[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lipid droplet (LD) formation is a hallmark of cellular stress. Cells attempt to combat noxious stimuli by switching their metabolism from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis, sparing resources in LDs for generating cellular reducing power and for anabolic biosynthesis. Membrane phospholipids are also a source of LDs. To elucidate the formation of LDs, we exposed mice to hyperoxia, hypoxia, myocardial ischemia, and sepsis induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). All the above-mentioned stressors enhanced the formation of LDs, as assessed by transmission electron microscopy, with severe mitochondrial swelling. Disruption of mitochondria by depleting mitochondrial DNA ( ρ 0 cells) significantly augmented the formation of LDs, causing transcriptional activation of fatty acid biosynthesis and metabolic reprogramming to glycolysis. Heme oxygenase (HO)-1 counteracts CLP-mediated septic shock in mouse models. In HO-1-deficient mice, LD formation was not observed upon CLP, but a concomitant decrease in "LD-decorating proteins" was observed, implying a link between LDs and cytoprotective activity. Collectively, LD biogenesis during stress can trigger adaptive LD formation, which is dependent on mitochondrial integrity and HO-1 activity; this may be a cellular survival strategy, apportioning energy-generating substrates to cellular defense.
Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 09/2013; 2013(1–3):327167. DOI:10.1155/2013/327167 · 3.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian cells and tissues respond to chemical and physical stress by inducing adaptive or protective mechanisms that prolong survival. Among these, the major stress inducible proteins (heat shock proteins, glucose regulated proteins, heme oxygenase-1) provide cellular protection through protein chaperone and/or anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory functions. In recent years it has become clear that autophagy, a genetically-programmed and evolutionarily-conserved cellular process represents another adaptive response to cellular stress. During autophagy cytosolic material, including organelles, proteins, and foreign pathogens, are sequestered into membrane-bound vesicles termed autophagosomes, and then delivered to the lysosome for degradation. Through recycling of cellular biochemicals, autophagy provides a mechanism for adaptation to starvation. Recent research has uncovered selective autophagic pathways that target distinct cargoes to autophagosomes, including mechanisms for the clearance of aggregated protein, and for the removal of dysfunctional mitochondria (mitophagy). Autophagy can be induced by multiple forms of chemical and physical stress, including endoplasmic reticulum stress and oxidative stress, and plays an integral role in the mammalian stress response. Understanding of the interaction and co-regulation of autophagy with other stress-inducible systems will be useful in the design and implementation of therapeutics targeting this pathway.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aims:
Sepsis, a systemic inflammatory response to infection, represents the leading cause of death in critically ill patients. However, the pathogenesis of sepsis remains incompletely understood. Carbon monoxide (CO), when administered at low physiologic doses, can modulate cell proliferation, apoptosis, and inflammation in pre-clinical tissue injury models, though its mechanism of action in sepsis remains unclear.
CO (250 ppm) inhalation increased the survival of C57BL/6J mice injured by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) through the induction of autophagy, the down-regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and by decreasing the levels of bacteria in blood and vital organs, such as the lung and liver. Mice deficient in the autophagic protein, Beclin 1 (Becn1(+/-)) were more susceptible to CLP-induced sepsis, and unresponsive to CO therapy, relative to their corresponding wild-type (Becn1(+/+)) littermate mice. In contrast, mice deficient in autophagic protein microtubule-associated protein-1 light chain 3B (LC3B) (Map1lc3b(-/-)) and their corresponding wild-type (Map1lc3b(+/+)) mice showed no differences in survival or response to CO, during CLP-induced sepsis. CO enhanced bacterial phagocytosis in Becn1(+/+) but not Becn1(+/-) mice in vivo and in corresponding cultured macrophages. CO also enhanced Beclin 1-dependent induction of macrophage protein signaling lymphocyte-activation molecule, a regulator of phagocytosis.
Our findings demonstrate a novel protective effect of CO in sepsis, dependent on autophagy protein Beclin 1, in a murine model of CLP-induced polymicrobial sepsis.
