Gut microbial ecology and function are dynamic in infancy, but are stabilized in childhood. The ‘new friends’ have a great impact on the development of the digestive tract and host immune system. In the first year of life, especially, the gut microbiota dramatically changes through interactions with the developing immune system in the gut. The process of establishing the gut microbiota is affected by various environmental factors, with the potential to be a main determinant of life-long health. In this review, we summarize recent findings regarding gut microbiota establishment, including the importance of various factors related to the development of the immune system and allergic diseases later in life.
The number of patients with allergic and inflammatory disorders has been increasing during the past several decades. Accumulating evidence has refined our understanding of the relationship between allergic diseases and the gut microbiome. In addition, the gut microbiome is now known to produce both useful and harmful metabolites from dietary materials. These metabolites and bacterial components help to regulate host immune responses and potentially affect the development of allergic diseases. Here, we describe recent findings regarding the immunologic crosstalk between commensal bacteria and dietary components in the regulation of host immunity and the influence of this relationship on the development of allergic diseases.
Large-scale biodiversity loss and complex changes in social behaviors are altering human microbial ecology. This is increasingly implicated in the global rise in inflammatory diseases, most notably the “allergy epidemic” in very early life. Colonization of human ecological niches, particularly the gastrointestinal tract, is critical for normal local and systemic immune development and regulation. Disturbances in composition, diversity and timing of microbial colonization have been associated with increased allergy risk, indicating the importance of strategies to restore a dysbiotic gut microbiota in the primary prevention of allergic diseases, including the administration of probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics. Here, we summarize and discuss findings of randomized clinical trials that have examined the effects of these microbiome-related strategies on short and long-term allergy preventative effects – including new guidelines from the World Allergy Organization which now recommend probiotics and prebiotics for allergy prevention under certain conditions. The relatively low quality evidence, limited comparative studies and large heterogeneity between studies, have collectively hampered recommendations on specific probiotic strains, specific timing and specific conditions for the most effective preventive management. At the same time the risk of using available products is low. While further research is needed before specific practice guidelines on supplement probiotics and prebiotics, it is equally important that the underlying dietary and lifestyle factors of dysbiosis are addressed at both the individual and societal levels.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that affects 15-20% of children and 2-5% of adults in industrialized countries. The pathogen Staphylococcus aureus selectively colonizes the lesional skin of AD patients while this bacterium is absent in the skin of the majority of healthy individuals. However, the role of S. aureus in the pathogenesis of AD remains poorly understood. In addition to S. aureus, recent studies show a contribution of the skin microbiota to the regulation of immune responses in the skin as well as to the development of inflammatory skin disease. This review summarizes current knowledge about the role of the microbiota in skin immune responses and the role of S. aureus virulent factors in the pathogenesis of AD.
Background: Inhalants are the standard treatment for patients with bronchial asthma. Inaccurate inhaler use leads to inadequate therapeutic effects and unnecessary dosage increases. However, it is a challenge for practitioners to master the various devices available and train patients on the accurate use of inhalers. Thus, establishing a system to instruct patients on how to accurately use inhalers is essential. We prepared a DVD and accompanying user manual explaining the operation of each inhaler device used in Japan. This pilot study aimed to examine the efficacy of these materials.
Methods: The subjects were 33 outpatients with bronchial asthma who received treatment in our facility for asthma and had already received conventional inhalant training. The oral medication and inhalants used by the patients were not changed. The patients were randomly assigned to a DVD viewing group or non-viewing group; various parameters were comparatively examined after 4 weeks.
Results: Significant improvements in Asthma Control Test scores, inhalation technique, forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 s, impulse oscillometry resonant frequency, and induced sputum eosinophil count were observed in the DVD viewing group at 4 weeks post training.
Conclusions: Pulmonary function and inflammatory parameters improved significantly in the DVD viewing group. These findings suggest that unnecessary step-up of asthma treatment can be avoided, leading to treatment cost reduction. Training patients with asthma in accurate inhaler use improves quality of life and therefore has great clinical significance. Hence, this method should be used more extensively in Japan and worldwide.
