Role of C/EBP homologous protein and endoplasmic reticulum stress in asthma exacerbation by regulating the IL-4/signal transducer and activator of transcription 6/transcription factor EC/IL-4 receptor α positive feedback loop in M2 macrophages

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C/EBP homologous protein (Chop), a marker of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, exhibits aberrant expression patterns during asthma development. However, its exact role in asthma pathogenesis is not fully understood.


We aimed to determine the function and mechanism of Chop in the pathogenesis of allergic asthma in patients and animals.


Studies were conducted in asthmatic patients andChop−/− mice to dissect the role of Chop and ER stress in asthma pathogenesis. An ovalbumin (OVA)–induced allergic airway inflammation model was used to address the effect ofChopdeficiency on asthma development. Next, the effect ofChopdeficiency on macrophage polarization and related signaling pathways was investigated to demonstrate the underlying mechanisms.


Asthmatic patients and mice after OVA induction exhibited aberrant Chop expression along with ER stress. Specifically, Chop was noted to be specifically overexpressed in macrophages, and mice deficient inChopwere protected from OVA-induced allergic airway inflammation, as manifested by attenuated airway inflammation, remodeling, and hyperresponsiveness. Chop was found to exacerbate allergic airway inflammation by enhancing M2 programming in macrophages. Mechanistic studies characterized an IL-4/signal transducer and activator of transcription 6/transcription factor EC (Tfec)/IL-4 receptor α positive feedback regulatory loop, in which IL-4 induces Chop expression, which then promotes signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 signaling to transcribe Tfec expression. Finally, Tfec transcribes IL-4 receptor α expression to promote M2 programming in macrophages.


Chop and ER stress are implicated in asthma pathogenesis, which involves regulation of M2 programming in macrophages.

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