Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) is a major inhibitor of serine proteases in mammals. Therefore, its deficiency leads to protease–antiprotease imbalance and a risk for developing lung emphysema. Although therapy with human plasma-purified AAT attenuates AAT deficiency–related emphysema, its impact on lung antibacterial immunity is poorly defined. Here, we examined the effect of AAT therapy on lung protective immunity in AAT-deficient (KO) mice challenged with Streptococcus pneumoniae. AAT-KO mice were highly susceptible to S. pneumoniae, as determined by severe lobar pneumonia and early mortality. Mechanistically, we found that neutrophil-derived elastase (NE) degraded the opsonophagocytically important collectins, surfactant protein A (SP-A) and D (SP-D), which was accompanied by significantly impaired lung bacterial clearance in S. pneumoniae–infected AAT-KO mice. Treatment of S. pneumoniae–infected AAT-KO mice with human AAT protected SP-A and SP-D from NE-mediated degradation and corrected the pulmonary pathology observed in these mice. Likewise, treatment with Sivelestat, a specific inhibitor of NE, also protected collectins from degradation and significantly decreased bacterial loads in S. pneumoniae–infected AAT-KO mice. Our findings show that NE is responsible for the degradation of lung SP-A and SP-D in AAT-KO mice affecting lung protective immunity in AAT deficiency.
Lena Ostermann, Regina Maus, Jennifer Stolper, Lisanne Schütte, Konstantina Katsarou, Srinu Tumpara, Andreas Pich, Christian Mueller, Sabina Janciauskiene, Tobias Welte, Ulrich A. Maus
Interleukin-33 (IL-33) is a key mediator of chronic airway disease driven by type-2 immune pathways, yet the non-classical secretory mechanism for this cytokine remains undefined. We performed a comprehensive analysis in human airway epithelial cells, which revealed that tonic IL-33 secretion is dependent on the ceramide biosynthetic enzyme neutral sphingomyelinase 2 (nSMase2). IL-33 is co-secreted with exosomes by the nSMase2-regulated multivesicular endosome (MVE) pathway as surface-bound cargo. In support of these findings, human chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) specimens exhibited increased epithelial expression of the abundantly secreted IL33Δ34 isoform and augmented nSMase2 expression compared to non-COPD specimens. Using an Alternaria-induced airway disease model, we found the nSMase2 inhibitor GW4869 abrogated both IL-33 and exosome secretion as well as downstream inflammatory pathways. This work elucidates a novel aspect of IL-33 biology that may be targeted for therapeutic benefit in chronic airway diseases driven by type-2 inflammation.
Ella Katz-Kiriakos, Deborah F. Steinberg, Colin E. Kluender, Omar A. Osorio, Catie Newsom-Stewart, Arjun Baronia, Derek E. Byers, Michael J. Holtzman, Dawn Katafiasz, Kristina L. Bailey, Steven L. Brody, Mark J. Miller, Jennifer Alexander-Brett
An intact lung epithelial barrier is essential for lung homeostasis. The Na+, K+-ATPase (NKA), primarily serving as an ion transporter, also regulates epithelial barrier function via modulation of tight junctions. However, the underlying mechanism is not well-understood. Here, we showed that overexpression of the NKA β1 subunit upregulates the expression of tight junction proteins, leading to increased alveolar epithelial barrier function by an ion transport-independent mechanism. Using immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry, we identified a number of unknown protein interactions of the β1 subunit, including a top candidate, myotonic dystrophy kinase-related cdc42-binding kinase α (MRCKα), a protein kinase known to regulate peripheral actin formation. Using a doxycycline-inducible gene expression system, we demonstrated that MRCKα and its downstream activation of myosin light chain is required for the regulation of alveolar barrier function by the NKA β1 subunit. Importantly, MRCKα is expressed in both human airways and alveoli and has reduced expression in patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), a lung illness that can be caused by multiple direct and indirect insults, including the infection of influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2. Our results have elucidated a novel mechanism by which NKA regulates epithelial tight junctions and identified potential drug targets for treating ARDS and other pulmonary diseases that are caused by barrier dysfunction.