Background: Asthma in athlete populations such as Olympic athletes has various pathogeneses. However, few reports are available on the features of asthma in the athlete population in clinical practice. In this study, we focused on classifying asthma in Japanese athlete population.
Methods: We performed a cluster analysis of data from pulmonary function tests and clinical biomarkers before administering inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) therapy in athlete population of individuals diagnosed with asthma (n = 104; male, 76.9%; median age, 16.0 years), based on respiratory symptoms and positive data on methacholine provocation tests. We also compared backgrounds, sports types, and treatments between clusters.
Results: Three clusters were identified. Cluster 1 (32%) comprised athletes with a less atopic phenotype and normal pulmonary function. Cluster 2 (44%) comprised athletes with a less atopic phenotype and lower percent predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 s (%FEV1) values, despite less symptomatic state. Cluster 3 (24%) comprised athletes with a strong atopic phenotype such as high eosinophil count in the blood and total serum immunoglobulin E level. After treatment with ICS or ICS plus long-acting β-adrenergic receptor agonist for 6–12 months, %FEV1 values were significantly improved in Cluster 2 athletes, whereas Cluster 3 athletes had a significant decrease in the fraction of exhaled nitric oxide compared to pretreatment values.
Conclusions: These data suggest three clusters exist in Japanese athlete population with asthma. Between the clusters, the characteristics differed with regard to symptoms, atopic features, and lower %FEV1 values. The pathogeneses between clusters may vary depending on the inflammation type and airway hyperresponsiveness.
Background: Epidemiology and risk factors of drug-induced anaphylaxis are difficult to estimate due to lack of confirmative diagnosis and under reporting. Here we report the current state of drug-induced anaphylaxis in Korea based on an in-hospital pharmacovigilance database in a tertiary hospital.
Methods: This study is a retrospective analysis of drug-induced anaphylaxis, reported to an in-hospital pharmacovigilance center in Seoul National University Hospital from June 2009 to May 2013. Anaphylaxis occurred in patients under 18 years of age or developed by medications administered from outside pharmacies or hospitals were excluded. We assessed causative drug, incidence per use of each drug and risk factors of fatal anaphylactic shock.
Results: A total of 152 in-hospital drug-induced anaphylaxis cases were reported during the study period. The single most frequently reported drug was platinum compound and the incidence of anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock in platinum compounds users was 2.84 and 1.39 per 1000 patients use. Risk factors of anaphylactic shock among total anaphylaxis cases were identified as older age ≥70 years [Odd's ratio (OR), 5.86; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.70–20.14]. The use of iodinated contrast media (OR, 6.19; 95% CI, 1.87–20.53) and aminosteroid neuromuscular blocking agent (NMBA) (OR, 12.82; 95% CI, 1.50–109.92) were also a risk factor for the development of anaphylactic shock.
Conclusions: Platinum compounds are the most commonly reported causative agents of in-hospital drug-induced anaphylaxis. Older age ≥70 years and drugs such as iodinated contrast media and aminosteroid NMBA are related with high risk of anaphylactic shock.
Background: Recent studies have demonstrated that a coding SNP (rs6967330, Cys529→Tyr) in cadherin-related family member 3 (CDHR3), which was previously associated with wheezing illness and hospitalizations in infancy, could support efficient human rhinovirus C (RV-C) entry and replication. Here, we sought to examine the genetic contribution of this variant to the development of adult asthma.
Methods: We performed a candidate gene case–control association study of 2 independent Japanese populations (a total of 3366 adults). The odds ratios (ORs) for association of the A allele at rs6967330 with adult asthma were calculated according to age at onset of asthma. In addition, the effect of the CDHR3 genotype on the development of specific asthma phenotypes was examined.
Results: The A allele was associated with asthma (OR = 1.56; Mantel–Haenszel p = 0.0040) when the analysis was limited to patients with early-onset adult asthma. In addition, when the analysis was limited to atopic individuals, a stronger association of the CDHR3 variant with early-onset asthma was found, and interaction of the CDHR3 genotype with atopy was demonstrated. Finally, a significant association of this variant was specifically found with a phenotype of asthma characterized by atopy, early-onset, and lower lung function.
