Asthma airway remodeling is linked to Th2 inflammation. Angiogenesis is a consistent feature of airway remodeling, but its contribution to pathophysiology remains unclear. We hypothesized that nascent endothelial cells in newly forming vessels are sufficient to initiate Th2-inflammation. Vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin is a constitutively expressed endothelial cell adhesion molecule that is exposed in its monomer form on endothelial tip cells prior to adherens junction formation. Abs targeted to VE-cadherin monomers inhibit angiogenesis by blocking this adherens junction formation. In this study, VE-cadherin monomer Ab reduced angiogenesis in the lungs of the allergen-induced murine asthma model. Strikingly, Th2 responses including, IgE production, eosinophil infiltration of the airway, subepithelial fibrosis, mucus metaplasia, and airway-hyperreactivity were also attenuated by VE-cadherin blockade, via mechanisms that blunted endothelial IL-25 and proangiogenic progenitor cell thymic stromal lymphopoietin production. The results identify angiogenic responses in the origins of atopic inflammation.
Interleukin-17 (IL-17) and IL-25 signaling induce the expression of genes encoding inflammatory factors and are implicated in the pathology of various inflammatory diseases. Nuclear factor ?B (NF-?B) activator 1 (Act1) is an adaptor protein and E3 ubiquitin ligase that is critical for signaling by either IL-17 or IL-25, and it is recruited to their receptors (IL-17R and IL-25R) through heterotypic interactions between the SEFIR [SEF (similar expression to fibroblast growth factor genes) and IL-17R] domain of Act1 and that of the receptor. SEFIR domains have structural similarity with the Toll-IL-1 receptor (TIR) domains of Toll-like receptors and IL-1R. Whereas the BB loop of TIR is required for TIR-TIR interactions, we found that deletion of the BB loop from Act1 or IL-17RA (a common subunit of both IL-17R and IL-25R) did not affect Act1-IL-17RA interactions; rather, deletion of the CC loop from Act1 or IL-17RA abolished the interaction between both proteins. Surface plasmon resonance measurements showed that a peptide corresponding to the CC loop of Act1 bound directly to IL-17RA. A cell-permeable decoy peptide based on the CC loop sequence inhibited IL-17- or IL-25-mediated signaling in vitro, as well as IL-17- and IL-25-induced pulmonary inflammation in mice. Together, these findings provide the molecular basis for the specificity of SEFIR-SEFIR versus TIR-TIR domain interactions and consequent signaling. Moreover, we suggest that the CC loop motif of SEFIR domains is a promising target for therapeutic strategies against inflammatory diseases associated with IL-17 or IL-25 signaling.
The cellular and molecular mechanisms driven by IL-25 and its cognate receptor IL-17RB necessary for the promotion of Th2-mediating pathogenic pulmonary inflammation remains to be defined. We have previously reported the critical role of the U-box-type E3 ubiquitin ligase Act1 (1) for the downstream signaling of the IL-17 cytokine family including the Th2-promoting cytokine IL-25 (IL-17E) (2). In this study, we report that IL-25-driven but not conventional IL-4-driven Th2 polarization and cytokine production is impaired in Act1-deficient T cells. Also, Act1 deficiency in the T cell compartment results in the abrogation of eosinophilic airway infiltration as well as airway hyperresponsiveness in mouse models of Ag-induced airway inflammation. The in vivo generation of Ag-specific Th2 cytokine-producing cells is defective in the absence of Act1 expression in T cells after OVA/aluminum hydroxide immunization. Notably, the production of OVA-specific IgG(1) but not IgG(2a) or IgE is also impaired. At the molecular level, we report that IL-25-mediated induction of Th2 master regulator GATA-3 and the transcription factor GFI-1 is attenuated in Act1-deficient T cells. Taken together, our findings indicate that Act1 expression in T cells is required for cellular and humoral Th2-mediated allergic responses and the development of airway hyperresponsiveness, in part, through Act1s function in IL-25-induced development of Th2 T cells.
