The chronic progressive decline in lung function observed in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) appears to result from persistent nonresolving injury to the epithelium, impaired restitution of the epithelial barrier in the lung, and enhanced fibroblast activation. Thus, understanding these key mechanisms and pathways modulating both is essential to greater understanding of IPF pathogenesis. We examined the association of VEGF with the IPF disease state and preclinical models in vivo and in vitro. Tissue and circulating levels of VEGF were significantly reduced in patients with IPF, particularly in those with a rapidly progressive phenotype, compared with healthy controls. Lung-specific overexpression of VEGF significantly protected mice following intratracheal bleomycin challenge, with a decrease in fibrosis and bleomycin-induced cell death observed in the VEGF transgenic mice. In vitro, apoptotic endothelial cell–derived mediators enhanced epithelial cell injury and reduced epithelial wound closure. This process was rescued by VEGF pretreatment of the endothelial cells via a mechanism involving thrombospondin-1 (TSP1). Taken together, these data indicate beneficial roles for VEGF during lung fibrosis via modulating epithelial homeostasis through a previously unrecognized mechanism involving the endothelium.
Lynne A. Murray, David M. Habiel, Miriam Hohmann, Ana Camelo, Huilan Shang, Yang Zhou, Ana Lucia Coelho, Xueyan Peng, Mridu Gulati, Bruno Crestani, Matthew A. Sleeman, Tomas Mustelin, Meagan W. Moore, Changwan Ryu, Awo D. Osafo-Addo, Jack A. Elias, Chun G. Lee, Buqu Hu, Jose D. Herazo-Maya, Darryl A. Knight, Cory M. Hogaboam, Erica L. Herzog
BACKGROUND. In health, inflammation resolution is an active process governed by specialized proresolving mediators and receptors. ALX/FPR2 receptors (ALX) are targeted by both proresolving and proinflammatory ligands for opposing signaling events, suggesting pivotal roles for ALX in the fate of inflammatory responses. Here, we determined if ALX expression and ligands were linked to severe asthma (SA). METHODS. ALX expression and levels of proresolving ligands (lipoxin A4 [LXA4], 15-epi-LXA4, and annexin A1 [ANXA1]), and a proinflammatory ligand (serum amyloid A [SAA]) were measured in bronchoscopy samples collected in Severe Asthma Research Program-3 (SA [n = 69], non-SA [NSA, n = 51] or healthy donors [HDs, n = 47]). RESULTS. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid LXA4 and 15-epi-LXA4 were decreased and SAA was increased in SA relative to NSA. BAL macrophage ALX expression was increased in SA. Subjects with LXA4loSAAhi levels had increased BAL neutrophils, more asthma symptoms, lower lung function, increased relative risk for asthma exacerbation, sinusitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease, and were assigned more frequently to SA clinical clusters. SAA and aliquots of LXA4loSAAhi BAL fluid induced IL-8 production by lung epithelial cells expressing ALX receptors, which was inhibited by coincubation with 15-epi-LXA4. CONCLUSIONS. Together, these findings have established an association between select ALX receptor ligands and asthma severity that define a potentially new biochemical endotype for asthma and support a pivotal functional role for ALX signaling in the fate of lung inflammation. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Severe Asthma Research Program-3 (SARP-3; ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01606826) FUNDING Sources. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the NIH, and the German Society of Pediatric Pneumology.
