Prenatal Exposure to Respiratory Syncytial Virus Alters Postnatal Immunity and Airway Smooth Muscle Contractility during Early-Life Reinfections.
ABSTRACT: Maternal viral infections can have pathological effects on the developing fetus which last long after birth. Recently, maternal-fetal transmission of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was shown to cause postnatal airway hyperreactivity (AHR) during primary early-life reinfection; however, the influence of prenatal exposure to RSV on offspring airway immunity and smooth muscle contractility during recurrent postnatal reinfections remains unknown. Therefore, we sought to determine whether maternal RSV infection impairs specific aspects of cell-mediated offspring immunity during early-life reinfections and the mechanisms leading to AHR. Red fluorescent protein-expressing recombinant RSV (rrRSV) was inoculated into pregnant rat dams at midterm, followed by primary and secondary postnatal rrRSV inoculations of their offspring at early-life time points. Pups and weanlings were tested for specific lower airway leukocyte populations by flow cytometry; serum cytokine/chemokine concentrations by multiplex ELISA and neurotrophins concentrations by standard ELISA; and ex vivo lower airway smooth muscle (ASM) contraction by physiological tissue bath. Pups born to RSV-infected mothers displayed elevated total CD3+ T cells largely lacking CD4+ and CD8+ surface expression after both primary and secondary postnatal rrRSV infection. Cytokine/chemokine analyses revealed reduced IFN-?, IL-2, IL-12, IL-17A, IL-18, and TNF-?, as well as elevated nerve growth factor (NGF) expression. Prenatal exposure to RSV also increased ASM reactivity and contractility during early-life rrRSV infection compared to non-exposed controls. We conclude that maternal RSV infection can predispose offspring to postnatal lower airways dysfunction by altering immunity development, NGF signaling, and ASM contraction during early-life RSV reinfections.
Project description:Children who are exposed to environmental respiratory insults often develop asthma that persists into adulthood. In this study, we used a neonatal mouse model of ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergic airway inflammation to understand the long-term effects of early childhood insults on airway structure and function. We showed that OVA sensitization and challenge in early life led to a 2-fold increase in airway smooth muscle (ASM) innervation (P<0.05) and persistent airway hyperreactivity (AHR). In contrast, OVA exposure in adult life elicited short-term AHR without affecting innervation levels. We found that postnatal ASM innervation required neurotrophin (NT)-4 signaling through the TrkB receptor and that early-life OVA exposure significantly elevated NT4 levels and TrkB signaling by 5- and 2-fold, respectively, to increase innervation. Notably, blockade of NT4/TrkB signaling in OVA-exposed pups prevented both acute and persistent AHR without affecting baseline airway function or inflammation. Furthermore, biophysical assays using lung slices and isolated cells demonstrated that NT4 was necessary for hyperreactivity of ASM induced by early-life OVA exposure. Together, our findings show that the NT4/TrkB-dependent increase in innervation plays a critical role in the alteration of the ASM phenotype during postnatal growth, thereby linking early-life allergen exposure to persistent airway dysfunction.
Project description:Asthma often progresses into adulthood from early-life episodes of adverse environmental exposures. However, how the injury to developing lungs contributes to the pathophysiology of persistent asthma remains poorly understood. In this study, we identified an age-related mechanism along the cholinergic nerve-airway smooth muscle (ASM) axis that underlies prolonged airway hyperreactivity (AHR) in mice. We showed that ASM continued to mature until ?3 wk after birth. Coinciding with postnatal ASM maturation, there was a critical time window for the development of ASM hypercontractility after cholinergic stimulation. We found that allergen exposure in neonatal mice, but not in adult mice, elevated the level and activity of cholinergic nerves (termed neuroplasticity). We demonstrated that cholinergic neuroplasticity is necessary for the induction of persistent AHR after neonatal exposure during rescue assays in mice deficient in neuroplasticity. In addition, early intervention with cholinergic receptor muscarinic (ChRM)-3 blocker reversed the progression of AHR in the neonatal exposure model, whereas ?2-adrenoceptor agonists had no such effect. Together, our findings demonstrate a functional relationship between cholinergic neuroplasticity and ASM contractile phenotypes that operates uniquely in early life to induce persistent AHR after allergen exposure. Targeting ChRM3 may have disease-modifying benefits in childhood asthma.-Patel, K. R., Bai, Y., Trieu, K. G., Barrios, J., Ai, X. Targeting acetylcholine receptor M3 prevents the progression of airway hyperreactivity in a mouse model of childhood asthma.
