Asthma is a heterogeneous syndrome that has been subdivided into physiological phenotypes and molecular endotypes. The most specific phenotypic manifestation of asthma is indirect airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), and a prominent molecular endotype is the presence of type-2 inflammation. The underlying basis for type-2 inflammation and its relationship to AHR are incompletely understood. We assessed the expression of type-2 cytokines in the airways of subjects with and without asthma who were extensively characterized for AHR. Using quantitative morphometry of the airway wall, we identified a shift in mast cells from the submucosa to the airway epithelium specifically associated with both type-2 inflammation and indirect AHR. Using ex vivo modeling of primary airway epithelial cells in organotypic co-culture with mast cells, we have shown that epithelial-derived IL-33 uniquely induced type-2 cytokines in mast cells, which regulated the expression of epithelial IL33 in a feedforward loop. This feedforward loop was accentuated in epithelial cells derived from subjects with asthma. These results demonstrate that type-2 inflammation and indirect AHR in asthma are related to a shift in mast cell infiltration to the airway epithelium, and that mast cells cooperate with epithelial cells through IL-33 signaling to regulate type-2 inflammation.
Matthew C. Altman, Ying Lai, James D. Nolin, Sydney Long, Chien-Chang Chen, Adrian M. Piliponsky, William A. Altemeier, Megan Larmore, Charles W. Frevert, Michael S. Mulligan, Steven F. Ziegler, Jason S. Debley, Michael C. Peters, Teal S. Hallstrand
Background: Checkpoint inhibitor pneumonitis (CIP) is a highly morbid complication of immune checkpoint immunotherapy (ICI), one which precludes the continuation of ICI. Yet, the mechanistic underpinnings of CIP are unknown. Methods: To better understand the mechanism of lung injury in CIP, we prospectively collected bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples in ICI-treated patients with (n=12) and without CIP (n=6), prior to initiation of first-line therapy for CIP (high dose corticosteroids. We analyzed BAL immune cell populations using a combination of traditional multicolor flow cytometry gating, unsupervised clustering analysis and BAL supernatant cytokine measurements. Results: We found increased BAL lymphocytosis, predominantly CD4+ T cells, in CIP. Specifically, we observed increased numbers of BAL central memory T-cells (Tcm), evidence of Type I polarization, and decreased expression of CTLA-4 and PD-1 in BAL Tregs, suggesting both activation of pro-inflammatory subsets and an attenuated suppressive phenotype. CIP BAL myeloid immune populations displayed enhanced expression of IL-1β and decreased expression of counter-regulatory IL-1RA. We observed increased levels of T cell chemoattractants in the BAL supernatant, consistent with our pro-inflammatory, lymphocytic cellular landscape. Conclusion: We observe several immune cell subpopulations that are dysregulated in CIP, which may represent possible targets that could lead to therapeutics for this morbid immune related adverse event.
Karthik Suresh, Jarushka Naidoo, Qiong Zhong, Ye Xiong, Jennifer Mammen, Marcia Villegas de Flores, Laura Cappelli, Aanika Balaji, Tsvi Palmer, Patrick M. Forde, Valsamo Anagnostou, David S. Ettinger, Kristen A. Marrone, Ronan J. Kelly, Christine L. Hann, Benjamin Levy, Josephine L. Feliciano, Cheng-Ting Lin, David Feller-Kopman, Andrew D. Lerner, Hans Lee, Majid Shafiq, Lonny Yarmus, Evan J. Lipson, Mark Soloski, Julie R. Brahmer, Sonye K. Dannoff, Franco D'Alessio
Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) remains a major respiratory illness in extremely premature infants. The biological mechanisms leading to BPD are not fully understood, although an arrest in lung development has been implicated. The current study aimed to investigate the occurrence of autophagy in the developing mouse lung and its regulatory role in airway branching and terminal sacculi formation. We found 2 windows of epithelial autophagy activation in the developing mouse lung, both resulting from AMPK activation. Inhibition of AMPK-mediated autophagy led to reduced lung branching in vitro. Conditional deletion of beclin 1 (Becn1) in mouse lung epithelial cells (Becn1Epi-KO), either at early (E10.5) or late (E16.5) gestation, resulted in lethal respiratory distress at birth or shortly after. E10.5 Becn1Epi-KO lungs displayed reduced airway branching and sacculi formation accompanied by impaired vascularization, excessive epithelial cell death, reduced mesenchymal thinning of the interstitial walls, and delayed epithelial maturation. E16.5 Becn1Epi-KO lungs had reduced terminal air sac formation and vascularization and delayed distal epithelial differentiation, a pathology similar to that seen in infants with BPD. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that intrinsic autophagy is an important regulator of lung development and morphogenesis and may contribute to the BPD phenotype when impaired.
