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1.  Innate Immune Response of Human Alveolar Type II Cells Infected with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome–Coronavirus 
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)–coronavirus (CoV) produces a devastating primary viral pneumonia with diffuse alveolar damage and a marked increase in circulating cytokines. One of the major cell types to be infected is the alveolar type II cell. However, the innate immune response of primary human alveolar epithelial cells infected with SARS-CoV has not been defined. Our objectives included developing a culture system permissive for SARS-CoV infection in primary human type II cells and defining their innate immune response. Culturing primary human alveolar type II cells at an air–liquid interface (A/L) improved their differentiation and greatly increased their susceptibility to infection, allowing us to define their primary interferon and chemokine responses. Viral antigens were detected in the cytoplasm of infected type II cells, electron micrographs demonstrated secretory vesicles filled with virions, virus RNA concentrations increased with time, and infectious virions were released by exocytosis from the apical surface of polarized type II cells. A marked increase was evident in the mRNA concentrations of interferon–β and interferon–λ (IL-29) and in a large number of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. A surprising finding involved the variability of expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme–2, the SARS-CoV receptor, in type II cells from different donors. In conclusion, the cultivation of alveolar type II cells at an air–liquid interface provides primary cultures in which to study the pulmonary innate immune responses to infection with SARS-CoV, and to explore possible therapeutic approaches to modulating these innate immune responses.
PMCID: PMC3727876  PMID: 23418343
lung innate immune response; cytokine responses to SARS coronavirus; lung cell differentiation; air–liquid interface cultures
2.  N-Acetylcysteine Protects Murine Alveolar Type II Cells from Cigarette Smoke Injury in a Nuclear Erythroid 2–Related Factor–2–Independent Manner 
Emphysema is caused by the cigarette smoke (CS)–induced destruction of alveolar wall septa, and CS is the main risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To study the mechanisms of response to this insult, we focused on oxidant-induced lung injury and the potential role of nuclear erythroid 2–related factor–2 (Nrf2), which is a key regulator of the antioxidant defense system. We studied the protective role of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) against the injury of alveolar type II (ATII) cells induced by CS in vivo and in vitro. ATII cells were isolated and purified using magnetic MicroBeads (Miltenyi Biotec, Auburn, CA) from Nrf2−/− mice and wild-type mice. We analyzed pulmonary injury, inflammation, glutathione (GSH) concentrations, the expression of glutathione cysteine ligase catalytic subunit mRNA, glutathione cysteine ligase modifier subunit mRNA, and glutathione reductase mRNA, and Nrf2, heme oxygenase–1, and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate–reduced:quinone oxireductase levels by Western blotting, TUNEL assay, and immunocytofluorescence for 4-hydroxynonenal as a marker of oxidative stress. We found that CS induced greater injury in ATII cells obtained from Nrf2−/− mice than from wild-type mice. Furthermore, NAC attenuated the injuries by CS in ATII cells obtained from wild-type mice both in vivo and in vitro. Moreover, NAC decreased the injury of ATII cells obtained from Nrf2−/− mice. Our results suggest that Nrf2–GSH signaling is important for the protective activity of NAC. In addition, in ATII cells deficient in Nrf2, this compound can provide partial protection through its reactive oxygen species–scavenging activities. Targeting the antioxidant system regulated by Nrf2 may provide an effective strategy against lung injury in COPD.
