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1.  Inhaled iloprost suppresses the cardinal features of asthma via inhibition of airway dendritic cell function 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2007;117(2):464-472.
Inhalation of iloprost, a stable prostacyclin (PGI2) analog, is a well-accepted and safe treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension. Although iloprost mainly acts as a vasodilator by binding to the I prostanoid (IP) receptor, recent evidence suggests that signaling via this receptor also has antiinflammatory effects through unclear mechanisms. Here we show in a murine model of asthma that iloprost inhalation suppressed the cardinal features of asthma when given during the priming or challenge phase. As a mechanism of action, iloprost interfered with the function of lung myeloid DCs, critical antigen-presenting cells of the airways. Iloprost treatment inhibited the maturation and migration of lung DCs to the mediastinal LNs, thereby abolishing the induction of an allergen-specific Th2 response in these nodes. The effect of iloprost was DC autonomous, as iloprost-treated DCs no longer induced Th2 differentiation from naive T cells or boosted effector cytokine production in primed Th2 cells. These data should pave the way for a clinical effectiveness study using inhaled iloprost for the treatment of asthma.
PMCID: PMC1783814  PMID: 17273558
2.  Osteopontin has a crucial role in allergic airway disease through regulation of dendritic cell subsets 
Nature medicine  2007;13(5):570-578.
Osteopontin (Opn) is important for T helper type 1 (TH1) immunity and autoimmunity. However, the role of this cytokine in TH2-mediated allergic disease as well as its effects on primary versus secondary antigenic encounters remain unclear. Here we demonstrate that OPN is expressed in the lungs of asthmatic individuals and that Opn-s, the secreted form of Opn, exerts opposing effects on mouse TH2 effector responses and subsequent allergic airway disease: pro-inflammatory at primary systemic sensitization, and anti-inflammatory during secondary pulmonary antigenic challenge. These effects of Opn-s are mainly mediated by the regulation of TH2-suppressing plasmacytoid dendritic cells (DCs) during primary sensitization and TH2-promoting conventional DCs during secondary antigenic challenge. Therapeutic administration of recombinant Opn during pulmonary secondary antigenic challenge decreased established TH2 responses and protected mice from allergic disease. These effects on TH2 allergic responses suggest that Opn-s is an important therapeutic target and provide new insight into its role in immunity.
PMCID: PMC3384679  PMID: 17435770
3.  GATA3-Driven Th2 Responses Inhibit TGF-β1–Induced FOXP3 Expression and the Formation of Regulatory T Cells 
PLoS Biology  2007;5(12):e329.
Transcription factors act in concert to induce lineage commitment towards Th1, Th2, or T regulatory (Treg) cells, and their counter-regulatory mechanisms were shown to be critical for polarization between Th1 and Th2 phenotypes. FOXP3 is an essential transcription factor for natural, thymus-derived (nTreg) and inducible Treg (iTreg) commitment; however, the mechanisms regulating its expression are as yet unknown. We describe a mechanism controlling iTreg polarization, which is overruled by the Th2 differentiation pathway. We demonstrated that interleukin 4 (IL-4) present at the time of T cell priming inhibits FOXP3. This inhibitory mechanism was also confirmed in Th2 cells and in T cells of transgenic mice overexpressing GATA-3 in T cells, which are shown to be deficient in transforming growth factor (TGF)-β–mediated FOXP3 induction. This inhibition is mediated by direct binding of GATA3 to the FOXP3 promoter, which represses its transactivation process. Therefore, this study provides a new understanding of tolerance development, controlled by a type 2 immune response. IL-4 treatment in mice reduces iTreg cell frequency, highlighting that therapeutic approaches that target IL-4 or GATA3 might provide new preventive strategies facilitating tolerance induction particularly in Th2-mediated diseases, such as allergy.
Author Summary
Specific immune responses against foreign or autologous antigens are driven by specialized epitope-specific T cells, whose numbers expand upon recognition of antigen found on professional antigen-presenting cells. The subsequent maturation process involves the differentiation of certain T cell phenotypes such as pro-inflammatory cells (Th1, Th2, Th17) or regulatory T (Treg) cells, which serve to keep the immune response in check. The current study focuses on the role of two key transcription factors—FOXP3 and GATA3—in controlling the commitment of these cells. We demonstrate that the Th2 cytokine IL-4 inhibits the induction of FOXP3 and thus inhibits the generation of inducible Treg cells. We show that IL-4–induced GATA3 mediates FOXP3 inhibition by directly binding to a GATA element in the FOXP3 promoter. We hypothesize that therapeutic agents aimed at neutralizing IL-4 could be a novel strategy to facilitate inducible Treg cell generation and thus promotion of tolerance in allergies and other Th2-dominated diseases.
It is shown that Th2 responses prevent the generation of inducible Tregs. This is mediated by IL-4 induction of GATA3, which binds directly to and represses the FOXP3 promoter. This mechanism is likely to be relevant in the induction of immunotolerance, particularly in allergic diseases.
PMCID: PMC2222968  PMID: 18162042
4.  Activation of the D prostanoid 1 receptor suppresses asthma by modulation of lung dendritic cell function and induction of regulatory T cells 
Prostaglandins (PGs) can enhance or suppress inflammation by acting on different receptors expressed by hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic cells. Prostaglandin D2 binds to the D prostanoid (DP)1 and DP2 receptor and is seen as a critical mediator of asthma causing vasodilation, bronchoconstriction, and inflammatory cell influx. Here we show that inhalation of a selective DP1 agonist suppresses the cardinal features of asthma by targeting the function of lung dendritic cells (DCs). In mice treated with DP1 agonist or receiving DP1 agonist-treated DCs, there was an increase in Foxp3+ CD4+ regulatory T cells that suppressed inflammation in an interleukin 10–dependent way. These effects of DP1 agonist on DCs were mediated by cyclic AMP–dependent protein kinase A. We furthermore show that activation of DP1 by an endogenous ligand inhibits airway inflammation as chimeric mice with selective hematopoietic loss of DP1 had strongly enhanced airway inflammation and antigen-pulsed DCs lacking DP1 were better at inducing airway T helper 2 responses in the lung. Triggering DP1 on DCs is an important mechanism to induce regulatory T cells and to control the extent of airway inflammation. This pathway could be exploited to design novel treatments for asthma.
PMCID: PMC2118726  PMID: 17283205

Results 1-4 (4)