CO increases the survival of mice injured by CLP through systemic enhancement of autophagy and phagocytosis. Taken together, we suggest that CO gas may represent a novel therapy for patients with sepsis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sepsis is a common cause of death, but outcomes in individual patients are difficult to predict. Elucidating the molecular processes that differ between sepsis patients who survive and those who die may permit more appropriate treatments to be deployed. We examined the clinical features and the plasma metabolome and proteome of patients with and without community-acquired sepsis, upon their arrival at hospital emergency departments and 24 hours later. The metabolomes and proteomes of patients at hospital admittance who would ultimately die differed markedly from those of patients who would survive. The different profiles of proteins and metabolites clustered into the following groups: fatty acid transport and β-oxidation, gluconeogenesis, and the citric acid cycle. They differed consistently among several sets of patients, and diverged more as death approached. In contrast, the metabolomes and proteomes of surviving patients with mild sepsis did not differ from survivors with severe sepsis or septic shock. An algorithm derived from clinical features together with measurements of five metabolites predicted patient survival. This algorithm may help to guide the treatment of individual patients with sepsis.
Science translational medicine 07/2013; 5(195):195ra95. DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3005893 · 15.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Significance:
Autophagy is a fundamental cellular process that functions in the turnover of subcellular organelles and protein. Activation of autophagy may represent a cellular defense against oxidative stress, or related conditions that cause accumulation of damaged proteins or organelles. Selective forms of autophagy can maintain organelle populations or remove aggregated proteins. Autophagy can increase survival during nutrient deficiency and play a multifunctional role in host defense, by promoting pathogen clearance and modulating innate and adaptive immune responses.
Autophagy has been described as an inducible response to oxidative stress. Once believed to represent a random process, recent studies have defined selective mechanisms for cargo assimilation into autophagosomes. Such mechanisms may provide for protein aggregate detoxification and mitochondrial homeostasis during oxidative stress. Although long studied as a cellular phenomenon, recent advances implicate autophagy as a component of human diseases. Altered autophagy phenotypes have been observed in various human diseases, including lung diseases such as chronic obstructive lung disease, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Although autophagy can represent a pro-survival process, in particular, during nutrient starvation, its role in disease pathogenesis may be multifunctional and complex. The relationship of autophagy to programmed cell death pathways is incompletely defined and varies with model system.
Activation or inhibition of autophagy may be used to alter the progression of human diseases. Further resolution of the mechanisms by which autophagy impacts the initiation and progression of diseases may lead to the development of therapeutics specifically targeting this pathway.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This invited Editorial addresses the rescue of the article by Skrzypek et al. ''Interplay between heme oxygenase-1 and miR-378 affects non-small cell lung carcinoma growth, vascularization and metastasis." The work was rejected by the standard peer review system and subsequently rescued by the Rebound Peer Review mechanism offered by Antioxidants and Redox Signaling (Antioxid Redox Signal 16:293-296, 2012). The Reviewers who openly rescued the article were James F. George, Justin C. Mason, Mahin D. Maines, and Yasufumi Sato. The initial article was a de novo resubmission of a previously rejected article, which was then reviewed by six reviewers. The reviewers raised substantial scientific concerns, including questions pertaining to the specificity of the findings, quality of the presentation, and other technical concerns; the editor returned a decision of Reject. The authors voluntarily chose to exercise the option to rescue the manuscript utilizing the Rebound Peer Review system where the authors found qualified reviewers who were willing to advocate for acceptance with scientific reasoning. The open Reviewers felt that the scientific and technical concerns raised by the reviewers were outweighed by the strengths and novelty of the findings to justify acceptance. The Rebound Peer Review in this case was a "success" in that it rescued a rejected manuscript. Despite this assessment, we question the necessity of open peer review as a means to overturn a peer review decision, with concerns for the