IL-31 transgenic mice show reduced allergen-induced lung inflammation.
ABSTRACT: Interleukin-31 (IL-31) is a Th2 cell-derived cytokine that has been closely linked to pruritic skin inflammation. More recently, enhanced IL-31 serum levels have also been observed in patients with allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to unravel the contribution of IL-31 to allergen-induced lung inflammation. We analyzed lung inflammation in response to the timothy grass (Phleum pratense) pollen allergen Phl p 5 in C57BL/6 wild-type (wt) mice, IL-31 transgenic (IL-31tg) mice, and IL-31 receptor alpha-deficient animals (IL-31RA-/- ). IL-31 and IL-31RA levels were monitored by qRT-PCR. Cellular infiltrate in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lung tissue inflammation, mucus production as well as epithelial thickness were measured by flow cytometry and histomorphology. While allergen challenge induced IL-31RA expression in lung tissue of wt and IL-31tg mice, high IL-31 expression was exclusively observed in lung tissue of IL-31tg mice. Upon Phl p 5 challenge, IL-31tg mice showed reduced numbers of leukocytes and eosinophils in BALF and lung tissue as well as diminished mucin expression and less pronounced epithelial thickening compared to IL-31RA-/- or wt animals. These findings suggest that the IL-31/IL-31RA axis may regulate local, allergen-induced inflammation in the lungs.
Project description:Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is a severe fibrotic lung disease characterized by excessive collagen deposition and progressive decline in lung function. Th2 T cell-derived cytokines including IL-4 and IL-13 have been shown to contribute to inflammation and fibrotic remodeling in multiple tissues. Interleukin-31 (IL-31) is a newly identified cytokine that is predominantly produced by CD4 Th2 T cells, but its signaling receptor IL-31RA is primarily expressed by non-hematopoietic cells. However, the potential role of the IL-31-IL31RA axis in pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis has remained largely unknown. To determine the role of IL-31RA deficiency in pulmonary fibrosis, wildtype, and IL-31RA knockout mice were treated with bleomycin and measured changes in collagen deposition and lung function. Notably, the loss of IL-31 signaling attenuated collagen deposition and lung function decline during bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. The total lung transcriptome analysis showed a significant reduction in fibrosis-associated gene transcripts including extracellular matrix and epithelial cell-associated gene networks. Furthermore, the lungs of human IPF showed an elevated expression of IL-31 when compared to healthy subjects. In support, the percentage of IL-31 producing CD4<sup>+</sup> T cells was greater in the lungs and PBMCs from IPF patients compared to healthy controls. Our findings suggest a pathogenic role for IL-31/IL-31RA signaling during bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Thus, therapeutic targeting the IL-31-IL-31RA axis may prevent collagen deposition, improve lung function, and have therapeutic potential in pulmonary fibrosis.
Project description:Exposure of the respiratory system to the <i>Anisakis pegreffii</i> L3 crude extract (AE) induces airway inflammation; however, the mechanism underlying this inflammatory response remains unknown. AE contains allergens that promote allergic inflammation; exposure to AE may potentially lead to asthma. In this study, we aimed to establish a murine model to assess the effects of AE on characteristic features of chronic asthma, including airway hypersensitivity (AHR), airway inflammation, and airway remodeling. Mice were sensitized for five consecutive days each week for 4 weeks. AHR, lung inflammation, and airway remodeling were evaluated 24 h after the last exposure. Lung inflammation and airway remodeling were assessed from the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). To confirm the immune response in the lungs, changes in gene expression in the lung tissue were assessed with reverse transcription-quantitative PCR. The levels of IgE, IgG1, and IgG2a in blood and cytokine levels in the BALF, splenocyte, and lung lymph node (LLN) culture supernatant were measured with ELISA. An increase in AHR was prominently observed in AE-exposed mice. Epithelial proliferation and infiltration of inflammatory cells were observed in the BALF and lung tissue sections. Collagen deposition was detected in lung tissues. AE exposure increased <i>IL-4</i>, <i>IL-5</i>, and <i>IL-13</i> expression in the lung, as well as the levels of antibodies specific to AE. IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 were upregulated only in LLN. These findings indicate that an increase in IL-4<sup>+</sup> CD4<sup>+</sup> T cells in the LLN and splenocyte resulted in increased Th2 response to AE exposure. Exposure of the respiratory system to AE resulted in an increased allergen-induced Th2 inflammatory response and AHR through accumulation of inflammatory and IL-4<sup>+</sup> CD4<sup>+</sup> T cells and collagen deposition. It was confirmed that <i>A. pegreffii</i> plays an essential role in causing asthma in mouse models and has the potential to cause similar effects in humans.
