Oxidation of calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (ox-CaMKII) by ROS has been associated with asthma. However, the contribution of ox-CaMKII to the development of asthma remains to be fully characterized. Here, we tested the effect of ox-CaMKII on IgE-mediated mast cell activation in an allergen-induced mouse model of asthma using oxidant-resistant CaMKII MMVVδ knockin (MMVVδ) mice. Compared with WT mice, the allergen-challenged MMVVδ mice displayed less airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and inflammation. These MMVVδ mice exhibited reduced levels of ROS and diminished recruitment of mast cells to the lungs. OVA-activated bone marrow–derived mast cells (BMMCs) from MMVVδ mice showed a significant inhibition of ROS and ox-CaMKII expression. ROS generation was dependent on intracellular Ca2+ concentration in BMMCs. Importantly, OVA-activated MMVVδ BMMCs had suppressed degranulation, histamine release, leukotriene C4, and IL-13 expression. Adoptive transfer of WT, but not MMVVδ, BMMCs, reversed the alleviated AHR and inflammation in allergen-challenged MMVVδ mice. The CaMKII inhibitor KN-93 significantly suppressed IgE-mediated mast cell activation and asthma. These studies support a critical but previously unrecognized role of ox-CaMKII in mast cells that promotes asthma and suggest that therapies to reduce ox-CaMKII may be a novel approach for asthma.
Jingjing Qu, Danh C. Do, Yufeng Zhou, Elizabeth Luczak, Wayne Mitzner, Mark E. Anderson, Peisong Gao
The epigenome provides a substrate through which environmental exposures can exert their effects on gene expression and disease risk, but the relative importance of epigenetic variation on human disease onset and progression is poorly characterized. Asthma is a heterogeneous disease of the airways, for which both onset and clinical course result from interactions between host genotype and environmental exposures, yet little is known about the molecular mechanisms for these interactions. We assessed genome-wide DNA methylation using the Infinium Human Methylation 450K Bead Chip and characterized the transcriptome by RNA sequencing in primary airway epithelial cells from 74 asthmatic and 41 nonasthmatic adults. Asthma status was based on doctor’s diagnosis and current medication use. Genotyping was performed using various Illumina platforms. Our study revealed a regulatory locus on chromosome 17q12-21 associated with asthma risk and epigenetic signatures of specific asthma endotypes and molecular networks. Overall, these data support a central role for DNA methylation in lung cells, which promotes distinct molecular pathways of asthma pathogenesis and modulates the effects of genetic variation on disease risk and clinical heterogeneity.
Jessie Nicodemus-Johnson, Rachel A. Myers, Noburu J. Sakabe, Debora R. Sobreira, Douglas K. Hogarth, Edward T. Naureckas, Anne I. Sperling, Julian Solway, Steven R. White, Marcelo A. Nobrega, Dan L. Nicolae, Yoav Gilad, Carole Ober
Maladaptive epithelial repair from chronic injury is a common feature in fibrotic diseases, which in turn activates a pathogenic fibroblast response that produces excessive matrix deposition. Dysregulated microRNAs (miRs) can regulate expression of multiple genes and fundamentally alter cellular phenotypes during fibrosis. Although several miRs have been shown to be associated with lung fibrosis, the mechanisms by which miRs modulate epithelial behavior in lung fibrosis are lacking. Here, we identified miR-323a-3p to be downregulated in the epithelium of lungs with bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) after lung transplantation, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and murine bleomycin-induced fibrosis. Antagomirs for miR-323a-3p augment, and mimics suppress, murine lung fibrosis after bleomycin injury, indicating that this miR may govern profibrotic signals. We demonstrate that miR-323a-3p attenuates TGF-α and TGF-β signaling by directly targeting key adaptors in these important fibrogenic pathways. Moreover, miR-323a-3p lowers caspase-3 expression, thereby limiting programmed cell death from inducers of apoptosis and ER stress. Finally, we find that epithelial expression of miR-323a-3p modulates inhibitory crosstalk with fibroblasts. These studies demonstrate that miR-323a-3p has a central role in lung fibrosis that spans across murine and human disease, and downregulated expression by the lung epithelium releases inhibition of various profibrotic pathways to promote fibroproliferation.
