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1.  The Human Cathelicidin LL-37 Preferentially Promotes Apoptosis of Infected Airway Epithelium 
Cationic host defence peptides are key, evolutionarily conserved components of the innate immune system. The human cathelicidin LL-37 is an important cationic host defence peptide upregulated in infection and inflammation, including in the human lung, and has been shown to enhance the pulmonary clearance of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa in vivo by as yet undefined mechanisms. In addition to direct microbicidal potential, LL-37 can modulate inflammation and immune mechanisms in host defence against infection, including the capacity to modulate cell death pathways. We demonstrate that at physiologically relevant concentrations of LL-37, this peptide preferentially promoted the apoptosis of infected airway epithelium, via enhanced LL-37-induced mitochondrial membrane depolarisation and release of cytochrome c, with activation of caspases -9 and -3 and induction of apoptosis, which only occurred in the presence of both peptide and bacteria, but not with either stimulus alone. This synergistic induction of apoptosis in infected cells was caspase-dependent, contrasting with the caspase-independent cell death induced by supra-physiological levels of peptide alone. We demonstrate that the synergistic induction of apoptosis by LL-37 and P. aeruginosa required specific bacteria-epithelial cell interaction with whole, live bacteria, and bacterial invasion of the epithelial cell. We propose that LL-37-mediated apoptosis of infected, compromised airway epithelial cells might represent a novel inflammomodulatory role for this peptide in innate host defence, promoting clearance of respiratory pathogens.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2009-0250OC
PMCID: PMC2993089  PMID: 20097832
LL-37; cathelicidin; Cationic host defence peptide; antimicrobial peptide; airway epithelium; innate immunity; Pseudomonas; lung; apoptosis; cell death; Bax; Caspase; cystic fibrosis
2.  Hox Genes in the Lung 
doi:10.1165/ajrcmb.15.2.8703471
PMCID: PMC3938167  PMID: 8703471
3.  The a”MAZE”ing world of lung specific transgenic mice 
The purpose of this review is to give a comprehensive overview of transgenic mouse lines suitable for studying gene function and cellular lineage relationships in lung development, homeostasis, injury and repair. Many of the mouse strains reviewed in this article have been widely shared within the lung research community and new strains are continuously being developed. There are many useful transgenic lines that work to target subsets of lung cells, but it remains a challenge for investigators to select the correct transgenic modules for their experiment. This review covers both the tetracycline and tamoxifen inducible systems and will primarily focus on conditional lines that target the epithelial cells. We point out the limitations of each strain so investigators can choose the system that will work best for their scientific question. Current mesenchymal and endothelial lines are limited by the fact that they are not lung specific. These lines will be summarized in a brief overview. In addition, useful transgenic reporter mice for studying lineage relationships, promoter activity and signaling pathways will complete our lung specific conditional transgenic mouse-shopping list.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0372PS
PMCID: PMC3785140  PMID: 22180870
transgenic; conditional; lineage tracing; gene expression; lung; mouse
4.  Cytokine–Chemokine Networks in Experimental Mycobacterial and Schistosomal Pulmonary Granuloma Formation 
Type-1 and type-2 lung granulomas, respectively, elicited by bead immobilized Mycobacteria bovis and Schistosoma mansoni egg antigens (Ags) display different patterns of chemokine expression. This study tested the hypothesis that chemokine expression patterns were related to upstream cytokine signaling. Using quantitative transcript analysis, we defined expression profiles for 16 chemokines and then examined the in vivo effects of neutralizing antibodies against interferon-γ (IFN-γ), interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10, IL-12, and IL-13. Transcripts for CXCL2, −5, −9, −10, and −11 and the CCL chemokine, CCL3, and lymphotactin (XCL1), were largely enhanced by Th1-related cytokines, IFN-γ or IL-12. Transcripts for CCL11, CCL22, CCL17, and CCL1 were enhanced largely by Th2-related cytokines, IL-4, IL-10, or IL-13. Transcripts for CCL4, CCL2, CCL8, CCL7, and CCL12 were potentially induced by either Th1- or Th2-related cytokines, although some of these showed biased expression. IFN-γ and IL-4 enhanced the greatest complement of transcripts, and their neutralization had the greatest anti-inflammatory effect on type-1 and type-2 granulomas, respectively. Th1/Th2 cross-regulation was evident because endogenous Th2 cytokines inhibited type-1, whereas Th1 cytokines inhibited type-2 biased chemokines. These findings reveal a complex cytokine–chemokine regulatory network that dictates profiles of local chemokine expression during T cell–mediated granuloma formation.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2002-0241OC
PMCID: PMC3677198  PMID: 12600821
5.  Hydrogen Sulfide Inhibits Proliferation and Release of IL-8 from Human Airway Smooth Muscle Cells 
