The respiratory tract is normally kept essentially free of bacteria by cilia-mediated mucus transport, but in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis (CF), bacteria and mucus accumulates instead. To address the mechanisms behind the mucus accumulation, the proteome of bronchoalveolar lavages from COPD patients and mucus collected in an elastase-induced mouse model of COPD was analyzed, revealing similarities with each other and with the protein content in colonic mucus. Moreover, stratified laminated sheets of mucus were observed in airways from patients with CF and COPD and in elastase-exposed mice. On the other hand, the mucus accumulation in the elastase model was reduced in Muc5b-KO mice. While mucus plugs were removed from airways by washing with hypertonic saline in the elastase model, mucus remained adherent to epithelial cells. Bacteria were trapped on this mucus, whereas, in non–elastase-treated mice, bacteria were found on the epithelial cells. We propose that the adherence of mucus to epithelial cells observed in CF, COPD, and the elastase-induced mouse model of COPD separates bacteria from the surface cells and, thus, protects the respiratory epithelium.
Joan Antoni Fernández-Blanco, Dalia Fakih, Liisa Arike, Ana M. Rodríguez-Piñeiro, Beatriz Martínez-Abad, Elin Skansebo, Sonya Jackson, James Root, Dave Singh, Christopher McCrae, Christopher M. Evans, Annika Åstrand, Anna Ermund, Gunnar C. Hansson
Airway smooth muscle (ASM) is a dynamic and complex tissue involved in regulation of bronchomotor tone, but the molecular events essential for the maintenance of ASM homeostasis are not well understood. Observational and genome-wide association studies in humans have linked airway function to the nutritional status of vitamin A and its bioactive metabolite retinoic acid (RA). Here, we provide evidence that ongoing RA signaling is critical for the regulation of adult ASM phenotype. By using dietary, pharmacologic, and genetic models in mice and humans, we show that (a) RA signaling is active in adult ASM in the normal lung, (b) RA-deficient ASM cells are hypertrophic, hypercontractile, profibrotic, but not hyperproliferative, (c) TGF-β signaling, known to cause ASM hypertrophy and airway fibrosis in human obstructive lung diseases, is hyperactivated in RA-deficient ASM, (d) pharmacologic and genetic inhibition of the TGF-β activity in ASM prevents the development of the aberrant phenotype induced by RA deficiency, and (e) the consequences of transient RA deficiency in ASM are long-lasting. These results indicate that RA signaling actively maintains adult ASM homeostasis, and disruption of RA signaling leads to aberrant ASM phenotypes similar to those seen in human chronic airway diseases such as asthma.
Felicia Chen, Fengzhi Shao, Anne Hinds, Sean Yao, Sumati Ram-Mohan, Timothy A. Norman, Ramaswamy Krishnan, Alan Fine
ER stress in type II alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) is common in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), but the contribution of ER stress to lung fibrosis is poorly understood. We found that mice deficient in C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), an ER stress–regulated transcription factor, were protected from lung fibrosis and AEC apoptosis in 3 separate models where substantial ER stress was identified. In mice treated with repetitive intratracheal bleomycin, we identified localized hypoxia in type II AECs as a potential mechanism explaining ER stress. To test the role of hypoxia in lung fibrosis, we treated mice with bleomycin, followed by exposure to 14% O2, which exacerbated ER stress and lung fibrosis. Under these experimental conditions, CHOP–/– mice, but not mice with epithelial HIF (HIF1/HIF2) deletion, were protected from AEC apoptosis and fibrosis. In vitro studies revealed that CHOP regulates hypoxia-induced apoptosis in AECs via the inositol-requiring enzyme 1α (IRE1α) and the PKR-like ER kinase (PERK) pathways. In human IPF lungs, CHOP and hypoxia markers were both upregulated in type II AECs, supporting a conclusion that localized hypoxia results in ER stress–induced CHOP expression, thereby augmenting type II AEC apoptosis and potentiating lung fibrosis.
Ankita Burman, Jonathan A. Kropski, Carla L. Calvi, Ana P. Serezani, Bruno D. Pascoalino, Wei Han, Taylor Sherrill, Linda Gleaves, William E. Lawson, Lisa R. Young, Timothy S. Blackwell, Harikrishna Tanjore
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is characterized by an excessive pulmonary inflammatory response. Removal of excess cholesterol from the plasma membrane of inflammatory cells helps reduce their activation. The secreted apolipoprotein A-I binding protein (AIBP) has been shown to augment cholesterol efflux from endothelial cells to the plasma lipoprotein HDL. Here, we find that AIBP was expressed in inflammatory cells in the human lung and was secreted into the bronchoalveolar space in mice subjected to inhalation of LPS. AIBP bound surfactant protein B and increased cholesterol efflux from alveolar macrophages to calfactant, a therapeutic surfactant formulation. In vitro, AIBP in the presence of surfactant reduced LPS-induced p65, ERK1/2 and p38 phosphorylation, and IL-6 secretion by alveolar macrophages. In vivo, inhalation of AIBP significantly reduced LPS-induced airspace neutrophilia, alveolar capillary leak, and secretion of IL-6. These results suggest that, similar to HDL in plasma, surfactant serves as a cholesterol acceptor in the lung. Furthermore, lung injury increases pulmonary AIBP expression, which likely serves to promote cholesterol efflux to surfactant and reduce inflammation.
