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1.  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
2.  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
3.  Requirement for Chemokine Receptor 5 in the Development of Allergen-Induced Airway Hyperresponsiveness and Inflammation 
Chemokine receptor (CCR) 5 is expressed on dendritic cells, macrophages, CD8 cells, memory CD4 T cells, and stromal cells, and is frequently used as a marker of T helper type 1 cells. Interventions that abrogate CCR5 or interfere with its ligand binding have been shown to alter T helper type 2–induced inflammatory responses. The role of CCR5 on allergic airway responses is not defined. CCR5-deficient (CCR5−/−) and wild-type (CCR5+/+) mice were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA) and allergic airway responses were monitored 48 hours after the last OVA challenge. Cytokine levels in lung cell culture supernatants were also assessed. CCR5−/− mice showed significantly lower airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and lower numbers of total cells, eosinophils, and lymphocytes in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid compared with CCR5+/+ mice after sensitization and challenge. The levels of IL-4 and IL-13 in BAL fluid of CCR5−/− mice were lower than in CCR5+/+ mice. Decreased numbers of lung T cells were also detected in CCR5−/− mice after sensitization and challenge. Transfer of OVA-sensitized T cells from CCR5+/+, but not transfer of CCR5−/− cells, into CCR5−/− mice restored AHR and numbers of eosinophils in BAL fluid after OVA challenge. Accordingly, the numbers of airway-infiltrating donor T cells were significantly higher in the recipients of CCR5+/+ T cells. Taken together, these data suggest that CCR5 plays a pivotal role in allergen-induced AHR and airway inflammation, and that CCR5 expression on T cells is essential to the accumulation of these cells in the airways.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0465OC
PMCID: PMC3262662  PMID: 21757680
rodent; T cells; cytokines; chemokines; lung
4.  Ezrin, Radixin, and Moesin Are Phosphorylated in Response to 2-Methoxyestradiol and Modulate Endothelial Hyperpermeability 
We showed previously that microtubule disruptor 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME) induces hyperpermeability of the endothelial monolayer via mechanisms that include the activation of p38 and Rho kinase (ROCK) and rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton. Using the protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitors Ro-31–7549 and Ro-32–0432, we show in vitro and in vivo that 2ME-induced barrier dysfunction is also PKC-dependent. The known PKC substrates ezrin, radixin, and moesin (ERM) were recently implicated in the regulation of endothelial permeability. This study tested the hypotheses that ERM proteins are phosphorylated in response to 2ME, and that this phosphorylation is involved in 2ME-induced barrier dysfunction. We show that the application of 2ME leads to a dramatic increase in the level of ERM phosphorylation. This increase is attenuated in cells pretreated with the microtubule stabilizer taxol. In human pulmonary artery endothelial cells (HPAECs), the phosphorylation of ERM occurs in a p38-dependent and PKC-dependent manner. The activation of p38 appears to occur upstream from the activation of PKC, in response to 2ME. Phosphorylated ERM are localized at the cell periphery during the early phase of response to 2ME (15 minutes), and colocalize with F-actin branching points during the later phase of response (60 minutes). Using the short interfering RNA approach, we also showed that individual ERM depletion significantly attenuates 2ME-induced hyperpermeability. HPAEC monolayers, depleted of ERM proteins and monolayers, overexpressing phosphorylation-deficient ERM mutants, exhibit less attenuation of 2ME-induced barrier disruption in response to the PKC inhibitor Ro-31–7549. These results suggest a critical role of PKC activation in response to microtubule-disrupting agents, and implicate the phosphorylation of ERM in the barrier dysfunction induced by 2ME.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0092OC
PMCID: PMC3262663  PMID: 21659656
2-methoxyestradiol; ERM; PKC; phosphorylation; barrier dysfunction
5.  The Association of Genome-Wide Significant Spirometric Loci with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Susceptibility 
Two recent metaanalyses of genome-wide association studies conducted by the CHARGE and SpiroMeta consortia identified novel loci yielding evidence of association at or near genome-wide significance (GWS) with FEV1 and FEV1/FVC. We hypothesized that a subset of these markers would also be associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) susceptibility. Thirty-two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in or near 17 genes in 11 previously identified GWS spirometric genomic regions were tested for association with COPD status in four COPD case-control study samples (NETT/NAS, the Norway case-control study, ECLIPSE, and the first 1,000 subjects in COPDGene; total sample size, 3,456 cases and 1,906 controls). In addition to testing the 32 spirometric GWS SNPs, we tested a dense panel of imputed HapMap2 SNP markers from the 17 genes located near the 32 GWS SNPs and in a set of 21 well studied COPD candidate genes. Of the previously identified GWS spirometric genomic regions, three loci harbored SNPs associated with COPD susceptibility at a 5% false discovery rate: the 4q24 locus including FLJ20184/INTS12/GSTCD/NPNT, the 6p21 locus including AGER and PPT2, and the 5q33 locus including ADAM19. In conclusion, markers previously associated at or near GWS with spirometric measures were tested for association with COPD status in data from four COPD case-control studies, and three loci showed evidence of association with COPD susceptibility at a 5% false discovery rate.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0055OC