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is synthesized intracellularly by the enzymes cystathionine-γ-lyase and cystathionine-β-synthase (CBS), and is proposed to be a gasotransmitter with effects in modulating inflammation and cellular proliferation. We determined a role of H2S in airway smooth muscle (ASM) function. ASM were removed from resection or transplant donor lungs and were placed in culture. Proliferation of ASM was induced by FCS and the proinflammatory cytokine, IL-1β. Proliferation of ASM and IL-8 release were measured by bromodeoxyuridine incorporation and ELISA, respectively. Exposure of ASM to H2S “donors” inhibited this proliferation and IL-8 release. Methemoglobin, a scavenger of endogenous H2S, increased DNA synthesis induced by FCS and IL-1β. In addition, methemoglobin increased IL-8 release induced by FCS, but not by IL-1β, indicating a role for endogenous H2S in these systems. Inhibition of CBS, but not cystathionine-γ-lyase, reversed the inhibitory effect of H2S on proliferation and IL-8 release, indicating that this is dependent on CBS. CBS mRNA and protein expression were inhibited by H2S donors, and were increased by methemoglobin, indicating that CBS is the main enzyme responsible for endogenous H2S production. Finally, we found that exogenous H2S inhibited the phosphorylation of extracellular signal–regulated kinase–1/2 and p38, which could represent a mechanism by which H2S inhibited cellular proliferation and IL-8 release. In summary, H2S production provides a novel mechanism for regulation of ASM proliferation and IL-8 release. Therefore, regulation of H2S may represent a novel approach to controlling ASM proliferation and cytokine release that is found in patients with asthma.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0304OC
PMCID: PMC3577139  PMID: 21297080
hydrogen sulfide; airway smooth muscle; cystathionine-γ-lyase; cystathionine-β-synthase; extracellular signal–regulated kinase–1/2
6.  Pathophysiological Features of Asthma Develop in Parallel in House Dust Mite–Exposed Neonatal Mice 
Asthma frequently commences in early life during airway and immune development and exposure to new environmental challenges. Endobronchial biopsies from children with asthma are abnormal, and lung function is maximally reduced by 6 years of age. As longitudinal biopsy studies are unethical in children, the relationship between development of pathology and reduced lung function is unknown. We aimed to establish a novel neonatal mouse model of allergic airways disease to investigate the developmental sequence of the pathophysiologic features of asthma. Neonatal Balb/c mice were challenged three times weekly from Day 3 of life using intranasal house dust mite (HDM) or saline for up to 12 weeks. Weekly assessments of airway inflammation and remodeling were made. Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to methacholine was assessed from Week 2 onward. Total and eosinophilic inflammation was significantly increased in the lungs of HDM-exposed neonates from Week 2 onwards, and a peak was seen at 3 weeks. Goblet cells and peribronchiolar reticulin deposition were significantly increased in HDM-exposed neonates from Week 3, and peribronchiolar collagen was significantly greater from Week 4. HDM-exposed neonates had increased AHR from Week 2 onward. Although inflammation and AHR had subsided after 4 weeks without allergen challenge, the increased reticulin and collagen deposition persisted in HDM-exposed mice. Neonatal mice exposed to intranasal HDM developed eosinophilic inflammation, airway remodeling, and AHR as reported in pediatric asthma. Importantly, all abnormalities developed in parallel, not sequentially, between 2 and 3 weeks of age.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2008-0396OC
PMCID: PMC3380517  PMID: 19151316
pediatric; remodeling; asthma pathophysiology; mouse model; allergic airways disease
7.  Apoptosis of Airway Epithelial Cells 
LL-37 is a human cationic host defense peptide that is present in the specific granules of neutrophils, produced by epithelial cells from a variety of tissues, and is upregulated during inflammation, infection, and injury. It has been proposed to have a variety of antimicrobial functions, including both direct antimicrobial activity and immunomodulatory functions. Using the TUNEL assay it was demonstrated that LL-37 induced apoptosis in vitro in the A549 human lung and 16HBE4o- human airway epithelial cell lines, and in vivo in the murine airway. Peptide-induced apoptosis in vitro involved the activation of caspase pathways and was substantially inhibited by an inhibitor of caspase 3. Apoptosis was also inhibited by human serum, but not fetal bovine serum. Similarly, human but not fetal bovine serum inhibited the cellular internalization of LL-37 and the production of IL-8 in response to LL-37 treatment of epithelial cells. The protective effects of human serum were also observed with high-density lipoproteins but not by the core peptide apolipoprotein A1, providing one possible mechanism of human serum inhibition of apoptosis. We propose that LL-37–induced apoptosis of epithelial cells at low serum tissue sites may have a protective role against bacterial infection.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2005-0170OC