Project description:Interleukin 31 receptor ? (IL-31RA) is a novel Type I cytokine receptor that pairs with oncostatin M receptor to mediate IL-31 signaling. Binding of IL-31 to its receptor results in the phosphorylation and activation of STATs, MAPK, and JNK signaling pathways. IL-31 plays a pathogenic role in tissue inflammation, particularly in allergic diseases. Recent studies demonstrate IL-31RA expression and signaling in non-hematopoietic cells, but this receptor is poorly studied in immune cells. Macrophages are key immune-effector cells that play a critical role in Th2-cytokine-mediated allergic diseases. Here, we demonstrate that Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 are capable of up-regulating IL-31RA expression on both peritoneal and bone marrow-derived macrophages from mice. Our data also demonstrate that IL-4R?-driven IL-31RA expression is STAT6 dependent in macrophages. Notably, the inflammation-associated genes Fizz1 and serum amyloid A (SAA) are significantly up-regulated in M2 macrophages stimulated with IL-31, but not in IL-4 receptor-deficient macrophages. Furthermore, the absence of Type II IL-4 receptor signaling is sufficient to attenuate the expression of IL-31RA in vivo during allergic asthma induced by soluble egg antigen, which may suggest a role for IL-31 signaling in Th2 cytokine-driven inflammation and allergic responses. Our study reveals an important counter-regulatory role between Th2 cytokine and IL-31 signaling involved in allergic diseases.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Interleukin-31 (IL-31) is a recently identified cytokine produced by Th2 cells that is involved in the development of atopic dermatitis-induced skin inflammation and pruritus. Its receptor, IL-31RA, is expressed by a number of cell types, including epithelial cells, eosinophils, and activated monocytes and macrophages. To date, however, the regulation of Th2 responses by distinct cell types and tissues expressing IL-31RA has not been well studied. METHODS:In this study, Cry j 2, one of the major allergens of Japanese cedar pollen, was administered to IL-31RA-deficient or wild-type (WT) mice via nasal or intraperitoneal injection for induction of specific Th2 responses. RESULTS:After nasal administration of Cry j 2, IL-31RA-deficient mice showed lower Cry j 2-specific CD4+ T cell proliferation, Th2 cytokine (IL-5 and IL-13) production, and Th2-mediated (IgE, IgG1, and IgG2b) antibody responses than WT mice. In contrast, IL-31RA-deficient mice administered Cry j 2 intraperitoneally showed stronger Th2 immune responses than WT mice. CONCLUSIONS:These results indicate that IL-31R signaling positively regulates Th2 responses induced by nasal administration of Cry j 2, but negatively regulates these responses when Cry j 2 is administered intraperitoneally. Collectively, these data indicate that the induction of antigen-specific Th2 immune responses might depend on tissue-specific cell types expressing IL-31RA.
Project description:<h4>Background and aims</h4>Specific hyper-responsiveness towards an allergen and non-specific airway hyperreactivity both impair quality of life in patients with respiratory allergic diseases. We aimed to investigate cellular responses following specific and non-specific airway challenges locally and systemically in i) sensitized BALB/c mice challenged with grass pollen allergen Phl p 5, and in ii) grass pollen sensitized allergic rhinitis subjects undergoing specific airway challenge in the Vienna Challenge Chamber (VCC).<h4>Methods and results</h4>BALB/c mice (n = 20) were intraperitoneally immunized with grass pollen allergen Phl p 5 and afterwards aerosol challenged with either the specific allergen Phl p 5 (n = 10) or the non-specific antigen ovalbumin (OVA) (n = 10). A protocol for inducing allergic asthma as well as allergic rhinitis, according to the united airway concept, was used. Both groups of exposed mice showed significantly reduced physical activity after airway challenge. Specific airway challenge further resulted in goblet cell hyperplasia, enhanced mucous secretion, intrapulmonary leukocyte infiltration and lymphoid follicle formation, associated with significant expression of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 in splenocytes and also partially in lung tissue. Concerning circulating blood cell dynamics, we observed a significant drop of erythrocyte counts, hemoglobin and hematocrit levels in both mouse groups, challenged with allergen or OVA. A significant decrease in circulating erythrocytes and hematocrit levels after airway challenges with grass pollen allergen was also found in grass pollen sensitized human rhinitis subjects (n = 42) at the VCC. The effects on peripheral leukocyte counts in mice and humans however were opposed, possibly due to the different primary inflammation sites.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our data revealed that, besides significant leukocyte dynamics, particularly erythrocytes are involved in acute hypersensitivity reactions to respiratory allergens. A rapid recruitment of erythrocytes to the lungs to compensate for hypoxia is a possible explanation for these findings.
