Introduction: The airways of obese asthmatics have been shown to be nitric oxide (NO) deficient, which contributes to airway dysfunction and reduced response to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). In cultured airway epithelial cells, L-citrulline, a precursor of L-arginine recycling and NO formation, has been shown to prevent asymmetric di-methyl arginine (ADMA)-mediated NO synthase (NOS2) uncoupling, restoring NO and reducing oxidative stress. Methods: In a proof of concept, pre – post open label pilot study, we hypothesized that 15g/day of L-citrulline for two weeks would: a) increase the fractional excretion of NO (FeNO); b) improve asthma control and c) improve lung function. To do this, we recruited obese (body mass index [BMI] >30) asthmatics on controller therapy with a baseline fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) ≤ 30 ppb from the University of Colorado Medical Center and Duke University Health System. Results: A total of 41 subjects with an average FeNO of 17 ppb (95% 19 - 20) and poorly controlled asthma (average asthma control questionnaire [ACQ] 1.5 [95% 1.2 – 1.8) completed the study. Compared to baseline, L-citrulline increased (values represent the mean delta and 95%CI): plasma L-citrulline (190uM, 84 – 297), plasma L-arginine (67uM, 38 – 95), plasma L-arginine/ADMA (117, 67 - 167), but not ADMA or arginase concentration. FeNO increased by 4.2ppb (1.7 – 6.7); ACQ decreased by -0.46 (-0.67 – -0.27); the forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced exhalation volume in one second (FEV1) respectively changed by 86 ml (10 – 161), and 52 ml (-11 – 132). In a secondary analysis, the greatest FEV1 increments occurred in those subjects with late onset asthma (>12 years) (63 ml [95%CI 1 – 137]), in females (80 ml [95%CI 5 – 154]), with a greater change seen in late onset females (100ml, [95%CI 2 – 177]). The changes in lung function or asthma control were not significantly associated with the pre-post changes in L-arginine/ADMA or FeNO. Conclusion: Short-term L-citrulline treatment improved asthma control and FeNO levels in obese asthmatics with low or normal FeNO. Larger FEV1 increments were observed in those with late onset asthma and in females.
Fernando Holguin, Hartmut Grasemann, Sunita Sharma, Daniel Winnica, Karen Wasil, Vong Smithphone, Margaret H. Cruse, Nancy Perez, Erika Coleman, Timothy J. Scialla, Loretta Que
Accumulation of senescent cells is associated with the progression of pulmonary fibrosis but mechanisms accounting for this linkage are not well understood. To explore this issue, we investigated whether a class of biologically active profibrotic lipids, the leukotrienes (LT), is part of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. The analysis of conditioned medium (CM) lipid extracts and gene expression of LT biosynthesis enzymes revealed that senescent cells secreted LT regardless of the origin of the cells or the modality of senescence induction. The synthesis of LT was biphasic and followed by anti-fibrotic prostaglandin (PG) secretion. The LT-rich CM of senescent lung fibroblasts (IMR90) induced pro-fibrotic signaling in naïve fibroblasts, which were abrogated by inhibitors of ALOX5, the principal enzyme in LT biosynthesis. The bleomycin-induced expression of genes encoding LT and PG synthases, level of cysteinyl leukotriene in the bronchoalveolar lavage, and overall fibrosis were reduced upon senescent cells removal either in a genetic mouse model or after senolytic treatment. Quantification of ALOX5+cells in lung explants obtained from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients indicated that half of these cells were also senescent (p16Ink4a+). Unlike human fibroblasts from unused donor lungs made senescent by irradiation, senescent IPF fibroblasts secreted LTs but failed to synthesize PGs. This study demonstrates for the first time that senescent cells secrete functional LTs, significantly contributing to the LTs pool known to cause or exacerbate IPF.
