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1.  Role of Cyclooxygenase-2 in Exacerbation of Allergen-Induced Airway Remodeling by Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes 
The emergence of nanotechnology has produced a multitude of engineered nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), and concerns have been raised about their effects on human health, especially for susceptible populations such as individuals with asthma. Multiwalled CNTs (MWCNTs) have been shown to exacerbate ovalbumin (OVA)–induced airway remodeling in mice. Moreover, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) has been described as a protective factor in asthma. We postulated that COX-2–deficient (COX-2−/−) mice would be susceptible to MWCNT-induced exacerbations of allergen-induced airway remodeling, including airway inflammation, fibrosis, and mucus-cell metaplasia (i.e., the formation of goblet cells). Wild-type (WT) or COX-2−/− mice were sensitized to OVA to induce allergic airway inflammation before a single dose of MWCNTs (4 mg/kg) delivered to the lungs by oropharyngeal aspiration. MWCNTs significantly increased OVA-induced lung inflammation and mucus-cell metaplasia in COX-2−/− mice compared with WT mice. However, airway fibrosis after exposure to allergen and MWCNTs was no different between WT and COX-2−/− mice. Concentrations of certain prostanoids (prostaglandin D2 and thromboxane B2) were enhanced by OVA or MWCNTs in COX-2−/− mice. No differences in COX-1 mRNA concentrations were evident between WT and COX-2−/− mice treated with OVA and MWCNTs. Interestingly, MWCNTs significantly enhanced allergen-induced cytokines involved in Th2 (IL-13 and IL-5), Th1 (CXCL10), and Th17 (IL-17A) inflammatory responses in COX-2−/− mice, but not in WT mice. We conclude that exacerbations of allergen-induced airway inflammation and mucus-cell metaplasia by MWCNTs are enhanced by deficiencies in COX-2, and are associated with the activation of a mixed Th1/Th2/Th17 immune response.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2013-0019OC
PMCID: PMC3824045  PMID: 23642096
carbon nanotubes; nanoparticles; asthma; inflammation; COX-2
2.  Nickel Nanoparticles Enhance Platelet-Derived Growth Factor–Induced Chemokine Expression by Mesothelial Cells via Prolonged Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Activation 
Pleural diseases (fibrosis and mesothelioma) are a major concern for individuals exposed by inhalation to certain types of particles, metals, and fibers. Increasing attention has focused on the possibility that certain types of engineered nanoparticles (NPs), especially those containing nickel, might also pose a risk for pleural diseases. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) is an important mediator of fibrosis and cancer that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of pleural diseases. In this study, we discovered that PDGF synergistically enhanced nickel NP (NiNP)–induced increases in mRNA and protein levels of the profibrogenic chemokine monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1 or CCL2), and the antifibrogenic IFN-inducible CXC chemokine (CXCL10) in normal rat pleural mesothelial 2 (NRM2) cells in vitro. Carbon black NPs (CBNPs), used as a negative control NP, did not cause a significant increase in CCL2 or CXCL10 in the absence or presence of PDGF. NiNPs prolonged PDGF-induced phosphorylation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase family termed extracellular signal–regulated kinases (ERK)-1 and -2 for up to 24 hours, and NiNPs also synergistically increased PDGF-induced hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α protein levels in NRM2 cells. Inhibition of ERK-1,2 phosphorylation with the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitor, PD98059, blocked the synergistic increase in CCL2, CXCL10, and HIF-1α levels induced by PDGF and NiNPs. Moreover, the antioxidant, N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), significantly reduced HIF-1α, ERK-1,2 phosphorylation, and CCL2 protein levels that were synergistically increased by the combination of PDGF and NiNPs. These data indicate that NiNPs enhance the activity of PDGF in regulating chemokine production in NRM2 cells through a mechanism involving reactive oxygen species generation and prolonged activation of ERK-1,2.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2012-0023OC