Lingyin Ge, David M. Habiel, Phil M. Hansbro, Richard Y. Kim, Sina A. Gharib, Jeffery D. Edelman, Melanie Königshoff, Tanyalak Parimon, Rena Brauer, Ying Huang, Jenieke Allen, Dianhua Jiang, Adrianne A. Kurkciyan, Takako Mizuno, Barry R. Stripp, Paul W. Noble, Cory M. Hogaboam, Peter Chen
The stasis of mucus secretions in the lungs of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients leads to recurrent infections and pulmonary exacerbations, resulting in decreased survival. Prior studies have assessed the biochemical and biophysical features of airway mucus in individuals with CF. However, these measurements are unable to probe mucus structure on microscopic length scales relevant to key players in the progression of CF-related lung disease, namely, viruses, bacteria, and neutrophils. In this study, we quantitatively determined sputum microstructure based on the diffusion of muco-inert nanoparticle probes in CF sputum and found that a reduction in sputum mesh pore size is characteristic of CF patients with reduced lung function, as indicated by measured FEV1. We also discovered that the effect of ex vivo treatment of CF sputum with rhDNase I (Pulmozyme) on microstructure is dependent upon the time interval between the most recent inhaled rhDNase I treatment and the sample collection. Microstructure of mucus may serve as a marker for the extent of CF lung disease and as a parameter for assessing the effectiveness of mucus-altering agents.
Gregg A. Duncan, James Jung, Andrea Joseph, Abigail L. Thaxton, Natalie E. West, Michael P. Boyle, Justin Hanes, Jung Soo Suk
Chronic inflammation with mucous metaplasia and airway remodeling are hallmarks of allergic asthma, and these outcomes have been associated with enhanced expression and activation of EGFR signaling. Here, we demonstrate enhanced expression of EGFR ligands such as amphiregulin as well as constitutive EGFR activation in cultured nasal epithelial cells from asthmatic subjects compared with nonasthmatic controls and in lung tissues of mice during house dust mite–induced (HDM-induced) allergic inflammation. EGFR activation was associated with cysteine oxidation within EGFR and the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase Src, and both amphiregulin production and oxidative EGFR activation were diminished by pharmacologic or genetic inhibition of the epithelial NADPH oxidase dual oxidase 1 (DUOX1). DUOX1 deficiency also attenuated several EGFR-dependent features of HDM-induced allergic airway inflammation, including neutrophilic inflammation, type 2 cytokine production (IL-33, IL-13), mucous metaplasia, subepithelial fibrosis, and central airway resistance. Moreover, targeted inhibition of airway DUOX1 in mice with previously established HDM-induced allergic inflammation, by intratracheal administration of DUOX1-targeted siRNA or pharmacological NADPH oxidase inhibitors, reversed most of these outcomes. Our findings indicate an important function for DUOX1 in allergic inflammation related to persistent EGFR activation and suggest that DUOX1 targeting may represent an attractive strategy in asthma management.