PMCID: PMC2948534  PMID: 16340000
apoptosis; cathelicidin; epithelial cells; host defense peptide; LL-37
8.  Do Biophysical Properties of the Airway Smooth Muscle in Culture Predict Airway Hyperresponsiveness? 
Airway hyperresponsiveness is a cardinal feature of asthma but remains largely unexplained. In asthma, the key end-effector of acute airway narrowing is the airway smooth muscle (ASM) cell. Here we report novel biophysical properties of the ASM cell isolated from the relatively hyporesponsive Lewis rat versus the relatively hyperresponsive Fisher rat. We focused upon the ability of the cytoskeleton (CSK) of the ASM cell to stiffen, to generate contractile forces, and to remodel. We used optical magnetic twisting cytometry to measure cell stiffness and traction microscopy to measure contractile forces. To measure remodeling dynamics, we quantified spontaneous nanoscale motions of a microbead tightly anchored to the CSK. In response to a panel of contractile and relaxing agonists, Fisher ASM cells showed greater stiffening, bigger contractile forces, and faster CSK remodeling; they also exhibited higher effective temperature of the CSK matrix. These physical differences measured at the level of the single cell in vitro were consistent with strain-related differences in airway responsiveness in vivo. As such, comprehensive biophysical characterizations of CSK dynamics at the level of the cell in culture may provide novel perspectives on the ASM and its contributions to the excessive airway narrowing in asthma.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2005-0453OC
PMCID: PMC2553364  PMID: 16484685
airway hyperresponsiveness; airway smooth muscle; cytoskeleton dynamics; inbred strains; remodeling
9.  Plasminogen Activation–Induced Pericellular Fibronectin Proteolysis Promotes Fibroblast Apoptosis 
Apoptosis of fibroblasts/myofibroblasts is a critical event in the resolution of tissue repair responses; however, mechanisms for the regulation of (myo)fibroblast apoptosis/survival remain unclear. In this study, we demonstrate counter-regulatory interactions between the plasminogen activation system and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) in the control of fibroblast apoptosis. Plasmin treatment induced fibroblast apoptosis in a time- and dose-dependent manner in association with proteolytic degradation of extracellular matrix proteins, as detected by the release of soluble fibronectin peptides. Plasminogen, which was activated to plasmin by fibroblasts, also induced fibronectin proteolysis and fibroblast apoptosis, both of which were blocked by α2-antiplasmin but not by inhibition of matrix metalloproteinase activity. TGF-β1 protected fibroblasts from apoptosis induced by plasminogen but not from apoptosis induced by exogenous plasmin. The protection from plasminogen-induced apoptosis conferred by TGF-β1 is associated with the up-regulation of plasminogen activator-1 (PAI-1) expression and inhibition of plasminogen activation. Moreover, lung fibroblasts from mice genetically deficient in PAI-1 lose the protective effect of TGF-β1 against plasminogen-induced apoptosis. These findings support a novel role for the plasminogen activation system in the regulation of fibroblast apoptosis and a potential role of TGF-β1/PAI-1 in promoting (myo)fibroblast survival in chronic fibrotic disorders.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2007-0174OC
PMCID: PMC2176129  PMID: 17656680
myofibroblast; fibrosis; transforming growth factor-β; anoikis; plasminogen activator inhibitor 1
10.  Species-Specific Differences in Mouse and Human Airway Epithelial Biology of Recombinant Adeno-Associated Virus Transduction 
Differences in airway epithelial biology between mice and humans have presented challenges to evaluating gene therapies for cystic fibrosis (CF) using murine models. In this context, recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) type 2 and rAAV5 vectors have very different transduction efficiencies in human air-liquid interface (ALI) airway epithelia (rAAV2 ≅ rAAV5) as compared with mouse lung (rAAV5≫rAAV2). It is unclear if these differences are due to species-specific airway biology or limitations of ALI cultures to reproduce in vivo airway biology. To this end, we compared rAAV2 and rAAV5 transduction biology in mouse and human ALI cultures, and investigated the utility of murine ΔF508 cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) ALI epithelia to study CFTR complementation. Our results demonstrate that mouse ALI epithelia retain in vivo preferences for rAAV serotype transduction from the