Asthma is a debilitating disease of the lungs affecting 235 million people worldwide. Fungus-associated asthma leads to a particularly severe type of disease, and exposure to environmental fungi and their products is unavoidable due to the ubiquitous nature of fungal species. Besides being allergenic, fungi are opportunistic pathogens, and anti-fungal and/or allergic pathways may be modified through repeated inhalation of immunomodulatory agents, affecting the outcome of fungus-induced asthma.
Our aim in this project was to investigate the extent to which repeated inhalation of immunomodulatory agents influence the lung mucosal responses in a naïve murine host or in one that had been sensitized to fungal proteins (allergic). The immunomodulatory substances chosen hold relevance to human inhalational exposure, and included live or irradiation-killed Aspergillus fumigatus (a fungi) spores, deoxyxnivalenol (a mycotoxin), and fluticasone propionate (an inhalationally administered corticosteroid, commonly prescribed for allergic asthma). In a naïve host, inhalation of live A. fumigatus spores showed pathological features of fungal asthma. However, in an allergen-sensitized lung, both dead and live A. fumigatus spores established fungal airway disease, albeit to different extents. Next, we tested the effect of deoxynivalenol in an allergic host and found that its repeated inhalation did not affect pulmonary disease pathology, but did lead to a dose- and time- dependent increase in mucosal and systemic total IgA. Finally, we tested the effect of fluticasone propionate, and found that it did not influence the development of fungal airway disease, but did induce dynamic changes in lung physiology and antibody titers.
Besides mimicking human inhalational exposures, inhalation ensures direct interaction of the inhaled substances with airway epithelium, which plays an important role in defense against inhaled substances and in asthma pathophysiology. By analyzing various mechanisms involved in murine lung-mucosal response to the inhaled substances, a critical involvement of airway epithelium as an orchestrator of immune responses is highlighted, and this would inform mechanism-based future studies. In conclusion, this project is likely to aid in establishing evidence based standards for fungus-related exposures and in making informed therapeutic decisions for fungus-associated diseases.
|Commitee:||Haring, Jodie, McEvoy, John, Wagner, Sarah, Wolf-Hall, Charlene|
|School:||North Dakota State University|
|Department:||Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences|
|School Location:||United States -- North Dakota|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Microbiology, Pharmacology, Immunology|
|Keywords:||Allergies, Aspergillus fumigatus, Deoxynivalenol, Fluticasone, Fungus-induced asthma, Mold exposure|
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