Immunological memory is an important protective mechanism that enables host organisms to respond rapidly and vigorously to pathogens that have been previously encountered. In addition to the protective function, memory CD4+ T helper (Th) cells play a central role in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory disorders, including asthma. Recently, several investigators have identified phenotypically and functionally distinct memory Th2 cell subsets that produce IL-5. These memory Th2 cell subsets play an important role in the pathology of allergic inflammation and function as memory-type “pathogenic Th2 (Tpath2) cells” both in mice and humans. We review the role of lung Tpath2 cells in the development of allergic inflammation and, in the context of recent findings, propose a mechanism by which Tpath2 cells not only survive but also continue to function at the sites where antigens were encountered. A greater understanding of the functional molecules or signaling pathways that regulate the inflammatory niche for Tpath2 cells may aid in the design of more effective treatments for chronic inflammatory disorders.
IL-4 is a cytokine commonly secreted by TH2 and follicular helper T (TFH) cells after antigenic sensitization. TH2 cells have been thought to be the major contributor of B cell help as a source of IL-4 responsible for class switch recombination to Immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) and Immunoglobulin E (IgE). Importantly, there are some differences in transcriptional regulation between these two T cell subsets. The IL-4 production by TH2 and TFH cells is distinctively regulated by two pathways, GATA-3-mediated Il4-HS2 enhancer and Notch mediated Il4-CNS-2 enhancer. IgE and IgG1 antibody responses are mainly controlled by IL-4-secreting TFH cells, but not by TH2 cells. In this review, we discuss the role of TH2 and TFH cells in IgE production and allergic responses.
Basophils have long been neglected in immunological studies because they were regarded as only minor relatives of mast cells. However, recent advances in analytical tools for basophils have clarified the non-redundant roles of basophils in allergic inflammation. Basophils play crucial roles in both IgE-dependent and -independent allergic inflammation, through their migration to the site of inflammation and secretion of various mediators, including cytokines, chemokines, and proteases. Basophils are known to produce large amounts of IL-4 in response to various stimuli. Basophil-derived IL-4 has recently been shown to play versatile roles in allergic inflammation by acting on various cell types, including macrophages, innate lymphoid cells, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells. Basophil-derived serine proteases are also crucial for the aggravation of allergic inflammation. Moreover, recent reports suggest the roles of basophils in modulating adaptive immune responses, particularly in the induction of Th2 differentiation and enhancement of humoral memory responses. In this review, we will discuss recent advances in understanding the roles of basophils in allergic inflammation.
Alternatively activated macrophages (M2 macrophages) play key roles in the suppression of Th1 cell responses and the orchestration of tissue repair. However, recent studies have shown that M2 macrophages have potentials to produce high levels of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α, suggesting that M2 macrophages may exacerbate inflammation in some settings. In this regard, we have recently shown that large numbers of M2 macrophages accumulate in the sites of hapten-induced contact hypersensitivity (CHS), an animal model of allergic contact dermatitis, and that M2 macrophages exacerbate hapten-induced CHS by producing matrix metalloproteinase 12 (MMP12). We have also shown that suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 (SOCS3), a member of SOCS family proteins that are cytokine-inducible negative regulators of the JAK/STAT signaling pathways, is highly and preferentially expressed in M2 macrophages in hapten-induced CHS and that SOCS3 expressed in M2 macrophages is involved in the attenuation of CHS by suppressing MMP12 production. These findings underscore the importance of M2 macrophage-derived MMP12 in the development of CHS, and suggest that inhibition of M2 macrophages or MMP12 could be a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of allergic contact dermatitis.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic or chronically relapsing, eczematous, severely pruritic skin disorder mostly associated with IgE elevation and skin barrier dysfunction due to decreased filaggrin expression. The lesional skin of AD exhibits Th2- and Th22-deviated immune reactions that are progressive during disease chronicity. Th2 and Th22 cytokines further deteriorate the skin barrier by inhibiting filaggrin expression. Some IgEs are reactive to self-antigens. The IgE autoreactivity may precipitate the chronicity of AD. Upon activation of the ORAI1 calcium channel, atopic epidermis releases large amounts of thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), which initiates the Th2 and Th22 immune response. Th2-derived interleukin-31 and TSLP induce an itch sensation. Taken together, TSLP/Th2/Th22 pathway is a promising target for developing new therapeutics for AD. Enhancing filaggrin expression using ligands for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor may also be an adjunctive measure to restore the disrupted barrier function specifically for AD.