Interleukin 17 (IL-17) is critical in the pathogenesis of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Here we report that Act1, the key adaptor for the IL-17 receptor (IL-7R), formed a complex with the inducible kinase IKKi after stimulation with IL-17. Through the use of IKKi-deficient mice, we found that IKKi was required for IL-17-induced expression of genes encoding inflammatory molecules in primary airway epithelial cells, neutrophilia and pulmonary inflammation. IKKi deficiency abolished IL-17-induced formation of the complex of Act1 and the adaptors TRAF2 and TRAF5, activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and mRNA stability, whereas the Act1-TRAF6-transcription factor NF-?B axis was retained. IKKi was required for IL-17-induced phosphorylation of Act1 on Ser311, adjacent to a putative TRAF-binding motif. Substitution of the serine at position 311 with alanine impaired the IL-17-mediated Act1-TRAF2-TRAF5 interaction and gene expression. Thus, IKKi is a kinase newly identified as modulating IL-17 signaling through its effect on Act1 phosphorylation and consequent function.
Muscle fibrosis is a prominent pathological feature that directly causes muscle dysfunction in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The DMD mouse models, mdx mice and mdx mice with haploinsufficiency of the utrophin gene (mdx/utrn(+/-) ), display progressive diaphragm fibrosis. We performed unrestrained whole-body plethysmography (WBP) in mdx and mdx/utrn(+/-) mice, and compared them with wild-type controls. Respiratory function gauged by respiratory frequency, tidal volume, minute volume, peak inspiratory flow, and peak expiratory flow was significantly impaired in the mdx mice. Consistent with more severe diaphragm fibrosis in the mdx/utrn(+/-) mice, respiratory impairment was worse than in mdx mice at 6 months. WBP is useful for monitoring in vivo respiratory function of mdx and mdx/utrn(+/-) mice, and it may serve as an outcome measurement for therapies that target diaphragm fibrosis. The mdx/utrn(+/-) mouse model may be better than the mdx model for testing antifibrotic therapies, especially at the severe stage.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by airway remodeling, which includes changes in the extracellular matrix (ECM). However the role of the ECM in mediating these changes is poorly understood. Hyaluronan (HA), a major component of the ECM, has been implicated in asthma as well as in many other biological processes. Our study investigates the processes involved in HA synthesis, deposition, localization and degradation during an acute and chronic murine model of ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergic pulmonary inflammation. Mice were sensitized, challenged to OVA and sacrificed at various time points during an 8-week challenge protocol. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluids, blood, and lung tissue were collected for study. RNA, HA, protein and histopathology were analyzed. Analyses of lung sections and BAL fluids revealed an early deposition and an increase in HA levels within 24 h of antigen exposure. HA levels peaked at day 8 in BAL, while inflammatory cell recovery peaked at day 6. Hyaluronan synthase (HAS)1 and HAS2 on RNA levels peaked within 2 h of antigen exposure, while hyaluronidase (HYAL)1 and HYAL2 on RNA levels decreased. Both inflammatory cell infiltrates and collagen deposition co-localized with HA deposition within the lungs. These data support a role for HA in the pathogenesis of inflammation and airway remodeling in a murine model of asthma. HA deposition appears largely due to up regulation of HAS1 and HAS2. In addition, HA appears to provide the scaffolding for inflammatory cell accumulation as well as for new collagen synthesis and deposition.
Serum-derived hyaluronan (HA)-associated proteins (SHAPs), the heavy chains of inter-?-trypsin inhibitor, covalently bind to HA to form the SHAP-HA complex. The SHAP-HA complex is involved in the pathophysiology of inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. We investigated whether this complex is also involved in airway allergy.
Mucosal epithelium functions not only as a physical barrier, but also as a regulator of innate and adaptive immune responses against foreign substances and microorganisms. In particular, epithelial cells have been directly implicated in Th2 responses, serving as a critical interface between innate immune responses and Th2 immunity. Emerging studies have revealed the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which the epithelium modulates Th2 responses through the production of a group of epithelial-derived Th2-driving cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-25, IL-33, and thymic stromal lymphopoietin. These epithelial-derived Th2-driving cytokines execute a regulatory function of the epithelium on mucosal immunity by promoting Th2 responses and maintaining the balance of host immune homeostasis and defense against various pathogens. Dysregulation of these Th2-driving cytokines can lead to detrimental Th2-dependent inflammatory responses, often manifested in various forms of allergic and inflammatory diseases.
