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1.  Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88–Dependent Signaling Is Critical for Acute Organic Dust–Induced Airway Inflammation in Mice 
Organic dust exposure within agricultural environments results in airway diseases. Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and TLR4 only partly account for the innate response to these complex dust exposures. To determine the central pathway in mediating complex organic dust–induced airway inflammation, this study targeted the common adaptor protein, myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88), and investigated the relative contributions of receptors upstream from this adaptor. Wild-type, MyD88, TLR9, TLR4, IL-1 receptor I (RI), and IL-18R knockout (KO) mice were challenged intranasally with organic dust extract (ODE) or saline, according to an established protocol. Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) was assessed by invasive pulmonary measurements. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was collected to quantitate leukocyte influx and cytokine/chemokine (TNF-α, IL-6, chemokine [C-X-C motif] ligands [CXCL1 and CXCL2]) concentrations. Lung tissue was collected for histopathology. Lung cell apoptosis was determined by a terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling assay, and lymphocyte influx and intercellular adhesion molecule–1 (ICAM-1) expression were assessed by immunohistochemistry. ODE-induced AHR was significantly attenuated in MyD88 KO mice, and neutrophil influx and cytokine/chemokine production were nearly absent in MyD88 KO animals after ODE challenges. Despite a near-absent airspace inflammatory response, lung parenchymal inflammation was increased in MyD88 KO mice after repeated ODE exposures. ODE-induced epithelial-cell ICAM-1 expression was diminished in MyD88 KO mice. No difference was evident in the small degree of ODE-induced lung-cell apoptosis. Mice deficient in TLR9, TLR4, and IL-18R, but not IL-1IR, demonstrated partial protection against ODE-induced neutrophil influx and cytokine/chemokine production. Collectively, the acute organic dust–induced airway inflammatory response is highly dependent on MyD88 signaling, and is dictated, in part, by important contributions from upstream TLRs and IL-18R.
PMCID: PMC3727869  PMID: 23492189
MyD88; lung; Toll-like receptor; IL-1R/IL-18R; organic dust
2.  Smoke Extract Impairs Adenosine Wound Healing. Implications of Smoke-Generated Reactive Oxygen Species 
Adenosine concentrations are elevated in the lungs of patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, where it balances between tissue repair and excessive airway remodeling. We previously demonstrated that the activation of the adenosine A2A receptor promotes epithelial wound closure. However, the mechanism by which adenosine-mediated wound healing occurs after cigarette smoke exposure has not been investigated. The present study investigates whether cigarette smoke exposure alters adenosine-mediated reparative properties via its ability to induce a shift in the oxidant/antioxidant balance. Using an in vitro wounding model, bronchial epithelial cells were exposed to 5% cigarette smoke extract, were wounded, and were then stimulated with either 10 μM adenosine or the specific A2A receptor agonist, 5′-(N-cyclopropyl)–carboxamido–adenosine (CPCA; 10 μM), and assessed for wound closure. In a subset of experiments, bronchial epithelial cells were infected with adenovirus vectors encoding human superoxide dismutase and/or catalase or control vector. In the presence of 5% smoke extract, significant delay was evident in both adenosine-mediated and CPCA-mediated wound closure. However, cells pretreated with N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a nonspecific antioxidant, reversed smoke extract–mediated inhibition. We found that cells overexpressing mitochondrial catalase repealed the smoke extract inhibition of CPCA-stimulated wound closure, whereas superoxide dismutase overexpression exerted no effect. Kinase experiments revealed that smoke extract significantly reduced the A2A-mediated activation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate–dependent protein kinase. However, pretreatment with NAC reversed this effect. In conclusion, our data suggest that cigarette smoke exposure impairs A2A-stimulated wound repair via a reactive oxygen species–dependent mechanism, thereby providing a better understanding of adenosine signaling that may direct the development of pharmacological tools for the treatment of chronic inflammatory lung disorders.