Christopher D. Wiley, Alexis N. Brumwell, Sonnet S. Davis, Julia R. Jackson, Alexis Valdovinos, Cheresa Calhoun, Fatouma Alimirah, Carlos A. Castellanos, Richard Ruan, Ying Wei, Harold A. Chapman, Arvind Ramanathan, Judith Campisi, Claude Jourdan Le Saux
Loss of Thy-1 expression in fibroblasts correlates with lung fibrogenesis; however, the clinical relevance of therapeutic targeting of myofibroblasts via Thy-1–associated pathways remains to be explored. Using single (self-resolving) or repetitive (nonresolving) intratracheal administration of bleomycin in type 1 collagen-GFP reporter mice, we report that Thy-1 surface expression, but not mRNA, is reversibly diminished in activated fibroblasts and myofibroblasts in self-resolving fibrosis. However, Thy-1 mRNA expression is silenced in lung with nonresolving fibrosis following repetitive bleomycin administration, associated with persistent activation of αv integrin. Thy1-null mice showed progressive αv integrin activation and myofibroblast accumulation after a single dose of bleomycin. In vitro, targeting of αv integrin by soluble Thy-1-Fc (sThy-1), but not RLE-mutated Thy-1 or IgG, reversed TGF-β1–induced myofibroblast differentiation in a dose-dependent manner, suggesting that Thy-1’s integrin-binding RGD motif is required for the reversibility of myofibroblast differentiation. In vivo, treatment of established fibrosis induced either by single-dose bleomycin in WT mice or by induction of active TGF-β1 by doxycycline in Cc10-rtTA-tTS-Tgfb1 mice with sThy-1 (1000 ng/kg, i.v.) promoted resolution of fibrosis. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that sThy-1 therapeutically inhibits the αv integrin–driven feedback loop that amplifies and sustains fibrosis.
Chunting Tan, Min Jiang, Simon S. Wong, Celia R. Espinoza, Ceonne Kim, Xiaoping Li, Edward Connors, James S. Hagood
Pulmonary drug delivery presents a unique opportunity to target lower airway inflammation, which is often characterized by the massive recruitment of neutrophils from blood. However specific therapies are lacking that can modulate airway neutrophil function, and difficult challenges must be overcome to achieve therapeutic efficacy against pulmonary inflammation, notably drug hydrophobicity, mucociliary and macrophage-dependent clearance, and high extracellular protease burden. Here, we present a multi-stage, aerodynamically favorable delivery platform that uses extracellular proteolysis to its advantage in order to deliver nanoparticle-embedded hydrophobic drugs to neutrophils within the lower airways. Our design consists in a self-regulated nanoparticle-in-microgel system, in which microgel activation is triggered by extracellular elastase (degranulated by inflammatory neutrophils), and nanoparticles are loaded with Nexinhib20, a potent neutrophil degranulation inhibitor. Successful in vivo delivery of Nexinhib20 to the airways and into neutrophils promoted resolution of the inflammatory response by dampening neutrophil recruitment and degranulation, pro-inflammatory cytokine production in both airway and systemic compartments, as well as the presence of neutrophil-derived pathological extracellular vesicles in the lung fluid. Our findings showcase a new platform that overcomes challenges in pulmonary drug delivery and allows customization to match the proteolytic footprint of given diseases.
Joscelyn C Mejías, Osric A Forrest, Camilla Margaroli, David A. Frey Rubio, Liliana Viera, Jindong Li, Xin Xu, Amit Gaggar, Rabindra Tirouvanziam, Krishnendu Roy
To develop a systems biology model of fibrosis progression within the human lung we performed RNAseq and microRNA analysis on 95 samples obtained from 10 idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and 6 control lungs. Extent of fibrosis in each sample was assessed by microCT measured alveolar surface density (ASD) and confirmed by histology. Regulatory gene expression networks were identified using linear mixed-effect models and dynamic regulatory events miner (DREM). Differential gene expression analysis identified a core set of genes increased or decreased before fibrosis was histologically evident that continued to change with advanced fibrosis. DREM generated a systems biology model of fibrosis progression (available at http: www.sb.cs.cmu.edu/IPFReg) that identified progressively divergent gene expression tracks with microRNAs and transcription factors that specifically regulate early or advanced fibrosis. We confirmed model predictions by demonstrating that expression of POU2AF1, previously unassociated with lung disease but proposed by the model as regulator, is increased in B-lymphocytes in IPF lungs and that POU2AF1 knockout mice were protected from bleomycin induced lung fibrosis. Our results reveal distinct regulation of gene expression changes in IPF tissue that remained structurally normal compared with moderate or advanced fibrosis and suggest distinct regulatory mechanisms for each stage.