Project description:Environmental exposure to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of respiratory infections in infants, but it remains unknown whether this infection is transmitted transplacentally from the lungs of infected mothers to the offspring. We sought to test the hypothesis that RSV travels from the respiratory tract during pregnancy, crosses the placenta to the fetus, persists in the lung tissues of the offspring, and modulates pre- and postnatal expression of growth factors, thereby predisposing to airway hyperreactivity.Pregnant rats were inoculated intratracheally at midterm using recombinant RSV expressing red fluorescent protein (RFP). Viral RNA was amplified by RT-PCR and confirmed by sequencing. RFP expression was analyzed by flow cytometry and viral culture. Developmental and pathophysiologic implications of prenatal infection were determined by analyzing the expression of genes encoding critical growth factors, particularly neurotrophic factors and receptors. We also measured the expression of key neurotransmitters and postnatal bronchial reactivity in vertically infected lungs, and assessed their dependence on neurotrophic signaling using selective biological or chemical inhibition.RSV genome was found in 30% of fetuses, as well as in the lungs of 40% of newborns and 25% of adults. RFP expression was also shown by flow cytometry and replicating virus was cultured from exposed fetuses. Nerve growth factor and its TrkA receptor were upregulated in RSV- infected fetal lungs and co-localized with increased cholinergic innervation. Acetylcholine expression and smooth muscle response to cholinergic stimulation increased in lungs exposed to RSV in utero and reinfected after birth, and blocking TrkA signaling inhibited both effects.Our data show transplacental transmission of RSV from mother to offspring and persistence of vertically transmitted virus in lungs after birth. Exposure to RSV in utero is followed by dysregulation of neurotrophic pathways predisposing to postnatal airway hyperreactivity upon reinfection with the virus.
Project description:Maternal inflammation during pregnancy can alter the trajectory of fetal brain development and increase risk for offspring psychiatric disorders. However, the majority of relevant research to date has been conducted in animal models. Here, in humans, we focus on the structural connectivity of frontolimbic circuitry as it is both critical for socioemotional and cognitive development, and commonly altered in a range of psychiatric disorders associated with intrauterine inflammation. Specifically, we test the hypothesis that elevated maternal concentration of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) during pregnancy will be associated with variation in microstructural properties of this circuitry in the neonatal period and across the first year of life. Pregnant mothers were recruited in early pregnancy and maternal blood samples were obtained for assessment of maternal IL-6 concentrations in early (12.6?±?2.8 weeks [S.D.]), mid (20.4?±?1.5 weeks [S.D.]) and late (30.3?±?1.3 weeks [S.D.]) gestation. Offspring brain MRI scans were acquired shortly after birth (N?=?86, scan age?=?3.7?±?1.7 weeks [S.D.]) and again at 12-mo age (N?=?32, scan age?=?54.0?±?3.1 weeks [S.D.]). Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) was used to characterize fractional anisotropy (FA) along the left and right uncinate fasciculus (UF), representing the main frontolimbic fiber tract. In N?=?30 of the infants with serial MRI data at birth and 12-mo age, cognitive and socioemotional developmental status was characterized using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. All analyses tested for potentially confounding influences of household income, prepregnancy Body-Mass-Index, obstetric risk, smoking during pregnancy, and infant sex, and outcomes at 12-mo age were additionally adjusted for the quality of the postnatal caregiving environment. Maternal IL-6 concentration (averaged across pregnancy) was prospectively and inversely associated with FA (suggestive of reduced integrity under high inflammatory conditions) in the newborn offspring (bi-lateral, p?<?0.01) in the central portion of the UF proximal to the amygdala. Furthermore, maternal IL-6 concentration was positively associated with rate of FA increase across the first year of life (bi-lateral, p?<?0.05), resulting in a null association between maternal IL-6 and UF FA at 12-mo age. Maternal IL-6 was also inversely associated with offspring cognition at 12-mo age, and this association was mediated by FA growth across the first year of postnatal life. Findings from the current study support the premise that susceptibility for cognitive impairment and potentially psychiatric disorders may be affected in utero, and that maternal inflammation may constitute an intrauterine condition of particular importance in this context.
