Thymic stromal lymphopoietin receptor-mediated IL-6 and CC/CXC chemokines expression in human airway smooth muscle cells: role of MAPKs (ERK1/2, p38, and JNK) and STAT3 pathways.J Immunol. 2010 Jun 15; 184(12):7134-43.JI
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) plays a pivotal role in allergic diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and atopic dermatitis. Enhanced TSLP expression has been detected in asthmatic airways that correlated with both the expression of Th2-attracting chemokines and with disease severity. Although cumulative evidence suggests that human airway smooth muscle (HASM) cells can initiate or perpetuate the airway inflammation by secreting a variety of inflammatory cell products such as cytokines and chemokines, the role of TSLP in this pathway is not known. In the current study, we sought to investigate whether HASM cells express the TSLP receptor (TSLPR) and whether it is functional. We first demonstrated that primary HASM cells express the transcript and protein of both TSLPR subunits (TSLPR and IL-7Ralpha). Functionally, TSLPR-mediated HASM activation induced a significant increase in CXC (IL-8/CXCL8), CC (eotaxin-1/CCL11) chemokines, and proinflammatory cytokine IL-6 expression. Furthermore, using biochemical and genetic approaches, we found that TSLP-induced proinflammatory gene expression in HASM involved the transcriptional mechanisms, MAPKs (ERK1/2, p38, and JNK), and STAT3 activation. Finally, TSLPR immunoreactivity in bronchial sections from mild allergic asthmatics suggested the potential in vivo TSLP targeting of HASM. Altogether, our data suggest that the TSLPR-mediated HASM activation induces proinflammatory cytokine and chemokines release that may facilitate inflammatory immune cells recruitment in airways. In addition, it may be inferred that TSLPR is involved in the pathogenesis of allergic asthma through the activation of HASM cells by TSLP.