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1.  Glucocorticoid Receptor Interacting Protein-1 Restores Glucocorticoid Responsiveness in Steroid-Resistant Airway Structural Cells 
Glucocorticoid (GC) insensitivity represents a profound challenge in managing patients with asthma. The mutual inhibition of transcriptional activity between GC receptor (GR) and other regulators is one of the mechanisms contributing to GC resistance in asthma. We recently reported that interferon regulatory factor (IRF)-1 is a novel transcription factor that promotes GC insensitivity in human airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells by interfering with GR signaling (Tliba et al., Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 2008;38:463–472). Here, we sought to determine whether the inhibition of GR function by IRF-1 involves its interaction with the transcriptional co-regulator GR-interacting protein 1 (GRIP-1), a known GR transcriptional co-activator. We here found that siRNA-mediated GRIP-1 depletion attenuated IRF-1–dependent transcription of the luciferase reporter construct and the mRNA expression of an IRF-1–dependent gene, CD38. In parallel experiments, GRIP-1 silencing significantly reduced GR-mediated transactivation activities. Co-immunoprecipitation and GST pull-down assays showed that GRIP-1, through its repression domain, physically interacts with IRF-1 identifying GRIP-1 as a bona fide transcriptional co-activator for IRF-1. Interestingly, the previously reported inhibition of GR-mediated transactivation activities by either TNF-α and IFN-γ treatment or IRF-1 overexpression was fully reversed by increasing cellular levels of GRIP-1. Together, these data suggest that the cellular accumulation of IRF-1 may represent a potential molecular mechanism mediating altered cellular response to GC through the depletion of GRIP-1 from the GR transcriptional regulatory complexes.
PMCID: PMC2809222  PMID: 19805480
glucocorticoid; cytokine; airway smooth muscle; IRF-1; GRIP-1
2.  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.
PMCID: PMC3380517  PMID: 19151316
pediatric; remodeling; asthma pathophysiology; mouse model; allergic airways disease
3.  Fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3 Ligand Decreases T Helper Type 17 Cells and Suppressors of Cytokine Signaling Proteins in the Lung of House Dust Mite–Sensitized and –Challenged Mice 
We previously reported that Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (Flt3-L) reversed airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and airway inflammation, and increased the number of regulatory CD11chighCD8αhighCD11blow dendritic cells and CD4+CD25+ICOS+Foxp3+IL-10+ T-regulatory cells in the lung of allergen-sensitized and -challenged mice. In this study, we evaluated the effect of Flt3-L on Th17 cells and expression of suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins in the lungs of house dust mite (HDM)–sensitized and –challenged mice. BALB/c mice were sensitized and challenged with HDM, and AHR to methacholine was established. Mice were treated with Flt3-L (5 μg, intraperitoneal) daily for 10 days. Levels of IL-4, -5, -6, -8, and -13, and transforming growth factor (TGF)–β in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were examined by ELISA. Flt3-L treatment reversed existing AHR to methacholine and substantially decreased eosinophils, neutrophils, IL-5, -6, -8, and IL-13, and TGF-β levels in the BALF. HDM-sensitized and -challenged mice showed a significant increase in lung CD4+IL-17+IL-23R+CD25− T cells with high expression of retinoic acid–related orphan receptor (ROR)–γt transcripts. However, administration of Flt3-L substantially decreased the number of lung CD4+IL-17+IL-23R+CD25− T cells, with significantly decreased expression of ROR-γt mRNA in these cells. HDM sensitization caused a significant increase in the expression of SOCS-1, -3, and -5 in the lung. Flt3-L treatment abolished the increase in SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 proteins, whereas SOCS-5 expression was significantly reduced. These data suggest that the therapeutic effect of Flt3-L in reversing the hallmarks of allergic asthma in a mouse model is mediated by decreasing IL-6 and TGF-β levels in the BALF, which, in turn, decrease CD4+IL-17+IL-23R+ROR-γt+CD25− T cells and the expression of SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 in the lung of HDM-sensitized and -challenged mice.
PMCID: PMC2970852  PMID: 19933379
airway hyperresponsiveness; house dust mite; retinoic acid–related orphan receptor–γt; suppressors of cytokine signaling; T helper cell type 17
4.  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
5.  Cigarette Smoke Induces Nucleic-Acid Oxidation in Lung Fibroblasts 
Oxidative stress is widely proposed as a pathogenic mechanism for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but the molecular pathway connecting oxidative damage to tissue destruction remains to be fully defined. We suggest that reactive oxygen species (ROS) oxidatively damage nucleic acids, and this effect requires multiple repair mechanisms, particularly base excision pathway components 8-oxoguanine-DNA glycosylase (OGG1), endonuclease III homologue 1 (NTH1), and single-strand–selective monofunctional uracil-DNA glycosylase 1 (SMUG1), as well as the nucleic acid-binding protein, Y-box binding protein 1 (YB1). This study was therefore designed to define the levels of nucleic-acid oxidation and expression of genes involved in the repair of COPD and in corresponding models of this disease. We found significant oxidation of nucleic acids localized to alveolar lung fibroblasts, increased levels of OGG1 mRNA expression, and decreased concentrations of NTH1, SMUG1, and YB1 mRNA in lung samples from subjects with very severe COPD compared with little or no COPD. Mice exposed to cigarette smoke exhibited a time-dependent accumulation of nucleic-acid oxidation in alveolar fibroblasts, which was associated with an increase in OGG1 and YB1 mRNA concentrations. Similarly, human lung fibroblasts exposed to cigarette smoke extract exhibited ROS-dependent nucleic-acid oxidation. The short interfering RNA (siRNA)-dependent knockdown of OGG1 and YB1 expression increased nucleic-acid oxidation at the basal state and after exposure to cigarette smoke. Together, our results demonstrate ROS-dependent, cigarette smoke-induced nucleic-acid oxidation in alveolar fibroblasts, which may play a role in the pathogenesis of emphysema.