Eosinophilic inflammation is closely related to angiogenesis in asthmatic airway remodeling. In ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized mice bone marrow-derived, proangiogenic endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are rapidly recruited into the lungs after OVA aerosol challenge and promptly followed by mobilization and recruitment of eosinophils.
A novel cytokine IL-33, an IL-1 family member, signals via ST2 receptor and promotes Th2 responses, through the activation of NF-kappaB and MAP kinases. Previous studies reported that single Ig IL-1R-related molecule (SIGIRR)/Toll IL-1R8 acts as negative regulator for TLR-IL-1R-mediated signaling. We now found that SIGIRR formed a complex with ST2 upon IL-33 stimulation and specifically inhibited IL-33/ST2-mediated signaling in cell culture model. Furthermore, IL-33-induced Th2 response was enhanced in SIGIRR-deficient mice compared with that in wild-type control mice, suggesting a negative regulatory role of SIGIRR in IL-33/ST2 signaling in vivo. Similar to ST2, SIGIRR was highly expressed in in vitro polarized Th2 cells, but not Th1 cells. SIGIRR-deficient Th2 cells produce higher levels of Th2 cytokines, including IL-5, IL-4, and IL-13, than that in wild-type cells. Moreover, SIGIRR-deficient mice developed stronger Th2 immune response in OVA-challenged asthma model. Taken together, our results suggest that SIGIRR plays an important role in the regulation of Th2 response in vivo, possibly through its impact on IL-33-ST2-mediated signaling.
IL-25 initiates, promotes, and augments Th2 immune responses. In this study, we report that Act1, a key component in IL-17-mediated signaling, is an essential signaling molecule for IL-25 signaling. Although Act1-deficient mice showed reduced expression of KC (CXCL1) and neutrophil recruitment to the airway compared with wild-type mice in response to IL-17 stimulation, Act1 deficiency abolished IL-25-induced expression of IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, eotaxin-1 (CCL11), and pulmonary eosinophilia. Using a mouse model of allergic pulmonary inflammation, we observed diminished Th2 responses and lung inflammation in Act1-deficient mice compared with wild-type mice. Importantly, Act1 deficiency in epithelial cells reduced the phenotype of allergic pulmonary inflammation due to loss of IL-17-induced neutrophilia and IL-25-induced eosinophilia, respectively. These results demonstrate the essential role of epithelial-derived Act1 in allergic pulmonary inflammation through the distinct impact of the IL-17R-Act1 and IL-25R-Act1 axes. Such findings are crucial for the understanding of pathobiology of atopic diseases, including allergic asthma, which identifies Act1 as a potential therapeutic target.
We tested the hypothesis that the artificial addition of heavy chains from inter-?-inhibitor to hyaluronan (HA), by adding recombinant TSG-6 (TNF-stimulated gene-6) to the culture medium of murine airway smooth muscle (MASM) cells, would enhance leukocyte binding to HA cables produced in response to poly(I:C). As predicted, the addition of heavy chains to HA cables enhanced leukocyte adhesion to these cables, but it also had several unexpected effects. (i) It produced thicker, more pronounced HA cables. (ii) It increased the accumulation of HA in the cell-associated matrix. (iii) It decreased the amount of HA in the conditioned medium. Importantly, these effects were observed only when TSG-6 was administered in the presence of poly(I:C), and TSG-6 did not exert any effect on its own. Increased HA synthesis occurred during active, poly(I:C)-induced HA synthesis and did not occur when TSG-6 was added after poly(I:C)-induced HA synthesis was complete. MASM cells derived from TSG-6(-/-), HAS1/3(-/-), and CD44(-/-) mice amplified HA synthesis in response to poly(I:C) + TSG-6 in a manner similar to WT MASM cells, demonstrating that they are expendable in this process. We conclude that TSG-6 increases the accumulation of HA in the cell-associated matrix, partially by preventing its dissolution from the cell-associated matrix into the conditioned medium, but primarily by inducing HA synthesis.