PMCID: PMC3707376  PMID: 23371060
cigarette smoke extract; adenosine; wound closure; oxidants
3.  Toll-Like Receptor 2 Regulates Organic Dust–Induced Airway Inflammation 
Organic dust exposure in agricultural environments results in significant airway inflammatory diseases. Gram-positive cell wall components are present in high concentrations in animal farming dusts, but their role in mediating dust-induced airway inflammation is not clear. This study investigated the role of Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2, a pattern recognition receptor for gram-positive cell wall products, in regulating swine facility organic dust extract (DE)–induced airway inflammation in mice. Isolated lung macrophages from TLR2 knockout mice demonstrated reduced TNF-α, IL-6, keratinocyte chemoattractant/CXCL1, but not macrophage inflammatory protein-2/CXCL2 expression, after DE stimulation ex vivo. Next, using an established mouse model of intranasal inhalation challenge, we analyzed bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lung tissue in TLR2-deficient and wild-type (WT) mice after single and repetitive DE challenge. Neutrophil influx and select cytokines/chemokines were significantly lower in TLR2-deficient mice at 5 and 24 hours after single DE challenge. After daily exposure to DE for 2 weeks, there were significant reductions in total cellularity, neutrophil influx, and TNF-α, IL-6, CXCL1, but not CXCL2 expression, in TLR2-deficient mice as compared with WT animals. Lung pathology revealed that bronchiolar inflammation, but not alveolar inflammation, was reduced in TLR2-deficient mice after repetitive exposure. Airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine after dust exposure was similar in both groups. Finally, airway inflammatory responses in WT mice after challenge with a TLR2 agonist, peptidoglycan, resembled DE-induced responses. Collectively, these results demonstrate that the TLR2 pathway is important in regulating swine facility organic dust–induced airway inflammation, which suggests the importance of TLR2 agonists in mediating large animal farming–induced airway inflammatory responses.
PMCID: PMC3208620  PMID: 21278324
Toll-like receptor 2; swine/pig facility; peptidoglycan; organic dust; lung pathology
4.  Long-Term Cigarette Smoke Exposure in a Mouse Model of Ciliated Epithelial Cell Function 
Exposure to cigarette smoke is associated with airway epithelial mucus cell hyperplasia and a decrease in cilia and ciliated cells. Few models have addressed the long-term effects of chronic cigarette smoke exposure on ciliated epithelial cells. Our previous in vitro studies showed that cigarette smoke decreases ciliary beat frequency (CBF) via the activation of protein kinase C (PKC). We hypothesized that chronic cigarette smoke exposure in an in vivo model would decrease airway epithelial cell ciliary beating in a PKC-dependent manner. We exposed C57BL/6 mice to whole-body cigarette smoke 2 hours/day, 5 days/week for up to 1 year. Tracheal epithelial cell CBF and the number of motile cells were measured after necropsy in cut tracheal rings, using high-speed digital video microscopy. Tracheal epithelial PKC was assayed according to direct kinase activity. At 6 weeks and 3 months of smoke exposure, the baseline CBF was slightly elevated (∼ 1 Hz) versus control mice, with no change in β-agonist–stimulated CBF between control mice and cigarette smoke–exposed mice. By 6 months of smoke exposure, the baseline CBF was significantly decreased (2–3 Hz) versus control mice, and a β-agonist failed to stimulate increased CBF. The loss of β-agonist–increased CBF continued at 9 months and 12 months of smoke exposure, and the baseline CBF was significantly decreased to less than one third of the control rate. In addition to CBF, ciliated cell numbers significantly decreased in response to smoke over time, with a significant loss of tracheal ciliated cells occurring between 6 and 12 months. In parallel with the slowing of CBF, significant PKC activation from cytosol to the membrane of tracheal epithelial cells was detected in mice exposed to smoke for 6–12 months.
PMCID: PMC2993085  PMID: 20042711
chronic cigarette smoke; cilia; PKC
5.  Ethanol Attenuates Contraction of Primary Cultured Rat Airway Smooth Muscle Cells 
Airway smooth muscle cells are the main effector cells involved in airway narrowing and have been used to study the signaling pathways involved in asthma-induced airway constriction. Our previous studies demonstrated that ethanol administration to mice attenuated methacholine-stimulated increases in airway responsiveness. Because ethanol administration attenuates airway responsiveness in mice, we hypothesized that ethanol directly blunts the ability of cultured airway smooth muscle cells to shorten. To test this hypothesis, we measured changes in the size of cultured rat airway smooth muscle (RASM) cells exposed to ethanol (100 mM) after treatment with methacholine. Ethanol markedly attenuated methacholine-stimulated cell shortening (methacholine-stimulated length change = 8.3 ± 1.2% for ethanol versus 43.9 ± 1.5% for control; P < 0.001). Ethanol-induced inhibition of methacholine-stimulated cell shortening was reversible 24 hours after removal of alcohol. To determine if ethanol acts through a cGMP-dependent pathway, incubation with ethanol for as little as 15 minutes produced a doubling of cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) activity. Furthermore, treatment with the PKG antagonist analog Rp-8Br-cGMPS (10 μM) inhibited ethanol-induced kinase activation when compared with control-treated cells. In contrast to the effect of ethanol on PKG, ethanol pretreatment did not activate a cAMP-dependent protein kinase. These data demonstrate that brief ethanol exposure reversibly prevents methacholine-stimulated RASM cell contraction. In addition, it appears that this effect is the result of activation of the cGMP/PKG kinase pathway. These findings implicate a direct effect of ethanol on airway smooth muscle cells as the basis for in vivo ethanol effects.