PMCID: PMC3262664  PMID: 21659657
6.  Type 2 Deiodinase and Host Responses of Sepsis and Acute Lung Injury 
The role of thyroid hormone metabolism in clinical outcomes of the critically ill remains unclear. Using preclinical models of acute lung injury (ALI), we assessed the gene and protein expression of type 2 deiodinase (DIO2), a key driver for synthesis of biologically active triiodothyronine, and addressed potential association of DIO2 genetic variants with ALI in a multiethnic cohort. DIO2 gene and protein expression levels in murine lung were validated by microarrays and immunoblotting. Lung injury was assessed by levels of bronchoalveolar lavage protein and leukocytes. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms were genotyped and ALI susceptibility association assessed. Significant increases in both DIO2 gene and D2 protein expression were observed in lung tissues from murine ALI models (LPS- and ventilator-induced lung injury), with expression directly increasing with the extent of lung injury. Mice with reduced levels of DIO2 expression (by silencing RNA) demonstrated reduced thyroxine levels in plasma and increased lung injury (increased bronchoalveolar lavage protein and leukocytes), suggesting a protective role for DIO2 in ALI. The G (Ala) allele of the Thr92Ala coding single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs225014) was protective in severe sepsis and severe sepsis–associated ALI after adjustments for age, sex, and genetic ancestry in a logistic regression model in European Americans. Our studies indicate that DIO2 is a novel ALI candidate gene, the nonsynonymous Thr92Ala coding variant of which confers ALI protection. Increased DIO2 expression may dampen the ALI inflammatory response, thereby strengthening the premise that thyroid hormone metabolism is intimately linked to the integrated response to inflammatory injury in critically ill patients.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0179OC
PMCID: PMC3262665  PMID: 21685153
acute respiratory distress syndrome; hypothyroidism; mechanical ventilation; sepsis
7.  Conditional Deletion of Nrf2 in Airway Epithelium Exacerbates Acute Lung Injury and Impairs the Resolution of Inflammation 
Oxidant stress, resulting from an excess of reactive electrophiles produced in the lung by both resident (epithelial and endothelial) and infiltrated leukocytes, is thought to play an obligatory role in tissue injury and abnormal repair. Previously, using a conventional (whole-body) knockout model, we showed that antioxidative gene induction regulated by the transcription factor Nrf2 is critical for mitigating oxidant-induced (hyperoxic) stress, as well as for preventing and resolving tissue injury and inflammation in vivo. However, the contribution to pathogenic acute lung injury (ALI) of the cellular stress produced by resident versus infiltrated leukocytes remains largely undefined in vivo. To address this critical gap in our knowledge, we generated mice with a conditional deletion of Nrf2 specifically in Clara cells, subjected these mice to hyperoxic insult, and allowed them to recover. We report that a deficiency of Nrf2 in airway epithelia alone is sufficient to contribute to the development and progression of ALI. When exposed to hyperoxia, mice lacking Nrf2 in Clara cells showed exacerbated lung injury, accompanied by greater levels of cell death and epithelial sloughing than in their wild-type littermates. In addition, we found that an Nrf2 deficiency in Clara cells is associated with a persistent inflammatory response and epithelial sloughing in the lungs during recovery from sublethal hyperoxic insult. Our results demonstrate (for the first time, to the best of our knowledge) that Nrf2 signaling in Clara cells is critical for conferring protection from hyperoxic lung injury and for resolving inflammation during the repair process.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0144OC
PMCID: PMC3262666  PMID: 21659655
oxidative stress; lung injury and repair; inflammation
8.  Arc of a Vicious Circle 
In this review, we examine how a subset of signal transduction cascades initiated by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection modulates transcription mediated by the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 long terminal repeat (HIV-1 LTR). We describe two distinct phases of signaling that target transcription factors known to bind the HIV-1 LTR, and thus drive viral transcription and replication, in cells of the Mtb-infected host. First, Mtb-derived molecules, including cell wall components and DNA, interact with a number of host pattern recognition receptors. Second, cytokines and chemokines secreted in response to Mtb infection initiate signal transduction cascades through their cognate receptors. Given the variation in cell wall components among distinct clinical Mtb strains, the initial pattern recognition receptor interaction leading to direct LTR activation and differential cytokine and chemokine production is likely to be an important aspect of Mtb strain-specific regulation of HIV-1 transcription and replication. Improved understanding of these molecular mechanisms in the context of bacterial and host genetics should provide key insights into the accelerated viral replication and disease progression characteristic of HIV/TB coinfection.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0186TR