larger than usual peer review process, and the voluntary relinquishing of editorial privilege and disclosure of reviewer identity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autophagy is a dynamic process by which cytosolic material, including organelles, proteins, and pathogens, are sequestered into membrane vesicles called autophagosomes, and then delivered to the lysosome for degradation. By recycling cellular components, this process provides a mechanism for adaptation to starvation. The regulation of autophagy by nutrient signals involves a complex network of proteins that include mammalian target of rapamycin, the class III phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase/Beclin 1 complex, and two ubiquitin-like conjugation systems. Additionally, autophagy, which can be induced by multiple forms of chemical and physical stress, including endoplasmic reticulum stress, and hypoxia, plays an integral role in the mammalian stress response. Recent studies indicate that, in addition to bulk assimilation of cytosol, autophagy may proceed through selective pathways that target distinct cargoes to autophagosomes. The principle homeostatic functions of autophagy include the selective clearance of aggregated protein to preserve proteostasis, and the selective removal of dysfunctional mitochondria (mitophagy). Additionally, autophagy plays a central role in innate and adaptive immunity, with diverse functions such as regulation of inflammatory responses, antigen presentation, and pathogen clearance. Autophagy can preserve cellular function in a wide variety of tissue injury and disease states, however, maladaptive or pro-pathogenic outcomes have also been described. Among the many diseases where autophagy may play a role include proteopathies which involve aberrant accumulation of proteins (e.g., neurodegenerative disorders), infectious diseases, and metabolic disorders such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Targeting the autophagy pathway and its regulatory components may eventually lead to the development of therapeutics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Macroautophagy (hereafter referred to as autophagy) is an evolutionally-conserved intracellular process to maintain cellular homeostasis by facilitating the turnover of protein aggregates, cellular debris and damaged organelles. During autophagy, cytosolic constituents are engulfed into double-membrane-bound vesicles called "autophagosome", which are subsequently delivered to the lysosome for degradation. Accumulated evidence suggests that autophagy is critically involved in not only the basal physiological states but also in the pathogenesis of various human diseases. Interestingly, a diverse variety of clinically approved drugs modulate autophagy to varying extents, although they are not currently utilized for the therapeutic purpose of manipulating autophagy. In this review, we highlight the functional roles of autophagy in lung diseases with focus on the recent progress of the potential therapeutic use of autophagy modifying drugs in clinical medicine. The purpose of this review is to discuss the merits- and the pitfalls- of modulating autophagy as a therapeutic strategy in lung diseases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Resolution of acute inflammation is an active event accompanied by biosynthesis of specialized proresolving mediators (SPM). We employed a systems approach to determine the impact of CO in resolution active programs during self-limited inflammation in mice. Compared with ambient air, inhaled CO gas (250 ppm) significantly limited PMN infiltration (∼44%, 6 h) into peritoneum and shortened resolution interval from 4 to 2 h. We profiled exudate lipid mediators (LM) via metabololipidomics, CO reduced leukotriene B4 (21 ± 11 versus 59 ± 24 pg/mouse, 6 h), and elevated SPM including resolvin (Rv) D1 (27 ± 4 versus 16 ± 5 pg/mouse) and maresin 1 (26 ± 9 versus 15 ± 3 pg/mouse). With human macrophages, SPM (10 pM-10 nM) elevated heme oxygenase (HO)-1 (∼50%, 8 h). CO also enhanced HO-1 expression and accumulation of RvD1 and RvD5, an action reversed by blockage of a key SPM biosynthesis enzyme 15-lipoxygenase type 1. Compared with normoxia, CO increased ∼30% phagocytosis of opsonized zymosan with human macrophage, which was further enhanced by SPM (∼100%). This CO increased phagocytosis was blocked by 15-lipoxygenase inhibition, and SPM stimulated phagocytosis was diminished by HO-1 inhibition. In murine peritonitis, both pre- and posttreatment with CO inhalation significantly increased macrophages carrying ingested apoptotic PMN in exudates and enhanced PMN apoptosis. Taken together, these results indicate that CO accelerates resolution of acute inflammation, shortens resolution intervals, enhances macrophage efferocytosis, and temporally regulates local levels of lipid mediator/SPM. Moreover, they provide proresolving mechanisms for HO-1/CO, which is part of the SPM-initiated resolution circuit.