PMCID: PMC2970854  PMID: 20008282
COPD; emphysema; nucleic-acid oxidation; DNA/RNA repair
6.  Dynamics of Human Complement–Mediated Killing of Klebsiella pneumoniae 
With an in vitro system that used a luminescent strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae to assess bacterial metabolic activity in near-real-time, we investigated the dynamics of complement-mediated attack in healthy individuals and in patients presenting to the emergency department with community-acquired severe sepsis. A novel mathematical/statistical model was developed to simplify light output trajectories over time into two fitted parameters, the rate of complement activation and the delay from activation to the onset of killing. Using Factor B–depleted serum, the alternative pathway was found to be the primary bactericidal effector: In the absence of B, C3 opsonization as measured by flow cytometry did not progress and bacteria proliferated near exponentially. Defects in bacterial killing were easily demonstrable in patients with severe sepsis compared with healthy volunteers. In most patients with sepsis, the rate of activation was higher than in normal subjects but was associated with a prolonged delay between activation and bacterial killing (P < 0.05 for both). Theoretical modeling suggested that this combination of accentuated but delayed function should allow successful bacterial killing but with significantly greater complement activation. The use of luminescent bacteria allowed for the development of a novel and powerful tool for assessing complement immunology for the purposes of mechanistic study and patient evaluation.
PMCID: PMC2970855  PMID: 20008281
alternative complement pathway; theoretical models; nonlinear dynamics; sepsis
7.  Effect of Neutrophil Adhesion on the Mechanical Properties of Lung Microvascular Endothelial Cells 
Neutrophil adhesion to pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (ECs) initiates intracellular signaling, resulting in remodeling of F-actin cytoskeletal structure of ECs. The present study determined the mechanical properties of ECs and the changes induced by neutrophil adhesion by atomic force microscopy. The elastic moduli of ECs were compared before neutrophils were present, as soon as neutrophil adhesion was detected, and 1 minute later. ECs that were adjacent to those with adherent neutrophils were also evaluated. Neutrophil adhesion induced a decrease in the elastic moduli in the 6.25-μm rim of ECs surrounding adherent neutrophils as soon as firmly adherent neutrophils were detected, which was transient and lasted less than 1 minute. Adjacent ECs developed an increase in stiffness that was significant in the central regions of these cells. Intercellular adhesion molecule–1 crosslinking did not induce significant changes in the elastic modulus of ECs in either region, suggesting that crosslinking intercellular adhesion molecule–1 is not sufficient to induce the observed changes. Our results demonstrate that neutrophil adhesion induces regional changes in the stiffness of ECs.
PMCID: PMC2970856  PMID: 20023207
neutrophils; pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells; mechanical properties; intercellular adhesion molecule–1
8.  Activation of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator by the Flavonoid Quercetin 
Therapies to correct the ΔF508 cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) folding defect require sensitive methods to detect channel activity in vivo. The β2 adrenergic receptor agonists, which provide the CFTR stimuli commonly used in nasal potential difference assays, may not overcome the channel gating defects seen in ΔF508 CFTR after plasma membrane localization. In this study, we identify an agent, quercetin, that enhances the detection of surface ΔF508 CFTR, and is suitable for nasal perfusion. A screen of flavonoids in CFBE41o− cells stably transduced with ΔF508 CFTR, corrected to the cell surface with low temperature growth, revealed that quercetin stimulated an increase in the short-circuit current. This increase was dose-dependent in both Fisher rat thyroid and CFBE41o− cells. High concentrations inhibited Cl− conductance. In CFBE41o− airway cells, quercetin (20 μg/ml) activated ΔF508 CFTR, whereas the β2 adrenergic receptor agonist isoproterenol did not. Quercetin had limited effects on cAMP levels, but did not produce detectable phosphorylation of the isolated CFTR R-domain, suggesting an activation independent of channel phosphorylation. When perfused in the nares of Cftr+ mice, quercetin (20 μg/ml) produced a hyperpolarization of the potential difference that was absent in Cftr−/− mice. Finally, quercetin-induced, dose-dependent hyperpolarization of the nasal potential difference was also seen in normal human subjects. Quercetin activates CFTR-mediated anion transport in respiratory epithelia in vitro and in vivo, and may be useful in studies intended to detect the rescue of ΔF508 CFTR by nasal potential difference.
