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<i>Mycobacterium vaccae</i> Nebulization Can Protect against Asthma in Balb/c Mice by Regulating Th9 Expression

12 Aug 2016

by Chaoqian Li, Xiaohong Jiang, Mingjie Luo, Guangyi Feng, Qixiang Sun, Yiping Chen

Asthma is a heterogeneous disease characterized by chronic airway inflammation. CD4(+) T-helper 9 (Th9) cells are closely linked to asthma, helping to regulate inflammation and immunity. Epidemiological studies showed that mycobacteria infections are negatively associated with asthma. Our previous research showed that inactivated Mycobacterium phlei nebulization alleviated the airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation of asthma. However, the relationship between Th9 cells and mycobacteria remains unknown. Here, we evaluated the relationship between Mycobacterium vaccae nebulization and Th9 cells in asthmatic mice. Eighteen Balb/c mice were randomized into 3 groups of 6 mice each (normal control group, asthma control group, and nebulization asthma group [Neb. group]). The Neb. group was nebulized with M. vaccae one month before establishment of the asthmatic model with ovalbumin (OVA) sensitization, and the normal and asthma control groups were nebulized with phosphate-buffered saline. The hyperresponsiveness of the mouse airways was assessed using a non-invasive lung function machine. Lung airway inflammation was evaluated by hematoxylin and eosin and periodic acid-Schiff staining. Cytokine interlukin-9 (IL-9) concentration and OVA-specific IgE in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The percentages of γδTCR+ CD3+, IL-9+CD3+, IL-10+CD3+ lymphocytes, and IL9+γδT and IL-10+γδT cells were detected by flow cytometry. The airway inflammation and concentration of IL-9 and OVA-specific IgE were significantly reduced in the Neb. group compared to the asthma control group. The Neb. group had lower airway hyperresponsiveness, percentages of γδTCR+CD3+ and IL-9+CD3+ lymphocytes, and IL9+γδT cells, and higher percentages of IL-10+CD3+ lymphocytes and IL-10+γδT cells compared to the asthma control group. Thus, mouse bronchial asthma could be prevented by M. vaccae nebulization. The mechanism could involve M. vaccae-mediated effects on induction of IL-9 secretion and suppression of IL-10 secretion from γδT cells. γδT cells showed prominent IL-10 expression, indicating that they possibly belong to the Th9 family.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in PLOS ONE