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Keywords:

  • airway smooth muscle cells;
  • asthma;
  • CCL11;
  • eotaxin;
  • NF-κB;
  • TGF-β

Summary

Background Chemokines ligands of CCR3 including eotaxin/CC chemokine ligand 11 (CCL11) may contribute to the pathogenesis of asthma. These chemokines and a growth factor (TGF-β) may be involved in the process of airway remodelling.

Objective We analysed the effects of TGF-β on the expression of CCR3 ligands in human airway smooth muscle (HASM) cells and investigated the mechanisms.

Methods HASM cells were cultured and treated with TGF-β and Th2 cytokines IL-4 or IL-13. Expression of mRNA was analysed by real-time PCR. Secretion of CCL11 into the culture medium was analysed by ELISA. Transcriptional regulation of CCL11 was analysed by luciferase assay using CCL11 promoter–luciferase reporter plasmids.

Results IL-4 or IL-13 significantly up-regulated the expression of mRNAs for CCL11 and CCL26. TGF-β alone did not increase the expression of chemokine mRNAs, but enhanced the induction of only CCL11 by IL-4 or IL-13 among CCR3 ligands. Activity of the CCL11 promoter was stimulated by IL-4, and this activity was enhanced by TGF-β. Activation by IL-4 or IL-4 plus TGF-β was lost by mutation of the binding site for signal transducers and activators of transcription-6 (STAT6) in the promoter. Cooperative activation by IL-4 and TGF-β was inhibited by mutation of the binding site for nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) in the promoter. Pretreatment with an inhibitor of NF-κB and glucocorticoid fluticasone propionate significantly inhibited the expression of CCL11 mRNA induced by IL-4 plus TGF-β, indicating the importance of NF-κB in the cooperative activation of CCL11 transcription by TGF-β and IL-4.

Conclusion These results indicate that Th2 cytokines and TGF-β may contribute to the pathogenesis of asthma by stimulating expression of CCL11. The transcription factors STAT6 and NF-κB may play pivotal roles in this process.

Cite this as: S. Matsukura, M. Odaka, M. Kurokawa, H. Kuga, T. Homma, H. Takeuchi, K. Notomi, F. Kokubu, M. Kawaguchi, R. P. Schleimer, M. W. Johnson and M. Adachi, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2010 (40) 763–771.