Soo-Ho Choi, Aaron M. Wallace, Dina A. Schneider, Elianne Burg, Jungsu Kim, Elena Alekseeva, Niki D.J. Ubags, Carlyne D. Cool, Longhou Fang, Benjamin T. Suratt, Yury I. Miller
Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) shares biologic features with rhinovirus (RV). In 2014, a nationwide outbreak of EV-D68 was associated with severe asthma-like symptoms. We sought to develop a mouse model of EV-D68 infection and determine the mechanisms underlying airway disease. BALB/c mice were inoculated intranasally with EV-D68 (2014 isolate), RV-A1B, or sham, alone or in combination with anti–IL-17A or house dust mite (HDM) treatment. Like RV-A1B, lung EV-D68 viral RNA peaked 12 hours after infection. EV-D68 induced airway inflammation, expression of cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6, IL-12b, IL-17A, CXCL1, CXCL2, CXCL10, and CCL2), and airway hyperresponsiveness, which were suppressed by anti–IL-17A antibody. Neutrophilic inflammation and airway responsiveness were significantly higher after EV-D68 compared with RV-A1B infection. Flow cytometry showed increased lineage–, NKp46–, RORγt+ IL-17+ILC3s and γδ T cells in the lungs of EV-D68–treated mice compared with those in RV-treated mice. EV-D68 infection of HDM-exposed mice induced additive or synergistic increases in BAL neutrophils and eosinophils and expression of IL-17, CCL11, IL-5, and Muc5AC. Finally, patients from the 2014 epidemic period with EV-D68 showed significantly higher nasopharyngeal IL-17 mRNA levels compared with patients with RV-A infection. EV-D68 infection induces IL-17–dependent airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness, which is greater than that generated by RV-A1B, consistent with the clinical picture of severe asthma-like symptoms.
Charu Rajput, Mingyuan Han, J. Kelley Bentley, Jing Lei, Tomoko Ishikawa, Qian Wu, Joanna L. Hinde, Amy P. Callear, Terri L. Stillwell, William T. Jackson, Emily T. Martin, Marc B. Hershenson
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a devastating fibrotic lung disease of unknown etiology and limited therapeutic options. In this report, we characterize what we believe is a novel CCR10+ epithelial cell population in IPF lungs. There was a significant increase in the percentage of CCR10+ epithelial cells in IPF relative to normal lung explants and their numbers significantly correlated to lung remodeling in humanized NSG mice. Cultured CCR10-enriched IPF epithelial cells promoted IPF lung fibroblast invasion and collagen 1 secretion. Single-cell RNA sequencing analysis showed distinct CCR10+ epithelial cell populations enriched for inflammatory and profibrotic transcripts. Consistently, cultured IPF but not normal epithelial cells induced lung remodeling in humanized NSG mice, where the number of CCR10+ IPF, but not normal, epithelial cells correlated with hydroxyproline concentration in the remodeled NSG lungs. A subset of IPF CCR10hi epithelial cells coexpress EphA3 and ephrin A signaling induces the expression of CCR10 by these cells. Finally, EphA3+CCR10hi epithelial cells induce more consistent lung remodeling in NSG mice relative to EphA3–CCR10lo epithelial cells. Our results suggest that targeting epithelial cells, highly expressing CCR10, may be beneficial in IPF.
David M. Habiel, Milena S. Espindola, Isabelle C. Jones, Ana Lucia Coelho, Barry Stripp, Cory M. Hogaboam
Wilms’ tumor 1 (WT1) is a critical transcriptional regulator of mesothelial cells during lung development but is downregulated in postnatal stages and adult lungs. We recently showed that WT1 is upregulated in both mesothelial cells and mesenchymal cells in the pathogenesis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a fatal fibrotic lung disease. Although WT1-positive cell accumulation leading to severe fibrotic lung disease has been studied, the role of WT1 in fibroblast activation and pulmonary fibrosis remains elusive. Here, we show that WT1 functions as a positive regulator of fibroblast activation, including fibroproliferation, myofibroblast transformation, and extracellular matrix (ECM) production. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments indicate that WT1 binds directly to the promoter DNA sequence of α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) to induce myofibroblast transformation. In support, the genetic lineage tracing identifies WT1 as a key driver of mesothelial-to-myofibroblast and fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transformation. Importantly, the partial loss of WT1 was sufficient to attenuate myofibroblast accumulation and pulmonary fibrosis in vivo. Further, our coculture studies show that WT1 upregulation leads to non–cell autonomous effects on neighboring cells. Thus, our data uncovered a pathogenic role of WT1 in IPF by promoting fibroblast activation in the peripheral areas of the lung and as a target for therapeutic intervention.