apical membrane (rAAV5≫rAAV2) not seen in human epithelia (rAAV2 ≅ rAAV5). Viral binding of rAAV2 and rAAV5 to the apical surface of mouse ALI airway epithelia was not significantly different, and proteasome-modulating agents significantly enhanced rAAV2 transduction to a level equivalent to that of rAAV5 in the presence of these agents, suggesting that the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway represents a more significant intracellular block for rAAV2 transduction of mouse airway epithelia. Interestingly, cAMP-inducible chloride currents were enhanced in ΔF 508C FTR mouse ALI cultures, making this model incompatible with CFTR complementation studies. These studies emphasize species-specific differences in airway biology between mice and humans that significantly influence the use of mice as surrogate models for rAAV transduction and gene therapy for CF.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2005-0189OC
PMCID: PMC1752084  PMID: 16195538
recombinant adeno-associated virus; airway model; serotype; tropism
11.  Dissection of the hyper-adhesive phenotype of airway eosinophils in asthma 
Asthma is characterized by appearance of eosinophils in the airway. Eosinophils purified from the airway 48 hours after segmental antigen challenge are described as exhibiting greater adhesion to albumin-coated surfaces via an unidentified β2 integrin and increased expression of αMβ2 (CD11b/18) in comparison to purified blood eosinophils. We have investigated the determinants of this hyper-adhesive phenotype. Airway eosinophils exhibited increased reactivity with the CBRM1/5 anti-αM activation-sensitive antibody as well as enhanced adhesion to VCAM-1 (CD106) and diverse ligands, including albumin, ICAM-1 (CD54), fibrinogen, and vitronectin. Purified blood eosinophils did not adhere to the latter diverse ligands. Enhanced adhesion of airway eosinophils was blocked by anti-αMβ2. Podosomes, structures implicated in cell movement and proteolysis of matrix proteins, were larger and more common on airway eosinophils adherent to VCAM-1 when compared to blood eosinophils. Incubation of blood eosinophils with IL-5 replicated the phenotype of airway eosinophils. That is, IL-5 enhanced recognition of αM by CBRM1/5; stimulated αMβ2-mediated adhesion to VCAM-1, albumin, ICAM-1, fibrinogen, and vitronectin; and increased podosome formation on VCAM-1. Thus, the hyper-adhesion of airway eosinophils after antigen challenge is mediated by upregulated and activated αMβ2.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2006-0027OC
PMCID: PMC1550734  PMID: 16601240
human; eosinophils; adhesion molecules; cell trafficking
12.  4E-BP phosphorylation and eIF4E release are required for airway smooth muscle hypertrophy 
The molecular mechanisms of airway smooth muscle hypertrophy, a feature of severe asthma, are poorly understood. We previously established a conditionally-immortalized human bronchial smooth muscle cell line with a temperature-sensitive SV40 large T antigen. Temperature shift and loss of large T cause G1-phase cell cycle arrest that is accompanied by increased airway smooth muscle cell size. In the present study, we hypothesized that phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor-4E (eIF4E)-binding protein (4E-BP), which subsequently releases eIF4E and initiates cap-dependent mRNA translation, was required for airway smooth muscle hypertrophy. Treatment of cells with chemical inhibitors of PI 3-kinase and mTOR blocked protein synthesis and cell growth while decreasing the phosphorylation of 4E-BP and increasing the binding of 4E-BP to eIF4E, consistent with the notion that 4E-BP1 phosphorylation and eIF4E function are required for hypertrophy. To test this directly, we infected cells with a retrovirus encoding a phosphorylation site mutant of 4E-BP1 (AA-4E-BP-1) that dominantly inhibits eIF4E. Upon temperature shift, cells infected with AA-4E-BP-1, but not empty vector, failed to undergo hypertrophic growth. We conclude that phosphorylation of 4EBP, eIF4E release and cap-dependent protein synthesis are required for hypertrophy of human airway smooth muscle cells.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2004-0411OC
PMCID: PMC1578595  PMID: 15901615
13.  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
14.  Post infection A77-1726 blocks pathophysiologic sequelae of respiratory syncytial virus infection 
Despite respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis remaining the most common cause of lower respiratory tract disease in infants worldwide, treatment has progressed little in the past 30 years.