Conclusions: Our study supports the concept that the CDHR3 variant is an important susceptibility factor for severe adult asthma in individuals who develop the disease in early life. The interaction between the CDHR3 variant and atopy indicates that genetic predisposition to early respiratory viral infection is combined with atopy in promoting asthma.
Background: To avoid future risk is a definitive goal of long-term asthma management. Exacerbations are considered to be the most relevant future risk in real life asthma management. Few comparative studies have evaluated the risk factors associated with exacerbations in Japanese patients with asthma.
Methods: We performed the prospective 1-year follow up study in Japanese patients with adult asthma. A total of 189 patients with asthma were enrolled and followed up for 1 year. Finally, 181 patients completed the study protocol.
Results: Of 181 patients, 43 patients (23.8%) had exacerbations during the follow-up period. Among the 45 patients who had exacerbations during the preceding year, 32 patients (71.1%) had exacerbations. Prevalence of patients with previous exacerbations and those with previous admissions were significantly higher in patients with exacerbations than those with no exacerbation. Logistic regression analysis also identified a significant association between exacerbations during the follow-up period and exacerbations during the preceding year, admissions during the preceding 3 years, ACT score below 20, low %FVC (<80%), or low FEV1 (<70%), respectively. Of the 55 patients with severe asthma, 29 patients (52.7%) had exacerbations. Among the 36 patients with severe asthma with previous exacerbations, 26 patients (72.2%) had exacerbations. The history of exacerbations during the preceding year was associated with a significantly increased risk of exacerbations both among the patients with severe asthma and those with non-severe asthma.
Conclusions: This study implicated that exacerbations during the preceding year reliably predict future risk of exacerbations in Japanese patients with asthma.
Background: P2Y purinergic receptors (P2YR) are G protein-coupled receptors that are stimulated by extracellular nucleotides. They mediate cellular effects by regulating cAMP production, protein kinase C activation, inositol trisphosphate generation, and Ca2+ release from intracellular stores. The P2Y6 receptor of this family is selectively stimulated by UDP, and selectively inhibited by MRS2578. In the present study, we examined the effect of UDP/P2Y6 receptor signaling on IgE-dependent degranulation in human basophils.
Methods: Basophils were purified from human peripheral blood. The mRNA expression of genes encoding P2YR and ecto-nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase (ENTPDase) was measured by RT-PCR. Intracellular Ca2+ influx via UDP/P2Y6 receptor signaling in basophils was detected using a calcium probe. The effect of UDP/P2Y6 receptor signaling on IgE-dependent degranulation in basophils was confirmed by measuring CD63 expression by flow cytometry. Autocrine secretion of nucleotides was detected by HPLC analysis.
Results: We showed that purified basophils express P2Y6 mRNA and that UDP increased intracellular Ca2+, which was reduced by MRS2578 treatment. UDP promoted IgE-dependent degranulation. Furthermore, MRS2578 inhibited IgE-dependent degranulation in basophils. HPLC analysis indicated that basophils spontaneously secrete UTP. In addition, basophils expressed the extracellular nucleotide hydrolases ENTPDase2, ENTPDase3, and ENTPDase8.
Conclusions: This study showed that UDP/P2Y6 receptor signaling is involved in the regulation of IgE-dependent degranulation in basophils, which might stimulate the P2Y6 receptor via the autocrine secretion of UTP. Thus, this receptor represents a potential target to regulate IgE-dependent degranulation in basophils during allergic diseases.
Background: We previously reported the results of lung sound analysis in patients with bronchial asthma and demonstrated that the exhalation-to-inhalation sound pressure ratio in the low frequency range between 100 and 200 Hz (E/I LF) was correlated with the presence of airway inflammation and airway obstruction. We classified asthma patients by airway inflammation phenotype using the induced sputum eosinophil and neutrophil ratio and determined whether this phenotype could be predicted using E/I LF and fractional exhaled nitric oxide values.
Methods: Steroid-naive bronchial asthma patients were classified into four phenotypes, including “Low inflammation” (35 patients), “Eosinophilic type” (58 patients), “Neutrophilic type” (15 patients), and “Mixed type” (15 patients) based on the results of induced sputum examinations. The E/I LF data and FeNO levels were then evaluated for the four phenotype groups; the prediction powers of these two indices were then analyzed for each phenotype.
