Muc-5/5ac mucin messenger RNA and protein expression is a marker of goblet cell metaplasia in murine airways.Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2000 Mar; 22(3):253-60.AJ
Airway inflammation, hyperreactivity, increased number of goblet cells, and mucus overproduction characterize asthma. Respiratory challenge with ovalbumin (OVA) of sensitized mice has been shown by several laboratories to cause pulmonary pathology similar to that observed in human allergic asthma. Recently, interleukin (IL)-13 has been shown to be a central mediator in this process. Because the airways of healthy mice have few, if any, mucus-producing cells, an increase in the number of these cells likely reflects induction of mucin-gene expression. The purpose of this study was to identify mucin genes induced as a result of airway goblet-cell metaplasia (GCM) in mice sensitized and challenged with OVA or in mice treated with IL-13 alone. BALB/c mice were sensitized by intraperitoneal injection (Days 0, 4, 7, 11, and 14) and intranasal instillation (Day 14) of 100 microg of OVA in saline, and then challenged by intranasal instillation (Days 25, 26, and 27) of the same. IL-13-treated mice received 5 microg of IL-13 by intranasal instillation on three consecutive days. Control mice were given saline alone. All mice were studied 24 h after the last challenge. Histologic analysis of the lungs revealed both a striking peribronchial and perivascular lymphocytic and eosinophilic inflammation and airway GCM in OVA-treated mice, and also airway GCM without inflammation in IL-13-treated mice. Northern blot analysis of lung RNA demonstrated (1) expression of Muc-5/5ac messenger RNA (mRNA) in OVA-treated and IL-13-treated mice, but not in control mice; (2) expression of Muc-1 mRNA at comparable levels in all mice regardless of treatment; and (3) no expression of Muc-2 or Muc-3 mRNA in control or treated mice. Western blot analysis demonstrated the expression of Muc-5/5ac protein (both apomucin and glycosylated mucin) in lung lysates of OVA-treated (but not control) mice, and also the expression of Muc-5/5ac mucins in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of OVA-treated and IL-13-treated mice. These findings demonstrate that airway GCM is associated with the induction of pulmonary expression of Muc-5/5ac mRNA and mucin in murine models of allergic asthma.