Workshop report from the National Institutes of Health Taskforce on the Research Needs of Eosinophil-Associated Diseases (TREAD)

Cosner Scholar in Translational Research, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center, 5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle, Baltimore, MD 21224-6821, USA.
The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology (Impact Factor: 11.48). 09/2012; 130(3):587-96. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2012.07.024
Source: PubMed


Eosinophils are blood cells that are often found in high numbers in the tissues of allergic conditions and helminthic parasite infections. The pathophysiologic roles that eosinophils may serve in other human "eosinophil-associated" diseases remain obscure.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutes and the Office of Disease Prevention assembled an international taskforce of clinical and basic scientists with the charge to propose and prioritize unmet research needs in eosinophil-associated diseases.
The taskforce used an organ system approach to identify the different and common themes of eosinophil cell involvement in these diseases. In early 2012, a draft document was circulated for review. The document was amended and the prioritizations were set at a NIH-organized workshop in June 2012.
The taskforce identified significant research needs. These needs cross disease entities but some are disease specific. There are substantial shortcomings to the various preclinical animal models, as well as significant gaps in our epidemiologic, pathophysiologic, diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic knowledge. The taskforce recognized that recent efforts by patient advocacy groups have played instrumental roles in improving the identification and characterization of these disorders. However, communications among the eosinophil-interested communities, for example, governmental funding and regulatory agencies, and industry and clinician scientists need to be more comprehensive.
Significant efforts are required to address our knowledge gaps to improve the outcomes of eosinophil-associated diseases. NIH Institutes, other federal agencies, lay organizations, and the pharmaceutical industry should consider the taskforce's recommendations in their future research activities.

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose of review: Siglec-8 and Siglec-F are single pass transmembrane inhibitory receptors found on the surface of human and mouse eosinophils, respectively, but very little is known about their physiologic glycan ligands. This article reviews the latest knowledge on this topic and outlines the strategies being used to further define the production and glycobiochemical nature of these molecules in the lung. Recent findings: Both Siglec-8 and Siglec-F recognize the same glycan structure, namely 6'-sulfated sialyl Lewis X, as determined using glycan array technologies. Studies have identified α2,3-linked sialylated glycoprotein structures localized to mouse airway epithelium in tissue sections, where their constitutive expression requires the specific sialyltransferase St3gal3. Expression of these ligands in lung is enhanced during allergic inflammation and by cytokines such as IL-13, and is maintained in primary air-liquid interface cultures of mouse lung epithelium. Further characterization suggests that they are high molecular weight sialylated proteins, putatively mucins. By combining analytic glycomics, glycoproteomic mapping, and further in-vitro eosinophil experimentation including the ability of candidate structures to enhance eosinophil apoptosis, a finely detailed appreciation of the structural requirements for productive Siglec-8 and Siglec-F engagement should soon emerge. Summary: An enhanced understanding of Siglec-F, Siglec-8, and their ligands should improve our understanding of endogenous lung pathways limiting the survival of eosinophils within the airway in diseases such as asthma. Knowledge of this biology may also result in novel opportunities for drug development involving glycans and glycomimetics that selectively bind to Siglec-8 and induce eosinophil death.
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    ABSTRACT: Eosinophils have been traditionally perceived as terminally differentiated cytotoxic effector cells. Recent studies have profoundly altered this simplistic view of eosinophils and their function. New insights into the molecular pathways that control the development, trafficking and degranulation of eosinophils have improved our understanding of the immunomodulatory functions of these cells and their roles in promoting homeostasis. Likewise, recent developments have generated a more sophisticated view of how eosinophils contribute to the pathogenesis of different diseases, including asthma and primary hypereosinophilic syndromes, and have also provided us with a more complete appreciation of the activities of these cells during parasitic infection.
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    ABSTRACT: Sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectin (Siglec)-F is a proapoptotic receptor on mouse eosinophils, but little is known about its natural tissue ligand. We previously reported that the St3gal3 gene product α2,3 sialyltransferase (ST3Gal-III) is required for constitutive Siglec-F lung ligand synthesis. We therefore hypothesized that attenuation of ST3Gal-III will decrease Siglec-F ligand levels and enhance allergic eosinophilic airway inflammation. C57BL/6 wild-type mice and St3gal3 heterozygous or homozygous deficient (St3gal3(+/-) and St3gal3(-/-)) mice were used. Eosinophilic airway inflammation was induced through sensitization to ovalbumin (OVA) and repeated airway OVA challenge. Siglec-F human IgG1 fusion protein (Siglec-F-Fc) was used to detect Siglec-F ligands. Lung tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were analyzed for inflammation, as well as various cytokines and chemokines. Serum was analyzed for allergen-specific immunoglobulin levels. Western blotting with Siglec-F-Fc detected approximately 500-kDa and approximately 200-kDa candidate Siglec-F ligands that were less abundant in St3gal3(+/-) lung extracts and nearly absent in St3gal3(-/-) lung extracts. After OVA sensitization and challenge, Siglec-F ligands were increased in wild-type mouse lungs but less so in St3gal3 mutants, whereas peribronchial and BALF eosinophil numbers were greater in the mutants, with the following rank order: St3gal3(-/-) ≥ St3gal3(+/-) > wild-type mice. Levels of various cytokines and chemokines in BALF were not significantly different among these 3 types of mice, although OVA-specific serum IgG1 levels were increased in St3gal3(-/-) mice. After OVA sensitization and challenge, St3gal3(+/-) and St3gal3(-/-) mice have more intense allergic eosinophilic airway inflammation and less sialylated Siglec-F ligands in their airways. One possible explanation for these findings is that levels of sialylated airway ligands for Siglec-F might be diminished in mice with attenuated levels of ST3Gal-III, resulting in a reduction in a natural proapoptotic pathway for controlling airway eosinophilia.
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