Project description:Parental, particularly maternal, smoking increases the risk for childhood allergic asthma and infection. Similarly, in a murine allergic asthma model, prenatal plus early postnatal exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke (SS) exacerbates airways hyperreactivity and Th2 responses in the lung. However, the mechanism and contribution of prenatal versus early postnatal SS exposure on allergic asthma remain unresolved. To identify the effects of prenatal and/or early postnatal SS on allergic asthma, BALB/c dams and their offspring were exposed gestationally and/or 8-10 wk postbirth to filtered air or SS. Prenatal, but not postnatal, SS strongly increased methacholine and allergen (Aspergillus)-induced airway resistance, Th2 cytokine levels, and atopy and activated the Th2-polarizing pathway GATA3/Lck/ERK1/2/STAT6. Either prenatal and/or early postnatal SS downregulated the Th1-specific transcription factor T-bet and, surprisingly, despite high levels of IL-4/IL-13, dramatically blocked the allergen-induced mucous cell metaplasia, airway mucus formation, and the expression of mucus-related genes/proteins: Muc5ac, ?-aminobutyric acid A receptors, and SAM pointed domain-containing Ets-like factor. Given that SS/nicotine exposure of normal adult mice promotes mucus formation, the results suggested that fetal and neonatal lung are highly sensitive to cigarette smoke. Thus, although the gestational SS promotes Th2 polarization/allergic asthma, it may also impair and/or delay the development of fetal and neonatal lung, affecting mucociliary clearance and Th1 responses. Together, this may explain the increased susceptibility of children from smoking parents to allergic asthma and childhood respiratory infections.
Project description:Childhood obesity is a risk factor for asthma, but the molecular mechanisms linking both remain elusive. Since obesity leads to chronic low-grade inflammation and affects metabolic signaling we hypothesized that postnatal hyperalimentation (pHA) induced by maternal high-fat-diet during lactation leads to early-onset obesity and dysregulates pulmonary adipocytokine/insulin signaling, resulting in metabolic programming of asthma-like disease in adult mice. Offspring with pHA showed at postnatal day 21 (P21): (1) early-onset obesity, greater fat-mass, increased expression of IL-1?, IL-23, and Tnf-?, greater serum leptin and reduced glucose tolerance than Control (Ctrl); (2) less STAT3/AMPK?-activation, greater SOCS3 expression and reduced AKT/GSK3?-activation in the lung, indicative of leptin resistance and insulin signaling, respectively; (3) increased lung mRNA of IL-6, IL-13, IL-17A and Tnf-?. At P70 body weight, fat-mass, and cytokine mRNA expression were similar in the pHA and Ctrl, but serum leptin and IL-6 were greater, and insulin signaling and glucose tolerance impaired. Peribronchial elastic fiber content, bronchial smooth muscle layer, and deposition of connective tissue were not different after pHA. Despite unaltered bronchial structure mice after pHA exhibited significantly increased airway reactivity. Our study does not only demonstrate that early-onset obesity transiently activates pulmonary adipocytokine/insulin signaling and induces airway hyperreactivity in mice, but also provides new insights into metabolic programming of childhood obesity-related asthma.
Project description:Asthma often progresses from early episodes of insults. How early-life events connect to long-term airway dysfunction remains poorly understood. We demonstrated previously that increased neurotrophin 4 (NT4) levels following early-life allergen exposure cause persistent changes in airway smooth muscle (ASM) innervation and airway hyper-reactivity (AHR) in mice. Herein, we identify pulmonary mast cells as a key source of aberrant NT4 expression following early insults. NT4 is selectively expressed by ASM and mast cells in mice, nonhuman primates, and humans. We show in mice that mast cell-derived NT4 is dispensable for ASM innervation during development. However, upon insults, mast cells expand in number and degranulate to release NT4 and thus become the major source of NT4 under pathological condition. Adoptive transfer of wild-type mast cells, but not NT4-/- mast cells restores ASM hyperinnervation and AHR in KitW-sh/W-sh mice following early-life insults. Notably, an infant nonhuman primate model of asthma also exhibits ASM hyperinnervation associated with the expansion and degranulation of mast cells. Together, these findings identify an essential role of mast cells in mediating ASM hyperinnervation following early-life insults by producing NT4. This role may be evolutionarily conserved in linking early insults to long-term airway dysfunction.