Type-2/eosinophilic inflammation plays a pivotal role in asthma. The identification of severe type-2/eosinophilic asthma is important for improving the management of patients with asthma. Therefore, efforts to develop non-invasive biomarkers for type-2/eosinophilic airway inflammation have been made during this decade. Currently, fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) and serum periostin levels are considered markers of type-2/eosinophilic inflammation in asthma. However, a single-marker approach has limited the ability to diagnose severe type-2/eosinophilic asthma accurately and predict disease outcomes precisely. The present article reviews the utility of FeNO and serum periostin levels in a single-marker approach and in a multiple-marker approach in identifying patients with severe type-2/eosinophilic asthma. Furthermore, based on a sub-analysis of the Kinki Hokuriku Airway disease Conference (KiHAC), geno-endo-phenotypes of patients were stratified into four groups according to the FeNO and serum periostin levels.
Background: Maintaining high treatment adherence levels is critical for effective management of chronic diseases. The Adherence Starts with Knowledge 20 (ASK-20) questionnaire is the only linguistically validated patient-reported treatment adherence tool available in Japan. We conducted additional analyses on ASK-20 data from Japanese adults with asthma.
Methods: This was a prospective, non-interventional, single-visit, multi-centre study in Japanese adults (n = 300) with asthma receiving long-term treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) or ICS/long-acting beta-agonists. We tested the reliability, validity and the relationship between different adherence conditions and ASK-20 score. At one centre, ICS adherence prescription rate was calculated retrospectively based on 2-year percentage ICS adherence data contained within medical records.
Results: The ASK-20 had good internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha = 0.76; n = 290). Discriminant validity was demonstrated with significant correlations between the percentage ICS adherence rates and both the mean ASK-20 total score and mean total barrier count (TBC) (r = −0.51 and −0.58, p < 0.001; n = 111). The ASK-20 total score discriminated between subjects with good and poor adherence measured by patients' reported questionnaire and between those of high and low percentage ICS adherence rates. All other factors that possibly affect adherence were correlated with the mean ASK-20 total score and mean TBC in addition to the number of medicines taken every day.
Conclusions: The Japanese ASK-20 is a reliable tool for assessing possible medication adherence barriers and adherence behaviour in Japanese adults with asthma. Furthermore, our results are comparable with those obtained using the ASK-20 in the United States.
Background: Hypersensitivity to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are frequently encountered in daily clinical practice. The aim of this study was to determine the confirmation rates, risk factors of NSAID hypersensitivity in children and to try to classify them with a standardized diagnostic protocol.
Methods: All patients with a suspicion of NSAID-induced hypersensitivity were evaluated with European Network for drug Allergy (ENDA) recommendations. The children were classified as selective responders (SRs) or cross-intolerant (CI) depending on the drug provocation test (DPT) results.
Results: We evaluated 106 children with a suspicion of NSAID hypersensitivity. NSAID hypersensitivity was confirmed with tests in 31 patients; 4 (12.9%) were diagnosed by skin tests and 27 (87.1%) by DPTs and two patients with a history of anaphylaxis by medical records. Eleven patients (33.3%) were classified as SRs, whereas twenty-two (66.6%) children as CIs. SRs and CIs were further classified as NSAID-induced urticaria/angioedema (n = 8), NSAID-exacerbated cutaneous disease (n = 6) and NSAID-exacerbated respiratory disease (n = 1) and single NSAID-induced urticaria/angioedema and/or anaphylaxis (n = 11). Eight (24.2%) patients could not be categorized according to ENDA/GA2LEN classification; one CI patient could not be classified based on pathomechanisms, seven CIs could not be categorized based on the underlying disease and clinical manifestations. A reaction within an hour of drug intake (aOR:3.0, 95% confidence interval: 1.18–7.67, p = 0.021), a history with multiple NSAIDs hypersensitivity (aOR:2.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.16–7.60, p = 0.022), and family history of atopy (aOR:4.0, 95% confidence interval: 1.50–10.82, p = 0.006) were found as the independent risk factors related to confirmed NSAID hypersensitivity.