PMCID: PMC2970857  PMID: 20042712
cystic fibrosis; short-circuit current; airway epithelia; nasal potential difference
9.  The Loss of Tuberin Promotes Cell Invasion through the β-Catenin Pathway 
Mutations in the tumor suppressor tuberin (TSC2) are a common factor in the development of lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). LAM is a cystic lung disease that is characterized by the infiltration of smooth muscle–like cells into the pulmonary parenchyma. The mechanism by which the loss of tuberin promotes the development of LAM has yet to be elucidated, although several lines of evidence suggest it is due to the metastasis of tuberin-deficient cells. Here we show that tuberin-null cells become nonadherent and invasive. These nonadherent cells express cleaved forms of β-catenin. In reporter assays, the β-catenin products are transcriptionally active and promote MMP7 expression. Invasion by the tuberin-null cells is mediated by MMP7. Examination of LAM tissues shows the expression of cleaved β-catenin products and MMP7 consistent with a model that tuberin-deficient cells acquire invasive properties through a β-catenin–dependent mechanism, which may underlie the development of LAM.
PMCID: PMC2970858  PMID: 20042714
caspase 3; MMP7; LAM; tuberous sclerosis complex
10.  Differential Effects of Sphingosine 1–Phosphate Receptors on Airway and Vascular Barrier Function in the Murine Lung 
The therapeutic options for ameliorating the profound vascular permeability, alveolar flooding, and organ dysfunction that accompanies acute inflammatory lung injury (ALI) remain limited. Extending our previous finding that the intravenous administration of the sphingolipid angiogenic factor, sphingosine 1–phosphate (S1P), attenuates inflammatory lung injury and vascular permeability via ligation of S1PR1, we determine that a direct intratracheal or intravenous administration of S1P, or a selective S1P receptor (S1PR1) agonist (SEW-2871), produces highly concentration-dependent barrier-regulatory responses in the murine lung. The intratracheal or intravenous administration of S1P or SEW-2871 at < 0.3 mg/kg was protective against LPS-induced murine lung inflammation and permeability. However, intratracheal delivery of S1P at 0.5 mg/kg (for 2 h) resulted in significant alveolar–capillary barrier disruption (with a 42% increase in bronchoalveolar lavage protein), and produced rapid lethality when delivered at 2 mg/kg. Despite the greater selectivity for S1PR1, intratracheally delivered SEW-2871 at 0.5 mg/kg also resulted in significant alveolar–capillary barrier disruption, but was not lethal at 2 mg/kg. Consistent with the S1PR1 regulation of alveolar/vascular barrier function, wild-type mice pretreated with the S1PR1 inverse agonist, SB-649146, or S1PR1+/− mice exhibited reduced S1P/SEW-2871–mediated barrier protection after challenge with LPS. In contrast, S1PR2−/− knockout mice as well as mice with reduced S1PR3 expression (via silencing S1PR3-containing nanocarriers) were protected against LPS-induced barrier disruption compared with control mice. These studies underscore the potential therapeutic effects of highly selective S1PR1 receptor agonists in reducing inflammatory lung injury, and highlight the critical role of the S1P delivery route, S1PR1 agonist concentration, and S1PR1 expression in target tissues.
PMCID: PMC2951871  PMID: 19749179
SEW-2871; LPS; SB-649146; S1P; lung edema
11.  Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells Prevent Cigarette Smoke and Chlamydophila pneumoniae–Induced Th2 Inflammatory Responses 
Smoking promotes the development of allergic asthma and pneumonia. Chlamydophila pneumoniae lung infection is associated with an increased risk for asthma, inducing an immune response regulated by dendritic cells (DCs). This study sought to determine whether exposure to cigarette smoke modulates the functional activity of CD11c-positive DCs in the lung, with and without concomitant C. pneumoniae infection. Bone marrow–derived DCs (BMDCs) were exposed in vitro to cigarette smoke extract (CSE) and/or live C. pneumoniae (Cpn), and then adoptively transferred intratracheally into wild-type mice. Although CSE plus Cpn appeared to exert an additive effect on the production of Th2 cytokines in vitro, we did not see this effect in vivo. However, the adoptive transfer of DCs pulsed with both CSE and C. pneumoniae into the lungs of naive mice led to an influx of plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) that suppressed the Th2 skewing ability of the transferred BMDCs. The depletion of pDCs by antibody restored the Th2 skewing ability of the BMDCs. The expression of indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase in the lung was reduced after the depletion of pDCs, and blocking IFN-α in vitro prevented the ability of pDCs to inhibit the Th2 responses induced by myeloid DCs (mDCs), suggesting their potential involvement in the mechanism of altered polarization. In conclusion, exposure to cigarette smoke skews C. pneumoniae–induced mDCs responses toward a Th2 bias in the lung, which is prevented by pDCs. We propose that pDCs may play a major role in the immunosuppressive lung environment in smokers with C. pneumoniae infection.