PMCID: PMC3262667  PMID: 21852682
HIV/TB coinfection; transcription; signal transduction; innate immunity; cytokines
9.  Gi-Coupled γ-Aminobutyric Acid–B Receptors Cross-Regulate Phospholipase C and Calcium in Airway Smooth Muscle 
γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system, and exerts its actions via both ionotropic (GABAA) and metabotropic (GABAB) receptors. Although the functional expression of GABAB receptors coupled to the Gi protein was reported for airway smooth muscle, the role of GABAB receptors in airway responsiveness remains unclear. We investigated whether Gi-coupled GABAB receptors cross-regulate phospholipase C (PLC), an enzyme classically regulated by Gq-coupled receptors in human airway smooth muscle cells. Both the GABAB-selective agonist baclofen and the endogenous ligand GABA significantly increased the synthesis of inositol phosphate, whereas GABAA receptor agonists, muscimol, and 4,5,6,7-tetrahydroisoxazolo[5,4-c]pyridin-3-ol exerted no effect. The baclofen-induced synthesis of inositol phosphate and transient increases in [Ca2+]i were blocked by CGP35348 and CGP55845 (selective GABAB antagonists), pertussis toxin (PTX, which inactivates the Gi protein), gallein (a Gβγ signaling inhibitor), U73122 (an inhibitor of PLC-β), and xestospongin C, an inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate receptor blocker. Baclofen also potentiated the bradykinin-induced synthesis of inositol phosphate and transient increases in [Ca2+]i, which were blocked by CGP35348 or PTX. Moreover, baclofen potentiated the substance P–induced contraction of airway smooth muscle in isolated guinea pig tracheal rings. In conclusion, the stimulation of GABAB receptors in human airway smooth muscle cells rapidly mobilizes intracellular Ca2+ stores by the synthesis of inositol phosphate via the activation of PLC-β, which is stimulated by Gβγ protein liberated from Gi proteins coupled to GABAB receptors. Furthermore, crosstalk between GABAB receptors and Gq-coupled receptors potentiates the synthesis of inositol phosphate, transient increases in [Ca2+]i, and smooth muscle contraction through Gi proteins.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0088OC
PMCID: PMC3262669  PMID: 21719794
Gi protein; Gβγ; inositol phosphate; phospholipase C; airway smooth muscle
10.  Pneumocystis S-Adenosylmethionine Transport 
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is a life-threatening condition in immunosuppressed patients. Current treatments are inadequate, and new drug leads are needed. This fungus depends on its host for S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet), a critical metabolic intermediate ordinarily synthesized by individual cells as needed. Pneumocystis contains a gene coding for the AdoMet-synthesizing enzyme methionine ATP transferase (MAT), and the protein is expressed. However, the fungus lacks MAT activity, and infection causes the depletion of host plasma AdoMet. The uptake of Pneumocystis AdoMet was shown to be exquisitely specific, which suggests the transport of AdoMet as a potential drug target. Here we report on the discovery of PcPET8, a Pneumocystis gene with homology to mitochondrial AdoMet transporters. When expressed by Saccharomyces cerevisiae, it locates properly to the mitochondrion and complements a strain of S. cerevisiae lacking its native mitochondrial AdoMet transporter. The importance of AdoMet transport is demonstrated by the ability of the AdoMet analogue sinefungin to block the uptake of Pneumocystis AdoMet and inhibit growth in culture. Because PcPET8 is likely critical for Pneumocystis, the yeast construct has potential as a surrogate for testing compounds against Pneumocystis.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0009OC
PMCID: PMC3262670  PMID: 21642588
Pneumocystis; S-adenosylmethionine; mitochondrial transporter; PET8; PcPET8; PCP pneumonia
11.  The Milieu of Damaged Alveolar Epithelial Type 2 Cells Stimulates Alveolar Wound Repair by Endogenous and Exogenous Progenitors 
