Ozone exposure induces respiratory barrier biphasic injury and inflammation controlled by IL-33

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BackgroundIL-33 plays a critical role in regulation of tissue homeostasis, injury, and repair. Whether IL-33 regulates neutrophil recruitment and functions independently of airways hyperresponsiveness (AHR) in the setting of ozone-induced lung injury and inflammation is unclear.ObjectiveWe sought to examine the role of the IL-33/ST2 axis in lung inflammation on acute ozone exposure in mice.MethodsST2- and Il33–deficient, IL-33 citrine reporter, and C57BL/6 (wild-type) mice underwent a single ozone exposure (1 ppm for 1 hour) in all studies. Cell recruitment in lung tissue and the bronchoalveolar space, inflammatory parameters, epithelial barrier damage, and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) were determined.ResultsWe report that a single ozone exposure causes rapid disruption of the epithelial barrier within 1 hour, followed by a second phase of respiratory barrier injury with increased neutrophil recruitment, reactive oxygen species production, AHR, and IL-33 expression in epithelial and myeloid cells in wild-type mice. In the absence of IL-33 or IL-33 receptor/ST2, epithelial cell injury with protein leak and myeloid cell recruitment and inflammation are further increased, whereas the tight junction proteins E-cadherin and zonula occludens 1 and reactive oxygen species expression in neutrophils and AHR are diminished. ST2 neutralization recapitulated the enhanced ozone-induced neutrophilic inflammation. However, myeloid cell depletion using GR-1 antibody reduced ozone-induced lung inflammation, epithelial cell injury, and protein leak, whereas administration of recombinant mouse IL-33 reduced neutrophil recruitment in Il33–deficient mice.ConclusionData demonstrate that ozone causes an immediate barrier injury that precedes myeloid cell–mediated inflammatory injury under the control of the IL-33/ST2 axis. Thus IL-33/ST2 signaling is critical for maintenance of intact epithelial barrier and inflammation.Graphical abstract

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