Exposure to allergen and diesel exhaust particles potentiates secondary allergen-specific memory responses, promoting asthma susceptibility.J Allergy Clin Immunol 2015; 136(2):295-303.e7JA
Exposure to traffic pollution particulate matter, predominantly diesel exhaust particles (DEPs), increases the risk of asthma and asthma exacerbation; however, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood.
We sought to examine the effect of DEP exposure on the generation and persistence of allergen-specific memory T cells in asthmatic patients and translate these findings by determining the effect of early DEP exposure on the prevalence of allergic asthma in children.
The effect of DEPs on house dust mite (HDM)-specific memory responses was determined by using an asthma model. Data from children enrolled in the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study birth cohort were analyzed to determine the effect of DEP exposure on asthma outcomes.
DEP coexposure with HDM resulted in persistent TH2/TH17 CD127(+) effector/memory cells in the lungs, spleen, and lymph nodes of adult and neonatal mice. After 7 weeks of rest, a single exposure to HDM resulted in airway hyperresponsiveness and increased TH2 cytokine levels in mice that had been previously exposed to both HDM and DEPs versus those exposed to HDM alone. On the basis of these data, we examined whether DEP exposure was similarly associated with increased asthma prevalence in children in the presence or absence of allergen exposure/sensitization in the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study birth cohort. Early-life exposure to high DEP levels was associated with significantly increased asthma prevalence among allergic children but not among nonallergic children.
These findings suggest that DEP exposure results in accumulation of allergen-specific TH2/TH17 cells in the lungs, potentiating secondary allergen recall responses and promoting the development of allergic asthma.