict different phenotypes of disease expression has not been studied.
Methods and Results
We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure neural signals in response to asthma-specific emotional cues, following allergen exposure, in asthmatics with a dual response to allergen challenge (significant inflammation), asthmatics with only an immediate response (minimal inflammation), and healthy controls. The anterior insular cortex was differentially activated by asthma-relevant cues, compared to general negative cues, during the development of the late phase of the dual response in asthmatics. Moreover, the degree of this differential activation predicted changes in airway inflammation.
These findings indicate that neurophenotypes for asthma may be identifiable by neural reactivity of brain circuits known to be involved in processing emotional information. Those with greater activation in the anterior insula, in response to asthma-relevant psychological stimuli, exhibit greater inflammatory signals in the lung and increased severity of disease and may reflect a subset of asthmatics most vulnerable to the development of psychopathology. This approach offers an entirely new target for potential therapeutic intervention in asthma.
The anti-phospholipid syndrome (APS) is characterized by recurrent thrombosis and occurrence of anti-phospholipid antibodies (aPL). aPL are necessary, but not sufficient for the clinical manifestations of APS. Growing evidence suggests a role of innate immune cells, in particular polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) and Toll-like receptors (TLR) to be additionally involved. aPL activate endothelial cells and monocytes through a TLR4-dependent signalling pathway. Whether this is also relevant for PMN in a similar way is currently not known. To address this issue, we used purified PMN from healthy donors and stimulated them in the presence or absence of human monoclonal aPL and the TLR4 agonist LPS monitoring neutrophil effector functions, namely the oxidative burst, phagocytosis, L-Selectin shedding and IL-8 production. aPL alone were only able to induce minor activation of PMN effector functions at high concentrations. However, in the additional presence of LPS the activation threshold was markedly lower indicating a synergistic activation pathway of aPL and TLR in PMN. In summary, our results indicate that PMN effector functions are directly activated by aPL and boosted by the additional presence of microbial products. This highlights a role for PMN as important innate immune effector cells that contribute to the pathophysiology of APS.
From patients’ reports and our preliminary observations, a fully maturated cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano; PR) seems to be well tolerated by a subset of cow’s milk (CM) allergic patients.
Objective and Methods
To biochemically and immunologically characterize PR samples at different maturation stage and to verify PR tolerability in CM allergic children. Seventy patients, with suspected CM allergy, were enrolled. IgE to CM, α-lactalbumin (ALA), β-lactoglobulin (BLG) and caseins (CAS) were tested using ImmunoCAP, ISAC103 and skin prick test. Patients underwent a double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge with CM, and an open food challenge with 36 months-maturated PR. Extracts obtained from PR samples were biochemically analyzed in order to determine protein and peptide contents. Pepsin and trypsin-chymotrypsin-pepsin simulated digestions were applied to PR extracts. Each PR extract was investigated by IgE Single Point Highest Inhibition Achievable assay (SPHIAa). The efficiency analysis was carried out using CM and PR oral challenges as gold standards.
The IgE binding to milk allergens was 100% inhibited by almost all PR preparations; the only difference was for CAS, mainly αS1-CAS. Sixteen patients sensitized to CM tolerated both CM and PR; 29 patients tolerated PR only; 21 patients, reacted to both CM and PR, whereas 4 patients reactive to CM refused to ingest PR. ROC analysis showed that the absence of IgE to BLG measured by ISAC could be a good marker of PR tolerance. The SPHIAa using digested PR preparations showed a marked effect on IgE binding to CAS and almost none on ALA and BLG.
58% of patients clinically reactive to CM tolerated fully maturated PR. The preliminary digestion of CAS induced by PR maturation process, facilitating a further loss of allergenic reactivity during gut digestion, might explain the tolerance. This hypothesis seems to work when no IgE sensitization to ISAC BLG is detected.