Isabell Ricklefs, Ioanna Barkas, Melody G. Duvall, Manuela Cernadas, Nicole L. Grossman, Elliot Israel, Eugene R. Bleecker, Mario Castro, Serpil C. Erzurum, John V. Fahy, Benjamin M. Gaston, Loren C. Denlinger, David T. Mauger, Sally E. Wenzel, Suzy A. Comhair, Andrea M. Coverstone, Merritt L. Fajt, Annette T. Hastie, Mats W. Johansson, Michael C. Peters, Brenda R. Phillips, Bruce D. Levy, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s Severe Asthma Research Program-3 Investigators
We previously showed that Th1/type 1 inflammation marked by increased IFN-γ levels in the airways can be appreciated in 50% of patients with severe asthma, despite high dose corticosteroid (CS) treatment. We hypothesized that a downstream target of IFN-γ, CXCL10, which recruits Th1 cells via the cognate receptor CXCR3, is an important contributor to Th1high asthma and CS unresponsiveness. We show high levels of CXCL10 mRNA closely associated with IFNG levels in the BAL cells of 50% of severe asthmatics and also in the airways of mice subjected to a severe asthma model, both in the context of high-dose CS treatment. The inability of CS to dampen IFNG or CXCL10 expression was not because of impaired nuclear translocation of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) or its transactivational functions. Rather, in the presence of CS and IFN-γ, STAT1 and GR were recruited on critical regulatory elements in the endogenous CXCL10 promoter in monocytes, albeit without any abatement of CXCL10 gene expression. High CXCL10 gene expression was also associated with a mast cell signature in both humans and mice, CXCR3 being also expressed by mast cells. These findings suggest that the IFN-γ–CXCL10 axis plays a central role in persistent type 1 inflammation that may be facilitated by CS therapy through GR-STAT1 cooperation converging on the CXCL10 promoter.
Marc Gauthier, Krishnendu Chakraborty, Timothy B. Oriss, Mahesh Raundhal, Sudipta Das, Jie Chen, Rachael Huff, Ayan Sinha, Merritt Fajt, Prabir Ray, Sally E. Wenzel, Anuradha Ray
Mechanical ventilation is necessary to support patients with acute lung injury, but also exacerbates injury through mechanical stress–activated signaling pathways. We show that stretch applied to cultured human cells, and to mouse lungs in vivo, induces robust expression of metallothionein, a potent antioxidant and cytoprotective molecule critical for cellular zinc homeostasis. Furthermore, genetic deficiency of murine metallothionein genes exacerbated lung injury caused by high tidal volume mechanical ventilation, identifying an adaptive role for these genes in limiting lung injury. Stretch induction of metallothionein required zinc and the zinc-binding transcription factor MTF1. We further show that mouse dietary zinc deficiency potentiates ventilator-induced lung injury, and that plasma zinc levels are significantly reduced in human patients who go on to develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) compared with healthy and non-ARDS intensive care unit (ICU) controls, as well as with other ICU patients without ARDS. Taken together, our findings identify a potentially novel adaptive response of the lung to stretch and a critical role for zinc in defining the lung’s tolerance for mechanical ventilation. These results demonstrate that failure of stretch-adaptive responses play an important role in exacerbating mechanical ventilator–induced lung injury, and identify zinc and metallothionein as targets for lung-protective interventions in patients requiring mechanical ventilation.
Francis Boudreault, Miguel Pinilla-Vera, Joshua A. Englert, Alvin T. Kho, Colleen Isabelle, Antonio J. Arciniegas, Diana Barragan-Bradford, Carolina Quintana, Diana Amador-Munoz, Jiazhen Guan, Kyoung Moo Choi, MICU Registry, Lynette Sholl, Shelley Hurwitz, Daniel J. Tschumperlin, Rebecca M. Baron
Fibrosis results from the dysregulation of tissue repair mechanisms affecting major organ systems, leading to chronic extracellular matrix buildup, and progressive, often fatal, organ failure. Current diagnosis relies on invasive biopsies. Noninvasive methods today cannot distinguish actively progressive fibrogenesis from stable scar, and thus are insensitive for monitoring disease activity or therapeutic responses. Collagen oxidation is a universal signature of active fibrogenesis that precedes collagen crosslinking. Biochemically targeting oxidized lysine residues formed by the action of lysyl oxidase on collagen with a small-molecule gadolinium chelate enables targeted molecular magnetic resonance imaging. This noninvasive direct biochemical elucidation of the fibrotic microenvironment specifically and robustly detected and staged pulmonary and hepatic fibrosis progression, and monitored therapeutic response in animal models. Furthermore, this paradigm is translatable and generally applicable to diverse fibroproliferative disorders.