Behzad Yeganeh, Joyce Lee, Leonardo Ermini, Irene Lok, Cameron Ackerley, Martin Post
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a multi-organ progressive genetic disease caused by loss of functional cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) channel. Previously, we identified a significant dysfunction in CF cells and model mice of the transcription factor nuclear-factor-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2), a major regulator of redox balance and inflammatory signaling. Here we report that approved F508del CFTR correctors VX809/VX661 recover diminished Nrf2 function and colocalization with CFTR in CF human primary bronchial epithelia by proximity ligation assay, immunoprecipitation, and immunofluorescence, concordant with CFTR correction. F508del CFTR correctors induced Nrf2 nuclear translocation, Nrf2-dependent luciferase activity, and transcriptional activation of target genes. Rescue of Nrf2 function by VX809/VX661 was dependent on significant correction of F508del and was blocked by inhibition of corrected channel function, or high-level shRNA knockdown of CFTR or F508del-CFTR. Mechanistically, F508del-CFTR modulation restored Nrf2 phosphorylation and its interaction with the coactivator CBP. Our findings demonstrate that sufficient modulation of F508del CFTR function corrects Nrf2 dysfunction in CF.
Dana C. Borcherding, Matthew E. Siefert, Songbai Lin, John Brewington, Hesham Sadek, John P. Clancy, Scott M. Plafker, Assem G. Ziady
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is a deadly disease with limited therapies. Tissue fibrosis is associated with Type 2 immune response, although the causal contribution of immune cells is not defined. The AP-1 transcription factor Fra-2 is upregulated in IPF lung sections and Fra-2 transgenic mice (Fra-2tg) exhibit spontaneous lung fibrosis. Here we show that Bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis is attenuated upon myeloid-inactivation of Fra-2 and aggravated in Fra-2tg bone marrow chimeras. Type VI collagen (ColVI), a Fra-2 transcriptional target, is up-regulated in three lung fibrosis models, and macrophages promote myofibroblast activation in vitro in a ColVI- and Fra-2-dependent manner. Fra-2 or ColVI inactivation does not affect macrophage recruitment and alternative activation, suggesting that Fra-2/ColVI specifically controls the paracrine pro-fibrotic activity of macrophages. Importantly, ColVI knock-out mice (KO) and ColVI-KO bone marrow chimeras are protected from Bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis. Therapeutic administration of a Fra-2/AP-1 inhibitor reduces ColVI expression and ameliorates fibrosis in Fra-2tg mice and in the Bleomycin model. Finally, Fra-2 and ColVI positively correlate in IPF patient samples and co-localize in lung macrophages. Therefore, the Fra-2/ColVI pro-fibrotic axis is a promising biomarker and therapeutic target for lung fibrosis, and possibly other fibrotic diseases.
