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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018 Jun;141(6):2061-2073.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.07.050. Epub 2017 Sep 22.

Concomitant suppression of TH2 and TH17 cell responses in allergic asthma by targeting retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor γt.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Immune Regulation, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea; BK21 Plus Program, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
2
Laboratory of Immune Regulation, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
3
Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea.
4
Department of Immunology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Tex.
5
Institute for Immunology and School of Medicine, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.
6
Department of Immunology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Tex. Electronic address: shchang@mdanderson.org.
7
Laboratory of Immune Regulation, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea; BK21 Plus Program, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea. Electronic address: yeonseok@snu.ac.kr.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Allergic asthma is a heterogeneous chronic inflammatory disease of the airways with a massive infiltration of eosinophils or neutrophils mediated by allergen-specific TH2 and TH17 cells, respectively. Therefore successful treatment of allergic asthma will require suppression of both TH2 and TH17 cells.

OBJECTIVE:

We sought to investigate the role of the TH17 cell pathway in regulating TH2 cell responses in allergic asthma.

METHODS:

Allergic asthma was induced by intranasal challenge with proteinase allergens in C57BL/6, Il17a-/-Il17f-/-, and retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor γt (RORγt)gfp/gfp mice. A pharmacologic RORγt inhibitor was used to evaluate its preventive and therapeutic effects in allergic asthma. Characteristics of allergic airway inflammation were analyzed by using flow cytometry, histology, quantitative real-time PCR, and ELISA. Mixed bone marrow chimeric mice, fate mapping analysis, short hairpin RNA transduction, and in vitro T-cell differentiation were used for mechanistic studies.

RESULTS:

Mice deficient in IL-17A and IL-17F, as well as RORγt, exhibited a significant reduction not only in TH17 cell responses but also in TH2 cell responses in an animal model of allergic asthma. Similarly, mice treated with an RORγt inhibitor had significantly diminished TH17 and TH2 cell responses, leading to reduced neutrophil and eosinophil numbers in the airway. RORγt-deficient T cells were intrinsically defective in differentiating into TH2 cells and expressed increased levels of B-cell lymphoma 6 (Bcl6). Bcl6 knockdown resulted in a remarkable restoration of TH2 cell differentiation in RORγt-deficient T cells. Blockade of RORγt also significantly hampered the differentiation of human TH2 and TH17 cells from naive CD4+ T cells.

CONCLUSION:

RORγt in T cells is required for optimal TH2 cell differentiation by suppressing Bcl6 expression; this finding suggests that targeting RORγt might be a promising approach for the treatment of allergic asthma by concomitantly suppressing TH17 and TH2 cell responses in the airway.

KEYWORDS:

Allergic asthma; B-cell lymphoma 6; T(H)17 cell; T(H)2 cell; retinoic acid receptor–related orphan receptor γt

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