Alveolar epithelial integrity is dependent upon the alveolar milieu, yet the milieu of the damaged alveolar epithelial cell type 2 (AEC2) has been little studied. Characterization of its components may offer the potential for ex vivo manipulation of stem cells to optimize their therapeutic potential. We examined the cytokine profile of AEC2 damage milieu, hypothesizing that it would promote endogenous epithelial repair while recruiting cells from other locations and instructing their engraftment and differentiation. Bronchoalveolar lavage and lung extract from hyperoxic rats represented AEC2 in vivo damage milieu, and medium from a scratch-damaged AEC2 monolayer represented in vitro damage. CINC-2 and ICAM, the major cytokines detected by proteomic cytokine array in AEC2 damage milieu, were chemoattractive to normoxic AECs and expedited in vitro wound healing, which was blocked by their respective neutralizing antibodies. The AEC2 damage milieu was also chemotactic for exogenous uncommitted human amniotic fluid stem cells (hAFSCs), increasing migration greater than 20-fold. hAFSCs attached within an in vitro AEC2 wound and expedited wound repair by contributing cytokines migration inhibitory factor and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 to the AEC2 damage milieu, which promoted wound healing. The AEC2 damage milieu also promoted differentiation of a subpopulation of hAFSCs to express SPC, TTF-1, and ABCA3, phenotypic markers of distal alveolar epithelium. Thus, the microenvironment created by AEC2 damage not only promotes autocrine repair but also can attract uncommitted stem cells, which further augment healing through cytokine secretion and differentiation.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0325OC
PMCID: PMC3262671  PMID: 21700959
AEC2; amniotic fluid stem cells; epithelial damage; CINC-2; ICAM
12.  Fungal Allergen β-Glucans Trigger p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase–Mediated IL-6 Translation in Lung Epithelial Cells 
In addition to immune cells, airway epithelial cells can contribute to and shape the immune response in the lung by secreting specific cytokines. IL-6 is a key factor in determining the effector fate of CD4+ T cells. Here we show that under basal conditions, the IL-6 gene is already highly expressed in lung epithelial cells, but not in immune cells resident in the lung. However, upon exposure of the lungs to fungal allergens, the direct contact of β-glucans present in the fungus cell wall with lung epithelial cells is sufficient to trigger the rapid synthesis and secretion of IL-6 protein. This posttranscriptional regulation of IL-6 in response to fungal extracts is mediated by the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. The inhalation of β-glucans with a nonallergenic antigen is sufficient to provide an adjuvant effect that leads to mucous hyperplasia in the airways. Thus, β-glucans may constitute a common determinant of the fungal and plant-derived allergens responsible for some of the pathological features in allergic asthma.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0054OC
PMCID: PMC3262672  PMID: 21642586
IL-6; p38 MAPK; lung epithelial cells; fungal allergens; β-glucans; asthma
13.  Genomic Differences Distinguish the Myofibroblast Phenotype of Distal Lung Fibroblasts from Airway Fibroblasts 
Primary human distal lung/parenchymal fibroblasts (DLFs) exhibit a different phenotype from airway fibroblasts (AFs), including the expression of high levels of α–smooth muscle actin (α-SMA). The scope of the differences between these anatomically differentiated fibroblasts, or the mechanisms driving them, has remained unknown. To determine whether the different characteristics of regional fibroblasts are predicted by distinct genomic differences in AFs versus DLFs, matched human fibroblast pairs were isolated from proximal and distal lung tissue and evaluated. Microarray analysis was performed on 12 matched fibroblast pairs (four normal and eight asthmatic samples) and validated by quantitative real-time PCR. The potential functional implications of these differences were analyzed using computational approaches. Four hundred seventy-four transcripts were up-regulated in AFs, and 611 were up-regulated in DLFs via microarray analysis. No differences in normal and asthmatic fibroblasts were evident, and the data were combined for subsequent analyses. Gene ontology and network analyses suggested distinct patterns of pathway activation between AFs and DLFs. The up-regulation of extracellular matrix–associated molecules in AFs was observed, whereas genes associated with actin binding and cytoskeletal organization were up-regulated in DLFs. The up-regulation of activated/total SMAD3 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase in DLFs may partly explain these myofibroblast-like characteristics in DLFs. Thus, marked genomic differences exist between these two populations of regional lung fibroblasts. These striking differences may help identify potential mechanisms by which AFs and DLFs differ in their responses to injury, regeneration, and remodeling in the lung.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0065OC
PMCID: PMC3262668  PMID: 21757679
human lung fibroblasts; α–smooth muscle actin; microarray; SMAD; JNK; MAPK8
14.  Molecular Signature of a Right Heart Failure Program in Chronic Severe Pulmonary Hypertension 