To determine whether postinfection administration of de novo pyrimidine synthesis inhibitors could prevent the reduction in alveolar fluid clearance (AFC) and hypoxemia that occurs at day 2 following intranasal infection of BALB/c mice with RSV.
BALB/c mice were infected intranasally with RSV strain A2. AFC was measured in anesthetized, ventilated mice following instillation of 5% BSA into the dependent lung.
Post-infection systemic treatment with leflunomide has no effect on AFC. However, when added to the AFC instillate, leflunomide’s active metabolite, A77-1726, blocks RSV-mediated inhibition of AFC at day 2. This block is reversed by uridine (which allows pyrimidine synthesis via the scavenger pathway) and not recapitulated by genistein (which mimics the tyrosine kinase inhibitor effects of A77-1726), indicating that the effect is specific for the de novo pyrimidine synthesis pathway. More importantly, when administered intranasally at day 1, A77-1726, but not its vehicle DMSO, maintains its beneficial effect on AFC and lung water content until day 2. Intranasal instillation of A77-1726 at day 1 also reduces BAL nucleotide levels, lung inflammation, and hypoxemia at day 2 without impairing viral replication at day 2 or viral clearance at day 8.
Post-infection intranasal or aerosolized treatment with pyrimidine synthesis inhibitors may provide symptomatic relief from the pathophysiologic sequelae of impaired AFC in children with RSV bronchiolitis.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2007-0142OC
PMCID: PMC2084468  PMID: 17541010
Paramyxovirus; leflunomide; dihydroorotate dehydrogenase; pulmonary edema
15.  Adenosine A1 receptors mediate mobilization of calcium in human bronchial smooth muscle cells 
Adenosine stimulates contraction of airway smooth muscle, but the mechanism is widely considered indirect, depending on release of contractile agonists from mast cells and nerves. The goal was to determine whether adenosine, by itself, directly regulates calcium signaling in human bronchial smooth muscle cells (HBSMC). Primary cultures of HBSMC from normal subjects were loaded with fura 2-AM and cytosolic calcium concentrations ([Ca2+]i) were determined ratiometrically by imaging single cells. The non-selective adenosine receptor agonist, 5'-N-ethylcarboxamidoadenosine (NECA), and the adenosine A1 receptor agonist, N6-cyclopentyladenosine (CPA), both stimulated rapid, transient increases in [Ca2+]i. In contrast, there were no calcium responses to 2-p-(2-carboxyethyl)phenethylamino-5'-N-ethylcarboxamido-adenosine (100 nM) or N6-(3-iodobenzyl)-adenosine-5'-N-methyluronamide (100 nM), selective agonists at adenosine A2A receptors and adenosine A3 receptors, respectively. Calcium responses to NECA and CPA were inhibited by 8-cyclopentyl-1,3-dipropylxanthine, an adenosine A1 receptor antagonist, and by pertussis toxin (PTX). In other experiments, NECA stimulated calcium transients in the absence of extracellular calcium, but not when cells were preincubated in cyclopiazonic acid or thapsigargin to empty intracellular calcium stores. Calcium responses were attenuated by xestospongin C and 2-aminoethoxydiphenylborane, inhibitors of inositol trisphosphate (IP3) receptors, and by U73122, an inhibitor of phospholipase C. It was concluded that stimulation of adenosine A1 receptors on HBSMC rapidly mobilizes intracellular calcium stores by a mechanism dependent on PTX-sensitive G proteins, and IP3 signaling. These findings suggest that, in addition to its well-established indirect effects on HBSMC, adenosine also has direct effects on contractile signaling pathways.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2005-0290OC
PMCID: PMC2065849  PMID: 16709961
Adenosine; calcium; human bronchial smooth muscle; adenosine A1 receptor; cAMP; insulin
16.  Matrix Metalloproteinases Promote Inflammation and Fibrosis in Asbestos-Induced Lung Injury in Mice 
