Impaired mucus detachment disrupts mucociliary transport in a piglet model of cystic fibrosis.
ABSTRACT: Lung disease in people with cystic fibrosis (CF) is initiated by defective host defense that predisposes airways to bacterial infection. Advanced CF is characterized by a deficit in mucociliary transport (MCT), a process that traps and propels bacteria out of the lungs, but whether this deficit occurs first or is secondary to airway remodeling has been unclear. To assess MCT, we tracked movement of radiodense microdisks in airways of newborn piglets with CF. Cholinergic stimulation, which elicits mucus secretion, substantially reduced microdisk movement. Impaired MCT was not due to periciliary liquid depletion; rather, CF submucosal glands secreted mucus strands that remained tethered to gland ducts. Inhibiting anion secretion in non-CF airways replicated CF abnormalities. Thus, impaired MCT is a primary defect in CF, suggesting that submucosal glands and tethered mucus may be targets for early CF treatment.
Project description:Mucus produced by submucosal glands is a key component of respiratory mucociliary transport (MCT). When it emerges from submucosal gland ducts, mucus forms long strands on the airway surface. However, the function of those strands is uncertain. To test the hypothesis that mucus strands facilitate transport of large particles, we studied newborn pigs. In ex vivo experiments, interconnected mucus strands moved over the airway surface, attached to immobile spheres, and initiated their movement by pulling them. Stimulating submucosal gland secretion with methacholine increased the percentage of spheres that moved and shortened the delay until mucus strands began moving spheres. To disrupt mucus strands, we applied reducing agents tris-(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine and dithiothreitol. They decreased the fraction of moving spheres and delayed initiation of movement for spheres that did move. We obtained similar in vivo results with CT-based tracking of microdisks in spontaneously breathing pigs. Methacholine increased the percentage of microdisks moving and reduced the delay until they were propelled up airways. Aerosolized tris-(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine prevented those effects. Once particles started moving, reducing agents did not alter their speed either ex vivo or in vivo. These findings indicate that submucosal glands produce mucus in the form of strands and that the strands initiate movement of large particles, facilitating their removal from airways.
Project description:Chronic bacterial airway infections are the major cause of mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF). Normal airway defenses include reflex stimulation of submucosal gland mucus secretion by sensory neurons that release substance P (SubP). CFTR is an anion channel involved in fluid secretion and mutated in CF; the role of CFTR in secretions stimulated by SubP is unknown. We used optical methods to measure SubP-mediated secretion from human submucosal glands in lung transplant tissue. Glands from control but not CF subjects responded to mucosal chili oil. Similarly, serosal SubP stimulated secretion in more than 60% of control glands but only 4% of CF glands. Secretion triggered by SubP was synergistic with vasoactive intestinal peptide and/or forskolin but not with carbachol; synergy was absent in CF glands. Pig glands demonstrated a nearly 10-fold greater response to SubP. In 10 of 11 control glands isolated by fine dissection, SubP caused cell volume loss, lumen expansion, and mucus flow, but in 3 of 4 CF glands, it induced lumen narrowing. Thus, in CF, the reduced ability of mucosal irritants to stimulate airway gland secretion via SubP may be another factor that predisposes the airways to infections.
Project description:Cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease is the major cause of morbidity and mortality in people with CF. Abnormal mucociliary transport has been the leading hypothesis for the underlying pathogenesis of CF airway disease. However, this has been difficult to investigate at very early time points. A porcine CF model, which recapitulates many features of CF disease in humans, enables studies to be performed in non-CF and CF pigs on the day that they are born. In newborn CF pigs, we found that under basal conditions, mucociliary transport rates in non-CF and CF pigs are similar. However, after cholinergic stimulation, which stimulates submucosal gland secretion, particles become stuck in the CF airways owing to a failure of mucus strands to release from submucosal glands. In this review, we summarize these recent discoveries and also discuss the morphology, composition, and function of mucins in the porcine lung.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) may be initiated by innately impaired host defense mechanisms that predispose the upper airways to infection. Recent evidence suggests tethering of submucosal gland mucus strands represents an inciting event within cystic fibrosis (CF) airways, occurring prior to onset of chronic infection. Submucosal gland hypertrophy and defective mucociliary clearance (MCC) are present in actively inflamed sinuses, but mucus strand velocity may also be affected as a secondary event, further contributing to chronic disease. The objective of this study is to assess whether mucus strand velocity is decreased in patients with CRS. METHODS:Mucosal explants from patients with and without CRS were submerged in Ringer's solution mixed with fluorescent nanospheres. Methacholine was then added, and videos demonstrating strand growth and detachment were generated from a time-lapse of Z-stack images using a multiphoton confocal microscope. Dynamic mucus strands were identified and individual velocities quantified with the MTrackJ plug-in of ImageJ. RESULTS:Fifteen patients met criteria for ex vivo analysis of mucus strand velocities (CRS, n = 9 vs controls, n = 6). Mucus strands were recorded (pixels/second) streaming from the submucosal gland openings. Average mucus strand velocities were significantly decreased in patients with CRS (1.53 ± 0.67 vs controls, 4.86 ± 1.68 pixels/second; p < 0.001). CONCLUSION:This study is the first to report evidence of abnormal mucus strand velocity from submucosal glands in diseased sinonasal mucosa. Future pharmacologic studies targeting this critical component of MCC are warranted.