John E. McDonough, Farida Ahangari, Qin Li, Siddhartha Jain, Stijn E. Verleden, Jose Herazo-Maya, Milica Vukmirovic, Giuseppe DeIuliis, Argyrios Tzouvelekis, Naoya Tanabe, Fanny Chu, Xiting Yan, Johny Verschakelen, Robert J. Homer, Dimitris V. Manatakis, Junke Zhang, Jun Ding, Karen Maes, Laurens De Sadeleer, Robin Vos, Arne Neyrinck, Panayiotis V. Benos, Ziv Bar-Joseph, Dean Tantin, James C. Hogg, Bart M. Vanaudenaerde, Wim A. Wuyts, Naftali Kaminski
Mesenchymal stromal/stem cell (MSC) therapy has shown promise in experimental models of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The aim of this study was to test the therapeutic effects of MSC-extracellular vesicles/exosomes (MEx) in a bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis model and investigate putative mechanisms of action. Exosomes were isolated from media conditioned by human bone marrow MSCs. Adult mice (C57BL/6 strain) were challenged with endotracheal instillation of bleomycin and treated with MEx concurrently or for reversal models, at day 7 or 21. Experimental groups were assessed at day 7 and/or at day 14 or 28. Bleomycin-challenged mice presented with severe septal thickening and prominent fibrosis, and this was effectively prevented or reversed by a single dose of MEx. Furthermore, MEx therapy modulated whole lung macrophage phenotype and shifted the proportion of lung ‘proinflammatory’ classical monocytes, non-classical monocytes and alveolar macrophages to favor the monocyte/macrophage profiles of untreated-control mice. A parallel immunomodulatory effect was demonstrated in the bone marrow. Notably, transplantation of MEx-preconditioned bone marrow-derived monocytes alleviated core features of pulmonary fibrosis and lung inflammation. Proteomic analysis further revealed a signature enriched in non-inflammatory monocyte genes following MEx therapy supporting the immuno-regulatory, anti-inflammatory effect of MEx.We conclude that a bolus dose of MEx prevents and reverts core features of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis, and that the beneficial actions of MEx may be mediated via systemic modulation of monocyte phenotypes.
Nahal Mansouri, Gareth R. Willis, Angeles Fernandez-Gonzalez, Monica Reis, Sina Nassiri, Alex Mitsialis, Stella Kourembanas
Oxidative stress is a major contributor to chronic lung diseases. Antioxidants such as N-acetylcysteine (NAC) are broadly viewed as protective molecules that prevent the mutagenic effects of reactive oxygen species. Antioxidants may, however, increase the risk of some forms of cancer and accelerate lung cancer progression in murine models. Here, we investigated chronic NAC treatment in aging mice displaying lung oxidative stress and cell senescence due to inactivation of the transcription factor JunD, which is downregulated in diseased human lungs. NAC treatment decreased lung oxidative damage and cell senescence and protected from lung emphysema but concomitantly induced the development of lung adenocarcinoma in 50% of JunD-deficient mice and 10% of aged control mice. This finding constitutes the first evidence to our knowledge of a carcinogenic effect of antioxidant therapy in the lungs of aged mice with chronic lung oxidative stress and warrants the utmost caution when considering the therapeutic use of antioxidants.
Marielle Breau, Amal Houssaini, Larissa Lipskaia, Shariq Abid, Emmanuelle Born, Elisabeth Marcos, Gabor Czibik, Aya Attwe, Delphine Beaulieu, Alberta Palazzo, Jean-Michel Flaman, Brigitte Bourachot, Guillaume Collin, Jeanne Tran Van Nhieu, David Bernard, Fatima Mechta-Grigoriou, Serge Adnot
Dysregulated proinflammatory cytokine release has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several life-threatening acute lung illnesses such as pneumonia, sepsis, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Suppressors of cytokine signaling proteins, particularly SOCS2, have recently been described as antiinflammatory mediators. However, the regulation of SOCS2 protein has not been described. Here we describe a mechanism of SOCS2 regulation by the action of the ubiquitin E3 ligase KIAA0317. KIAA0317-mediated degradation of SOCS2 exacerbated inflammation in vitro, and depletion of KIAA0317 in vivo ameliorated pulmonary inflammation. KIAA0317-knockout mice exhibited resistance to LPS-induced pulmonary inflammation, while KIAA03017 reexpression mitigated this effect. We uncovered a small molecule inhibitor of KIAA0317 protein (BC-1365) that prevented SOCS2 degradation and attenuated LPS- and P. aeruginosa–induced lung inflammation in vivo. These studies show KIAA0317 to be a critical mediator of pulmonary inflammation through its degradation of SOCS2 and a potential candidate target for therapeutic inhibition.