Results: The median E/I LF value was highest in the “Mixed type” and lowest in the “Low inflammation” group. FeNO differentiated between the “Low inflammation” and “Eosinophilic type” groups, “Low inflammation” and “Neutrophilic type” groups, and “Neutrophilic type” and “Mixed type” (p < 0.0001, p = 0.007, and p = 0.04, respectively). E/I LF differentiated between the “Low inflammation” and “Eosinophilic type” groups (p = 0.006). E/I LF could distinguish the “Mixed type” group from the “Low inflammation” and “Eosinophilic type” groups (p = 0.002).
Conclusions: A combination of the E/I LF value and FeNO may be useful for the classification of the airway inflammation phenotype in patients with bronchial asthma.
Background: This study investigated the histamine H1 and H4 receptors mRNA (H1R and H4R, respectively) expression on the ocular surface of patients with chronic forms of allergic conjunctival diseases to determine whether they can serve as biomarkers for allergic inflammation in the conjunctiva.
Methods: We examined 19 patients with vernal or atopic keratoconjunctivitis (AKC/VKC group) and 15 healthy volunteers (control group). The AKC/VKC group was divided into active and stable stage subgroups. Specimens were obtained from the upper tarsal conjunctiva of each participant using a modified impression cytology method. H1R, H4R, and eotaxin-1, -2, and -3 mRNA (eotaxin-1, eotaxin-2, eotaxin-3, respectively) expression was determined by real-time RT-PCR. Immunohistochemical analysis for eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), eosinophil major basic protein (MBP), eotaxin-2, and histamine H4 receptor (H4R) were performed using conjunctival smears.
Results: The number of H4R-positive patients was higher in the active than the stable stage subgroup and control group, whereas no difference was observed for H1R. H1R levels were higher in the active than in the stable stage subgroup, while those of H4R were higher in the active stage subgroup than in the control group. H1R and H4R levels were correlated with eotaxin-2 level. In immunohistochemical analysis, H4R revealed their expression on eosinophils in conjunctival smears of patients with AKC/VKC.
Conclusions: H4R is useful as biomarkers of allergic inflammation on ocular surfaces. Most notably, H4R expressed on eosinophils is useful as a biomarker of eosinophilic inflammation of the ocular surface.
Background: Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) is often comorbid with asthma and resistant to therapeutic interventions. We recently reported that excessive fibrin deposition caused by impairment of fibrinolysis might play pivotal role in forming nasal polyp. Nattokinase (NK), a serine protease produced by Bacillus subtilis, has been reported to be a strong fibrinolytic enzyme. NK could be a promising drug candidate for use in the treatment of both CRSwNP and asthma. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of NK on nasal polyp tissues from patients with CRSwNP. The nasal discharge from patients with CRSwNP and sputum from subjects with asthma were also used to investigate whether NK influences the viscosity of mucus.
Methods: To examine the effects on NK on nasal polyp tissues, pieces of nasal polyps were incubated either with saline or NK (10–1000 FU/ml) at 37 °C for 24 h. We assessed the presence of fibrin in nasal polyp tissue incubated with NK by means of immunohistochemistry. To examine the effects of NK on nasal discharge and sputum from patients with CRSwNP and asthma, respectively, were incubated with NK solution at 37 °C for 1 h.
Results: NK effectively shrinks the nasal polyp tissue through fibrin degradation. We also found that the viscosity of the nasal discharge and sputum from patients with CRSwNP and asthma, respectively, was significantly reduced by incubation with NK solution.
Conclusions: NK may be an effective alternative therapeutic option in patients with CRSwNP and comorbid asthma by causing fibrin degradation.
Background: Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is an autosomal dominant disease caused by deficiency of C1 esterase inhibitor. Symptoms of HAE include edema, which can potentially cause suffocation. Some patients with HAE exhibit immunological abnormalities, which could prevent an accurate diagnosis. Low levels of complement components are characteristic of HAE and in other settings are thought to reduce elimination of apoptotic cells and immune complex (IC). Thus, we aimed to experimentally clarify the mechanism of immunological abnormalities using sera from HAE patients.