Right heart failure is the cause of death of most patients with severe pulmonary arterial hypertensive (PAH) disorders, yet little is known about the cellular and molecular causes of right ventricular failure (RVF). We first showed a differential gene expression pattern between normal rat right and left ventricles, and postulated the existence of a molecular right heart failure program that distinguishes RVF from adaptive right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH), and that may differ in some respects from a left heart failure program. By means of microarrays and transcriptional sequencing strategies, we used two models of adaptive RVH to characterize a gene expression pattern reflective of growth and the maintenance of myocardial structure. Moreover, two models of RVF were associated with fibrosis, capillary rarefaction, the decreased expression of genes encoding the angiogenesis factors vascular endothelial growth factor, insulin-like growth factor 1, apelin, and angiopoeitin-1, and the increased expression of genes encoding a set of glycolytic enzymes. The treatment of established RVF with a β-adrenergic receptor blocker reversed RVF, and partly reversed the molecular RVF program. We conclude that normal right and left ventricles demonstrate clearly discernable differences in the expression of mRNA and microRNA, and that RVH and RVF are characterized by distinct patterns of gene expression that relate to cell growth, angiogenesis, and energy metabolism.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0412OC
PMCID: PMC3361357  PMID: 21719795
pulmonary hypertension; right heart failure; gene expression
15.  Nuclear β-Catenin Is Increased in Systemic Sclerosis Pulmonary Fibrosis and Promotes Lung Fibroblast Migration and Proliferation 
Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease that results in loss of normal lung architecture, but the signaling events that drive tissue destruction are incompletely understood. Wnt/β-catenin signaling is important in normal lung development, but whether abnormal signaling occurs in lung fibrosis due to systemic sclerosis and the consequences of β-catenin signaling toward the fibrogenic phenotype remain poorly defined. In this study, we show nuclear β-catenin accumulation in fibroblastic foci from lungs of patients with systemic sclerosis–associated advanced pulmonary fibrosis. Forced activation of β-catenin signaling in three independently derived sources of normal human lung fibroblasts promotes proliferation and migratory activities but is not sufficient to activate classic markers of fibroblast activation, such as TGF-β, type 1 collagen, α-smooth muscle actin, and connective tissue growth factor. These findings indicate that activation of β-catenin signaling in pulmonary fibroblasts may be a common feature of lung fibrosis, contributing to fibroproliferative and migratory activities associated with the disease.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0113OC
PMCID: PMC3262680  PMID: 21454805
Wnt/β-catenin signaling; scleroderma; fibrosis
16.  A Sphingosine 1–Phosphate 1 Receptor Agonist Modulates Brain Death–Induced Neurogenic Pulmonary Injury 
Lung transplantation remains the only viable therapy for patients with end-stage lung disease. However, the full utilization of this strategy is severely compromised by a lack of donor lung availability. The vast majority of donor lungs available for transplantation are from individuals after brain death (BD). Unfortunately, the early autonomic storm that accompanies BD often results in neurogenic pulmonary edema (NPE), producing varying degrees of lung injury or leading to primary graft dysfunction after transplantation. We demonstrated that sphingosine 1–phosphate (S1P)/analogues, which are major barrier-enhancing agents, reduce vascular permeability via the S1P1 receptor, S1PR1. Because primary lung graft dysfunction is induced by lung vascular endothelial cell barrier dysfunction, we hypothesized that the S1PR1 agonist, SEW-2871, may attenuate NPE when administered to the donor shortly after BD. Significant lung injury was observed after BD, with increases of approximately 60% in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) total protein, cell counts, and lung tissue wet/dry (W/D) weight ratios. In contrast, rats receiving SEW-2871 (0.1 mg/kg) 15 minutes after BD and assessed after 4 hours exhibited significant lung protection (∼ 50% reduction, P = 0.01), as reflected by reduced BAL protein/albumin, cytokines, cellularity, and lung tissue wet/dry weight ratio. Microarray analysis at 4 hours revealed a global impact of both BD and SEW on lung gene expression, with a differential gene expression of enriched immune-response/inflammation pathways across all groups. Overall, SEW served to attenuate the BD-mediated up-regulation of gene expression. Two potential biomarkers, TNF and chemokine CC motif receptor-like 2, exhibited gene array dysregulation. We conclude that SEW-2871 significantly attenuates BD-induced lung injury, and may serve as a potential candidate to improve human donor availability.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0267OC
PMCID: PMC3262681  PMID: 21617203
neurogenic pulmonary edema; lung injury; sphingosine 1–phosphate; sphingolipids; lung transplant donors
17.  Transcription Factor ets-2 Plays an Important Role in the Pathogenesis of Pulmonary Fibrosis 
