[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Asthma has been considered an immunologic disease mediated by T(H)2 cells and adaptive immunity. However, clinical and experimental observations suggest that additional pathways might regulate asthma, particularly in its nonallergic forms, such as asthma associated with air pollution, stress, obesity, and infection.
Our goal was to understand T(H)2 cell-independent conditions that might lead to airway hyperreactivity (AHR), a cardinal feature of asthma.
We examined a murine model of experimental asthma in which AHR was induced with glycolipid antigens, which activate natural killer T (NKT) cells.
In this model AHR developed rapidly when mice were treated with NKT cell-activating glycolipid antigens, even in the absence of conventional CD4(+) T cells. The activated NKT cells directly induced alveolar macrophages to produce IL-33, which in turn activated NKT cells, as well as natural helper cells, a newly described non-T, non-B, innate lymphoid cell type, to increase production of IL-13. Surprisingly, this glycolipid-induced AHR pathway required not only IL-13 but also IL-33 and its receptor, ST2, because it was blocked by an anti-ST2 mAb and was greatly reduced in ST2(-/-) mice. When adoptively transferred into IL-13(-/-) mice, both wild-type natural helper cells and NKT cells were sufficient for the development of glycolipid-induced AHR.
Because plant pollens, house dust, and some bacteria contain glycolipids that can directly activate NKT cells, these studies suggest that AHR and asthma can fully develop or be greatly enhanced through innate immune mechanisms involving IL-33, natural helper cells, and NKT cells.
The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 11/2011; 129(1):216-27.e1-6. · 9.17 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV), most patients develop mild or asymptomatic disease. However, a small number of patients develop serious, life-threatening hepatitis. We investigated this variability in disease severity by examining 30 Argentinean patients with HAV-induced acute liver failure in a case-control, cross-sectional, observational study. We found that HAV-induced severe liver disease was associated with a 6-amino-acid insertion in TIM1/HAVCR1 (157insMTTTVP), the gene encoding the HAV receptor. This polymorphism was previously shown to be associated with protection against asthma and allergic diseases and with HIV progression. In binding assays, the TIM-1 protein containing the 157insMTTTVP insertion polymorphism bound HAV more efficiently. When expressed by human natural killer T (NKT) cells, this long form resulted in greater NKT cell cytolytic activity against HAV-infected liver cells, compared with the shorter TIM-1 protein without the polymorphism. To our knowledge, the 157insMTTTVP polymorphism in TIM1 is the first genetic susceptibility factor shown to predispose to HAV-induced acute liver failure. Furthermore, these results suggest that HAV infection has driven the natural selection of shorter forms of the TIM-1 protein, which binds HAV less efficiently, thereby protecting against severe HAV-induced disease, but which may predispose toward inflammation associated with asthma and allergy.
The Journal of clinical investigation 02/2011; 121(3):1111-8. · 15.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A crucial role has been suggested for invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT) in regulating the development of asthma, a complex and heterogeneous disease characterized by airway inflammation and airway hyperreactivity (AHR). iNKT cells constitute a unique subset of T cells responding to endogenous and exogenous lipid antigens, rapidly secreting a large amount of cytokines, which amplify both innate and adaptive immunity. Herein, we review recent studies showing a requirement for iNKT cells in various models of asthma in mice and monkeys as well as studies in human patients. Surprisingly, in several different murine models of asthma, distinct subsets of iNKT cells were required, suggesting that iNKT cells serve as a common critical pathogenic element for many different forms of asthma. The importance of iNKT cells in both allergic and non-allergic forms of asthma, which are independent of adaptive immunity and associated with airway neutrophils, may explain situations previously found to be incompatible with the Th2 paradigm of asthma.