Conclusions: This study suggests the presence of different phenotypes which do not fit into the current classifications in children with NSAID hypersensitivity.
Background: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is extensively used in patients with allergic diseases worldwide. The purpose of this study was to investigate the actual situation of CAM practice in the treatment of allergic rhinitis.
Methods: We distributed questionnaires to otolaryngologists at 114 facilities in Japan. The subjects who participated in this study included children <16 years of age and adults ≥16 years of age diagnosed with allergic rhinitis by otolaryngologists. The survey was performed in the period from September 2007 to August 2009. Furthermore, we performed the same investigation out of the hospital setting, such as during general health examinations. All questionnaires were returned to Chiba University and analyzed.
Results: The proportions of patients who had ever experimented with CAM in the hospital survey were 7.1% (225/3170) and 19.2% (1416/7363) of children and adults, respectively. Approximately 36.2% of the adult patients thought that the treatments were effective. The main reasons for CAM use were safety, convenience and low price. However, the group who spent more than $1000 on CAM felt more dissatisfaction and anxiety related to treatment at the hospital. The situation of CAM practice was not consistent and was instead influenced by the backgrounds of the subjects.
Conclusions: Many patients who receive CAM report feeling that the effects of treatment provided by hospitals are insufficient and have concerns about the side effects of such treatments. Information regarding standard treatments, as described in the guidelines, should become widely known and diffused, and strong communication with patients should be considered.
Background: Allergen-specific sublingual immunotherapy is a potential disease-modifying treatment for allergic asthma. Galectin-9 (Gal-9), a β-galactoside-binding protein with various biologic effects, acts as an immunomodulator in excessive immunologic reactions by expanding regulatory T cells (Treg) and enhancing transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signaling. We investigated the efficacy of sublingually administered Gal-9 as an adjuvant to a specific allergen in a Dermatophagoides farinae (Df)-induced mouse model of chronic asthma.
Methods: BALB/c mice were intranasally sensitized with Df extract 5 days/week for 5 weeks, and then sublingual Df-allergen extract for 2 weeks (5 days/week). Three days after the final sublingual treatment, mice were intranasally challenged with Df extract. The early asthmatic response (EAR) was evaluated 5 min after the last Df challenge. Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) was assayed and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) was performed 24 h after the last allergen challenge. Serum IgE and cytokine levels, and number of inflammatory cells in the BAL fluid (BALF) were analyzed.
Results: Sublingual Df treatment in the presence of Gal-9, but not alone, significantly reduced AHR; EAR; number of eosinophils and interleukin-13 in the BALF; and serum IgE levels. BALF TGF-β1 levels were significantly increased in the presence of Gal-9 compared with Df alone. Treg depletion blocked the inhibitory effects of Gal-9 on the EAR, AHR, eosinophilic airway inflammation, and Df-specific serum IgE levels, and suppressed BALF TGF-β1 levels.
Conclusions: Gal-9 exhibited beneficial effects of sublingual Df allergen-specific immunotherapy in a Df-induced mouse model of chronic asthma, possibly by Gal-9-induced TGF-β1 production in the lung.
Background: Interleukin (IL)-21 is a member of the type I cytokine family and plays a role in the pathogenesis of T helper type 2 allergic diseases. It has been reported that IL-21 expression is upregulated in acute skin lesions in atopic dermatitis (AD) patients; however, little is known about the serum IL-21 levels of AD patients. The aim of this study was to quantify the serum IL-21 levels of AD patients and to evaluate the relationships between the serum IL-21 level and disease severity, laboratory markers, and eruption type in AD patients.