Ets-2 is a ubiquitous transcription factor activated after phosphorylation at threonine-72. Previous studies highlighted the importance of phosphorylated ets-2 in lung inflammation and extracellular matrix remodeling, two pathways involved in pulmonary fibrosis. We hypothesized that phosphorylated ets-2 played an important role in pulmonary fibrosis, and we sought to determine the role of ets-2 in its pathogenesis. We challenged ets-2 (A72/A72) transgenic mice (harboring a mutated form of ets-2 at phosphorylation site threonine-72) and ets-2 (wild-type/wild-type [WT/WT]) control mice with sequential intraperitoneal injections of bleomycin, followed by quantitative measurements of lung fibrosis and inflammation and primary cell in vitro assays. Concentrations of phosphorylated ets-2 were detected via the single and dual immunohistochemical staining of murine lungs and lung sections from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Ets-2 (A72/A72) mice were protected from bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis, compared with ets-2 (WT/WT) mice. This protection was characterized by decreased lung pathological abnormalities and the fibrotic gene expression of Type I collagen, Type III collagen, α–smooth muscle actin, and connective tissue growth factor. Immunohistochemical staining of lung sections from bleomycin-treated ets-2 (WT/WT) mice and from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis demonstrated increased staining of phosphorylated ets-2 that colocalized with Type I collagen expression and to fibroblastic foci. Lastly, primary lung fibroblasts from ets-2 (A72/A72) mice exhibited decreased expression of Type I collagen in response to stimulation with TGF-β, compared with fibroblasts from ets-2 (WT/WT) mice. These data indicate the importance of phosphorylated ets-2 in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis through the expression of Type I collagen and (myo)fibroblast activation.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0490OC
PMCID: PMC3262682  PMID: 21562315
ets-2; Type I collagen; pulmonary fibrosis; bleomycin; fibroblast
18.  Urokinase Plasminogen Activator Regulates Pulmonary Arterial Contractility and Vascular Permeability in Mice 
The concentration of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) is elevated in pathological settings such as acute lung injury, where pulmonary arterial contractility and permeability are disrupted. uPA limits the accretion of fibrin after injury. Here we investigated whether uPA also regulates pulmonary arterial contractility and permeability. Contractility was measured using isolated pulmonary arterial rings. Pulmonary blood flow was measured in vivo by Doppler and pulmonary vascular permeability, according to the extravasation of Evans blue. Our data show that uPA regulates the in vitro pulmonary arterial contractility induced by phenylephrine in a dose-dependent manner through two receptor-dependent pathways, and regulates vascular contractility and permeability in vivo. Physiological concentrations of uPA (≤1 nM) stimulate the contractility of pulmonary arterial rings induced by phenylephrine through the low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein receptor. The procontractile effect of uPA is independent of its catalytic activity. At pathophysiological concentrations, uPA (20 nM) inhibits contractility and increases vascular permeability. The inhibition of vascular contractility and increase of vascular permeability is mediated through a two-step process that involves docking to N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor–1 (NMDA-R1) on pulmonary vascular smooth muscle cells, and requires catalytic activity. Peptides that specifically inhibit the docking of uPA to NMDA-R, or the uPA variant with a mutated receptor docking site, abolished both the effects of uPA on vascular contractility and permeability, without affecting its catalytic activity. These data show that uPA, at concentrations found under pathological conditions, reduces pulmonary arterial contractility and increases permeability though the activation of NMDA-R1. The selective inhibition of NMDAR-1 activation by uPA can be accomplished without a loss of fibrinolytic activity.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0302OC
PMCID: PMC3262683  PMID: 21617202
urokinase; NMDA-R; lung; permeability
19.  8-(4-Chlorophenylthio)-Guanosine-3′,5′-Cyclic Monophosphate-Na Stimulates Human Alveolar Fluid Clearance by Releasing External Na+ Self-Inhibition of Epithelial Na+ Channels 
Salt absorption via alveolar epithelial Na+ channels (ENaC) is a critical step for maintaining an airspace free of flooding. Previously, we found that 8-(4-chlorophenylthio)-guanosine-3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate-Na (CPT-cGMP) activated native and heterologous ENaC. To investigate the potential pharmacological relevance, we applied this compound intratracheally to human lungs and found that ex vivo alveolar fluid clearance was increased significantly. Furthermore, this compound eliminated self-inhibition in human lung H441 cells and in oocytes expressing human αβγ but not δβγ channels. To further elucidate this novel mechanism, we constructed mutants abolishing (βΔV348 and γH233R) or augmenting (αY458A and γM432G) self-inhibition. The mutants eliminating self-inhibition lost their responses to CPT-cGMP, whereas those enhancing self-inhibition facilitated the stimulatory effects of this compound. CPT-cGMP was unable to activate a high Po mutant (βS520C) and plasmin proteolytically cleaved channels. Our data suggest that elimination of self-inhibition of αβγ ENaC may be a novel mechanism for CPT-cGMP to stimulate salt reabsorption in human lungs.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0004OC
PMCID: PMC3262684  PMID: 21562313
lung fluid reabsorption; amiloride-sensitive sodium channel; CPT-cGMP; ENaC self-inhibition