PMCID: PMC2951872  PMID: 19901344
dendritic cells; Chlamydia pneumoniae; bacterial pneumonia; cigarette smoke exposure
12.  Programmed Death-1 Antibody Blocks Therapeutic Effects of T-Regulatory Cells in Cockroach Antigen-Induced Allergic Asthma 
We recently reported that the adoptive transfer of T-regulatory cells (Tregs) isolated from lung and spleen tissue of green fluorescent protein–transgenic mice reversed airway hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammation. Because Programmed Death-1 (PD-1) is a pivotal receptor regulating effector T-cell activation by Tregs, we evaluated whether PD-1 is involved in the therapeutic effect of naturally occurring Tregs (NTregs) and inducible Tregs (iTregs) in cockroach (CRA)-sensitized and challenged mice. The CD4+CD25+ NTregs and CD4+CD25− iTregs isolated from the lungs and spleens of BALB/c mice were adoptively transferred into CRA-sensitized and CRA-challenged mice with and without anti–PD-1 antibody (100 μg/mice). The CD4+CD25+ T cells in the lung were phenotyped after adoptive transfer. Concentrations of IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IFN-γ, and IL-13 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were measured using ELISA. The NTregs and iTregs from either lung or spleen tissue reversed airway hyperresponsiveness for at least 4 wk. However, the therapeutic effect was blocked by administering the anti–PD-1 antibody. The administration of Tregs-recipient mice with anti–PD-1 antibody significantly decreased cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 expression, with low concentrations of Forkhead-winged transcriptional factor box 3 (Foxp3) mRNA transcripts in lung CD4+CD25+ T cells. These mice had substantially higher concentrations of BALF IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13, but significantly decreased levels of BALF IL-10. Adoptive therapy recipients without the anti–PD-1 antibody exhibited high levels of CTLA-4 expression and Foxp3 transcripts in lung CD4+CD25+ T cells, with a significant decrease in BALF IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 concentrations and a substantial increase in BALF IL-10 concentrations. These data suggest that the reversal of airway hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammation by Tregs is mediated in part by PD-1, because other costimulatory molecules (e.g., inducible costimulatory molecule [ICOS] or CTLA-4) have been shown to play a role in Treg-mediated suppression.
PMCID: PMC2951873  PMID: 19901343
airway hyperresponsiveness; airway inflammation; anti–PD-1 antibody; cockroach antigen; Forkhead-winged transcriptional factor box P3
13.  Distinct Functions of Airway Epithelial Nuclear Factor-κB Activity Regulate Nitrogen Dioxide–Induced Acute Lung Injury 
Reactive oxidants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) injure the pulmonary epithelium, causing airway damage and inflammation. We previously demonstrated that nuclear factor-κ B (NF-κB) activation within airway epithelial cells occurs in response to NO2 inhalation, and is critical for lipopolysaccharide-induced or antigen-induced inflammatory responses. Here, we investigated whether manipulation of NF-κB activity in lung epithelium affected severe lung injuries induced by NO2 inhalation. Wild-type C57BL/6J, CC10-IκBαSR transgenic mice with repressed airway epithelial NF-κB function, or transgenic mice expressing a doxycycline-inducible, constitutively active I κ B kinase β (CC10-rTet-CAIKKβ) with augmented NF-κB function in airway epithelium, were exposed to toxic levels of 25 ppm or 50 ppm NO2 for 6 hours a day for 1 or 3 days. In wild-type mice, NO2 caused the activation of NF-κB in airway epithelium after 6 hours, and after 3 days resulted in severe acute lung injury, characterized by neutrophilia, peribronchiolar lesions, and increased protein, lactate dehydrogenase, and inflammatory cytokines. Compared with wild-type mice, neutrophilic inflammation and elastase activity, lung injury, and several proinflammatory cytokines were significantly suppressed in CC10-IκBαSR mice exposed to 25 or 50 ppm NO2. Paradoxically, CC10-rTet-CAIKKβ mice that received doxycycline showed no further increase in NO2-induced lung injury compared with wild-type mice exposed to NO2, instead displaying significant reductions in histologic parameters of lung injury, despite elevations in several proinflammatory cytokines. These intriguing findings demonstrate distinct functions of airway epithelial NF-κB activities in oxidant-induced severe acute lung injury, and suggest that although airway epithelial NF-κB activities modulate NO2-induced pulmonary inflammation, additional NF-κB–regulated functions confer partial protection from lung injury.
