Mechanisms of persistent NF-κB activity in the bronchi of an animal model of asthma

F. Bureau, S. Delhalle, G. Bonizzi, L. Fievez, S. Dogne, N. Kirschvink, A. Vanderplasschen, M. P. Merville, V. Bours, P. Lekeux

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In most cells trans-activating NF-κB induces many inflammatory proteins as well as its own inhibitor, IκB-α, thus assuring a transient response upon stimulation. However, NF-κB-dependent inflammatory gene expression is persistent in asthmatic bronchi, even after allergen eviction. In the present report we used bronchial brushing samples (BBSs) from heaves-affected horses (a spontaneous model of asthma) to elucidate the mechanisms by which NF-κB activity is maintained in asthmatic airways. NF-κB activity was high in granulocytic and nongranulocytic BBS cells. However, NF-κB activity highly correlated to granulocyte percentage and was only abrogated after granulocytic death in cultured BBSs. Before granulocytic death, NF-κB activity was suppressed by simultaneous addition of neutralizing anti-IL-1β and anti-TNF-α Abs to the medium of cultured BBSs. Surprisingly, IκB-β, whose expression is not regulated by NF-κB, unlike IκB-α, was the most prominent NF-κB inhibitor found in BBSs. The amounts of IκB-β were low in BBSs obtained from diseased horses, but drastically increased after addition of the neutralizing anti-IL-1β and anti-TNF-α Abs. These results indicate that sustained NF-κB activation in asthmatic bronchi is driven by granulocytes and is mediated by IL-1β and TNF-α. Moreover, an imbalance between high levels of IL-1β- and TNF-α-mediated IκB-β degradation and low levels of IκB-β synthesis is likely to be the mechanism preventing NF-κB deactivation in asthmatic airways before granulocytic death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5822-5830
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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