Aida Habibovic, Milena Hristova, David E. Heppner, Karamatullah Danyal, Jennifer L. Ather, Yvonne M.W. Janssen-Heininger, Charles G. Irvin, Matthew E. Poynter, Lennart K. Lundblad, Anne E. Dixon, Miklos Geiszt, Albert van der Vliet
Alveolar epithelial cell (AEC) dysfunction underlies the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis in Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) and other genetic syndromes associated with interstitial lung disease; however, mechanisms linking AEC dysfunction and fibrotic remodeling are incompletely understood. Since increased macrophage recruitment precedes pulmonary fibrosis in HPS, we investigated whether crosstalk between AECs and macrophages determines fibrotic susceptibility. We found that AECs from HPS mice produce excessive MCP-1, which was associated with increased macrophages in the lungs of unchallenged HPS mice. Blocking MCP-1/CCR2 signaling in HPS mice with genetic deficiency of CCR2 or targeted deletion of MCP-1 in AECs normalized macrophage recruitment, decreased AEC apoptosis, and reduced lung fibrosis in these mice following treatment with low-dose bleomycin. We observed increased TGF-β production by HPS macrophages, which was eliminated by CCR2 deletion. Selective deletion of TGF-β in myeloid cells or of TGF-β signaling in AECs through deletion of TGFBR2 protected HPS mice from AEC apoptosis and bleomycin-induced fibrosis. Together, these data reveal a feedback loop in which increased MCP-1 production by dysfunctional AECs results in recruitment and activation of lung macrophages that produce TGF-β, thus amplifying the fibrotic cascade through AEC apoptosis and stimulation of fibrotic remodeling.
Lisa R. Young, Peter M. Gulleman, Chelsi W. Short, Harikrishna Tanjore, Taylor Sherrill, Aidong Qi, Andrew P. McBride, Rinat Zaynagetdinov, John T. Benjamin, William E. Lawson, Sergey V. Novitskiy, Timothy S. Blackwell
Adaptive changes in the genome of a locally predominant clinical isolate of the multidrug-resistant
Danielle Ahn, Hernán Peñaloza, Zheng Wang, Matthew Wickersham, Dane Parker, Purvi Patel, Antonius Koller, Emily I. Chen, Susan M. Bueno, Anne-Catrin Uhlemann, Alice Prince
Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a rare lung disease of women that leads to progressive cyst formation and accelerated loss of pulmonary function. Neoplastic smooth muscle cells from an unknown source metastasize to the lung and drive destructive remodeling. Given the role of NK cells in immune surveillance, we postulated that NK cell activating receptors and their cognate ligands are involved in LAM pathogenesis. We found that ligands for the NKG2D activating receptor UL-16 binding protein 2 (ULBP2) and ULBP3 are localized in cystic LAM lesions and pulmonary nodules. We found elevated soluble serum ULBP2 (mean = 575 pg/ml ± 142) in 50 of 100 subjects and ULBP3 in 30 of 100 (mean = 8,300 pg/ml ± 1,515) subjects. LAM patients had fewer circulating NKG2D+ NK cells and decreased NKG2D surface expression. Lung function decline was associated with soluble NKG2D ligand (sNKG2DL) detection. The greatest rate of decline forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1, –124 ± 30 ml/year) in the 48 months after enrollment (NHLBI LAM Registry) occurred in patients expressing both ULBP2 and ULBP3, whereas patients with undetectable sNKG2DL levels had the lowest rate of FEV1 decline (–32.7 ± 10 ml/year). These data suggest a role for NK cells, sNKG2DL, and the innate immune system in LAM pathogenesis.
Andrew R. Osterburg, Rebecca L. Nelson, Benyamin Z. Yaniv, Rachel Foot, Walter R.F. Donica, Madison A. Nashu, Huan Liu, Kathryn A. Wikenheiser-Brokamp, Joel Moss, Nishant Gupta, Francis X. McCormack, Michael T. Borchers
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the US. The majority of COPD patients have symptoms of chronic bronchitis, which lacks specific therapies. A major impediment to therapeutic development has been the absence of animal models that recapitulate key clinical and pathologic features of human disease. Ferrets are well suited for the investigation of the significance of respiratory diseases, given prior data indicating similarities to human airway physiology and submucosal gland distribution. Here, we exposed ferrets to chronic cigarette smoke and found them to approximate complex clinical features of human COPD. Unlike mice, which develop solely emphysema, smoke-exposed ferrets exhibited markedly higher numbers of early-morning spontaneous coughs and sporadic infectious exacerbations as well as a higher level of airway obstruction accompanied by goblet cell metaplasia/hyperplasia and increased mucus expression in small airways, indicative of chronic bronchitis and bronchiolitis. Overall, we demonstrate the first COPD animal model exhibiting clinical and pathologic features of chronic bronchitis to our knowledge, providing a key advance that will greatly facilitate the preclinical development of novel treatments for this disease.
