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Calprotectin is a heterodimer of the proteins S100A8 and S100A9, and it is an abundant innate immune protein associated with inflammation. In humans, calprotectin transcription and protein abundance are associated with asthma and disease severity. However, mechanistic studies in experimental asthma models have been inconclusive, identifying both protective and pathogenic effects of calprotectin. To clarify the role of calprotectin in asthma, calprotectin-deficient and wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 mice were compared in a murine model of allergic airway inflammation. Mice were intranasally challenged with extracts of the clinically relevant allergen, (Alt Ext), or PBS every third day over 9 days. On Day 10, BAL fluid and lung tissue homogenates were harvested and allergic airway inflammation was assessed. Alt Ext challenge induced release of S100A8/S100A9 to the alveolar space and increased protein expression in the alveolar epithelium of WT mice. Compared with WT mice, mice displayed significantly enhanced allergic airway inflammation, including production of IL-13, CCL11, CCL24, serum IgE, eosinophil recruitment, and airway resistance and elastance. In response to Alt Ext, mice accumulated significantly more IL-13IL-5CD4 T-helper type 2 cells. mice also accumulated a significantly lower proportion of CD4 T regulatory (Treg) cells in the lung that had significantly lower expression of CD25. Calprotectin enhanced WT Treg cell suppressive activity . Therefore, this study identifies a role for the innate immune protein, S100A9, in protection from CD4 T-helper type 2 cell hyperinflammation in response to Alt Ext. This protection is mediated, at least in part, by CD4 Treg cell function.
Prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) is an abundant lipid inflammatory mediator with potent but incompletely understood anti-inflammatory actions in the lung. Deficient PGE(2) generation in the lung predisposes to airway hyperresponsiveness and aspirin intolerance in asthmatic individuals. PGE(2)-deficient ptges(-/-) mice develop exaggerated pulmonary eosinophilia and pulmonary arteriolar smooth-muscle hyperplasia compared with PGE(2)-sufficient controls when challenged intranasally with a house dust mite extract. We now demonstrate that both pulmonary eosinophilia and vascular remodeling in the setting of PGE(2) deficiency depend on thromboxane A(2) and signaling through the T prostanoid (TP) receptor. Deletion of TP receptors from ptges(-/-) mice reduces inflammation, vascular remodeling, cytokine generation, and airway reactivity to wild-type levels, with contributions from TP receptors localized to both hematopoietic cells and tissue. TP receptor signaling ex vivo is controlled heterologously by E prostanoid (EP)(1) and EP(2) receptor-dependent signaling pathways coupling to protein kinases C and A, respectively. TP-dependent up-regulation of intracellular adhesion molecule-1 expression is essential for the effects of PGE(2) deficiency. Thus, PGE(2) controls the strength of TP receptor signaling as a major bronchoprotective mechanism, carrying implications for the pathobiology and therapy of asthma.
The earliest contact between antigen and the innate immune system is thought to direct the subsequent antigen-specific T cell response. We hypothesized that cells of the innate immune system, such as natural killer (NK) cells, NK1.1(+) T cells (NKT cells), and gamma/delta T cells, may regulate the development of allergic airway disease. We demonstrate here that depletion of NK1.1(+) cells (NK cells and NKT cells) before immunization inhibits pulmonary eosinophil and CD3(+) T cell infiltration as well as increased levels of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-12 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in a murine model of allergic asthma. Moreover, systemic allergen-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)E and IgG2a levels and the number of IL-4 and interferon gamma-producing splenic cells were diminished in mice depleted of NK1.1(+) cells before the priming regime. Depletion of NK1.1(+) cells during the challenge period only did not influence pulmonary eosinophilic inflammation. CD1d1 mutant mice, deficient in NKT cells but with normal NK cells, developed lung tissue eosinophilia and allergen-specific IgE levels not different from those observed in wild-type mice. Mice deficient in gamma/delta T cells showed a mild attenuation of lung tissue eosinophilia in this model. Taken together, these findings suggest a critical role of NK cells, but not of NKT cells, for the development of allergen-induced airway inflammation, and that this effect of NK cells is exerted during the immunization. If translatable to humans, these data suggest that NK cells may be critically important for deciding whether allergic eosinophilic airway disease will develop. These observations are also compatible with a pathogenic role for the increased NK cell activity observed in human asthma.