PMCID: PMC2951874  PMID: 19901348
epithelium; NF-κB; inflammation; nitrogen dioxide; lung injury
14.  Neurotransmitters in Airway Parasympathetic Neurons Altered by Neurotrophin-3 and Repeated Allergen Challenge 
Changes in airway nerves associated with chronic inflammation may underlie the pathogenesis and symptoms of lower airway diseases, such as asthma. The molecules most likely causing such alterations are neurotrophins (NTs) and/or related neurokines. In several species, including humans, lower airway parasympathetic postganglionic neurons that project axons to airway smooth muscle are either cholinergic or nonadrenergic noncholinergic (NANC), the latter synthesizing vasoactive intestinal peptide and nitric oxide, but not acetylcholine. In guinea pig trachealis smooth muscle, cholinergic nerve terminals arise from ganglionic neurons located near the tracheal smooth muscle, whereas the source of NANC nerve fibers is from neurons in ganglia located in the adjacent myenteric plexus of the esophagus, making this an ideal species to study regulation of parasympathetic neurotransmitter phenotypes. In the present study, we determined that, 48 hours after repeated allergen challenge, the NANC phenotype of airway parasympathetic ganglionic neurons changed to a cholinergic phenotype, and NT-3 mimicked this change. Nerve growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, leukemia inhibitory factor, or IL-1β had no effect on either phenotype, and they did not induce these neurons to synthesize substance P or tyrosine hydroxylase. These results indicate a role for inflammation and NT-3 in regulating biochemical and anatomical characteristics of principal neurons in adult airway parasympathetic ganglia.
PMCID: PMC2951875  PMID: 19901346
airway remodeling; asthma; autonomic nerves; neurotransmitter phenotype; parasympathetic ganglia
15.  Sulfasalazine and Mesalamine Modulate Beryllium-Specific Lymphocyte Proliferation and Inflammatory Cytokine Production 
Occupational exposure to beryllium (Be) results in Be sensitization (BeS) that can progress to pulmonary granulomatous inflammation associated with chronic Be disease (CBD). Be-specific lymphocytes are present in the blood of patients with BeS and in the blood and lungs of patients with CBD. Sulfasalazine and its active metabolite, mesalamine, are clinically used to ameliorate chronic inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease. We tested whether sulfasalazine or mesalamine could decrease Be-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) proliferation in subjects with CBD and BeS and Be-induced cytokine production in CBD bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells. CBD (n = 25), BeS (n = 12) and healthy normal control (n = 6) subjects were enrolled and ex vivo proliferation and cytokine production were assessed in the presence of Be and sulfasalazine or mesalamine. Be-stimulated PBMC proliferation was inhibited by treatment with either sulfasalazine or mesalamine. Be-stimulated CBD BAL cell IFN-γ and TNF-α cytokine production was decreased by treatment with sulfasalazine or mesalamine. Our data suggest that both sulfasalazine and mesalamine interfere with Be-stimulated PBMC proliferation in CBD and BeS and dampens Be-stimulated CBD BAL cell proinflammatory cytokine production. These studies demonstrate that sulfasalazine and mesalamine can disrupt inflammatory pathways critical to the pathogenesis of chronic granulomatous inflammation in CBD, and may serve as novel therapy for human granulomatous lung diseases.
PMCID: PMC2951876  PMID: 19901345
granulomatous inflammation; IFN-γ; TNF-α; lymphocyte proliferation; berylliosis
16.  Effects of Age on the Synergistic Interactions between Lipopolysaccharide and Mechanical Ventilation in Mice 
Children have a lower incidence and mortality from acute lung injury (ALI) than adults, and infections are the most common event associated with ALI. To study the effects of age on susceptibility to ALI, we investigated the responses to microbial products combined with mechanical ventilation (MV) in juvenile (21-d-old) and adult (16-wk-old) mice. Juvenile and adult C57BL/6 mice were treated with inhaled Escherichia coli 0111:B4 lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and MV using tidal volume = 15 ml/kg. Comparison groups included mice treated with LPS or MV alone and untreated age-matched control mice. In adult animals treated for 3 hours, LPS plus MV caused synergistic increases in neutrophils (P < 0.01) and IgM in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (P = 0.03) and IL-1β in whole lung homogenates (P < 0.01) as compared with either modality alone. Although juvenile and adult mice had similar responses to LPS or MV alone, the synergistic interactions between LPS and MV did not occur in juvenile mice. Computational analysis of gene expression array data suggest that the acquisition of synergy with increasing age results, in part, from the loss of antiapoptotic responses and the acquisition of proinflammatory responses to the combination of LPS and MV. These data suggest that the synergistic inflammatory and injury responses to inhaled LPS combined with MV are acquired with age as a result of coordinated changes in gene expression of inflammatory, apoptotic, and TGF-β pathways.