Project description:Maternal behavior is necessary for optimal development and growth of offspring. The intestinal microbiota has emerged as a critical regulator of growth and development in the early postnatal period life. Here, we describe the identification of an intestinal <i>Escherichia coli</i> strain that is pathogenic to the maternal-offspring system during the early postnatal stage of life and results in growth stunting of the offspring. However, rather than having a direct pathogenic effect on the infant, we found that this particular <i>E. coli</i> strain was pathogenic to the dams by interfering with the maturation of maternal behavior. This resulted in malnourishment of the pups and impaired insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signaling, leading to the consequential stunted growth. Our work provides a new understanding of how the microbiota regulates postnatal growth and an additional variable that must be considered when studying the regulation of maternal behavior.
Project description:We have shown in a previous population-based study significant correlation between childhood asthma and early abnormalities of lipid and glucose metabolism. This study's specific aim was to determine whether maternal nutrition in pregnancy affects postnatal metabolic and respiratory outcomes in the offspring.On gestation day 1, dams were switched from standard chow to either high-fat hypercaloric diet or control diet. Terminal experiments were performed on newborn and weanling offspring of dams fed the study diet during gestation and lactation, and on adult offspring maintained on the same diet as their mother.Pups born from high-fat hypercaloric diet (HFD) dams developed metabolic abnormalities persistent throughout development. Cytokine expression analysis of lung tissues from newborns born to HFD dams revealed a strong proinflammatory pattern. Gene expression of neurotrophic factors and receptors was upregulated in lungs of weanlings born to HFD dams, and this was associated to higher respiratory system resistance and lower compliance at baseline, as well as hyperreactivity to aerosolized methacholine. Furthermore, HFD dams delivered pups prone to develop more severe disease after respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection.Maternal nutrition in pregnancy is a critical determinant of airway inflammation and hyperreactivity in offspring and also increases risk for bronchiolitis independent from prepregnancy nutrition.
Project description:Epidemiologic studies implicate air pollutant exposure during pregnancy as a risk factor for wheezing in offspring. Ozone exposure is linked to exacerbations of wheezing in children.To determine if maternal pulmonary exposure to traffic-related particles during pregnancy augments ozone-induced airway hyperresponsiveness in offspring.C57BL6 time-mated mice were given NIST SRM#1648 (particulate matter [PM]) 0.48 mg, saline vehicle, or no treatment by tracheal insufflation twice weekly for 3 weeks. PM exposure augmented maternal lung inflammation and placental TNF-alpha, Keratinocyte-derived cytokine (KC), and IL-6 (measured at gestation Day 18). After parturition, dams and litters were exposed to air or ozone 1 ppm 3 h/d, every other day, thrice weekly for 4 weeks. Respiratory system resistance in pups was measured at baseline and after administration of nebulized methacholine.Ozone increased airway hyperresponsiveness, but the increase was greatest in pups born to PM-treated dams. Whole-lung TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, KC, IL-6, and MCP-1 were increased in ozone-treated pups, with the greatest increase in pups born to dams given PM. Airway epithelial mucous metaplasia estimated by periodic acid-Schiff Alcian blue staining was increased in ozone-exposed pups born to PM-treated dams. Alveolar development, determined by morphometry, and airway smooth muscle bulk, estimated using alpha-actin histochemistry, were unaffected by prenatal or postnatal treatment.Maternal pulmonary exposure to PM during pregnancy augments placental cytokine expression and postnatal ozone-induced pulmonary inflammatory cytokine responses and ozone-induced airway hyperresponsiveness without altering airway structure.