Irritant-induced asthma to hypochlorite in mice due to impairment of the airway barrier
Inhalation of commonly present irritants, such as chlorine and chlorine derivatives, can cause adverse respiratory effects, including irritant-induced asthma (IIA). We hypothesize that due to airway barrier impairment, exposure to hypochlorite (ClO-) can result in airway hypersensitivity. C57Bl/6 mice received an intra-peritoneal (i.p.) injection of the airway damaging agent naphthalene (NA, 200 mg/kg body weight) or vehicle (mineral oil, MO). In vivo micro-computed tomography (CT) images of the lungs were acquired before and at regular time points after the i.p. treatment. After a recovery period of 14 days an intranasal (i.n.) challenge with 0.003% active chlorine (in ClO-) or vehicle (distilled water, H2O) was given, followed by assessment of the breathing frequency. One day later, pulmonary function, along with pulmonary inflammation was determined. Lung permeability was assessed by means of total broncho-alveolar lavage (BAL) protein content and plasma surfactant protein (SP)-D levels. In vivo micro-CT imaging revealed enlargement of the lungs and airways early after NA treatment, with a return to normal at day 14. When challenged i.n. with ClO-, NA-pretreated mice immediately responded with a sensory irritant response. Twenty-four hours later, NA/ClO- mice showed airway hyperreactivity (AHR), accompanied by a neutrophilic and eosinophilic inflammation. NA administration followed by ClO- induced airway barrier impairment, as shown by increased BAL protein and plasma SP-D concentrations; histology revealed epithelial denudation. These data prove that NA-induced lung impairment renders the lungs of mice more sensitive to an airway challenge with ClO-, confirming the hypothesis that incomplete barrier repair, followed by irritant exposure results in airway hypersensitivity.
KeywordsIrritants Asthma Airway damage Airway epithelium
This project was supported by a grant from the University of Leuven Research Council (GOA/14/011, STG/15/024 and C24/17/061) and a grant of the Flemish Research Foundation (Research Grant 1504912N).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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