PMCID: PMC2951878  PMID: 19901347
adult respiratory distress syndrome; inflammation; oligonucleotide array sequence analysis
17.  Impact of Adiponectin Deficiency on Pulmonary Responses to Acute Ozone Exposure in Mice 
Obese mice have increased responses to acute ozone (O3) exposure. T-cadherin is a binding protein for the high–molecular weight isoforms of adiponectin, an anti-inflammatory hormone that declines in obesity. The objective of the present study was to determine whether adiponectin affects pulmonary responses to O3, and whether these effects are mediated through T-cadherin. We performed bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and measured pulmonary responsiveness to methacholine after acute air or O3 exposure (2 ppm for 3 h) in adiponectin-deficient (Adipo−/−) or T-cadherin–deficient (T-Cad−/−) mice. O3 increased pulmonary responses to methacholine and increased BAL neutrophils and protein to a greater extent in wild-type than in Adipo−/− mice, whereas T-cadherin deficiency had no effect. O3-induced increases in BAL IL-6 and keratinocyte-derived chemokine (KC), which contribute to O3-induced pulmonary neutrophilia, were also greater in wild-type than in Adipo−/− mice. In contrast, responses to O3 were not altered by transgenic overexpression of adiponectin. To determine which adiponectin isoforms are present in the lung, Western blotting was performed. The hexameric isoform of adiponectin dominated in serum, whereas BAL was dominated by the high–molecular weight isoform of adiponectin. Interestingly, serum adiponectin was greater in T-Cad−/− versus wild-type mice, whereas BAL adiponectin was lower in T-Cad−/− versus wild-type mice, suggesting that T-cadherin may be important for transit of high–molecular weight adiponectin from the blood to the lung. Our results indicate that adiponectin deficiency inhibits pulmonary inflammation induced by acute O3 exposure, and that T-cadherin does not mediate the effects of adiponectin responsible for these events.
PMCID: PMC2951879  PMID: 19915153
T-cadherin; neutrophil; inflammation; airway responsiveness; bronchoalveolar lavage
18.  Migrating Human Neutrophils Exhibit Dynamic Spatiotemporal Variation in Membrane Lipid Organization 
Highly ordered sphingolipid-enriched lipid raft microdomains (LRMs) within plasma membranes purportedly function as specialized signaling platforms. Leukocyte migration is believed to entail LRM redistribution, but progress in studying LRMs in situ during cell movement has been limited. By using an improved method for imaging the spectral shift of the environmentally sensitive probe, laurdan (expressed as a generalized polarization function), the plasma membrane order (i.e., tight packing of membrane bilayer lipids) of human polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) was mapped in real time during migration. Morphologically polarized PMNs exhibited prominent LRM clusters at the uropod, where in every instance membrane order was found to oscillate with mean periodicities of 37.0 ± 1.46 and 149.9 ± 9.0 seconds (P < 0.01). LRM aggregates were also demonstrated in punctate and clustered distributions of nonpolarized cells and transiently at the lamellipodia of polarized PMNs. Cellular polarization was not accompanied by an overall increase in membrane order. LRM disorganization with methyl-β-cyclodextrin had small negative effects on cell velocity, but it abrogated directionally biased migration toward chemotactic gradients of FMLP or leukotriene B4. LRMs disruption also caused redistribution of Rac 1/2 GTPase and GM3 ganglioside away from the lamellipodium, as well as extension of multiple pseudopods simultaneously or in rapid succession, rather than formation of a defined leading edge. Thus, we demonstrate that the plasma membrane order of migrating PMNs changes dynamically, with prominent oscillations consistently seen at the uropod. These findings solidify the existence of rapidly reorganizing LRMs in situ and support a role for LRMs in chemotaxin responsiveness.
PMCID: PMC2951880  PMID: 19933376
neutrophils; chemotaxis; lipid rafts; inflammation
19.  Both Hematopoietic-Derived and Non–Hematopoietic-Derived β-Arrestin–2 Regulates Murine Allergic Airway Disease 
Allergic asthma, a major cause of morbidity and leading cause of hospitalizations, is an inflammatory disease orchestrated by T helper cells and characterized by the lung migration of eosinophils, which are important asthma effector cells. Lung migration of inflammatory cells requires, among other events, the chemokine receptor transduction of lung-produced inflammatory chemokines. Despite the widespread prevalence of this disease, the molecular mechanisms regulating chemokine production and receptor regulation in asthma are poorly understood. Previous work from our laboratory demonstrated that β-arrestin−2 positively regulates the development of allergic airway disease in a mouse model, partly through positive regulation of T-lymphocyte chemotaxis to the lung. However, β-arrestin−2 is expressed in many cell types, including other hematopoietic cells and lung structural cells, which are involved in the development and manifestation of allergic airway disease. To determine the cell types required for β-arrestin–2–dependent allergic inflammation, we generated bone marrow chimera mice. Using the ovalbumin murine model of allergic airway disease, we show that eosinophilic and lymphocytic inflammation is restored in chimeric mice, with expression of β-arrestin−2 exclusively on hematopoietic-derived cell types. In contrast, airway hyperresponsiveness is dependent on the expression of β-arrestin−2 in structural cells. Our data demonstrate that the expression of β-arrestin−2 in at least two divergent cell types contributes to the pathogenesis of allergic airway disease.