Methods: We measured the serum IL-21 levels of adult AD patients and healthy control subjects using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: The adult AD patients exhibited significantly higher serum IL-21 levels than the healthy control subjects. A comparison of the patients' serum IL-21 levels based on the clinical severity of their AD revealed that the patients with severe AD demonstrated significantly higher serum IL-21 levels than those with mild AD and the healthy control subjects. The serum IL-21 levels were significantly correlated with the skin severity score, and especially with the degree of acute lesions such as erythema and edema/papules. The serum IL-21 level was not associated with laboratory markers, such as the serum IgE level, the serum thymus and activation-related chemokine level, blood eosinophilia, and the serum lactate dehydrogenase level.
Conclusions: These results suggest that IL-21 might be involved in the pathogenesis of AD, especially the development of acute skin lesions.
Background: The MENSA trial assessed the efficacy and safety of mepolizumab in patients with severe eosinophilic asthma. This report describes the efficacy and safety of mepolizumab in Japanese patients from MENSA.
Methods: A post hoc analysis of the Japanese subgroup from the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, double-dummy, Phase III MENSA trial (NCT01691521). Patients ≥12 years with severe eosinophilic asthma received mepolizumab 75 mg intravenously (IV), 100 mg subcutaneously (SC), or placebo, every 4 weeks for 32 weeks. The primary endpoint was the annualized rate of exacerbations. Secondary and other endpoints included annualized rate of exacerbations requiring emergency department (ED) visit/hospitalization, morning peak expiratory flow (PEF), St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) score and eosinophil counts. Adverse events (AEs) were monitored.
Results: In the Japanese subgroup (N = 50), the rate of clinically significant exacerbations was reduced by 90% (rate ratio [RR]: 0.10; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.02–0.57; P = 0.010) with mepolizumab IV and 62% (RR: 0.38; 95% CI: 0.12–1.18; P = 0.094) with mepolizumab SC, versus placebo. No exacerbations requiring ED visit/hospitalization were reported with mepolizumab IV; exacerbations were reduced by 73% (RR: 0.27; 95% CI: 0.06–1.29; P = 0.102) with mepolizumab SC versus placebo. Compared with placebo, mepolizumab IV and SC numerically increased morning PEF from baseline by 40 L/min and 13 L/min, improved quality of life by greater than the minimal clinically important difference (SGRQ: 9.5 [P = 0.083] and 7.9 [P = 0.171] points) and reduced eosinophil counts. AE incidence was similar between treatments. Results were broadly consistent with the overall population.
Conclusions: Mepolizumab was efficacious and well tolerated in Japanese patients with severe eosinophilic asthma, producing similar responses to the overall MENSA population.
Background: Although food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) is supposed to be caused by inflammation, the role of cytokines has not yet been clarified.
Methods: To elucidate the role of cytokines in the development of symptoms and abnormal laboratory findings at an oral food challenge (OFC), changes in serum cytokine levels were analyzed for 6 OFCs in 4 patients with FPIES. The result of OFC was judged positive if any gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, or bloody stool) were induced.
Results: Among 11 cytokines profiled, serum levels of interleukin (IL)-2, IL-5, and IL-8 were clearly increased in all 4 positive OFCs in which elevations of the serum level of C-reactive protein (CRP) and peripheral blood neutrophilia were also seen. The level of serum IL-10 also rose in 2 positive OFCs. Remarkable increases in the serum level of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), IL-6, and IL-12 were observed in a positive OFC where the serum level of CRP rose markedly (6.75 mg/dL). The serum levels of IL-5 were also elevated in 2 negative OFCs. No apparent specific correlations were found between cytokines and GI symptoms.
Conclusions: These results suggest that IL-2 and IL-8 are involved in the antigen-specific immune responses in most patients with FPIES. Further studies are needed to elucidate the significance of these cytokine in the pathogenesis of FPIES.
Background: The prognosis of spontaneous urticaria in association with early treatment remains unclear. In this study, we retrospectively studied the prognosis of acute spontaneous urticaria in relation to age and treatments in a local clinic of dermatology.
Methods: Out of 5000 patients who visited an office dermatology clinic, clinical records of patients with spontaneous urticaria were extracted. Their prognosis and the relation to age and treatments were analyzed by the Kaplane-Meier method and generalized Wilcoxon test.