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies in mice, monkeys and humans suggest that invariant natural killer (iNK) T cells play a very important role in the pathogenesis of asthma, a heterogeneous disease associated with airway inflammation and airway hyper-reactivity. The requirement for iNK T cells in multiple mouse models of asthma is novel and surprising, challenging the prevailing dogma that CD4(+) T cells responding to environmental allergens are the key cell type in asthma. In this article, we examine the recent studies of iNK T cells and asthma, and discuss how different subsets of NK T cells function in different forms of asthma, including forms that are independent of adaptive immunity and Th2 cells. Together, these studies suggest that iNK T cells, which can interact with many other cell types including Th2 cells, eosinophils and neutrophils, provide a unifying pathogenic mechanism for many distinct forms of asthma.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: T-bet(-/-) mice have been shown to have a profound deficiency in the ability to generate invariant NKT (iNKT) cells in the periphery due to a halt in terminal maturation, but despite this deficiency, T-bet(-/-) mice develop spontaneous airway hyperreactivity (AHR) and airway inflammation. Because in some situations the development of AHR requires the presence of iNKT cells, we sought to more clearly understand how AHR develops in T-bet(-/-) mice by examining T-bet(-/-) mice in several distinct mouse models of asthma, including spontaneous, OVA-induced and alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer)-induced AHR. Surprisingly, we found that administration of alpha-GalCer, which very specifically activates iNKT cells, greatly increased the AHR response in the T-bet(-/-) mice. Moreover, in T-bet(-/-) mice, spontaneous AHR as well as AHR induced with OVA or alpha-GalCer were all eliminated by blocking CD1d, the restricting element of iNKT cells, using an anti-CD1d-blocking mAb. Although the number of the iNKT cells in T-bet(-/-) mice was reduced compared with that in wild-type mice, the remaining iNKT cells produced primarily IL-4 and IL-13, and only minimal amounts of IFN-gamma. We conclude therefore that the AHR that develops in T-bet(-/-) mice is dependent on the presence of iNKT cells, and that whereas T-bet(-/-) have reduced numbers of iNKT cells, these are sufficient for the development of AHR.
The Journal of Immunology 04/2009; 182(5):3252-61. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exposure to ozone, which is a major component of air pollution, induces a form of asthma that occurs in the absence of adaptive immunity. Although ozone-induced asthma is characterized by airway neutrophilia, and not eosinophilia, it is nevertheless associated with airway hyperreactivity (AHR), which is a cardinal feature of asthma. Because AHR induced by allergens requires the presence of natural killer T (NKT) cells, we asked whether ozone-induced AHR had similar requirements. We found that repeated exposure of wild-type (WT) mice to ozone induced severe AHR associated with an increase in airway NKT cells, neutrophils, and macrophages. Surprisingly, NKT cell-deficient (CD1d(-/-) and Jalpha18(-/-)) mice failed to develop ozone-induced AHR. Further, treatment of WT mice with an anti-CD1d mAb blocked NKT cell activation and prevented ozone-induced AHR. Moreover, ozone-induced, but not allergen-induced, AHR was associated with NKT cells producing interleukin (IL)-17, and failed to occur in IL-17(-/-) mice nor in WT mice treated with anti-IL-17 mAb. Thus, ozone exposure induces AHR that requires the presence of NKT cells and IL-17 production. Because NKT cells are required for the development of two very disparate forms of AHR (ozone- and allergen-induced), our results strongly suggest that NKT cells mediate a unifying pathogenic mechanism for several distinct forms of asthma, and represent a unique target for effective asthma therapy.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 03/2008; 205(2):385-93. · 13.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypomorphic mutations of the RAG genes in humans are associated with a spectrum of clinical and immunologic presentations that range from T(-) B(-) severe combined immune deficiency (SCID) to Omenn syndrome. In most cases, residual V(D)J recombination activity allows for development of few T-cell clones, which expand in the periphery and infiltrate target organs, resulting in tissue damage. Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells play an important immunoregulatory role and have been associated with protection against autoimmunity. We now report on 5 unrelated cases of combined immune deficiency due to hypomorphic RAG mutations, and demonstrate the absence of iNKT cells in all 5 patients. These findings suggest that lack of this important immunoregulatory cell population may contribute to the pathophysiology of Omenn syndrome.