PMCID: PMC2933545  PMID: 19805483
asthma; bone marrow transplant; β-arrestin-2; airway hyperresponsiveness
20.  Nuclear Erythroid 2 p45-Related Factor 2 Inhibits the Maturation of Murine Dendritic Cells by Ragweed Extract 
Oxidative stress plays an important role in immune regulation and dendritic cell (DC) maturation. Recent studies indicate that allergens, including ragweed extract (RWE), possess prooxidant activities, but how RWE interacts with DCs is not well understood. Nuclear erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a key transcription factor that regulates constitutive and coordinated induction of a battery of antioxidant genes. We hypothesized that RWE would activate DCs and that this response would be augmented in the absence of Nrf2. We generated bone marrow–derived DCs (BM-DCs) and isolated lung DCs from Nrf2+/+ and Nrf2−/− mice and studied the effects of RWE on DCs in vitro. Under resting conditions, Nrf2−/− BM-DCs exhibited constitutively greater levels of inflammatory cytokines and costimulatory molecules than Nrf2+/+ BM-DCs. Exposure to RWE impaired endocytic activity, significantly induced oxidative stress, and enhanced the expression of CD80, CD86, and MHCII in Nrf2−/− BM-DCs when compared with Nrf2+/+ BM-DC, in association with reduced expression of Nrf2-regulated antioxidant genes. RWE significantly induced the secretion of inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α in BM-DCs and lung DCs from Nrf2−/− mice than Nrf2+/+ mice and significantly inhibited the secretion of IL-12 in Nrf2+/+ BM-DCs and IL-18 in Nrf2+/+ and Nrf2−/− BM-DCs. The stimulatory effects of RWE on DC activation were inhibited to varying degrees by the antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine. Our findings indicate that a defect in Nrf2-mediated signaling mechanisms alters the response of DCs to a common environmental allergen, which may contribute to the susceptibility to allergic diseases.
PMCID: PMC2933546  PMID: 19805484
Nrf2; dendritic cells; ragweed extract; antioxidant genes; oxidative stress
21.  Protein Thiol Oxidation in Murine Airway Epithelial Cells in Response to Naphthalene or Diethyl Maleate 
Naphthalene (NA) is a semivolatile aromatic hydrocarbon to which humans are exposed from a variety of sources. NA results in acute cytotoxicity to respiratory epithelium in rodents. Cytochrome P450-dependent metabolic activation to form reactive intermediates and loss of soluble cellular thiols (glutathione) are critical steps in NA toxicity, but the precise mechanisms by which this chemical results in cellular injury remain unclear. Protein thiols are likely targets of reactive NA metabolites. Loss of these, through adduction or thiol oxidation mechanisms, may be important underlying mechanisms for NA toxicity. To address the hypothesis that loss of thiols on specific cellular proteins is critical to NA-induced cytotoxicity, we compared reduced to oxidized thiol ratios in airway epithelial cell proteins isolated from lungs of mice treated with NA or the nontoxic glutathione depletor, diethyl maleate (DEM). At 300 mg/kg doses, NA administration resulted in a greater than 85% loss of glutathione levels in the airway epithelium, which is similar to the loss observed after DEM treatment. Using differential fluorescent maleimide labeling followed by 2DE separation of proteins, we identified more than 35 unique proteins that have treatment-specific differential sulfhydryl oxidation. At doses of NA and DEM that produce similar levels of glutathione depletion, Cy3/Cy5 labeling ratios were statistically different for 16 nonredundant proteins in airway epithelium. Proteins identified include a zinc finger protein, several aldehyde dehydrogenase variants, β-actin, and several other structural proteins. These studies show distinct patterns of protein thiol alterations with the noncytotoxic DEM and the cytotoxic NA.
PMCID: PMC2933547  PMID: 19843705
thiol oxidation; bronchial epithelial cells; naphthalene; diethyl maleate; proteomics
22.  Acute Lung Injury but Not Sepsis Is Associated with Increased Colony Formation by Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells 
Acute lung injury (ALI) and severe sepsis are common critical illnesses associated with the mobilization of bone marrow–derived cells into the circulation. By identifying and determining these cells' functional characteristics, unique prognostic biomarkers can be developed to help investigators understand the mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of these disorders. We previously demonstrated an increased colony-forming unit (CFU) ability of circulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in patients with ALI, compared with healthy control subjects, that also correlated with improved survival. Here we hypothesized that the increased CFUs in ALI are associated with lung injury, and therefore ALI will result in an increased number of CFUs compared with patients exhibiting severe sepsis. To test this, blood was collected from 80 patients (63 with ALI, and 17 with severe sepsis) within 72 hours of diagnosis, and from 5 healthy control subjects. A CFU assay was performed on isolated PBMCs. Lung injury scores and the need for mechanical ventilation were greater in patients with ALI than in patients with severe sepsis (P < 0.0001 for each). CFU numbers were highest in patients with ALI compared with patients manifesting severe sepsis or control subjects (median CFU number [25–75% quartiles] of 61 [13–104] versus 17 [3–34] versus 5 [2–13], P < 0.0005). A trend toward improved survival was demonstrated in patients with high (≥ 48) CFUs (P = 0.06). No relationship between CFUs and mechanical ventilation was evident. Our findings suggest that increased colony-forming ability by PBMCs in ALI results from lung injury, independent of sepsis and mechanical ventilation. Factors contributing to colony formation by PBMCs in ALI, and the role PBMCs play in its pathogenesis remain to be fully established.