Alvaro C. Ucero, Latifa Bakiri, Ben Roediger, Masakatsu Suzuki, Maria Jimenez, Pratyusha Mandal, Paola Braghetta, Paolo Bonaldo, Luis Paz-Ares, Coral Fustero-Torre, Pilar Ximenez-Embun, Ana Isabel Hernandez, Diego Megias, Erwin F. Wagner
Alveolar epithelium plays a pivotal role in protecting the lungs from inhaled infectious agents. Therefore, the regenerative capacity of the alveolar epithelium is critical for recovery from these insults in order to rebuild the epithelial barrier and restore pulmonary functions. Here, we show that sublethal infection of mice with Streptococcus pneumoniae, the most common pathogen of community-acquired pneumonia, led to exclusive damage in lung alveoli, followed by alveolar epithelial regeneration and resolution of lung inflammation. We show that surfactant protein C–expressing (SPC-expressing) alveolar epithelial type II cells (AECIIs) underwent proliferation and differentiation after infection, which contributed to the newly formed alveolar epithelium. This increase in AECII activities was correlated with increased nuclear expression of Yap and Taz, the mediators of the Hippo pathway. Mice that lacked Yap/Taz in AECIIs exhibited prolonged inflammatory responses in the lung and were delayed in alveolar epithelial regeneration during bacterial pneumonia. This impaired alveolar epithelial regeneration was paralleled by a failure to upregulate IκBa, the molecule that terminates NF-κB–mediated inflammatory responses. These results demonstrate that signals governing resolution of lung inflammation were altered in Yap/Taz mutant mice, which prevented the development of a proper regenerative niche, delaying repair and regeneration of alveolar epithelium during bacterial pneumonia.
Ryan LaCanna, Daniela Liccardo, Peggy Zhang, Lauren Tragesser, Yan Wang, Tongtong Cao, Harold A. Chapman, Edward E. Morrisey, Hao Shen, Walter J. Koch, Beata Kosmider, Marla R. Wolfson, Ying Tian
The lung is a specialized barrier organ that must tightly regulate interstitial fluid clearance and prevent infection in order to maintain effective gas exchange. Lymphatic vessels are important for these functions in other organs, but their roles in the lung have not been fully defined. In the present study, we addressed how the lymphatic vasculature participates in lung homeostasis. Studies using mice carrying a lymphatic reporter allele revealeded that, in contrast to other organs, lung lymphatic collecting vessels lack smooth muscle cells entirely, suggesting that forward lymph flow is highly dependent on movement and changes in pressure associated with respiration. Functional studies using CLEC2-deficient mice in which lymph flow is impaired due to loss of lympho-venous hemostasis or using inducible lung-specific ablation of lymphatic endothelial cells in a lung transplant model revealeded that loss of lymphatic function leads to an inflammatory state characterized by the formation of tertiary lymphoid organs (TLOs). In addition, impaired lymphatic flow in mice resulteds in hypoxia and features of lung injury that resemble emphysema. These findings reveal both a lung-specific mechanism of lymphatic physiology and a lung-specific consequence of lymphatic dysfunction that may contribute to chronic lung diseases that arise in association with TLO formation.
Hasina Outtz Reed, Liqing Wang, Jarrod Sonett, Mei Chen, Jisheng Yang, Larry Li, Petra Aradi, Zoltán Jakus, Jeanine M. D'Armiento, Wayne W. Hancock, Mark L. Kahn
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic and deadly disease with a poor prognosis and few treatment options. Pathological remodeling of the extracellular matrix (ECM) by myofibroblasts is a key factor that drives disease pathogenesis, although the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Alternative polyadenylation (APA) has recently been shown to play a major role in cellular responses to stress by driving the expression of fibrotic factors and ECMs through altering microRNA sensitivity, but a connection to IPF has not been established. Here, we demonstrate that CFIm25, a global regulator of APA, is down-regulated in the lungs of patients with IPF and mice with pulmonary fibrosis, with its expression selectively reduced in alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) positive fibroblasts. Following the knockdown of CFIm25 in normal human lung fibroblasts, we identified 808 genes with shortened 3′UTRs, including those involved in the transforming growth factor-β signaling pathway, the Wnt signaling pathway, and cancer pathways. The expression of key pro-fibrotic factors can be suppressed by CFIm25 overexpression in IPF fibroblasts. Finally, we demonstrate that deletion of CFIm25 in fibroblasts or myofibroblast precursors using either the Col1a1 or the Foxd1 promoter enhances pulmonary fibrosis after bleomycin exposure in mice. Taken together, our results identified CFIm25 down-regulation as a novel mechanism to elevate pro-fibrotic gene expression in pulmonary fibrosis.