Vishwaraj Sontake, Rajesh K. Kasam, Debora Sinner, Thomas R. Korfhagen, Geereddy B. Reddy, Eric S. White, Anil G. Jegga, Satish K. Madala
With more than 150,000 deaths per year in the US alone, lung cancer has the highest number of deaths for any cancer. These poor outcomes reflect a lack of treatment for the most common form of lung cancer, non–small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). Lung adenocarcinoma (ADC) is the most prevalent subtype of NSCLC, with the main oncogenic drivers being KRAS and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Whereas EGFR blockade has led to some success in lung ADC, effective KRAS inhibition is lacking. KRAS-mutant ADCs are characterized by high levels of gel-forming mucin expression, with the highest mucin levels corresponding to worse prognoses. Despite these well-recognized associations, little is known about roles for individual gel-forming mucins in ADC development causatively. We hypothesized that MUC5AC/Muc5ac, a mucin gene known to be commonly expressed in NSCLC, is crucial in KRAS/Kras-driven lung ADC. We found that MUC5AC was a significant determinant of poor prognosis, especially in patients with KRAS-mutant tumors. In addition, by using mice with lung ADC induced chemically with urethane or transgenically by mutant-Kras expression, we observed significantly reduced tumor development in animals lacking Muc5ac compared with controls. Collectively, these results provide strong support for MUC5AC as a potential therapeutic target for lung ADC, a disease with few effective treatments.
Alison K. Bauer, Misha Umer, Vanessa L. Richardson, Amber M. Cumpian, Anna Q. Harder, Nasim Khosravi, Zoulikha Azzegagh, Naoko M. Hara, Camille Ehre, Maedeh Mohebnasab, Mauricio S. Caetano, Daniel T. Merrick, Adrie van Bokhoven, Ignacio I. Wistuba, Humam Kadara, Burton F. Dickey, Kalpana Velmurugan, Patrick R. Mann, Xian Lu, Anna E. Barón, Christopher M. Evans, Seyed Javad Moghaddam
BACKGROUND. Disruption of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) anion channel function causes cystic fibrosis (CF), and lung disease produces most of the mortality. Loss of CFTR-mediated HCO3– secretion reduces the pH of airway surface liquid (ASL) in vitro and in neonatal humans and pigs in vivo. However, we previously found that, in older children and adults, ASL pH does not differ between CF and non-CF. Here, we tested whether the pH of CF ASL increases with time after birth. Finding that it did suggested that adaptations by CF airways increase ASL pH. This conjecture predicted that increasing CFTR activity in CF airways would further increase ASL pH and also that increasing CFTR activity would correlate with increases in ASL pH. METHODS. To test for longitudinal changes, we measured ASL pH in newborns and then at 3-month intervals. We also studied people with CF (bearing G551D or R117H mutations), in whom we could acutely stimulate CFTR activity with ivacaftor. To gauge changes in CFTR activity, we measured changes in sweat Cl– concentration immediately before and 48 hours after starting ivacaftor. RESULTS. Compared with that in the newborn period, ASL pH increased by 6 months of age. In people with CF bearing G551D or R117H mutations, ivacaftor did not change the average ASL pH; however reductions in sweat Cl– concentration correlated with elevations of ASL pH. Reductions in sweat Cl– concentration also correlated with improvements in pulmonary function. CONCLUSIONS. Our results suggest that CFTR-independent mechanisms increase ASL pH in people with CF. We speculate that CF airway disease, which begins soon after birth, is responsible for the adaptation. FUNDING. Vertex Inc., the NIH (P30DK089507, 1K08HL135433, HL091842, HL136813, K24HL102246), the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (SINGH17A0 and SINGH15R0), and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.
Mahmoud H. Abou Alaiwa, Jan L. Launspach, Brenda Grogan, Suzanne Carter, Joseph Zabner, David A. Stoltz, Pradeep K. Singh, Edward F. McKone, Michael J. Welsh
Recent advances in the management of cystic fibrosis (CF) target underlying defects in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein, but efficacy analyses remain limited to specific genotype–based subgroups. Patient-derived model systems may therefore aid in expanding access to these drugs. Brushed human nasal epithelial cells (HNEs) are an attractive tissue source, but it remains unclear how faithfully they recapitulate human bronchial epithelial cell (HBE) CFTR activity. We examined this gap using paired, brushed HNE/HBE samples from pediatric CF subjects with a wide variety of CFTR mutations cultured at the air-liquid interface. Growth and structural characteristics for the two cell types were similar, including differentiation into mature respiratory epithelia. In electrophysiologic analysis, no correlation was identified between nasal and bronchial cultures in baseline resistance or epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) activity. Conversely, robust correlation was demonstrated between nasal and bronchial cultures in both stimulated and inhibited CFTR activity. There was close correlation in modulator-induced change in CFTR activity, and CFTR activity in both cell types correlated with in vivo sweat chloride measurements. These data confirm that brushed HNE cell cultures recapitulate the functional CFTR characteristics of HBEs with fidelity and are therefore an appropriate noninvasive HBE surrogate for individualized CFTR analysis.
John J. Brewington, Erin T. Filbrandt, F.J. LaRosa III, Jessica D. Moncivaiz, Alicia J. Ostmann, Lauren M. Strecker, John P. Clancy
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