Endothelin A receptor antagonist modulates lymphocyte and eosinophil infiltration, hyperreactivity and mucus in murine asthma

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Levels of endothelins are particularly high in the lung, and there is evidence that these peptides are involved in asthma. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease associated with lymphocyte infiltration. In the present study, we used a murine model of asthma to investigate the role of endothelins in lymphocyte and eosinophil infiltration into the airway hyperreactivity and mucus secretion. Sensitized C57Bl/6 mice were treated with endothelin ETA receptor antagonist (BQ123) or endothelin ETB receptor antagonist (BQ788) 30 min before an antigen aerosol challenge. After 24 h, dose response curves to methacholine were performed in isolated lungs, FACS analysis of lymphocytes and eosinophil counts were performed in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and mucus index was determined by histopathology. In sensitized and antigen-challenged mice there is a marked increase in the T CD4+, T CD8+, B220+, Tγδ+ and NK1.1+ lymphocyte subsets. Treatment with BQ123 further increased these cell populations. The number of eosinophils, airway hyperreactivity and mucus were all reduced by BQ123 treatment. The BQ 788 had no significant effect on the parameters analyzed. Treatment with BQ123 reduced the endothelin concentration in lung homogenates, suggesting that endothelins exert a positive feedback on their synthesis. We show here that in murine asthma the ETA receptor antagonist up-regulates lymphocyte infiltration and reduces eosinophils, hyperreactivity and mucus.

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