Howard H. Chen, Philip A. Waghorn, Lan Wei, Luis F. Tapias, Daniel T. Schühle, Nicholas J. Rotile, Chloe M. Jones, Richard J. Looby, Gaofeng Zhao, Justin M. Elliott, Clemens K. Probst, Mari Mino-Kenudson, Gregory Y. Lauwers, Andrew M. Tager, Kenneth K. Tanabe, Michael Lanuti, Bryan C. Fuchs, Peter Caravan
Pulmonary function is dependent upon the precise regulation of alveolar surfactant. Alterations in pulmonary surfactant concentrations or function impair ventilation and cause tissue injury. Identification of the molecular pathways that sense and regulate endogenous alveolar surfactant concentrations, coupled with the ability to pharmacologically modulate them both positively and negatively, would be a major therapeutic advance for patients with acute and chronic lung diseases caused by disruption of surfactant homeostasis. The orphan adhesion GPCR GPR116 (also known as Adgrf5) is a critical regulator of alveolar surfactant concentrations. Here, we show that human and mouse GPR116 control surfactant secretion and reuptake in alveolar type II (AT2) cells by regulating guanine nucleotide–binding domain α q and 11 (Gq/11) signaling. Synthetic peptides derived from the ectodomain of GPR116 activated Gq/11-dependent inositol phosphate conversion, calcium mobilization, and cortical F-actin stabilization to inhibit surfactant secretion. AT2 cell–specific deletion of Gnaq and Gna11 phenocopied the accumulation of surfactant observed in Gpr116–/– mice. These data provide proof of concept that GPR116 is a plausible therapeutic target to modulate endogenous alveolar surfactant pools to treat pulmonary diseases associated with surfactant dysfunction.
Kari Brown, Alyssa Filuta, Marie-Gabrielle Ludwig, Klaus Seuwen, Julian Jaros, Solange Vidal, Kavisha Arora, Anjaparavanda P. Naren, Kathirvel Kandasamy, Kaushik Parthasarathi, Stefan Offermanns, Robert J. Mason, William E. Miller, Jeffrey A. Whitsett, James P. Bridges
Severe asthma (SA) is a significant problem both clinically and economically, given its poor response to corticosteroids (CS). We recently reported a complex type 1–dominated (IFN-γ–dominated) immune response in more than 50% of severe asthmatics despite high-dose CS treatment. Also, IFN-γ was found to be critical for increased airway hyperreactivity (AHR) in our model of SA. The transcription factor IRF5 expressed in M1 macrophages can induce a Th1/Th17 response in cocultured human T cells. Here we show markedly higher expression of IRF5 in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells of severe asthmatics as compared with that in cells from milder asthmatics or healthy controls. Using our SA mouse model, we demonstrate that lack of IRF5 in lymph node migratory DCs severely limits their ability to stimulate the generation of IFN-γ– and IL-17–producing CD4+ T cells and
Timothy B. Oriss, Mahesh Raundhal, Christina Morse, Rachael E. Huff, Sudipta Das, Rachel Hannum, Marc C. Gauthier, Kathryn L. Scholl, Krishnendu Chakraborty, Seyed M. Nouraie, Sally E. Wenzel, Prabir Ray, Anuradha Ray
Fibrotic lung disease, most notably idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), is thought to result from aberrant wound-healing responses to repetitive lung injury. Increased vascular permeability is a cardinal response to tissue injury, but whether it is mechanistically linked to lung fibrosis is unknown. We previously described a model in which exaggeration of vascular leak after lung injury shifts the outcome of wound-healing responses from normal repair to pathological fibrosis. Here we report that the fibrosis produced in this model is highly dependent on thrombin activity and its downstream signaling pathways. Direct thrombin inhibition with dabigatran significantly inhibited protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR1) activation, integrin αvβ6 induction, TGF-β activation, and the development of pulmonary fibrosis in this vascular leak–dependent model. We used a potentially novel imaging method — ultashort echo time (UTE) lung magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with the gadolinium-based, fibrin-specific probe EP-2104R — to directly visualize fibrin accumulation in injured mouse lungs, and to correlate the antifibrotic effects of dabigatran with attenuation of fibrin deposition. We found that inhibition of the profibrotic effects of thrombin can be uncoupled from inhibition of hemostasis, as therapeutic anticoagulation with warfarin failed to downregulate the PAR1/αvβ6/TGF-β axis or significantly protect against fibrosis. These findings have direct and important clinical implications, given recent findings that warfarin treatment is not beneficial in IPF, and the clinical availability of direct thrombin inhibitors that our data suggest could benefit these patients.
