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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2006 Nov;291(5):L862-70. Epub 2006 Jun 16.

Loss of pro-apoptotic Bim promotes accumulation of pulmonary T lymphocytes and enhances allergen-induced goblet cell metaplasia.

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Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, 2425 Ridgecrest Dr., SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108, USA.


Immunological tolerance during prolonged exposure to allergen is accompanied by a shift in the lymphocyte content and a reduction of goblet cell metaplasia (GCM). Bim initiates negative selection of autoreactive T and B cells and shut down of T cell immune responses in vivo. The present study investigated whether Bim plays a role in the resolution of GCM during prolonged exposure to allergen. Loss of Bim increased T lymphocyte numbers in the bronchoalveolar lavage at 4 and 15 days of allergen exposure. The numbers of pulmonary CD4(+)8(-), CD4(-)8(+), and gammadelta T cells were significantly higher in naive and allergen-challenged bim(-/-) mice compared with wild-type (WT) littermates. When activated, pulmonary bim(-/-) T cells produced increased levels of IFNgamma compared with bim(+/+) T cells. No differences were noted in the total numbers of epithelial cells per millimeter of basal lamina between bim(+/+) and bim(-/-) mice, and the rate of resolution over 15 days of exposure was similar in both groups of mice. However, GCM was significantly enhanced and expression of IL-13Ralpha2 was reduced in bim(-/-) mice compared with WT mice at 4 days. Furthermore, treatment of bronchiolar explant cultures with increasing IFNgamma levels reduced immunostaining for IL-13Ralpha2. Collectively, these studies suggest that, during prolonged exposure to allergen, Bim plays no role in the resolution of GCM, but increased IFNgamma levels in bim(-/-) mice may be responsible for reduced expression of IL-13Ralpha2 and enhanced GCM despite similar levels of IL-13 in bim(+/+) and bim(-/-) mice.

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