S. Vamsee Raju, Hyunki Kim, Stephen A. Byzek, Li Ping Tang, John E. Trombley, Patricia Jackson, Lawrence Rasmussen, J. Michael Wells, Emily Falk Libby, Erik Dohm, Lindy Winter, Sharon L. Samuel, Kurt R. Zinn, J. Edwin Blalock, Trenton R. Schoeb, Mark T. Dransfield, Steven M. Rowe
Telomeres are short in type II alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Whether dysfunctional telomeres contribute directly to development of lung fibrosis remains unknown. The objective of this study was to investigate whether telomere dysfunction in type II AECs, mediated by deletion of the telomere shelterin protein TRF1, leads to pulmonary fibrosis in mice (
Ram P. Naikawadi, Supparerk Disayabutr, Benat Mallavia, Matthew L. Donne, Gary Green, Janet L. La, Jason R. Rock, Mark R. Looney, Paul J. Wolters
Genome-wide association studies of asthma have identified genetic variants in the
Erin D. Gordon, Joe Palandra, Agata Wesolowska-Andersen, Lando Ringel, Cydney L. Rios, Marrah E. Lachowicz-Scroggins, Louis Z. Sharp, Jamie L. Everman, Hannah J. MacLeod, Jae W. Lee, Robert J. Mason, Michael A. Matthay, Richard T. Sheldon, Michael C. Peters, Karl H. Nocka, John V. Fahy, Max A. Seibold
The physiological components that contribute to cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease are steadily being elucidated. Gene therapy could potentially correct these defects.
Benjamin Steines, David D. Dickey, Jamie Bergen, Katherine J.D.A. Excoffon, John R. Weinstein, Xiaopeng Li, Ziying Yan, Mahmoud H. Abou Alaiwa, Viral S. Shah, Drake C. Bouzek, Linda S. Powers, Nicholas D. Gansemer, Lynda S. Ostedgaard, John F. Engelhardt, David A. Stoltz, Michael J. Welsh, Patrick L. Sinn, David V. Schaffer, Joseph Zabner
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in CF transmembrane conductance regulator (
Ashley L. Cooney, Mahmoud H. Abou Alaiwa, Viral S. Shah, Drake C. Bouzek, Mallory R. Stroik, Linda S. Powers, Nick D. Gansemer, David K. Meyerholz, Michael J. Welsh, David A. Stoltz, Patrick L. Sinn, Paul B. McCray Jr.
Motile airway cilia that propel contaminants out of the lung are oriented in a common direction by planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling, which localizes PCP protein complexes to opposite cell sides throughout the epithelium to orient cytoskeletal remodeling. In airway epithelia, PCP is determined in a 2-phase process. First, cell-cell communication via PCP complexes polarizes all cells with respect to the proximal-distal tissue axis. Second, during ciliogenesis, multiciliated cells (MCCs) undergo cytoskeletal remodeling to orient their cilia in the proximal direction. The second phase not only directs cilium polarization, but also consolidates polarization across the epithelium. Here, we demonstrate that in airway epithelia, PCP depends on MCC differentiation. PCP mutant epithelia have misaligned cilia, and also display defective barrier function and regeneration, indicating that PCP regulates multiple aspects of airway epithelial homeostasis. In humans, MCCs are often sparse in chronic inflammatory diseases, and these airways exhibit PCP dysfunction. The presence of insufficient MCCs impairs mucociliary clearance in part by disrupting PCP-driven polarization of the epithelium. Consistent with defective PCP, barrier function and regeneration are also disrupted. Pharmacological stimulation of MCC differentiation restores PCP and reverses these defects, suggesting its potential for broad therapeutic benefit in chronic inflammatory disease.