Project description:Hyaluronan (HA) has been used in treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF) via a nebulizer and has demonstrated success in clinical outcomes. HA is an important glycosaminoglycan that is cross-linked by heavy chains (HCs) from inter-?-inhibitor during inflammation. HC cross-linked HA (HC-HA) becomes significantly more adhesive for leukocytes than non-cross-linked HA, which can enhance inflammation. Our studies tested the hypothesis that HC-HA is present in CF airways and that altered ratios of HC-HA to its degradation into relatively lower molecular weight HA contribute to the pathophysiology of chronic inflammation in CF. We evaluated the distribution, levels, and size of HC-HA within CF, healthy, and diseased control lung, bronchus, and sputum tissues by histological and biochemical approaches. HC-HA was significantly elevated in CF, with deposits around the pulmonary vasculature, airway submucosa, and in the stroma of the submucosal glands. The increased infiltration of leukocyte populations correlated with the distribution of HC-HA matrices in the airways. Elevated lung tissue HC-HA correlated with decreased HA levels in CF mucus and sputum compared with controls, suggesting that aberrant degradation and cross-linking of HA in lung tissue is a unique feature of CF. The accumulation and degradation of proinflammatory HC-HA in CF lung tissue suggests that aberrant HA catabolism and cross-linking may contribute to chronic inflammation in airway tissues and affect mucus viscosity in CF airways.
Project description:While pathological and clinical data suggest that small airways are involved in early cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease development, little is known about how the lack of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) function contributes to disease pathogenesis in these small airways. Large and small airway epithelia are exposed to different airflow velocities, temperatures, humidity, and CO2 concentrations. The cellular composition of these two regions is different, and small airways lack submucosal glands. To better understand the ion transport properties and impacts of lack of CFTR function on host defense function in small airways, we adapted a novel protocol to isolate small airway epithelial cells from CF and non-CF pigs and established an organotypic culture model. Compared with non-CF large airways, non-CF small airway epithelia cultures had higher Cl(-) and bicarbonate (HCO3 (-)) short-circuit currents and higher airway surface liquid (ASL) pH under 5% CO2 conditions. CF small airway epithelia were characterized by minimal Cl(-) and HCO3 (-) transport and decreased ASL pH, and had impaired bacterial killing compared with non-CF small airways. In addition, CF small airway epithelia had a higher ASL viscosity than non-CF small airways. Thus, the activity of CFTR is higher in the small airways, where it plays a role in alkalinization of ASL, enhancement of antimicrobial activity, and lowering of mucus viscosity. These data provide insight to explain why the small airways are a susceptible site for the bacterial colonization.
Project description:Dysfunction of CFTR in cystic fibrosis (CF) airway epithelium perturbs the normal regulation of ion transport, leading to a reduced volume of airway surface liquid (ASL), mucus dehydration, decreased mucus transport, and mucus plugging of the airways. CFTR is normally expressed in ciliated epithelial cells of the surface and submucosal gland ductal epithelium and submucosal gland acinar cells. Critical questions for the development of gene transfer strategies for CF airway disease are what airway regions require CFTR function and how many epithelial cells require CFTR expression to restore normal ASL volume regulation and mucus transport to CF airway epithelium? An in vitro model of human CF ciliated surface airway epithelium (CF HAE) was used to test whether a human parainfluenza virus (PIV) vector engineered to express CFTR (PIVCFTR) could deliver sufficient CFTR to CF HAE to restore mucus transport, thus correcting the CF phenotype. PIVCFTR delivered CFTR to >60% of airway surface epithelial cells and expressed CFTR protein in CF HAE approximately 100-fold over endogenous levels in non-CF HAE. This efficiency of CFTR delivery fully corrected the basic bioelectric defects of Cl(-) and Na(+) epithelial ion transport and restored ASL volume regulation and mucus transport to levels approaching those of non-CF HAE. To determine the numbers of CF HAE surface epithelial cells required to express CFTR for restoration of mucus transport to normal levels, different amounts of PIVCFTR were used to express CFTR in 3%-65% of the surface epithelial cells of CF HAE and correlated to increasing ASL volumes and mucus transport rates. These data demonstrate for the first time, to our knowledge, that restoration of normal mucus transport rates in CF HAE was achieved after CFTR delivery to 25% of surface epithelial cells. In vivo experimentation in appropriate models will be required to determine what level of mucus transport will afford clinical benefit to CF patients, but we predict that a future goal for corrective gene transfer to the CF human airways in vivo would attempt to target at least 25% of surface epithelial cells to achieve mucus transport rates comparable to those in non-CF airways.