Methods: Serum samples from 18 patients with HAE were collected when free from angioedema attack and compared with normal human pooled sera (NHPS) from 20 healthy volunteers. Opsonization was measured as the rate of phagocytosis of apoptotic Jurkat cells by macrophages differentiated from THP-1 cells incubated with serum. IC solubilization in serum was analyzed by quantifying peroxidase released from a synthetic IC composed of peroxidase and anti-peroxidase antibodies. Anti-C1q antibody levels were detected using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: Serological immunological abnormalities were detected in 12 patients. Opsonization in serum samples from each patient with HAE was lower than that in NHPS (∼20% versus 70%, respectively). The rate of IC solubilization was lower in serum from HAE patients than NHPS. Some patients had high serum anti-C1q antibody levels with increased serum IC levels.
Conclusions: Sera from patients with HAE exhibit anti-C1q antibodies, with a lower capacity for opsonization and IC solubilization. This may be associated with immunological abnormalities and should be investigated further to facilitate accurate diagnosis of HAE.
Background: The number of patients with eosinophilic chronic rhinosinusitis (ECRS) has been increasing in recent years in Japan. In ECRS, nasal polyps recur immediately after endoscopic sinus surgery. The molecular biological mechanism underlying the refractoriness of ECRS is unclear.
Methods: Whole-transcriptome analysis with next-generation sequencing (RNA-seq) was conducted to investigate the molecular biological mechanism of ECRS. Real-time PCR, immunohistochemical staining, and immunofluorescence staining were performed to validate the results of RNA-seq.
Results: RNA-seq analysis revealed that in the nasal polyps of ECRS, the levels of 3 transcripts were elevated significantly and those of 7 transcripts were diminished significantly. Among the genes encoding these transcripts, TRPV3 (transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily V, member 3) was identified as the only gene that is highly expressed in ECRS nasal polyps but this gene's expression was not previously detected using DNA microarray analysis in peripheral blood eosinophils. TRPV3 is newly identified here as a gene transcribed in ECRS. Our analysis also revealed that TRPV3 was highly expressed in the infiltrating eosinophils and mucosal epithelium of the nasal polyps of ECRS, and further that the more severe the refractoriness was after surgery, the higher the TRPV3 expression was in nasal polyps.
Conclusions: TRPV3 might play a role in the refractoriness of ECRS. Additional studies are required to evaluate the function of TRPV3 in ECRS.
Background: Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and post-streptococcal reactive arthritis (PSRA) are immune-mediated consequences of group A streptococcal pharyngitis. ARF has declined in developed nations. No prevalence survey of PSRA has been conducted. This study evaluated the incidence and characteristics of ARF and PSRA in Japanese children.
Methods: From 2010 to 2015, ARF and PSRA were evaluated using clinical data retrospectively collected by chart review from 528 hospitals.
Results: From 323 hospitals (61% response rate), 44 cases of ARF and 21 cases of PSRA were reported. Patients with ARF and/or PSRA were mainly from large cities in Japan. The mean age of ARF occurrence was 8.5 years, and the ratio of female/male patients was 16:28. Major manifestations in the acute phase included carditis, 27 cases (61.4%); polyarthritis, 22 cases (50%); erythema marginatum, 7 cases (15.9%); Sydenham chorea, 3 cases (6.8%); and subcutaneous nodules, 1 case (2.3%). Twenty-one (58.3%) patients had migratory arthritis. During the follow-up period, 6 patients (13.6%) showed mild carditis. For PRSA, the mean age was 8.2 years, and the ratio of female/male patients was 12:9. Six (28.6%) patients had monoarthritis, and 4 (19%) patients had migratory arthritis. No patient had carditis.
Conclusions: Although ARF and PSRA are rare in the Japanese pediatric population, substantial numbers of patients with both conditions were identified in this study. We observed a high incidence of arthritis and carditis in ARF patients. No PSRA case was complicated with carditis. General pediatricians need to have updated information about ARF and PSRA, even in industrialized countries.