Inhalation of asbestos fibers causes pulmonary inflammation and eventual pulmonary fibrosis (asbestosis). Although the underlying molecular events are poorly understood, protease/antiprotease and oxidant/antioxidant imbalances are believed to contribute to the disease. Implicated in other forms of pulmonary fibrosis, the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have not been examined in asbestosis. We therefore hypothesized that MMPs play a pathogenic role in asbestosis development. Wild-type C57BL/6 mice were intratracheally instilled with 0.1 mg crocidolite asbestos, causing an inflammatory response at 1 d and a developing fibrotic response at 7, 14, and 28 d. Gelatin zymography demonstrated an increase in MMP-9 (gelatinase B) during the inflammatory phase, while MMP-2 (gelatinase A) was profoundly increased in the fibrotic phase. Immunohistochemistry revealed MMP-9 in and around bronchiolar and airspace neutrophils that were often associated with visible asbestos fibers. MMP-2 was found in fibrotic regions at 7, 14, and 28 d. No increases in RNA levels of MMP-2, MMP-9, or MMP-8 were found, but levels of MMP-7, MMP-12, and MMP-13 RNA did increase at 14 d. The MMP inhibitors, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2, were also increased at 7–28 d after asbestos exposure. To confirm the importance of MMP activity in disease progression, mice exposed to asbestos were given daily injections of the MMP inhibitor, GM6001. MMP inhibition reduced inflammation and fibrosis in asbestos-treated mice. Collectively, these data suggest that MMPs contribute to the pathogenesis of asbestosis through effects on inflammation and fibrosis development.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2005-0471OC
PMCID: PMC1820635  PMID: 16574944
asbestos; extracellular superoxide dismutase; matrix metalloproteinase; pulmonary fibrosis
17.  Bioelectric Properties of Chloride Channels in Human, Pig, Ferret, and Mouse Airway Epithelia 
The development of effective therapies for cystic fibrosis (CF) requires animal models that can appropriately reproduce the human disease phenotype. CF mouse models have demonstrated cAMP-inducible, non–CF transmembrane conductance regulator (non-CFTR) chloride transport in conducting airway epithelia, and this property is thought to be responsible for the lack of a spontaneous CF-like phenotype in the lung. Thus, an understanding of species diversity in airway epithelial electrolyte transport and CFTR function is critical to developing better models for CF. Two species currently being used in attempts to develop better animal models of CF include the pig and ferret. In the study reported here, we sought to comparatively characterize the bioelectric properties of in vitro polarized airway epithelia—from human, mouse, pig and ferret—grown at the air–liquid interface (ALI). Bioelectric properties analyzed include amiloride-sensitive Na+ transport, 4,4′-diisothiocyanato-stilbene-2,2′-disulfonic acid (DIDS)-sensitive Cl− transport, and cAMP-sensitive Cl− transport. In addition, as an index for CFTR functional conservation, we evaluated the ability of four CFTR inhibitors, including glibenclamide, 5-nitro-2-(3-phenylpropyl-amino)-benzoic acid, CFTR inh-172, and CFTRinh-GlyH101, to block cAMP-mediated Cl− transport. Compared with human epithelia, pig epithelia demonstrated enhanced amiloride-sensitive Na+ transport. In contrast, ferret epithelia exhibited significantly reduced DIDS-sensitive Cl− transport. Interestingly, although the four CFTR inhibitors effectively blocked cAMP-mediated Cl− secretion in human airway epithelia, each species tested demonstrated unique differences in its responsiveness to these inhibitors. These findings suggest the existence of substantial species-specific differences at the level of the biology of airway epithelial electrolyte transport, and potentially also in terms of CFTR structure/function.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2006-0286OC
PMCID: PMC1894945  PMID: 17008635
cystic fibrosis; airway biology; species; ion transport; airway epithelium
18.  Regulation of Bcl-xL expression in lung vascular smooth muscle 
Pulmonary hypertension is characterized by thickened pulmonary arterial walls due to increased number of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMC). Apoptosis of PASMC may play important roles in regulating the PASMC number and may be useful for reducing pulmonary vascular thickening. The present study examined the regulation of an anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-xL. Bcl-xL expression was found to be increased in the pulmonary artery of chronic hypoxia treated rats with pulmonary vascular remodeling. Adenovirus-mediated gene transfer of Bcl-xL indeed showed that this protein has anti-apoptotic activities in PASMC. Treatment of remodeled pulmonary artery with sodium nitroprusside (SNP) reduced Bcl-xL expression by targeting the bcl-xL promoter. The bcl-xL promoter contains two GATA elements, and SNP decreases the GATA-4 DNA binding activity. Overexpression of GATA-4 attenuated the SNP-mediated suppression of Bcl-xL expression, providing direct evidence for the role of GATA-4 in Bcl-xL gene transcription. We identified that SNP targets the 250 proximal region of the gata4 promoter and suppresses its gene transcription. Thus, inducers of pulmonary hypertension enhance anti-apoptotic Bcl-xL gene transcription, which can be suppressed by targeting the gata4 gene transcription.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2006-0359OC