Project description:Interleukin 31 (IL-31) is a novel T helper type 2 effector cytokine that plays an important role in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases. However, its role in human asthma remains unclear. The aim of this study was to measure IL-31 levels in the serum, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and bronchial tissue of asthmatics and healthy subjects, and identify its possible correlation to disease severity. We quantified IL-31 levels in the serum of patients with asthma (n?=?44), as well as in controls (n?=?22). Of these subjects, 9 asthmatics and five controls underwent bronchoscopy with endobronchial biopsy and BALF collection. Our data showed that serum and BALF IL-31 levels were significantly elevated in patients with asthma compared with controls. Expressions of IL-31 and IL-31 receptor (IL-31RA and OSMR) were more prominent in the bronchial tissue in severe compared to mild asthma and controls. Serum IL-31 levels correlated positively with Th2 related cytokines (IL-5, IL-13, and TSLP), asthma severity or total serum immunoglobulin E (IgE), and inversely with asthma control and the forced expiratory volume in 1?second (FEV1). The current data may provide insight into the underlying pathogenesis of asthma, in which IL-31 has an important pathogenic role.
Project description:Influenza A virus pandemics and emerging anti-viral resistance highlight the urgent need for novel generic pharmacological strategies that reduce both viral replication and lung inflammation. We investigated whether the primary enzymatic source of inflammatory cell ROS (reactive oxygen species), Nox2-containing NADPH oxidase, is a novel pharmacological target against the lung inflammation caused by influenza A viruses. Male WT (C57BL/6) and Nox2(-/y) mice were infected intranasally with low pathogenicity (X-31, H3N2) or higher pathogenicity (PR8, H1N1) influenza A virus. Viral titer, airways inflammation, superoxide and peroxynitrite production, lung histopathology, pro-inflammatory (MCP-1) and antiviral (IL-1β) cytokines/chemokines, CD8(+) T cell effector function and alveolar epithelial cell apoptosis were assessed. Infection of Nox2(-/y) mice with X-31 virus resulted in a significant reduction in viral titers, BALF macrophages, peri-bronchial inflammation, BALF inflammatory cell superoxide and lung tissue peroxynitrite production, MCP-1 levels and alveolar epithelial cell apoptosis when compared to WT control mice. Lung levels of IL-1β were ∼3-fold higher in Nox2(-/y) mice. The numbers of influenza-specific CD8+D(b)NP(366)+ and D(b)PA(224)+ T cells in the BALF and spleen were comparable in WT and Nox2(-/y) mice. In vivo administration of the Nox2 inhibitor apocynin significantly suppressed viral titer, airways inflammation and inflammatory cell superoxide production following infection with X-31 or PR8. In conclusion, these findings indicate that Nox2 inhibitors have therapeutic potential for control of lung inflammation and damage in an influenza strain-independent manner.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) represent a human health risk as mice exposed by inhalation display pulmonary fibrosis. Production of IL-1? via inflammasome activation is a mechanism of MWCNT-induced acute inflammation and has been implicated in chronic fibrogenesis. Mice sensitized to allergens have elevated T-helper 2 (Th2) cytokines, IL-4 and IL-13, and are susceptible to MWCNT-induced airway fibrosis. We postulated that Th2 cytokines would modulate MWCNT-induced inflammasome activation and IL-1? release in vitro and in vivo during allergic inflammation.<h4>Methods</h4>THP-1 macrophages were primed with LPS, exposed to MWCNTs and/or IL-4 or IL-13 for 24 hours, and analyzed for indicators of inflammasome activation. C57BL6 mice were sensitized to house dust mite (HDM) allergen and MWCNTs were delivered to the lungs by oropharyngeal aspiration. Mice were euthanized 1 or 21 days post-MWCNT exposure and evaluated for lung inflammasome components and allergic inflammatory responses.