PMCID: PMC3707381  PMID: 23492188
murine alveolar type II cells; lung; Nrf2; NAC; cigarette smoke
3.  Hypoxia-Inducible Factor Regulates Expression of Surfactant Protein in Alveolar Type II Cells In Vitro 
Alveolar type II (ATII) cells cultured at an air–liquid (A/L) interface maintain differentiation, but they lose these properties when they are submerged. Others showed that an oxygen tension gradient develops in the culture medium as ATII cells consume oxygen. Therefore, we wondered whether hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) signaling could explain differences in the phenotypes of ATII cells cultured under A/L interface or submerged conditions. ATII cells were isolated from male Sprague-Dawley rats and cultured on inserts coated with a mixture of rat-tail collagen and Matrigel, in medium including 5% rat serum and 10 ng/ml keratinocyte growth factor, with their apical surfaces either exposed to air or submerged. The A/L interface condition maintained the expression of surfactant proteins, whereas that expression was down-regulated under the submerged condition, and the effect was rapid and reversible. Under submerged conditions, there was an increase in HIF1α and HIF2α in nuclear extracts, mRNA levels of HIF inducible genes, vascular endothelial growth factor, glucose transporter–1 (GLUT1), and the protein level of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase isozyme–1. The expression of surfactant proteins was suppressed and GLUT1 mRNA levels were induced when cells were cultured with 1 mM dimethyloxalyl glycine. The expression of surfactant proteins was restored under submerged conditions with supplemented 60% oxygen. HIF signaling and oxygen tension at the surface of cells appears to be important in regulating the phenotype of rat ATII cells.
PMCID: PMC3262688  PMID: 21454802
HIF; ATII cells; surfactant proteins; VEGF; GLUT1
4.  Innate Immune Response to Influenza A Virus in Differentiated Human Alveolar Type II Cells 
Alveolar Type II (ATII) cells are important targets for seasonal and pandemic influenza. To investigate the influenza-induced innate immune response in those cells, we measured the global gene expression profile of highly differentiated ATII cells infected with the influenza A virus at a multiplicity of infection of 0.5 at 4 hours and 24 hours after inoculation. Infection with influenza stimulated a significant increase in the mRNA concentrations of many host defense–related genes, including pattern/pathogen recognition receptors, IFN, and IFN-induced genes, chemokines, and suppressors of cytokine signaling. We verified these changes by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. At the protein level, we detected a robust virus-induced secretion of the three glutamic acid-leucine-arginine (ELR)-negative chemokines CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11, according to ELISA. The ultraviolet inactivation of virus abolished the chemokine and cytokine response. Viral infection did not appear to alter the differentiation of ATII cells, as measured by cellular mRNA and concentrations of surfactant proteins. However, viral infection significantly reduced the secretion of surfactant protein (SP)–A and SP–D. In addition, influenza A virus triggered a time-dependent activation of phosphatidylinositol 3–kinase signaling in ATII cells. The inhibition of this pathway significantly decreased the release of infectious virus and the chemokine response, but did not alter virus-induced cell death. This study provides insights into influenza-induced innate immunity in differentiated human ATII cells, and demonstrates that the alveolar epithelium is a critical part of the initial innate immune response to influenza.
PMCID: PMC3175576  PMID: 21239608
human Type II cell; influenza; chemokine; PI3k; differentiation
5.  Ozone Exposure of Macrophages Induces an Alveolar Epithelial Chemokine Response through IL-1α 
Ozone is known to produce an acute influx of neutrophils, and alveolar epithelial cells can secrete chemokines and modulate inflammatory processes. However, direct exposure of alveolar epithelial cells and macrophages to ozone (O3) produces little chemokine response. To determine if cell–cell interactions might be responsible, we investigated the effect of alveolar macrophage–conditioned media after ozone exposure (MO3CM) on alveolar epithelial cell chemokine production. Serum-free media were conditioned by exposing a rat alveolar macrophage cell line NR8383 to ozone for 1 hour. Ozone stimulated secretion of IL-1α, IL-1β, and IL-18 from NR8383 cells, but there was no secretion of chemokines or TNF-α. Freshly isolated type II cells were cultured, so as to express the biological markers of type I cells, and these cells are referred to as type I–like cells. Type I–like cells were exposed to diluted MO3CM for 24 hours, and this conditioned medium stimulated secretion of cytokine-induced neutrophil chemattractant-1 (CXCL1) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (CCL2). Secretion of these chemokines was inhibited by the IL-1 receptor antagonist. Although both recombinant IL-1α and IL-1β stimulated alveolar epithelial cells to secrete chemokines, recombinant IL-1α was 100-fold more potent than IL-1β. Furthermore, neutralizing anti-rat IL-1α antibodies inhibited the secretion of chemokines by alveolar epithelial cells, whereas neutralizing anti-rat IL-1β antibodies had no effect. These observations indicate that secretion of IL-1α from macrophages stimulates alveolar epithelial cells to secrete chemokines that can elicit an inflammatory response.