The Journal of Immunology 05/2013; 190(12). DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1202969 · 4.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interferon γ (IFN-γ)-induced cell death is mediated by the BH3-only domain protein, Bik, in a p53-independent manner. However, the effect of IFN-γ on p53 and how this affects autophagy have not been reported. The present study demonstrates that IFN-γ down-regulated expression of the BH3 domain-only protein, Bmf, in human and mouse airway epithelial cells in a p53-dependent manner. p53 also suppressed Bmf expression in response to other cell death-stimulating agents, including ultraviolet radiation and histone deacetylase inhibitors. IFN-γ did not affect Bmf messenger RNA half-life but increased nuclear p53 levels and the interaction of p53 with the Bmf promoter. IFN-γ-induced interaction of HDAC1 and p53 resulted in the deacetylation of p53 and suppression of Bmf expression independent of p53's proline-rich domain. Suppression of Bmf facilitated IFN-γ-induced autophagy by reducing the interaction of Beclin-1 and Bcl-2. Furthermore, autophagy was prominent in cultured bmf(-/-) but not in bmf(+/+) cells. Collectively, these observations show that deacetylation of p53 suppresses Bmf expression and facilitates autophagy.
The Journal of Cell Biology 04/2013; 201(3):427-37. DOI:10.1083/jcb.201205064 · 9.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gaseous molecules continue to hold new promise in molecular medicine as experimental and clinical therapeutics. The low molecular weight gas carbon monoxide (CO), and similar gaseous molecules (e.g., H2S, nitric oxide) have been implicated as potential inhalation therapies in inflammatory diseases. At high concentration, CO represents a toxic inhalation hazard, and is a common component of air pollution. CO is also produced endogenously as a product of heme degradation catalyzed by heme oxygenase enzymes. CO binds avidly to hemoglobin, causing hypoxemia and decreased oxygen delivery to tissues at high concentrations. At physiological concentrations, CO may have endogenous roles as a signal transduction molecule in the regulation of neural and vascular function and cellular homeostasis. CO has been demonstrated to act as an effective anti-inflammatory agent in preclinical animal models of inflammation, acute lung injury, sepsis, ischemia/reperfusion injury, and organ transplantation. Additional experimental indications for this gas include pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, metabolic diseases, and preeclampsia. The development of chemical CO releasing compounds constitutes a novel pharmaceutical approach to CO delivery with demonstrated effectiveness in sepsis models. Current and pending clinical evaluation will determine the usefulness of this gas as a therapeutic in human disease.
The Korean Journal of Internal Medicine 03/2013; 28(2):123-40. DOI:10.3904/kjim.2013.28.2.123 · 1.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Carbon monoxide (CO), a low molecular weight gas, is a ubiquitous environmental product of organic combustion, which is also produced endogenously in the body, as the byproduct of heme metabolism. CO binds to hemoglobin, resulting in decreased oxygen delivery to bodily tissues at toxicological concentrations. At physiological concentrations, CO may have endogenous roles as a potential signaling mediator in vascular function and cellular homeostasis. Exhaled CO (eCO), similar to exhaled nitric oxide (eNO), has been evaluated as a candidate breath biomarker of pathophysiological states, including smoking status, and inflammatory diseases of the lung and other organs. eCO values have been evaluated as potential indicators of inflammation in asthma, stable COPD and exacerbations, cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, or during surgery or critical care. The utility of eCO as a marker of inflammation and its potential diagnostic value remain incompletely characterized. Among other candidate 'medicinal gases' with therapeutic potential, (e.g., NO and HS), CO has been shown to act as an effective anti-inflammatory agent in preclinical animal models of inflammatory disease, acute lung injury, sepsis, ischemia/reperfusion injury and organ graft rejection. Current and future clinical trials will evaluate the clinical applicability of this gas as a biomarker and/or therapeutic in human disease.