Eszter K. Vladar, Jayakar V. Nayak, Carlos E. Milla, Jeffrey D. Axelrod
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory airways disease that usually begins in early life and involves gene-environment interactions. Although most asthma exhibits allergic inflammation, many allergic individuals do not have asthma. Here, we report how the asthma gene a disintegrin and metalloprotease 33 (
Elizabeth R. Davies, Joanne F.C. Kelly, Peter H. Howarth, David I. Wilson, Stephen T. Holgate, Donna E. Davies, Jeffrey A. Whitsett, Hans Michael Haitchi
We have previously reported that obesity attenuates pulmonary inflammation in both patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and in mouse models of the disease. We hypothesized that obesity-associated hyperleptinemia, and not body mass per se, drives attenuation of the pulmonary inflammatory response and that this effect could also impair the host response to pneumonia. We examined the correlation between circulating leptin levels and risk, severity, and outcome of pneumonia in 2 patient cohorts (NHANES III and ARDSNet-ALVEOLI) and in mouse models of diet-induced obesity and lean hyperleptinemia. Plasma leptin levels in ambulatory subjects (NHANES) correlated positively with annual risk of respiratory infection independent of BMI. In patients with severe pneumonia resulting in ARDS (ARDSNet-ALVEOLI), plasma leptin levels were found to correlate positively with subsequent mortality. In obese mice with pneumonia, plasma leptin levels were associated with pneumonia severity, and in obese mice with sterile lung injury, leptin levels were inversely related to bronchoalveolar lavage neutrophilia, as well as to plasma IL-6 and G-CSF levels. These results were recapitulated in lean mice with experimentally induced hyperleptinemia. Our findings suggest that the association between obesity and elevated risk of pulmonary infection may be driven by hyperleptinemia.
Niki D.J. Ubags, Renee D. Stapleton, Juanita H.J. Vernooy, Elianne Burg, Jenna Bement, Catherine M. Hayes, Sebastian Ventrone, Lennart Zabeau, Jan Tavernier, Matthew E. Poynter, Polly E. Parsons, Anne E. Dixon, Matthew J. Wargo, Benjamin Littenberg, Emiel F.M. Wouters, Benjamin T. Suratt
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a debilitating lung disease characterized by excessive collagen production and fibrogenesis. Apoptosis in lung epithelial cells is critical in IPF pathogenesis, as heightened loss of these cells promotes fibroblast activation and remodeling. Changes in glutathione redox status have been reported in IPF patients. S-glutathionylation, the conjugation of glutathione to reactive cysteines, is catalyzed in part by glutathione-
David H. McMillan, Jos L.J. van der Velden, Karolyn G. Lahue, Xi Qian, Robert W. Schneider, Martina S. Iberg, James D. Nolin, Sarah Abdalla, Dylan T. Casey, Kenneth D. Tew, Danyelle M. Townsend, Colin J. Henderson, C. Roland Wolf, Kelly J. Butnor, Douglas J. Taatjes, Ralph C. Budd, Charles G. Irvin, Albert van der Vliet, Stevenson Flemer, Vikas Anathy, Yvonne M.W. Janssen-Heininger
Pulmonary arterial (PA) stiffness is associated with increased mortality in patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH); however, the role of PA stiffening in the pathogenesis of PH remains elusive. Here, we show that distal vascular matrix stiffening is an early mechanobiological regulator of experimental PH. We identify cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) suppression and corresponding reduction in prostaglandin production as pivotal regulators of stiffness-dependent vascular cell activation. Atomic force microscopy microindentation demonstrated early PA stiffening in experimental PH and human lung tissue. Pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMC) grown on substrates with the stiffness of remodeled PAs showed increased proliferation, decreased apoptosis, exaggerated contraction, enhanced matrix deposition, and reduced COX-2–derived prostanoid production compared with cells grown on substrates approximating normal PA stiffness. Treatment with a prostaglandin I2 analog abrogated monocrotaline-induced PA stiffening and attenuated stiffness-dependent increases in proliferation, matrix deposition, and contraction in PASMC. Our results suggest a pivotal role for early PA stiffening in PH and demonstrate the therapeutic potential of interrupting mechanobiological feedback amplification of vascular remodeling in experimental PH.