20.  Radical-Containing Particles Activate Dendritic Cells and Enhance Th17 Inflammation in a Mouse Model of Asthma 
We identified a previously unrecognized component of airborne particulate matter (PM) formed in combustion and thermal processes, namely, environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs). The pulmonary health effects of EPFRs are currently unknown. In the present study, we used a model EPFR-containing pollutant-particle system referred to as MCP230. We evaluated the effects of MCP230 on the phenotype and function of bone marrow–derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) in vitro and lung dendritic cells (DCs) in vivo, and the subsequent T-cell response. We also investigated the adjuvant role of MCP230 on airway inflammation in a mouse model of asthma. MCP230 decreased intracellular reduced glutathione (GSH) and the GSH/oxidized glutathione ratio in BMDCs, and up-regulated the expression of costimulatory molecules CD80 and CD86 on DCs. The maturation of DCs was blocked by inhibiting oxidative stress or the uptake of MCP230. BMDCs exposed to MCP230 increased their antigen-specific T-cell proliferation in vitro. In a model of asthma, exposure to MCP230 exacerbated pulmonary inflammation, which was attributed to the increase of neutrophils and macrophages but not eosinophils. This result correlated with an increase in Th17 cells and cytokines, compared with non–MCP230-treated but ovalbumin (OVA)–challenged mice. The percentage of Th2 cells was comparable between OVA and OVA + MCP230 mice. Our data demonstrate that combustion-generated, EPFR-containing PM directly induced the maturation of DCs in an uptake-dependent and oxidative stress–dependent manner. Furthermore, EPFR-containing PM induced a Th17-biased phenotype in lung, accompanied by significant pulmonary neutrophilia. Exposure to EPFR-containing PM may constitute an important and unrecognized risk factor in the exacerbation and development of a severe asthma phenotype in humans.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0001OC
PMCID: PMC3262685  PMID: 21493781
EPFR; dendritic cell; asthma; Th17; neutrophil
21.  Calcium-Activated Potassium Channel KCa3.1 in Lung Dendritic Cell Migration 
Migration to draining lymph nodes is a critical requirement for dendritic cells (DCs) to control T-cell–mediated immunity. The calcium-activated potassium channel KCa3.1 has been shown to be involved in regulating cell migration in multiple cell types. In this study, KCa3.1 expression and its functional role in lung DC migration were examined. Fluorescence-labeled antigen was intranasally delivered into mouse lungs to label lung Ag-carrying DCs. Lung CD11chighCD11blow and CD11clowCD11bhigh DCs from PBS-treated and ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized mice were sorted using MACS and FACS. Indo-1 and DiBAC4(3) were used to measure intracellular Ca2+ and membrane potential, respectively. The mRNA expression of KCa3.1 was examined using real-time PCR. Expression of KCa3.1 protein and CCR7 was measured using flow cytometry. Migration of two lung DC subsets to lymphatic chemokines was examined using TransWell in the absence or presence of the KCa3.1 blocker TRAM-34. OVA sensitization up-regulated mRNA and protein expression of KCa3.1 in lung DCs, with a greater response by the CD11chighCD11blow than CD11clowCD11bhigh DCs. Although KCa3.1 expression in Ag-carrying DCs was higher than that in non–Ag-carrying DCs in OVA-sensitized mice, the difference was not as prominent. However, Ag-carrying lung DCs expressed significantly higher CCR7 than non–Ag-carrying DCs. CCL19, CCL21, and KCa3.1 activator 1-EBIO induced an increase in intracellular calcium in both DC subsets. In addition, 1-EBIO–induced calcium increase was suppressed by TRAM-34. In vitro blockade of KCa3.1 with TRAM-34 impaired CCL19/CCL21-induced transmigration. In conclusion, KCa3.1 expression in lung DCs is up-regulated by OVA sensitization in both lung DC subsets, and KCa3.1 is involved in lung DC migration to lymphatic chemokines.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0514OC
PMCID: PMC3262686  PMID: 21493782
allergic airway inflammation; antigen uptake; asthma; calcium-activated potassium channel; dendritic cell
22.  An Extracellular Signal–Regulated Kinase 2 Survival Pathway Mediates Resistance of Human Mesothelioma Cells to Asbestos-Induced Injury 
We hypothesized that normal human mesothelial cells acquire resistance to asbestos-induced toxicity via induction of one or more epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)–linked survival pathways (phosphoinositol-3-kinase/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin and extracellular signal–regulated kinase [ERK] 1/2) during simian virus 40 (SV40) transformation and carcinogenesis. Both isolated HKNM-2 mesothelial cells and a telomerase-immortalized mesothelial line (LP9/TERT-1) were more sensitive to crocidolite asbestos toxicity than an SV40 Tag-immortalized mesothelial line (MET5A) and malignant mesothelioma cell lines (HMESO and PPM Mill). Whereas increases in phosphorylation of AKT (pAKT) were observed in MET5A cells in response to asbestos, LP9/TERT-1 cells exhibited dose-related decreases in pAKT levels. Pretreatment with an EGFR phosphorylation or mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1/2 inhibitor abrogated asbestos-induced phosphorylated ERK (pERK) 1/2 levels in both