PMCID: PMC1868666  PMID: 17272823
Apoptosis; Genes; Pulmonary hypertension; Smooth muscle
19.  Retinoic Acid Inhibits Airway Smooth Muscle Cell Migration 
Airway remodeling in chronic asthma is characterized by increased smooth muscle mass that is associated with the reduction of the bronchial lumen as well as airway hyperresponsiveness. The development of agents that inhibit smooth muscle growth is therefore of interest for therapy to prevent asthma-associated airway remodeling. All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) suppresses growth of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) from the systemic and pulmonary circulation. The present study investigated the effects of ATRA on human bronchial (airway) SMCs. Human bronchial SMCs were found to express mRNAs for retinoic acid receptor (RAR)-α, -β, -γ, and retinoid X receptor (RXR)-α, -β, but not RXR-γ. Although ATRA was not effective in inhibiting proliferation or in inducing apoptosis in airway SMCs, we found that ATRA (0.2–2 μM) inhibited the SMC migration in response to platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), as determined in a modified Boyden chamber assay. Both RAR and RXR agonists also blocked PDGF-induced airway SMC migration. ATRA also inhibited PDGF-induced actin reorganization associated with migration. PDGF-induced actin reorganization and migration were blocked by inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K) and Akt. However, migration was blocked by inhibitors of the MEK/ ERK pathway, with no effect on cytoskeletal reorganization. ATRA suppressed PDGF-induced Akt activation without influencing ERK activation. RAR was found to form protein–protein interactions with the p85 PI3K subunit. These results suggest that retinoic acid inhibits airway SMC migration through the modulation of the PI3K/Akt pathway.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2005-0306OC
PMCID: PMC1831536  PMID: 16456186
airway; migration; retinoic acid; signal transduction; smooth muscle
20.  Role of Bioavailable Iron in Coal Dust-Induced Activation of Activator Protein-1 and Nuclear Factor of Activated T Cells 
Activator protein-1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) are two important transcription factors responsible for the regulation of cytokines, which are involved in cell proliferation and inflammation. Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) is an occupational lung disease that may be related to chronic inflammation caused by coal dust exposure. In the present study, we demonstrate that coal from the Pennsylvania (PA) coalmine region, which has a high prevalence of CWP, can activate both AP-1 and NFAT in JB6 mouse epidermal cells. In contrast, coal from the Utah (UT) coalmine region, which has a low prevalence of CWP, has no such effects. The PA coal stimulates mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family members of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) and p38 MAPK but not c-Jun-NH2-terminal kinases, as determined by the phosphorylation assay. The increase in AP-1 by the PA coal was completely eliminated by the pretreatment of cells with PD98059, a specific MAPK kinase inhibitor, and SB202190, a p38 kinase inhibitor, further confirming that the PA coal-induced AP-1 activation is mediated through ERKs and p38 MAPK pathways. Deferoxamine (DFO), an iron chelator, synergistically enhanced the PA coal-induced AP-1 activity, but inhibited NFAT activity. For comparison, cells were treated with ferrous sulfate and/or DFO. We have found that iron transactivated both AP-1 and NFAT, and DFO further enhanced iron-induced AP-1 activation but inhibited NFAT. These results indicate that activation of AP-1 and NFAT by the PA coal is through bioavailable iron present in the coal. These data are in agreement with our previous findings that the prevalence of CWP correlates well with levels of bioavailable iron in coals from various mining regions.