Fei Liu, Christina Mallarino Haeger, Paul B. Dieffenbach, Delphine Sicard, Izabela Chrobak, Anna Maria F. Coronata, Margarita M. Suárez Velandia, Sally Vitali, Romain A. Colas, Paul C. Norris, Aleksandar Marinković, Xiaoli Liu, Jun Ma, Chase D. Rose, Seon-Jin Lee, Suzy A.A. Comhair, Serpil C. Erzurum, Jacob D. McDonald, Charles N. Serhan, Stephen R. Walsh, Daniel J. Tschumperlin, Laura E. Fredenburgh
In cystic fibrosis (CF), loss of CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) anion channel activity causes airway surface liquid (ASL) pH to become acidic, which impairs airway host defenses. One potential therapeutic approach is to correct the acidic pH in CF airways by aerosolizing HCO3– and/or nonbicarbonate pH buffers. Here, we show that raising ASL pH with inhaled HCO3– increased pH. However, the effect was transient, and pH returned to baseline values within 30 minutes. Tromethamine (Tham) is a buffer with a long serum half-life used as an i.v. formulation to treat metabolic acidosis. We found that Tham aerosols increased ASL pH in vivo for at least 2 hours and enhanced bacterial killing. Inhaled hypertonic saline (7% NaCl) is delivered to people with CF in an attempt to promote mucus clearance. Because an increased ionic strength inhibits ASL antimicrobial factors, we added Tham to hypertonic saline and applied it to CF sputum. We found that Tham alone and in combination with hypertonic saline increased pH and enhanced bacterial killing. These findings suggest that aerosolizing the HCO3–-independent buffer Tham, either alone or in combination with hypertonic saline, might be of therapeutic benefit in CF airway disease.
Mahmoud H. Abou Alaiwa, Janice L. Launspach, Kelsey A. Sheets, Jade A. Rivera, Nicholas D. Gansemer, Peter J. Taft, Peter S. Thorne, Michael J. Welsh, David A. Stoltz, Joseph Zabner
In idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), the fibroblast focus is a key histological feature representing active fibroproliferation. On standard 2D pathologic examination, fibroblast foci are considered small, distinct lesions, although they have been proposed to form a highly interconnected reticulum as the leading edge of a “wave” of fibrosis. Here, we characterized fibroblast focus morphology and interrelationships in 3D using an integrated micro-CT and histological methodology. In 3D, fibroblast foci were morphologically complex structures, with large variations in shape and volume (range, 1.3 × 104 to 9.9 × 107 μm3). Within each tissue sample numerous multiform foci were present, ranging from a minimum of 0.9 per mm3 of lung tissue to a maximum of 11.1 per mm3 of lung tissue. Each focus was an independent structure, and no interconnections were observed. Together, our data indicate that in 3D fibroblast foci form a constellation of heterogeneous structures with large variations in shape and volume, suggesting previously unrecognized plasticity. No evidence of interconnectivity was identified, consistent with the concept that foci represent discrete sites of lung injury and repair.
Mark G. Jones, Aurélie Fabre, Philipp Schneider, Francesco Cinetto, Giacomo Sgalla, Mark Mavrogordato, Sanjay Jogai, Aiman Alzetani, Ben G. Marshall, Katherine M.A. O’Reilly, Jane A. Warner, Peter M. Lackie, Donna E. Davies, David M. Hansell, Andrew G. Nicholson, Ian Sinclair, Kevin K. Brown, Luca Richeldi
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