Journal of Breath Research 03/2013; 7(1):017111. DOI:10.1088/1752-7155/7/1/017111 · 4.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hedgehog Interacting Protein (HHIP) was implicated in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by genome-wide association studies (GWAS). However, it remains unclear how HHIP contributes to COPD pathogenesis. To identify genes regulated by HHIP, we performed gene expression microarray analysis in a human bronchial epithelial cell line (Beas-2B) stably infected with HHIP shRNAs. HHIP silencing led to differential expression of 296 genes; enrichment for variants nominally associated with COPD was found. Eighteen of the differentially expressed genes were validated by real-time PCR in Beas-2B cells. Seven of 11 validated genes tested in human COPD and control lung tissues demonstrated significant gene expression differences. Functional annotation indicated enrichment for extracellular matrix and cell growth genes. Network modeling demonstrated that the extracellular matrix and cell proliferation genes influenced by HHIP tended to be interconnected. Thus, we identified potential HHIP targets in human bronchial epithelial cells that may contribute to COPD pathogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lung epithelial cell death is a prominent feature of hyperoxic lung injury and has been considered to be a very important underlying mechanism of acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Here we report a novel mechanism involved in the epithelial cytoprotection and homeostasis after oxidative stress. p62 (sequestosome 1 SQSTM1) is a ubiquitously expressed cellular protein. It interacts with ubiquitinated proteins and autophagic marker light chain 3b (LC3b), thus mediates the degradation of selective targets. In this study, we explored the role of p62 in mitochondria mediated cell death after hyperoxia. Lung alveolar epithelial cells have abundant p62 expression and the p62 level is up-regulated by oxidative stress at both protein and mRNA level. p62 / LC3b complex interacts with Fas and truncated BID (tBID) physically. These interactions abruptly diminish after hyperoxia. Deletion of p62 robustly increases tBID and cleaved caspase 3, implicating an anti-apoptotic effect. This anti-apoptotic effect of p62 is further confirmed by measuring caspase activities, cleaved PARP and cell viability. Deletion of the p62 PBI domain or UBA domain both lead to elevated t-BID, cleaved caspase 3 and significantly more cell death after hyperoxia. Additionally, p62 trafficks in an opposite direction with LC3b after hyperoxia, leading to the dissociation of p62/cav-1/LC3b/BID complex. Subsequently, LC3b mediated lysosomal degradation of tBID is eliminated. Taken together, our data suggest that p62 /LC3b complex regulates lung alveolar epithelial cell homeostasis and cytoprotection after hyperoxia.
American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 01/2013; 48(4). DOI:10.1165/rcmb.2012-0017OC · 3.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Important cellular processes such as inflammation, apoptosis, differentiation, and proliferation confer critical roles in the pathogenesis of human diseases. In the past decade, an emerging process named "autophagy" has generated intense interest in both biomedical research and clinical medicine. Autophagy is a regulated cellular pathway for the turnover of organelles and proteins by lysosomal-dependent processing. Although autophagy was once considered a bulk degradation event, research shows that autophagy selectively degrades specific proteins, organelles, and invading bacteria, a process termed "selective autophagy." It is increasingly clear that autophagy is directly relevant to clinical disease, including pulmonary disease. This review outlines the principal components of the autophagic process and discusses the importance of autophagy and autophagic proteins in pulmonary diseases from COPD, α1-antitrypsin deficiency, pulmonary hypertension, acute lung injury, and cystic fibrosis to respiratory infection and sepsis. Finally, we examine the dual nature of autophagy in the lung, which has both protective and deleterious effects resulting from adaptive and maladaptive responses, and the challenge this duality poses for designing autophagy-based diagnostic and therapeutic targets in lung disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress caused by supraphysiological production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), can cause cellular injury associated with protein and lipid oxidation, DNA damage, and mitochondrial dysfunction. The cellular responses triggered by oxidative stress include the altered regulation of signaling pathways that culminate in the regulation of cell survival or cell death pathways. Recent studies suggest that autophagy, a cellular homeostatic process that governs the turnover of damaged organelles and proteins, may represent a general cellular and tissue response to oxidative stress. The autophagic pathway involves the encapsulation of substrates in double-membraned vesicles, which are subsequently delivered to the lysosome for enzymatic degradation and recycling of metabolic precursors. Autophagy may play multifunctional roles in cellular adaptation to stress, by maintaining mitochondrial integrity, and removing damaged proteins. Additionally, autophagy may play important roles in the regulation of inflammation and immune function. Modulation of the autophagic pathway has been reported in cell culture models of oxidative stress, including altered states of oxygen tension (i.e., hypoxia, hyperoxia), and exposure to oxidants. Furthermore, proteins that regulate autophagy may be subject to redox regulation. The heme oxygenase-1 (HO)-1 enzyme system may have a role in the regulation of autophagy. Recent studies suggest that carbon monoxide (CO), a reaction product of HO activity which can alter mitochondrial function, may induce autophagy in cultured epithelial cells. In conclusion, current research suggests a central role for autophagy as a mammalian oxidative stress response and its interrelationship to other stress defense systems.