Results: Among 386 patients diagnosed with spontaneous urticaria, 284 patients (73.6%) began treatments within a week after the onset. Their non-remission rates after one week, four weeks and one year from the onset were 26.8%, 15.0% and 6.7%, respectively. The non-remission rates of patients who were 20-years-old or younger by one year after the onset of urticaria, were significantly lower than those of patients older than 20-years-old. No apparent relationship between remission rates and sex or the use of steroids was detected. However, the non-remission rates of urticaria treated with a standard dose of antihistamine were lower than that treated with additional medications.
Conclusions: Most patients who began treatments within one week from the onset remitted quickly. However approximately 7% of them continued to suffer from symptoms for more than a year. Such prolongation tended to be seen among patients who required other medications in addition to a standard dose of antihistamine.
Background: Eosinophils play important roles in asthma, especially airway remodeling, by producing various granule proteins, chemical mediators, cytokines, chemokines and proteases. However, protease production by eosinophils is not fully understood. In the present study, we investigated the production of eosinophil-specific proteases/proteinases by transcriptome analysis.
Methods: Human eosinophils and other cells were purified from peripheral blood by density gradient sedimentation and negative/positive selections using immunomagnetic beads. Protease/proteinase expression in eosinophils and release into the supernatant were evaluated by microarray analysis, qPCR, ELISA, flow cytometry and immunofluorescence staining before and after stimulation with eosinophil-activating cytokines and secretagogues. mRNAs for extracellular matrix proteins in human normal fibroblasts were measured by qPCR after exposure to recombinant protease serine 33 (PRSS33) protein (rPRSS33), created with a baculovirus system.
Results: Human eosinophils expressed relatively high levels of mRNA for metalloproteinase 25 (MMP25), a disintegrin and metalloprotease 8 (ADAM8), ADAM10, ADAM19 and PRSS33. Expression of PRSS33 was the highest and eosinophil-specific. PRSS33 mRNA expression was not affected by eosinophil-activating cytokines. Immunofluorescence staining showed that PRSS33 was co-localized with an eosinophil granule protein. PRSS33 was not detected in the culture supernatant of eosinophils even after stimulation with secretagogues, but its cell surface expression was increased. rPRSS33 stimulation of human fibroblasts increased expression of collagen and fibronectin mRNAs, at least in part via protease-activated receptor-2 activation.
Conclusions: Activated eosinophils may induce fibroblast extracellular matrix protein synthesis via cell surface expression of PRSS33, which would at least partly explain eosinophils' role(s) in airway remodeling.
Background: Interleukin-33 (IL-33) is an alarmin cytokine that binds to the interleukin 1 receptor-like 1 protein ST2. Clock is a key circadian gene that is essential for endogenous clockworks in mammals. This study investigated whether Clock temporally regulated IL-33-mediated responses in mast cells.
Methods: The kinetics of IL-33-mediated IL-6, IL-13, and TNF-α productions were compared between bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs) from wild-type and Clock-mutated mice (ClockΔ19/Δ19 mice). The kinetics of the neutrophil influx into the peritoneal cavity or expression of IL-13 and Gob-5 in the lung in response to IL-33 were compared between wild-type and ClockΔ19/Δ19 mice. We also examined the kinetics of ST2 expression in mast cells and its association with Clock expression.
Results: There was a time-of-day-dependent variation in IL-33-mediated IL-6, IL-13, and TNF-α production in wild-type BMMCs, which was absent in Clock-mutated BMMCs. IL-33-induced neutrophil infiltration into the peritoneal cavity also showed a time-of-day-dependent variation in wild-type mice, which was absent in ClockΔ19/Δ19 mice. Furthermore, IL-33-induced IL-13 and Gob-5 expression in the lung exhibited a time-of-day-dependent variation in wild-type mice. These temporal variations in IL-33-mediated mast cell responses were associated with temporal variations of ST2 expression in mast cells. In addition, CLOCK bound to the promoter region of ST2 and Clock deletion resulted in down-regulation of ST2 expression in mast cells.
Conclusions: CLOCK temporally gates mast cell responses to IL-33 via regulation of ST2 expression. Our findings provide novel insights into IL-33/mast cell-associated physiology and pathologies.