PMCID: PMC3488624  PMID: 22700867
nanoparticles; metals; lung; pleura; chemokines
3.  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
4.  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
5.  Bacterial Lipopolysaccharide Enhances PDGF Signaling and Pulmonary Fibrosis in Rats Exposed to Carbon Nanotubes 
Engineered multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) represent a possible health risk for pulmonary fibrosis due to their fiber-like shape and potential for persistence in the lung. We postulated that bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a ubiquitous agent in the environment that causes lung inflammation, would enhance fibrosis caused by MWCNT. Rats were exposed to LPS and then intratracheally instilled with MWCNT or carbon black (CB) nanoparticles 24 hours later. Pulmonary fibrosis was observed 21 days after MWCNT exposure, but not with CB. LPS alone caused no fibrosis but enhanced MWCNT-induced fibrosis. LPS plus CB did not significantly increase fibrosis. MWCNT increased platelet-derived growth factor-AA (PDGF-AA), a major mediator of fibrosis. PDGF-AA production in response to MWCNT, but not CB, was synergistically enhanced by LPS. Immunostaining showed PDGF-AA in bronchiolar epithelial cells and macrophages. Since macrophages engulfed MWCNT, were positive for PDGF-AA, and mediate fibroblast responses, experiments were performed with rat lung macrophages (NR8383 cells) and rat lung fibroblasts in vitro. LPS exposure increased PDGF-A mRNA levels in NR8383 cells and enhanced MWCNT-induced PDGF-A mRNA levels. Moreover, LPS increased MWCNT- or CB-induced PDGF receptor-α (PDGF-Rα) mRNA in fibroblasts. Our data suggest that LPS exacerbates MWCNT-induced lung fibrosis by amplifying production of PDGF-AA in macrophages and epithelial cells, and by increasing PDGF-Rα on pulmonary fibroblasts. Our findings also suggest that individuals with pre-existing pulmonary inflammation are at greater risk for the potential adverse effects of MWCNT.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2009-0113OC
PMCID: PMC2937228  PMID: 19738159
carbon nanotubes; inflammation; lipopolysaccharide; fibrosis; growth factors
6.  Inhaled Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes Potentiate Airway Fibrosis in Murine Allergic Asthma 
Carbon nanotubes are gaining increasing attention due to possible health risks from occupational or environmental exposures. This study tested the hypothesis that inhaled multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) would increase airway fibrosis in mice with allergic asthma. Normal and ovalbumin-sensitized mice were exposed to a MWCNT aerosol (100 mg/m3) or saline aerosol for 6 hours. Lung injury, inflammation, and fibrosis were examined by histopathology, clinical chemistry, ELISA, or RT-PCR for cytokines/chemokines, growth factors, and collagen at 1 and 14 days after inhalation. Inhaled MWCNT were distributed throughout the lung and found in macrophages by light microscopy, but were also evident in epithelial cells by electron microscopy. Quantitative morphometry showed significant airway fibrosis at 14 days in mice that received a combination of ovalbumin and MWCNT, but not in mice that received ovalbumin or MWCNT only. Ovalbumin-sensitized mice that did not inhale MWCNT had elevated levels IL-13 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 in lung lavage fluid, but not platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-AA. In contrast, unsensitized mice that inhaled MWCNT had elevated PDGF-AA, but not increased levels of TGF-β1 and IL-13. This suggested that airway fibrosis resulting from combined ovalbumin sensitization and MWCNT inhalation requires PDGF, a potent fibroblast mitogen, and TGF-β1, which stimulates collagen production. Combined ovalbumin sensitization and MWCNT inhalation also synergistically increased IL-5 mRNA levels, which could further contribute to airway fibrosis. These data indicate that inhaled MWCNT require pre-existing inflammation to cause airway fibrosis. Our findings suggest that individuals with pre-existing allergic inflammation may be susceptible to airway fibrosis from inhaled MWCNT.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2008-0276OC
PMCID: PMC2645533  PMID: 18787175
carbon nanotubes; asthma; fibrosis; lung
7.  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

Results 1-7 (7)