Current pharmaceutical design 10/2012; 19(15). DOI:10.2174/1381612811319150010 · 3.45 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Induction or ectopic overexpression of heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) protects against a wide variety of disorders. These protective effects have been variably ascribed to generation of carbon monoxide (released during cleavage of the alpha methene bridge of heme) and/or to production of the antioxidant, bilirubin. We have investigated HO-1 overexpressing A549 cells and find that, as expected, HO-1 overexpressing cells are resistant to killing by hydrogen peroxide. Surprisingly, these cells have ~2x the normal amount of intracellular iron which usually tends to amplify oxidant killing. However, HO-1 overexpressing cells contain only ~25% as much 'loose' (probably redox active) iron. Indeed, inhibition of ferritin synthesis (via siRNA directed at the ferritin heavy chain) sensitizes the HO-1 overexpressing cells to peroxide killing. It appears that HO-1 overexpression leads to enhanced destruction of heme, consequent 2-3 fold induction of ferritin, and compensatory increases in transferrin receptor expression and heme synthesis. However, there is no functional heme deficiency because cellular oxygen consumption and catalase activity are similar in both cell types. We conclude that, at least in many cases, the cytoprotective effects of HO-1 induction or forced overexpression may derive from elevated expression of ferritin and consequent reduction of redox active 'loose' iron.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Toll-like receptors (TLRs) exert important non-immune functions in lung homeostasis. TLR4 deficiency promotes pulmonary emphysema. We examined the role of TLR4 in regulating cigarette smoke (CS)-induced autophagy, apoptosis, and emphysema. Lung tissue was obtained from chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) patients. C3H/HeJ (Tlr4-mutated) mice and C57BL/10ScNJ (Tlr4-deficient) mice, and their respective control strains were exposed to chronic CS or air. Human or mouse epithelial cells (wild type, Tlr4-knockdown, and Tlr4-deficient) were exposed to CS-extract (CSE). Samples were analyzed for TLR4 expression, and for autophagic or apoptotic proteins by Western analysis or confocal imaging. COPD lung tissues, and human pulmonary epithelial cells exposed to CSE displayed increased TLR4 expression, and increased autophagic (microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain-3B, LC3B) and apoptotic (cleaved caspase-3) markers. Beas-2B cells transfected with TLR4 siRNA displayed increased expression of LC3B relative to control cells, basally and after exposure to CSE. The basal and CSE-inducible expression of LC3B and cleaved caspase-3 were elevated in pulmonary alveolar type II (ATII) cells from Tlr4-deficient mice. Wild-type mice subjected to chronic CS-exposure displayed airspace enlargement, however, the Tlr4-mutated or Tlr4-deficient mice exhibited a marked increase in airspace relative to wild-type mice after CS-exposure. The Tlr4-mutated or Tlr4-deficient mice showed higher levels of LC3B under basal conditions and after CS-exposure. The expression of cleaved caspase-3 was markedly increased in Tlr4-deficient mice exposed to CS. We describe a protective regulatory function of TLR4 against emphysematous changes of the lung in response to CS.