Tingting Weng, Junsuk Ko, Chioniso P. Masamha, Zheng Xia, Yu Xiang, Ning-yuan Chen, Jose G. Molina, Scott Collum, Tinne C. Mertens, Fayong Luo, Kemly Philip, Jonathan Davies, Jingjing Huang, Cory Wilson, Rajarajan A. Thandavarayan, Brian A. Bruckner, Soma S.K. Jyothula, Kelly A. Volcik, Lei Li, Leng Han, Wei Li, Shervin Assassi, Harry Karmouty-Quintana, Eric J. Wagner, Michael R. Blackburn
Goblet cell metaplasia, a disabling hallmark of chronic lung disease, lacks curative treatments at present. To identify novel therapeutic targets for goblet cell metaplasia, we studied the transcriptional response profile of IL-13–exposed primary human airway epithelia in vitro and asthmatic airway epithelia in vivo. A perturbation-response profile connectivity approach identified geldanamycin, an inhibitor of heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) as a candidate therapeutic target. Our experiments confirmed that geldanamycin and other HSP90 inhibitors prevented IL-13–induced goblet cell metaplasia in vitro and in vivo. Geldanamycin also reverted established goblet cell metaplasia. Geldanamycin did not induce goblet cell death, nor did it solely block mucin synthesis or IL-13 receptor–proximal signaling. Geldanamycin affected the transcriptome of airway cells when exposed to IL-13, but not when exposed to vehicle. We hypothesized that the mechanism of action probably involves TGF-β, ERBB, or EHF, which would predict that geldanamycin would also revert IL-17–induced goblet cell metaplasia, a prediction confirmed by our experiments. Our findings suggest that persistent airway goblet cell metaplasia requires HSP90 activity and that HSP90 inhibitors will revert goblet cell metaplasia, despite active upstream inflammatory signaling. Moreover, HSP90 inhibitors may be a therapeutic option for airway diseases with goblet cell metaplasia of an unknown mechanism of action.
Alejandro A. Pezzulo, Rosarie A. Tudas, Carley G. Stewart, Luis G. Vargas Buonfiglio, Brian D. Lindsay, Peter J. Taft, Nicholas D. Gansemer, Joseph Zabner
BACKGROUND. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a heterogeneous smoking-related disease characterized by airway obstruction and inflammation. This inflammation may persist even after smoking cessation and responds variably to corticosteroids. Personalizing treatment to biologically similar “molecular phenotypes” may improve therapeutic efficacy in COPD. IL-17A is involved in neutrophilic inflammation and corticosteroid resistance, and thus may be particularly important in a COPD molecular phenotype. METHODS. We generated a gene expression signature of IL-17A response in bronchial airway epithelial brushings (“BAE”) from smokers with and without COPD (n = 238), and validated it using data from two randomized trials of IL-17 blockade in psoriasis. This IL-17 signature was related to clinical and pathologic characteristics in two additional human studies of COPD: (1) SPIROMICS (n = 47), which included former and current smokers with COPD, and (2) GLUCOLD (n = 79), in which COPD participants were randomized to placebo or corticosteroids. RESULTS. The IL-17 signature was associated with an inflammatory profile characteristic of an IL-17 response, including increased airway neutrophils and macrophages. In SPIROMICS the signature was associated with increased airway obstruction and functional small airway disease on quantitative chest CT. In GLUCOLD the signature was associated with decreased response to corticosteroids, irrespective of airway eosinophilic or Type 2 inflammation. CONCLUSION. These data suggest that a gene signature of IL-17 airway epithelial response distinguishes a biologically, radiographically, and clinically distinct COPD subgroup that may benefit from personalized therapy. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01969344. FUNDING. Primary support from NIH/NHLBI. For others see below.
Stephanie A. Christenson, Maarten van den Berge, Alen Faiz, Kai Imkamp, Nirav Bhakta, Luke R. Bonser, Lorna T. Zlock, Igor Z. Barjaktarevic, R. Graham Barr, Eugene R. Bleecker, Richard C. Boucher, Russell P. Bowler, Alejandro P. Comellas, Jeffrey L. Curtis, MeiLan K. Han, Nadia N. Hansel, Pieter S. Hiemstra, Robert J. Kaner, Jerry A. Krishnan, Fernando J. Martinez, Wanda K. O'Neal, Robert Paine III, Wim Timens, J. Michael Wells, Avrum Spira, David J. Erle, Prescott G. Woodruff