Haiqing Bai, Rui Zhou, Michael Barravecchia, Rosemary Norman, Alan E. Friedman, Deborah Yu, Xin Lin, Jennifer L. Young, David A. Dean
Dysmorphic pulmonary vascular growth and abnormal endothelial cell (EC) proliferation are paradoxically observed in premature infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) despite vascular pruning. The pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), a metabolic pathway parallel to glycolysis, generates NADPH as a reducing equivalent and ribose 5-phosphate for nucleotide synthesis. It is unknown whether hyperoxia, a known mediator of BPD in rodent models, alters glycolysis and the PPP in lung ECs. We hypothesized that hyperoxia increases glycolysis and the PPP, resulting in abnormal EC proliferation and dysmorphic angiogenesis in neonatal mice. To test this hypothesis, lung ECs and newborn mice were exposed to hyperoxia and allowed to recover in air. Hyperoxia increased glycolysis and the PPP. Increased PPP, but not glycolysis, caused hyperoxia-induced abnormal EC proliferation. Blocking the PPP reduced hyperoxia-induced glucose-derived deoxynucleotide synthesis in cultured ECs. In neonatal mice, hyperoxia-induced abnormal EC proliferation, dysmorphic angiogenesis, and alveolar simplification were augmented by nanoparticle-mediated endothelial overexpression of phosphogluconate dehydrogenase, the second enzyme in the PPP. These effects were attenuated by inhibitors of the PPP. Altogether, neonatal hyperoxia augments the PPP, causing abnormal lung EC proliferation, dysmorphic vascular development, and alveolar simplification. These novel observations provide mechanisms and potential metabolic targets to prevent BPD-associated vascular dysgenesis.
Jiannan Gong, Zihang Feng, Abigail L. Peterson, Jennifer F. Carr, Xuexin Lu, Haifeng Zhao, Xiangming Ji, You-Yang Zhao, Monique E. De Paepe, Phyllis A. Dennery, Hongwei Yao
Pneumocystis is an important opportunistic fungus that causes pneumonia in children and immunocompromised individuals. Recent genomic data show that divergence of major surface glycoproteins may confer speciation and host range selectivity. On the other hand, immune clearance between mice and humans is well correlated. Thus, we hypothesized that humanize mice may provide information about human immune responses involved in controlling Pneumocystis infection. CD34-engrafted huNOG-EXL mice controlled fungal burdens to a greater extent than nonengrafted mice. Moreover, engrafted mice generated fungal-specific IgM. Fungal control was associated with a transcriptional signature that was enriched for genes associated with nonopsonic recognition of trophs (CD209) and asci (CLEC7A). These same genes were downregulated in CD4-deficient mice as well as twins with bare lymphocyte syndrome with Pneumocystis pneumonia.
Guixiang Dai, Alanna Wanek, Taylor Eddens, Paul Volden, Jay K. Kolls
Respiratory complicˆations are the major cause of morbidity and mortality among preterm infants, which is partially prevented by the administration of antenatal corticosteroids (ACS). Most very preterm infants are exposed to chorioamnionitis, but short- and long-term effects of ACS treatment in this setting are not well defined. In low-resource settings, ACS increased neonatal mortality by perhaps increasing infection. We report that treatment with low-dose ACS in the setting of inflammation induced by intraamniotic lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in rhesus macaques improves lung compliance and increases surfactant production relative to either exposure alone. RNA sequencing shows that these changes are mediated by suppression of proliferation and induction of mesenchymal cellular death via TP53. The combined exposure results in a mature-like transcriptomic profile with inhibition of extracellular matrix development by suppression of collagen genes COL1A1, COL1A2, and COL3A1 and regulators of lung development FGF9 and FGF10. ACS and inflammation also suppressed signature genes associated with proliferative mesenchymal progenitors similar to the term gestation lung. Treatment with ACS in the setting of inflammation may result in early respiratory advantage to preterm infants, but this advantage may come at a risk of abnormal extracellular matrix development, which may be associated with increased risk of chronic lung disease.
Augusto F. Schmidt, Paranthaman S. Kannan, James Bridges, Pietro Presicce, Courtney M. Jackson, Lisa A. Miller, Suhas G. Kallapur, Claire A. Chougnet, Alan H. Jobe
The G/T transversion, rs35705950, located approximately 3 kb upstream of the MUC5B start site, is the cardinal risk factor for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Here, we investigate the function and chromatin structure of this -3 kb region and provide evidence that it functions as a classically defined enhancer subject to epigenetic programming. We use nascent transcript analysis to show that RNA polymerase II loads within 10 bp of the G/T transversion site, definitively establishing enhancer function for the region. By integrating Assay for Transposase-Accessible Chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-seq) analysis of fresh and cultured human airway epithelial cells with nuclease sensitivity data, we demonstrate that this region is in accessible chromatin that affects the expression of MUC5B. Through applying paired single nucleus RNA- and ATAC-seq to frozen tissue from IPF lungs, we extend these findings directly to disease, with results indicating that epigenetic programming of the -3 kb enhancer in IPF occurs in both MUC5B-expressing and non-expressing lineages. In aggregate, our results indicate that the MUC5B-associated variant, rs35705950, resides within an enhancer that is subject to epigenetic remodeling and contributes to pathologic misexpression in IPF.