PMCID: PMC2933548  PMID: 19843706
endothelium; critical illness; repair; prognosis; ARDS
23.  Multiple Mechanisms Influence Regulation of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Gene Promoter 
The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene is driven by a promoter that cannot alone account for the temporal and tissue-specific regulation of the gene. This has led to the search for additional regulatory elements that cooperate with the basal promoter to achieve coordinated expression. We previously identified two alternative upstream exons of the gene that were mutually exclusive of the first exon, and one of which showed temporal regulation in the human and sheep lung. We now demonstrate that this alternative splice product generates a stable protein, which initiates translation at an ATG in exon 4, and thus lacks the N terminus of CFTR. The other splice variant inhibits translation of the protein. In a search for the promoter used by the upstream exons, we identified a novel element that contributes to the activity of the basal CFTR promoter in airway epithelial cells, but does not function independently. Finally, we demonstrate that, in primary airway cells, skin fibroblasts, and both airway and intestinal cell lines, the CFTR promoter is unmethylated, irrespective of CFTR expression status. Thus, methylation is not the main cause of inactivation of CFTR transcription.
PMCID: PMC2933549  PMID: 19855085
CFTR promoter; alternative exons; methylation
24.  Fas Ligand Expression on T Cells Is Sufficient to Prevent Prolonged Airway Inflammation in a Murine Model of Asthma 
Our previous studies revealed that, in a murine model of asthma, mice that received Fas-deficient T cells developed a prolonged phase of airway inflammation, mucus production, and airway hyperreactivity that failed to resolve even 6 weeks after the last challenge. To investigate how Fas–Fas ligand (FasL) interaction occurs between T cells and other cells in vivo, Gld mice with abnormalities of the FasL signaling pathway were used. The reconstituted mice were made by transferring T cells from B6 or Gld mice to Rag−/− or FasL-deficient Rag−/− mice. We found that Rag−/− mice that received B6 T cells resolved the airway inflammation, whereas FasL-deficient Rag−/− mice that received Gld T cells developed a prolonged airway inflammation at Day 28, with decreased IFN-γ production. Both FasL-deficient Rag−/− mice that received B6 T cells and Rag−/− mice that received Gld T cells also had completely resolved their airway inflammation by Day 28 after challenge. Interestingly, FasL-deficient Rag−/− mice that received Gld T cells eventually resolved airway inflammation at Day 42, with a similar level of IFN-γ production to that of control group. These results demonstrate that FasL expression on either T cells only or non–T cells only was sufficient for the eventual resolution of airway inflammation, and the prolonged airway inflammation in FasL-deficient Rag−/− mice that received Gld T cells was correlated with decreased IFN-γ production by Gld T cells.
PMCID: PMC2933550  PMID: 19855087
T helper cell type 1/T helper cell type 2 cells; eosinophils; apoptosis; lung; inflammation
25.  Post-Transcriptional Regulation of Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor Type–1 Expression in Human Pleural Mesothelial Cells 
The plasminogen activator inhibitor type–1 (PAI-1) effectively blocks the activities of free and receptor-bound urokinase-type plasminogen activator. Incubation of cultured human pleural mesothelial (Met5A) cells with TGF-β increased PAI-1 protein. TGF-β, phorbol myristate acetate, and the translation inhibitor cycloheximide induced PAI-1 mRNA and slowed its degradation, suggesting that PAI-1 mRNA could be regulated by interaction of a PAI-1 binding protein (PAI-1 mRNABp) with PAI-1 mRNA. We found that an approximately 60 kD cytoplasmic PAI-1 mRNABp is detectable in cytoplasmic extracts of MeT5A human pleural mesothelial and malignant mesothelioma cells. The PAI-1 mRNABp specifically binds to a 33-nt sequence in the 3′ untranslated region of PAI-1 mRNA. Insertion of this 33-nt sequence destabilizes otherwise stable β-globin mRNA, indicating that the binding sequence accelerates decay of endogenous PAI-1 mRNA. Competitive inhibition by overexpression of the 33-nt binding sequence in MeT5A cells reduced PAI-1 mRNA decay and increased PAI-1 protein and mRNA expression, indicating that the PAI-1 mRNABp destabilizes PAI-1 mRNA by its interaction with the endogenous 33-nt binding sequence. Incubation of Met5A cells with TGF-β attenuated the interaction of the PAI-1 mRNABp with the 33-nt sequence. By conventional and affinity purification, we isolated the PAI-1 mRNABp and confirmed its identity as 6-phospho-d-gluconate-NADP oxidoreductase, which specifically interacts with the full-length and the 33-nt sequence of the PAI-1 mRNA 3′ untranslated region. This newly recognized pathway could influence expression of PAI-1 by mesothelial or mesothelioma cells at the level of mRNA stability in the context of pleural inflammation or malignancy.
PMCID: PMC2933551  PMID: 19855086
PAI-1; mesothelial cells; post-transcriptional regulation

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