Project description:Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder caused by mutations in the gene encoding for the anion channel cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). Several organs are affected in CF, but most of the morbidity and mortality comes from lung disease. Recent data show that the initial consequence of CFTR mutation is the failure to eradicate bacteria before the development of inflammation and airway remodeling. Bacterial clearance depends on a layer of airway surface liquid (ASL) consisting of both a mucus layer that traps, kills, and inactivates bacteria and a periciliary liquid layer that keeps the mucus at an optimum distance from the underlying epithelia, to maximize ciliary motility and clearance of bacteria. The airways in CF patients and animal models of CF demonstrate abnormal ASL secretion and reduced antimicrobial properties. Thus, it has been proposed that abnormal ASL secretion in response to bacteria may facilitate the development of the infection and inflammation that characterize CF airway disease. Whether the inhalation of bacteria triggers ASL secretion, and the role of CFTR, have never been tested, however. We developed a synchrotron-based imaging technique to visualize the ASL layer and measure the effect of bacteria on ASL secretion. We show that the introduction of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and other bacteria into the lumen of intact isolated swine tracheas triggers CFTR-dependent ASL secretion by the submucosal glands. This response requires expression of the bacterial protein flagellin. In patients with CF, the inhalation of bacteria would fail to trigger ASL secretion, leading to infection and inflammation.
Project description:The beneficial effect of anticholinergic therapy for chronic lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is well documented, although cholinergic stimulation paradoxically inhibits liquid absorption, increases ciliary beat frequency and increases airway surface liquid transport.Using pig tracheobronchial explants, we quantified basal mucus transport before as well as after incubation with the clinically used antimuscarinic compound ipratropium bromide (Atrovent) and stimulation with acetylcholine.As expected, surface liquid transport was increased by acetylcholine and carbachol. In contrast, the mucus bundles secreted from the submucosal glands normally transported on the cilia were stopped from moving by acetylcholine, an effect inhibited by ipratropium bromide. Interestingly, in pigs lacking a functional cystic fibrosis (CF) transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) channel, the mucus bundles were almost immobile. As in wild-type pigs, CF surface liquid transport increased after carbachol stimulation. The stagnant CF mucus bundles were trapped on the tracheal surface attached to the surface goblet cells. Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria were moved by the mucus bundles in wild-type but not CF pigs.Acetylcholine thus uncouples airway surface liquid transport from transport of the surface mucus bundles as the bundles are dynamically inhibited by acetylcholine and the CFTR channel, explaining initiation of CF and COPD, and opening novel therapeutic windows.
Project description:Although airway abnormalities are common in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), it is unknown whether they are all secondary to postnatal infection and inflammation, which characterize the disease.To learn whether loss of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) might affect major airways early in life, before the onset of inflammation and infection.We studied newborn CFTR?(/)? pig trachea, using computed tomography (CT) scans, pathology, and morphometry. We retrospectively analyzed trachea CT scans in young children with CF and also previously published data of infants with CF.We discovered three abnormalities in the porcine CF trachea. First, the trachea and mainstem bronchi had a uniformly small caliber and cross-sections of trachea were less circular than in controls. Second, trachealis smooth muscle had an altered bundle orientation and increased transcripts in a smooth muscle gene set. Third, submucosal gland units occurred with similar frequency in the mucosa of CF and control airways, but CF submucosal glands were hypoplastic and had global reductions in tissue-specific transcripts. To learn whether any of these changes occurred in young patients with CF, we examined CT scans from children 2 years of age and younger, and found that CF tracheas were less circular in cross-section, but lacked differences in lumen area. However, analysis of previously published morphometric data showed reduced tracheal lumen area in neonates with CF.Our findings in newborn CF pigs and young patients with CF suggest that airway changes begin during fetal life and may contribute to CF pathogenesis and clinical disease during postnatal life.