Fabienne Gally, Sarah K. Sasse, Jonathan Kurche, Margaret A. Gruca, Jonathan H. Cardwell, Tsukasa Okamoto, Hong Wei Chu, Xiaomeng Hou, Olivier Poirion, Justin Buchanan, Sebastian Preissl, Bing Ren, Sean P. Colgan, Robin D. Dowell, Ivana V. Yang, David A. Schwartz, Anthony N. Gerber
COPD is a chronic respiratory disease characterized by small airway remodeling and alveolar emphysema due to environmental stresses such as cigarette smoking (CS). Oxidative stress is commonly implicated in COPD pathology, but recent findings suggest that one oxidant-producing NADPH oxidase homolog, dual oxidase 1 (DUOX1), is downregulated in the airways of COPD patients. We evaluated lung tissue sections from COPD patients for small airway epithelial DUOX1 protein expression, in association with measures of lung function and small airway and alveolar remodeling. We also addressed the impact of DUOX1 for lung tissue remodeling in mouse models of COPD. Small airway DUOX1 levels were decreased in advanced COPD, and correlated with loss of lung function and markers of emphysema and remodeling. Similarly, DUOX1 downregulation in correlation with extracellular matrix remodeling was observed in a genetic model of COPD, transgenic SPC-TNF-α mice. Finally, development of subepithelial airway fibrosis in mice due to exposure to the CS-component acrolein, or alveolar emphysema induced by administration of elastase, were in both cases exacerbated in Duox1-deficient mice. Collectively, our studies highlight that downregulation of DUOX1 may be a contributing feature of COPD pathogenesis, likely related to impaired DUOX1-mediated innate injury responses involved in epithelial homeostasis.
Caspar Schiffers, Cheryl van de Wetering, Robert A. Bauer, Aida Habibovic, Milena Hristova, Christopher M. Dustin, Sara Lambrichts, Pamela M. Vacek, Emiel F.M. Wouters, Niki L. Reynaert, Albert van der Vliet
The pathogenesis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) involves aberrant responses to cellular stress caused by chronic cigarette smoke (CS) exposure. However, not all smokers develop COPD and the critical mechanisms that regulate cellular stress responses to increase COPD susceptibility are not understood. Because microRNAs are well-known regulators of cellular stress responses, we evaluated microRNA expression arrays performed on distal parenchymal lung tissue samples from 172 subjects with and without COPD. We identified miR-24-3p as the microRNA that best correlated with radiographic emphysema (ρ=-0.353, P=1.3e-04), and validated this finding in multiple cohorts. In a CS-exposure mouse model, inhibition of miR-24-3p increased susceptibility to apoptosis, including alveolar type II epithelial cell (AECII) apoptosis, and emphysema severity. In lung epithelial cells, miR-24-3p suppressed apoptosis through the BH3-only protein BIM and suppressed homology-directed DNA repair and the DNA repair protein BRCA1. Finally, we found BIM and BRCA1 are increased in COPD lung tissue, and BIM and BRCA1 expression inversely correlate with miR-24-3p. We concluded that miR-24-3p, a regulator of the cellular response to DNA damage, is decreased in COPD, and decreased miR-24-3p increases susceptibility to emphysema through increased BIM and apoptosis.
Jessica Nouws, Feng Wan, Eric Finnemore, Willy Roque, So-Jin Kim, Isabel S. Bazan, Chuan-Xing Li, C. Magnus Sköld, Qile Dai, Xiting Yan, Maurizio Chioccioli, Veronique Neumeister, Clemente J. Britto, Joann Sweasy, Ranjit S. Bindra, Åsa M. Wheelock, Jose L. Gomez, Naftali Kaminski, Patty J. Lee, Maor Sauler
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, irreversible fibrotic disease of the distal lung alveoli that culminates in respiratory failure and reduced lifespan. Unlike normal lung repair in response to injury, IPF is associated with the accumulation and persistence of fibroblasts and myofibroblasts and continued production of collagen and other extracellular matrix (ECM) components. Prior in vitro studies have led to the hypothesis that the development of resistance to Fas-induced apoptosis by lung fibroblasts and myofibroblasts contibributes to their accumulation in the distal lung tissues of IPF patients. Here, we test this hypothesis in vivo in the resolving model of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in mice. Using genetic loss-of-function approaches to inhibit Fas signaling in fibroblasts, novel flow cytometry strategies to quantify lung fibroblast subsets and transcriptional profiling of lung fibroblasts by bulk and single cell RNA-sequencing, we show that Fas is necessary for lung fibroblast apoptosis during homeostatic resolution of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in vivo. Furthermore, we show that loss of Fas signaling leads to the persistence and continued pro-fibrotic functions of lung fibroblasts. Our studies provide novel insights into the mechanisms that contribute to fibroblast survival, persistence and continued ECM deposition in the context of IPF and how failure to undergo Fas-induced apoptosis prevents fibrosis resolution.
Elizabeth F. Redente, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Satria P. Sajuthi, Bart P. Black, Ben L. Edelman, Max A. Seibold, David W.H. Riches
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