PMCID: PMC2965057  PMID: 12397016
21.  4-Hydroxynonenal Induces Rat γ-Glutamyl Transpeptidase through Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase-Mediated Electrophile Response Element/Nuclear Factor Erythroid 2-Related Factor 2 Signaling 
γ-Glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) plays critical roles in glutathione homeostasis and metabolism. Rat GGT is a single-copy gene from which seven types of GGT mRNA with a common protein encoding sequence, but different 5′-untranslated regions, may be transcribed. We previously showed that type V-2 was the predominant form of GGT mRNA in rat L2 epithelial cells, and that it could be induced by 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE) through the electrophile response element (EpRE) located in GGT promoter 5 (GP5). Here, we report transcription factors binding to GP5 EpRE and the involved signaling pathways. Immunodepletion gel shift assays demonstrated that GP5 EpRE bound JunB, c-Jun, FosB, and Fra2 from unstimulated cells, and that after exposure to HNE, EpRE binding complexes contained nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor (Nrf) 1, Nrf2, JunB, c-Jun, FosB, c-Fos, Fra1, and Fra2. HNE-induced binding of Nrf2 and c-Jun in GP5 EpRE was confirmed by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Using reporter assays and specific inhibitors, we found that HNE induction of rat GGT mRNA V-2 was dependent on activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), but not protein kinase C or phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. Pretreatment with ERK and p38MAPK inhibitors also blocked HNE-increased EpRE binding. HNE-increased nuclear content of Nrf1, Nrf2, and c-Jun in L2 cells was partially blocked by inhibition of either ERK1/2 or p38MAPK and completely blocked by simultaneous inhibition of both MAPKs. In conclusion, HNE induces GGT mRNA V-2 through altered EpRE transcription factor binding mediated by both ERK and p38MAPK.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2005-0280OC
PMCID: PMC2696200  PMID: 16195535
electrophile response element; γ-glutamyl transpeptidase; glutathione; 4-hydroxynonenal; nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2
22.  Enhancing antitumor immunity perioperatively: a matter of timing, cooperation, & specificity 
doi:10.1165/rcmb.F266
PMCID: PMC2640487  PMID: 12707008
Natural Killer cells; macrophages; biological response modifier; innate immunity
23.  Monocytes Recruited to the Lungs of Mice during Immune Inflammation Ingest Apoptotic Cells Poorly 
Apoptotic cells must be cleared to resolve inflammation, but few resident alveolar macrophages (AMø) from normal lungs ingest apoptotic cells. We examined how Mø ingestion of apoptotic cells is altered during immune inflammation induced by intratracheal challenge of primed C57BL/6 mice using sheep red blood cells. Resident AMø were labeled in situ before challenge using intravenous PKH26 to distinguish them from recruited monocytes. Using flow cytometry, we identified phagocytosis of fluorescently-labeled apoptotic thymocytes by alveolar mononuclear phagocytes in vitro and in vivo, and measured surface molecule expression. Intratracheal challenge induced rapid recruitment of monocytes, peaking at Day 3 and decreasing thereafter, whereas numbers of resident AMø did not change significantly. At all times, the percentage of phagocytes ingesting apoptotic thymocytes in vitro was greater among resident AMø (28–45%) than among recruited monocytes (9–19%), but was low in both cell types relative to ingestion of immunoglobulin-opsonized targets. There was also a nonsignificant trend toward lower ingestion by monocytes in vivo. MerTK, a receptor tyrosine kinase crucial for apoptotic cell phagocytosis, was expressed by resident AMø, but not by recruited monocytes. Relative to resident AMø, monocytes recruited to the alveolus ingest apoptotic cells meagerly, possibly due to absence of MerTK expression.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2004-0108OC
PMCID: PMC2267037  PMID: 15563692
apoptosis; adhesion molecules; mice; inbred strains; macrophage; receptor tyrosine kinase
24.  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.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2005-0440OC
PMCID: PMC2215768  PMID: 17079783
cilia; cigarette smoke; alcohol; ethanol; cAMP
25.  Large Conductance Ca2+-Activated K+ Channels Sense Acute Changes in Oxygen Tension in Alveolar Epithelial Cells 
The rise in alveolar oxygen tension (PO2) that occurs as the newborn infant takes its first breaths induces removal of liquid from the lung lumen due to ion transport across the alveolar epithelium and the activity of alveolar Na+ channel (ENaC). In the present study, we have aimed to identify an ion conductance in alveolar epithelial A549 cells that responds to acute changes in PO2. Variation in PO2 did not affect single-channel ENaC activity. However, in these cells we have detected single-channel conductance having properties similar to those of large conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (BKCa) channels. Reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting demonstrated presence of α-BKCa channel subunit and iberiotoxin, a blocker of BKCa channels, inhibited whole cell K+ current. Chronic changes in PO2 did not affect expression, recruitment, or function of BKCa channels in A549 cells. In contrast, acute changes of PO2 regulated the BKCa channel activity by controlling the channel mean open time. This effect of PO2 was insensitive to inhibitor of flavoproteins, diphenylene iodinium. In addition, decrease in PO2 and iberiotoxin induced membrane depolarization and Ca2+ oscillations in A549 cells. We conclude that BKCa channels serve as oxygen sensors in human alveolar A549 epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC2134978  PMID: 12594063

Results 1-25 (27)