LP9/TERT-1 and MET5A cells as well as increases in pAKT levels in MET5A cells. Transient transfection of small interfering RNAs targeting ERK1, ERK2, or AKT revealed that ERK1/2 pathways were involved in cell death by asbestos in both cell lines. Asbestos-resistant HMESO or PPM Mill cells with high endogenous levels of ERKs or AKT did not show dose-responsive increases in pERK1/ERK1, pERK2/ERK2, or pAKT/AKT levels by asbestos. However, small hairpin ERK2 stable cell lines created from both malignant mesothelioma lines were more sensitive to asbestos toxicity than shERK1 and shControl lines, and exhibited unique, tumor-specific changes in endogenous cell death–related gene expression. Our results suggest that EGFR phosphorylation is causally linked to pERK and pAKT activation by asbestos in normal and SV40 Tag–immortalized human mesothelial cells. They also indicate that ERK2 plays a role in modulating asbestos toxicity by regulating genes critical to cell injury and survival that are differentially expressed in human mesotheliomas.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0282OC
PMCID: PMC3262687  PMID: 21454801
mesothelioma; asbestos; toxicity; epidermal growth factor receptor; protein kinase B/AKT
23.  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.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0052OC
PMCID: PMC3262688  PMID: 21454802
HIF; ATII cells; surfactant proteins; VEGF; GLUT1
24.  Cigarette Smoke Targets Glutaredoxin 1, Increasing S-Glutathionylation and Epithelial Cell Death 
It is established that cigarette smoke (CS) causes irreversible oxidations in lung epithelial cells, and can lead to their death. However, its impact on reversible and physiologically relevant redox-dependent protein modifications remains to be investigated. Glutathione is an important antioxidant against inhaled reactive oxygen species as a direct scavenger, but it can also covalently bind protein thiols upon mild oxidative stress to protect them against irreversible oxidation. This posttranslational modification, known as S-glutathionylation, can be reversed under physiological conditions by the enzyme, glutaredoxin 1 (Grx1). The aim of this study was to investigate if CS modifies Grx1, and if this impacts on protein S-glutathionylation and epithelial cell death. Upon exposure of alveolar epithelial cells to CS extract (CSE), a decrease in Grx1 mRNA and protein expression was observed, in conjunction with decreased activity and increased protein S-glutathionylation. Using mass spectrometry, irreversible oxidation of recombinant Grx1 by CSE and acrolein was demonstrated, which was associated with attenuated enzyme activity. Furthermore, carbonylation of Grx1 in epithelial cells after exposure to CSE was shown. Overexpression of Grx1 attenuated CSE-induced increases in protein S-glutathionylation and increased survival. Conversely, primary tracheal epithelial cells of mice lacking Grx1 were more sensitive to CS-induced cell death, with corresponding increases in protein S-glutathionylation. These results show that CS can modulate Grx1, not only at the expression level, but can also directly modify Grx1 itself, decreasing its activity. These findings demonstrate a role for the Grx1/S-glutathionylation redox system in CS-induced lung epithelial cell death.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0249OC
PMCID: PMC3262689  PMID: 21454804
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; cigarette smoke; cell death; glutaredoxin; protein S-glutathionylation
25.  MARCO Regulates Early Inflammatory Responses against Influenza 
Lung macrophages use the scavenger receptor MARCO to bind and ingest bacteria, particulate matter, and post cellular debris. We investigated the role of MARCO in influenza A virus (IAV) pneumonia. In contrast to higher susceptibility to bacterial infection, MARCO−/− mice had lower morbidity and mortality from influenza pneumonia than wild-type (WT) mice. The early course of influenza in MARCO−/− lungs was marked by an enhanced but transient neutrophilic inflammatory response and significantly lower viral replication compared with the WT mice. At later time points, no significant differences in lung histopathology or absolute numbers of T lymphocyte influx were evident. Uptake of IAV by WT and MARCO−/− bronchoalveolar lavage macrophages in vitro was similar. By LPS coadministration, we demonstrated that rapid neutrophil and monocyte influx during the onset of influenza suppressed viral replication, indicating a protective role of early inflammation. We hypothesized that the presence of increased basal proinflammatory post cellular debris in the absence of scavenging function lowered the inflammatory response threshold to IAV in MARCO−/− mice. Indeed, MARCO−/− mice showed increased accumulation of proinflammatory oxidized lipoproteins in the bronchoalveolar lavage early in the infection process, which are the potential mediators of the observed enhanced inflammation. These results indicate that MARCO suppresses a protective early inflammatory response to influenza, which modulates viral clearance and delays recovery.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0349OC
PMCID: PMC3262690  PMID: 21562316
inflammation; scavenger receptors; leukocytes; chemokines; pathology; oxidized lipoproteins

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