Hyaluronan (HA) deposition is often correlated with mucosal inflammatory responses, where HA mediates both protective and pathological responses. By modifying the HA matrix, Tnfip6 (TNF-?-induced protein-6; also known as TSG-6 (TNF-stimulated gene-6)) is thought to potentiate anti-inflammatory and anti-plasmin effects that are inhibitory to leukocyte extravasation. In this study, we examined the role of endogenous TSG-6 in the pathophysiological responses associated with acute allergic pulmonary inflammation. Compared with wild-type littermate controls, TSG-6(-/-) mice exhibited attenuated inflammation marked by a significant decrease in pulmonary HA concentrations measured in the bronchoalveolar lavage and lung tissue. Interestingly, despite the equivalent induction of both humoral and cellular Th2 immunity and the comparable levels of cytokines and chemokines typically associated with eosinophilic pulmonary inflammation, airway eosinophilia was significantly decreased in TSG-6(-/-) mice. Most importantly, contrary to their counterpart wild-type littermates, TSG-6(-/-) mice were resistant to the induction of airway hyperresponsiveness and manifested improved lung mechanics in response to methacholine challenge. Our study demonstrates that endogenous TSG-6 is dispensable for the induction of Th2 immunity but is essential for the robust increase in pulmonary HA deposition, propagation of acute eosinophilic pulmonary inflammation, and development of airway hyperresponsiveness. Thus, TSG-6 is implicated in the experimental murine model of allergic pulmonary inflammation and is likely to contribute to the pathogenesis of asthma.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that exhibits airway remodeling with changes in the extracellular matrix (ECM). The role of the ECM in mediating these changes is poorly understood. Hyaluronan (HA), a major component of the ECM, has been implicated in many biological processes in diseases. This study investigates the processes involved in HA synthesis, deposition and localization during the propagation of cockroach-induced asthma. Mice were sensitized and challenged with cockroach antigen, and sacrificed at various time points during an 8-week challenge protocol. Analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid revealed an increase in total nucleated cells as early as 6h, which peaked at 6 days. Histopathologic analysis of the lung tissue revealed an influx of inflammatory cells at the peribronchial and perivascular regions starting at 12 h, which peaked at 6 days and persisted to 8 weeks. Eosinophils predominated in the early time points while lymphocytes predominated during the late time points. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) data showed that hyaluronan synthase 1 (HAS1) mRNA peaked within 6 h and then declined. HAS2 mRNA also peaked within 6 h but remained elevated throughout the 8-week exposure course. HA levels in lung tissue and BAL increased at 12 h and peaked by 6 and 8 days, respectively. Inflammatory cells and new collagen formation localized in areas of HA deposition. Taken together, these data support a role for HA in the pathogenesis in asthma.
Interleukin-25 (IL-25 or IL-17E), a member of the structurally related IL-17 family, functions as an important mediator of T helper 2 cell-type (type 2) responses. We examined the cell type-specific role of IL-25-induced Act1-mediated signaling in protective immunity against helminth infection. Targeted Act1 deficiency in epithelial cells resulted in a marked delay in worm expulsion and abolished the expansion of the Lin(-)c-Kit(+) innate cell population in the mesenteric lymph node, lung, and liver. Th2 cell-inducing cytokine (IL-25 and IL-33) expression were reduced in the intestinal epithelial cells from the infected and IL-25-injected epithelial-specific Act1-deficient mice. Adoptive transfer of Lin(-)c-Kit(+) cells or combined injection of IL-25 and IL-33 restored the type 2 responses in these mice. Taken together, these results suggest that epithelial-specific Act1 mediates the expansion of the Lin(-)c-Kit(+) innate cell population through the positive-feedback loop of IL-25, initiating the type 2 immunity against helminth infection.
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