<h4>Results</h4>Priming of THP-1 macrophages with LPS increased pro-IL-1? and subsequent exposure to MWCNTs induced IL-1? secretion. IL-4 or IL-13 decreased MWCNT-induced IL-1? secretion by THP-1 cells and reduced pro-caspase-1 but not pro-IL-1?. Treatment of THP-1 cells with STAT6 inhibitors, either Leflunomide or JAK I inhibitor, blocked suppression of caspase activity by IL-4 and IL-13. In vivo, MWCNTs alone caused neutrophilic infiltration into the lungs of mice 1 day post-exposure and increased IL-1? in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and pro-caspase-1 immuno-staining in macrophages and airway epithelium. HDM sensitization alone caused eosinophilic inflammation with increased IL-13. MWCNT exposure after HDM sensitization increased total cell numbers in BALF, but decreased numbers of neutrophils and IL-1? in BALF as well as reduced pro-caspase-1 in lung tissue. Despite reduced IL-1? mice exposed to MWCNTs after HDM developed more severe airway fibrosis by 21 days and had increased pro-fibrogenic cytokine mRNAs.<h4>Conclusions</h4>These data indicate that Th2 cytokines suppress MWCNT-induced inflammasome activation via STAT6-dependent down-regulation of pro-caspase-1 and suggest that suppression of inflammasome activation and IL-1? by an allergic lung microenvironment is a mechanism through which MWCNTs exacerbate allergen-induced airway fibrosis.
Project description:Recently, mRNA vaccines have been introduced as a safety-optimized alternative to plasmid DNA-based vaccines for protection against allergy. However, it remained unclear whether the short persistence of this vaccine type would limit memory responses and whether the protective immune response type would be maintained during recurrent exposure to allergen. We tested the duration of protective memory responses in mice vaccinated with mRNA encoding the grass pollen allergen Phl p 5 by challenging them with recombinant allergen, 3.5, 6, and 9 months after vaccination. In a second experiment, vaccinated mice were repeatedly challenged monthly with aerosolized allergen over a period of 7 months. Antibody and cytokine responses as well as lung inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness were assessed. mRNA vaccination induced robust TH1 memory responses for at least 9 months. Vaccination efficiently suppressed TH2 cytokines, IgE responses, and lung eosinophilia. Protection was maintained after repeated exposure to aerosolized allergen and no TH1 associated pathology was observed. Lung function remained improved compared to nonvaccinated controls. Our data clearly indicate that mRNA vaccination against Phl p 5 induces robust, long-lived memory responses, which can be recalled by allergen exposure without side effects. mRNA vaccines fulfill the requirements for safe prophylactic vaccination without the need for booster immunizations.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Although the cytokine IL-31 has been implicated in inflammatory and lymphoma-associated itch, the cellular basis for its pruritic action is yet unclear. OBJECTIVE:We sought to determine whether immune cell-derived IL-31 directly stimulates sensory neurons and to identify the molecular basis of IL-31-induced itch. METHODS:We used immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time PCR to determine IL-31 expression levels in mice and human subjects. Immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, quantitative real-time PCR, in vivo pharmacology, Western blotting, single-cell calcium imaging, and electrophysiology were used to examine the distribution, functionality, and cellular basis of the neuronal IL-31 receptor ? in mice and human subjects. RESULTS:Among all immune and resident skin cells examined, IL-31 was predominantly produced by TH2 and, to a significantly lesser extent, mature dendritic cells. Cutaneous and intrathecal injections of IL-31 evoked intense itch, and its concentrations increased significantly in murine atopy-like dermatitis skin. Both human and mouse dorsal root ganglia neurons express IL-31RA, largely in neurons that coexpress transient receptor potential cation channel vanilloid subtype 1 (TRPV1). IL-31-induced itch was significantly reduced in TRPV1-deficient and transient receptor channel potential cation channel ankyrin subtype 1 (TRPA1)-deficient mice but not in c-kit or proteinase-activated receptor 2 mice. In cultured primary sensory neurons IL-31 triggered Ca(2+) release and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 phosphorylation, inhibition of which blocked IL-31 signaling in vitro and reduced IL-31-induced scratching in vivo. CONCLUSION:IL-31RA is a functional receptor expressed by a small subpopulation of IL-31RA(+)/TRPV1(+)/TRPA1(+) neurons and is a critical neuroimmune link between TH2 cells and sensory nerves for the generation of T cell-mediated itch. Thus targeting neuronal IL-31RA might be effective in the management of TH2-mediated itch, including atopic dermatitis and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.