PMCID: PMC2970853  PMID: 19933378
alcohol; airway smooth muscle; methacholine; contraction; PKG
6.  Sequential Activation of Protein Kinase C Isoforms by Organic Dust Is Mediated by Tumor Necrosis Factor 
Dust samples collected from Nebraska swine confinement facilities (hog dust extract [HDE]) are known to elicit proinflammatory cytokine release from human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells in vitro. This response involves the activation of two protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms: PKCα and PKCɛ. Experiments were designed to investigate the relationship between the two isoenzymes and the degree to which each is responsible for cytokine release in HBE. Experiments also examined the contribution of TNF-α to IL-6 and IL-8 release. PKCα and PKCɛ activities were inhibited using isoform-specific pharmacologic inhibitors and genetically modified dominant-negative (DN) expressing cell lines. Release of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α was measured and PKC isoform activities assessed. We found that HDE stimulates PKCα activity by 1 hour, and within 6 hours the activity returns to baseline. PKCα-specific inhibitor or PKCαDN cells abolish this HDE-mediated effect. Both IL-6 and IL-8 release are likewise diminished under these conditions compared with normal HBE, and treatment with TNF-α–neutralizing antibody does not further inhibit cytokine release. In contrast, PKCɛ activity was enhanced by 6 hours after HDE treatment. TNF-α blockade abrogated this effect. HDE-stimulated IL-6, but not IL-8 release in PKCɛDN cells. The concentration of TNF-α released by HDE-stimulated HBE is sufficient to have a potent cytokine-eliciting effect. A time course of TNF-α release suggests that TNF-α is produced after PKCα activation, but before PKCɛ. These results suggest a temporal ordering of events responsible for the release of cytokines, which initiate and exacerbate inflammatory events in the airways of people exposed to agricultural dust.
PMCID: PMC2891498  PMID: 19635931
protein kinase C; hog barn dust; cytokine release; lung; airway epithelium
7.  Mutation of Murine Adenylate Kinase 7 Underlies a Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia Phenotype 
Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is a genetically and phenotypically heterogeneous disorder, characterized by progressive development of bronchiectasis, inflammation, and features characteristic of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We report here that a murine mutation of the evolutionarily conserved adenylate kinase 7 (Ak7) gene results in animals presenting with pathological signs characteristic of PCD, including ultrastructural ciliary defects and decreased ciliary beat frequency in respiratory epithelium. The mutation is associated with hydrocephalus, abnormal spermatogenesis, mucus accumulation in paranasal passages, and a dramatic respiratory pathology upon allergen challenge. Ak7 appears to be a marker for cilia with (9 + 2) microtubular organization. This is suggested by its tissue specificity of expression and also the stringent conservation of Ak7 ortholog structure only in protozoans and metazoans possessing motile (9 + 2) cilia. Collectively, our results indicate an ancestral and crucial role of Ak7 in maintaining ciliary structure and function, and suggest that mutations of the human ortholog may underlie a subset of genetically uncharacterized PCD cases.
PMCID: PMC2645528  PMID: 18776131
ciliopathies; airway epithelium; allergic inflammation; adenylate kinase; mouse model of disease
8.  Effects of Cigarette Smoke and Alcohol on Ciliated Tracheal Epithelium and Inflammatory Cell Recruitment 
Ciliated epithelium represents the first line of host defense against lung infection. Most alcoholics smoke and are at high risk for developing lung infections. We reported that cigarette smoke activates protein kinase C (PKC) and alcohol desensitizes ciliary beat frequency (CBF) to β-agonists in bovine bronchial epithelial cells in vitro. The combined effect of smoke and alcohol exposure on mouse ciliated tracheal epithelium has not been studied in vivo. We hypothesized that previously observed in vitro effects of smoke and alcohol exposure could be replicated in vivo. Female C57BL/6 mice were exposed to whole body cigarette smoke only, 20% alcohol ad libitum in drinking water only, or the combination of cigarette smoke plus alcohol for 6 wk. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cell populations, CBF, and airway kinase activity were assessed. Total BAL cells were decreased in animals exposed to alcohol alone and increased in animals exposed to smoke alone. Mice receiving smoke and alcohol had cell levels similar to smoke alone. Baseline CBF was not affected in any group; however, isoproterenol stimulation of CBF was blunted by alcohol exposure and actually slowed below baseline in the smoke plus alcohol group. Isoproterenol-induced PKA activity was inhibited in mice receiving alcohol independent of smoke exposure. Smoke activated PKC independent of alcohol. The isoproterenol-induced slowing below baseline of CBF after combined smoke and alcohol exposure demonstrates a novel ciliary impairment likely related to the combination of alcohol-mediated PKA desensitization and smoke-stimulated PKC activation, possibly through acetaldehyde present in the vapor phase of cigarette smoke.
PMCID: PMC2215768  PMID: 17079783
cilia; cigarette smoke; alcohol; ethanol; cAMP

Results 1-8 (8)