Barry S. Shea, Clemens K. Probst, Patricia L. Brazee, Nicholas J. Rotile, Francesco Blasi, Paul H. Weinreb, Katharine E. Black, David E. Sosnovik, Elizabeth M. Van Cott, Shelia M. Violette, Peter Caravan, Andrew M. Tager
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a life-threatening disease without effective treatment, highlighting the need for identifying new targets and treatment modalities. The pathogenesis of IPF is complex, and engaging multiple targets simultaneously might improve therapeutic efficacy. To assess the role of the endocannabinoid/cannabinoid receptor 1 (endocannabinoid/CB1R) system in IPF and its interaction with inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) as dual therapeutic targets, we analyzed lung fibrosis and the status of the endocannabinoid/CB1R system and iNOS in mice with bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis (PF) and in lung tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from patients with IPF, as well as controls. In addition, we investigated the antifibrotic efficacy in the mouse PF model of an orally bioavailable and peripherally restricted CB1R/iNOS hybrid inhibitor. We report that increased activity of the endocannabinoid/CB1R system parallels disease progression in the lungs of patients with idiopathic PF and in mice with bleomycin-induced PF and is associated with increased tissue levels of interferon regulatory factor-5. Furthermore, we demonstrate that simultaneous engagement of the secondary target iNOS by the hybrid CB1R/iNOS inhibitor has greater antifibrotic efficacy than inhibition of CB1R alone. This hybrid antagonist also arrests the progression of established fibrosis in mice, thus making it a viable candidate for future translational studies in IPF.
Resat Cinar, Bernadette R. Gochuico, Malliga R. Iyer, Tony Jourdan, Tadafumi Yokoyama, Joshua K. Park, Nathan J. Coffey, Hadass Pri-Chen, Gergő Szanda, Ziyi Liu, Ken Mackie, William A. Gahl, George Kunos
Influenza A virus (IAV) infections lead to severe inflammation in the airways. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) characteristically have exaggerated airway inflammation and are more susceptible to infections with severe symptoms and increased mortality. The mechanisms that control inflammation during IAV infection and the mechanisms of immune dysregulation in COPD are unclear. We found that IAV infections lead to increased inflammatory and antiviral responses in primary bronchial epithelial cells (pBECs) from healthy nonsmoking and smoking subjects. In pBECs from COPD patients, infections resulted in exaggerated inflammatory but deficient antiviral responses. A20 is an important negative regulator of NF-κB–mediated inflammatory but not antiviral responses, and A20 expression was reduced in COPD. IAV infection increased the expression of miR-125a or -b, which directly reduced the expression of A20 and mitochondrial antiviral signaling (MAVS), and caused exaggerated inflammation and impaired antiviral responses. These events were replicated in vivo in a mouse model of experimental COPD. Thus, miR-125a or -b and A20 may be targeted therapeutically to inhibit excessive inflammatory responses and enhance antiviral immunity in IAV infections and in COPD.
Alan C-Y. Hsu, Kamal Dua, Malcolm R. Starkey, Tatt-Jhong Haw, Prema M. Nair, Kristy Nichol, Nathan Zammit, Shane T. Grey, Katherine J. Baines, Paul S. Foster, Philip M. Hansbro, Peter A. Wark
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