Macrophages are important in mounting an innate immune response to injury as well as in repair of injury. Gene expression of Rho proteins is known to be increased in fibrotic models; however, the role of these proteins in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is not known. Here, we show that BAL cells from patients with IPF have a profibrotic phenotype secondary to increased activation of the small GTPase Rac1. Rac1 activation requires a posttranslational modification, geranylgeranylation, of the C-terminal cysteine residue. We found that by supplying more substrate for geranylgeranylation, Rac1 activation was substantially increased, resulting in profibrotic polarization by increasing flux through the mevalonate pathway. The increased flux was secondary to greater levels of acetyl-CoA from metabolic reprogramming to β oxidation. The polarization mediated fibrotic repair in the absence of injury by enhancing macrophage/fibroblast signaling. These observations suggest that targeting the mevalonate pathway may abrogate the role of macrophages in dysregulated fibrotic repair.
Jennifer L. Larson-Casey, Mudit Vaid, Linlin Gu, Chao He, Guo-Qiang Cai, Qiang Ding, Dana Davis, Taylor F. Berryhill, Landon S. Wilson, Stephen Barnes, Jeffrey D. Neighbors, Raymond J. Hohl, Kurt A. Zimmerman, Bradley K. Yoder, Ana Leda F. Longhini, Vidya Sagar Hanumanthu, Ranu Surolia, Veena B. Antony, A. Brent Carter
Whether respiratory epithelial cells regulate the final transit of extravasated neutrophils into the inflamed airspace or are a passive barrier is poorly understood. Alveolar epithelial type (AT)1 cells, best known for solute transport and gas exchange, have few established immune roles. Epithelial membrane protein (EMP)2, a tetraspan protein that promotes recruitment of integrins to lipid rafts, is highly expressed in AT1 cells, but has no known function in lung biology. Here, we show that Emp2–/– mice exhibit reduced neutrophil influx into the airspace after a wide range of inhaled exposures. During bacterial pneumonia, Emp2–/– mice had attenuated neutrophilic lung injury and improved survival. Bone marrow chimeras, intravital neutrophil labelling, and in vitro assays suggested that defective transepithelial migration of neutrophils into the alveolar lumen occurs in Emp2–/– lungs. Emp2–/– AT1 cells had dysregulated surface display of multiple adhesion molecules, associated with reduced raft abundance. Epithelial raft abundance was dependent upon putative cholesterol-binding motifs in EMP2, whereas EMP2 supported adhesion molecule display and neutrophil transmigration through suppression of caveolins. Taken together, we propose that EMP2-dependent membrane organization ensures proper display on AT1 cells of a suite of proteins required to instruct paracellular neutrophil traffic into the alveolus.
Wan-Chi Lin, Kymberly M. Gowdy, Jennifer H. Madenspacher, Rachel L. Zemans, Kazuko Yamamoto, Miranda R. Lyons-Cohen, Hideki Nakano, Kyathanahalli Janardhan, Carmen J. Williams, Donald N. Cook, Joseph P. Mizgerd, Michael B. Fessler
Cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease is characterized by early and persistent mucus accumulation and neutrophilic inflammation in the distal airways. Identification of the factors in CF mucopurulent secretions that perpetuate CF mucoinflammation may provide strategies for novel CF pharmacotherapies. We show that IL-1β, with IL-1α, dominated the mucin prosecretory activities of supernatants of airway mucopurulent secretions (SAMS). Like SAMS, IL-1β alone induced MUC5B and MUC5AC protein secretion and mucus hyperconcentration in CF human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells. Mechanistically, IL-1β induced the sterile α motif–pointed domain containing ETS transcription factor (SPDEF) and downstream endoplasmic reticulum to nucleus signaling 2 (ERN2) to upregulate mucin gene expression. Increased mRNA levels of IL1B, SPDEF, and ERN2 were associated with increased MUC5B and MUC5AC expression in the distal airways of excised CF lungs. Administration of an IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) blocked SAMS-induced expression of mucins and proinflammatory mediators in CF HBE cells. In conclusion, IL-1α and IL-1β are upstream components of a signaling pathway, including IL-1R1 and downstream SPDEF and ERN2, that generate a positive feedback cycle capable of producing persistent mucus hyperconcentration and IL-1α and/or IL-1β–mediated neutrophilic inflammation in the absence of infection in CF airways. Targeting this pathway therapeutically may ameliorate mucus obstruction and inflammation-induced structural damage in young CF children.
Gang Chen, Ling Sun, Takafumi Kato, Kenichi Okuda, Mary B. Martino, Aiman Abzhanova, Jennifer M. Lin, Rodney C. Gilmore, Bethany D. Batson, Yvonne K. O’Neal, Allison S. Volmer, Hong Dang, Yangmei Deng, Scott H. Randell, Brian Button, Alessandra Livraghi-Butrico, Mehmet Kesimer, Carla M.P. Ribeiro, Wanda K. O’Neal, Richard C. Boucher
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