Travis B. Lear, Alison C. McKelvey, John W. Evankovich, Shristi Rajbhandari, Tiffany A. Coon, Sarah R. Dunn, James D. Londino, Bryan J. McVerry, Yingze Zhang, Eleanor Valenzi, Christine L. Burton, Rachael Gordon, Sebastien Gingras, Karina C. Lockwood, Michael J. Jurczak, Robert Lafyatis, Mark J. Shlomchik, Yuan Liu, Bill B. Chen
The acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is an inflammatory lung disorder that frequently complicates critical illness, and most commonly occurs in the setting of sepsis. Although a number of clinical and environmental risk factors for ARDS have been described, not all patients with risk factors develop the syndrome, raising the possibility of genetic underpinnings for ARDS susceptibility. We have previously reported that circulating cell-free hemoglobin (CFH) is elevated during sepsis, and higher levels are associated with worse outcomes. CFH is rapidly scavenged by the plasma protein haptoglobin (Hp). A common HP genetic variant HP2 is unique to humans and represents 60% of the HP allele frequency in populations of European ancestry. The HP2 gene product has reduced ability to inhibit CFH-mediated inflammation and oxidative stress compared to the alternative HP1. We hypothesized that the HP2 variant increases ARDS susceptibility during sepsis when plasma CFH levels are elevated. In a murine model of sepsis with elevated CFH levels, transgenic mice homozygous for Hp2 had increased lung inflammation, pulmonary vascular permeability, lung apoptosis, and mortality compared to mice homozygous for the alternative allele Hp1. We then tested the clinical relevance of our findings in a prospective observational cohort study of 496 septic critically ill adults, and found that the HP2 variant was significantly associated with increased ARDS susceptibility (odds ratio 1.41 per HP2 allele, 95% confidence interval 1.06 – 1.88, P = 0.018) after controlling for clinical risk factors and plasma CFH. This relationship between the HP2 genetic variant and ARDS risk was only seen in patients with elevated plasma CFH levels. These observations identify the HP2 variant as a novel genetic ARDS risk factor during sepsis, and may have important implications in the study and treatment of ARDS.
V. Eric Kerchberger, Julie A. Bastarache, Ciara M. Shaver, Hiromasa Nagata, J. Brennan McNeil, Stuart R. Landstreet, Nathan D. Putz, Wen-Kuang Yu, Jordan Jesse, Nancy E. Wickersham, Tatiana N. Sidorova, David R. Janz, Chirag R. Parikh, Edward D. Siew, Lorraine B. Ware
Severe asthma with fungal sensitization (SAFS) defines a subset of human asthmatics with allergy to one or more fungal species and difficult to control asthma. We have reported that human asthmatics sensitized to fungi have worse lung function and a higher degree of atopy, which was associated with higher IL-1RA levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. IL-1RA further demonstrated a significant negative association with bronchial hyperresponsiveness to methacholine. Here, we show that IL-1α and IL-1β are elevated in both bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and sputum from human asthmatics sensitized to fungi, implicating an association with IL-1α, IL-1β or IL-1RA in fungal asthma severity. In an experimental model of fungal-associated allergic airway inflammation, we demonstrate that IL-1R1 signaling promotes type 1 (IFN-γ, CXCL9, CXCL10) and type 17 (IL-17A, IL-22) responses that were associated with neutrophilic inflammation and increased airway hyperreactivity. Each of these were exacerbated in the absence of IL-1RA. Administration of human recombinant IL-1RA (Kineret/Anakinra) during fungal-associated allergic airway inflammation improved airway hyperreactivity and lowered type 1 and type 17 responses. Taken together, these data suggest that IL-1 receptor signaling contributes to fungal asthma severity via immunopathogenic type 1 and type 17 responses and can be targeted for improving allergic asthma severity.
Matthew S. Godwin, Kristen M. Reeder, Jaleesa M. Garth, Jonathan P. Blackburn, MaryJane Jones, Zhihong Yu, Sadis Matalon, Annette T. Hastie, Deborah A. Meyers, Chad Steele
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