PMCID: PMC2258451  PMID: 17901407
alveolar epithelial cells; cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant; monocyte chemoattractant protein-1; IL-1α; cell–cell interactions
6.  Differentiated Human Alveolar Epithelial Cells and Reversibility of their Phenotype In Vitro 
Cultures of differentiating fetal human type II cells have been available for many years. However, studies with differentiated adult human type II cells are limited. We used a published method for type II cell isolation and developed primary culture systems for maintenance of differentiated adult human alveolar epithelial cells for in vitro studies. Human type II cells cultured on Matrigel (basolateral access) or a mixture of Matrigel and rat tail collagen (apical access) in the presence of keratinocyte growth factor, isobutylmethylxanthine, 8-bromo-cyclicAMP, and dexamethasone (KIAD) expressed the differentiated type II cell phenotype as measured by the expression of surfactant protein (SP)-A, SP-B, SP-C, and fatty acid synthase and their morphologic appearance. These cells contain lamellar inclusion bodies and have apical microvilli. In both systems the cells appear well differentiated. In the apical access system, type II cell differentiation markers initially decreased and then recovered over 6 d in culture. Lipid synthesis was also increased by the addition of KIAD. In contrast, type II cells cultured on rat tail collagen (or tissue culture plastic) slowly lose their lamellar inclusions and expression of the surfactant proteins and increase the expression of type I cell markers. The expression of the phenotypes is regulated by the culture conditions and is, in part, reversible in vitro.
PMCID: PMC1899340  PMID: 17255555
type I cell; type II cell; surfactant; lipogenesis
7.  Keratinocyte Growth Factor Induces Lipogenesis in Alveolar Type II Cells through a Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein-1c–Dependent Pathway 
Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) stimulates fatty acid and phospholipid synthesis in alveolar type II cells in vitro. KGF stimulates lipogenic enzymes, including fatty acid synthase and stearyl-CoA desaturase-1, and transcription factors involved in lipogenesis, such as sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP)-1c and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP)α and C/EBPδ. To define the role of SREBP-1c on the induction of lipogenic genes and lipogenesis by KGF in primary cultures of rat type II cells, we used adenoviral vectors to alter levels of SREBP-1c. Overexpression of a dominant-negative form of SREBP-1 decreased lipogenesis and decreased the induction of fatty acid synthase and stearyl coenzyme A desaturase–1 by KGF. Conversely, adenovirus-mediated overexpression of a constitutively active form of SREBP-1c mimicked the effect of KGF on lipogenic enzymes and lipogenesis. These data indicate that SREBP-1c is required for the stimulation of lipogenesis by KGF in the alveolar type II cells and is a key regulator of lung lipid metabolism and that expression of SREBP-1c is sufficient to induce lipogenesis in rat type II cells.
PMCID: PMC2643261  PMID: 16601238
adenovirus; fatty acid synthesis; surfactant
8.  Alveolar Epithelial Cells Secrete Chemokines in Response to IL-1β and Lipopolysaccharide but Not to Ozone 
Ozone exposure produces acute inflammation and neutrophil influx in the distal lung. Alveolar epithelial cells cover a large surface area, secrete chemokines, and may initiate or modify the inflammatory response. The effect of ozone on chemokine production by these cells has not been defined. Isolated rat type II cells were cultured in different conditions to express the morphologic appearance and biochemical markers for the type I and the type II cell phenotypes. These cells were exposed to ozone at an air/liquid interface. The type I–like cells were more susceptible to injury than the type II cells and showed signs of injury at exposure levels of 100 ppb ozone for 60 min. Both phenotypes showed evidence of lipid peroxidation after ozone exposure as measured by 8-isoprostane production, but neither phenotype secreted increased amounts of MIP-2 (CXCL3), CINC-1 (CXCL1), or MCP-1 (CCL2) in response to ozone. Both cell phenotypes secreted MIP-2 and MCP-1 in response to IL-1β or lipopolysaccharide, but there was no priming or synergy with ozone. It is likely that the inflammatory response to ozone in the alveolar compartment is not due to the direct effect of ozone on epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC2644180  PMID: 16239643
alveolar epithelium; LPS; 8-isoprostane; MCP-1; MIP-2
9.  Expression of CINC-2β Is Related to the State of Differentiation of Alveolar Epithelial Cells 
Alveolar epithelial cells are among the first cells to encounter inhaled particles or organisms. These cells likely participate in the initiation and modulation of the inflammatory response by production of chemokines. However, there is little information on the extent or regulation of chemokine production by these cells. Rat type II cells were studied under differentiated and dedifferentiated conditions to determine their ability to express and secrete CXC chemokines. Both differentiated and dedifferentiated type II cells secreted MIP-2, MCP-1, and CINC-2 in response to a cytokine mixture of IL-1β, TNF-α, and IFN-γ or to IL-1β alone. The cytokine mixture also induced iNOS expression and nitrite secretion. Both differentiated and dedifferentiated type II cells expressed CINC-1 (GRO), CINC-2α, CINC-3 (MIP-2), and MCP-1 mRNA, and their expression was increased by the cytokine mixture or by IL-1β alone. However, CINC-2β, a splice variant of CINC-2, was only expressed under differentiated conditions stimulated by KGF and was not increased by the cytokine mixture or by IL-1β. In situ hybridization of normal lung and lung instilled with Ad-KGF demonstrated that CINC-2β was expressed by alveolar and bronchiolar epithelial cells in vivo. We conclude that CINC-2β is regulated differently from most other chemokines and that its expression is related to the state of alveolar type II cell differentiation.
PMCID: PMC2715358  PMID: 16055671
CCL2; chemokines; CXCL1; inflammation; type II cells
10.  Induction of CXCL5 During Inflammation in the Rodent Lung Involves Activation of Alveolar Epithelium 
The lung is continuously exposed to bacteria and their products, and has developed a complex defense mechanism, including neutrophil recruitment. In mice, keratinocyte cell–derived chemokine and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 are the major chemokines for neutrophil recruitment into the lung. We have previously described a role for C-X-C chemokine (CXCL5) in neutrophil trafficking during lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced lung inflammation in mice. The aims of the present study were to identify the cellular origin of CXCL5 and to determine the signaling cascades that regulate its expression in the lung during LPS-induced inflammation and in isolated LPS-stimulated CXCL5-expressing cells. Our immunohistochemical analysis indicates that alveolar epithelial type II (AEII) cells are the primary source of CXCL5 in the rodent lung. These in vivo observations were confirmed with primary AEII cells. In addition, our data indicate that the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling cascade involving TLR4, myeloid differentiation factor 88, and Toll–IL-1R domain–containing adapter protein is required to induce CXCL5 expression in the lung. Furthermore, p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinases are involved in lung CXCL5 expression. Similarly, TLR4, and p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinases, are associated with LPS-induced CXCL5 expression in AEII cells. These novel observations demonstrate that activation of AEII cells via TLR4-dependent signaling is important for the production of CXCL5 in the lung exposed to LPS.
PMCID: PMC2715322  PMID: 15778492
lipopolysaccharide; CXCL5; LIX; lung inflammation; mouse model

Results 1-10 (10)