We showed recently that IL-4 causes mitochondrial dysfunction in allergic asthma. IL-4 is also known to induce 12/15-lipoxygenase (12/15-LOX), a potent candidate molecule in asthma. Because vitamin E (Vit-E) reduces IL-4 and inhibits 12/15-LOX in vitro, here we tested the hypothesis that Vit-E may be effective in restoring key mitochondrial dysfunctions, thus alleviating asthma features in an experimental allergic murine model. Ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized and challenged male BALB/c mice showed the characteristic features of asthma such as airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), airway inflammation, and airway remodeling. In addition, these mice showed increase in the expression and metabolites of 12/15-LOX, reduction in the activity and expression of the third subunit of mitochondrial cytochrome-c oxidase, and increased cytochrome c in lung cytosol, which indicate that OVA sensitization and challenge causes mitochondrial dysfunction. Vit-E was administered orally to these mice, and 12/15-LOX expression, key mitochondrial functions, ultrastructural changes of mitochondria in bronchial epithelia, and asthmatic parameters were determined. Vit-E treatment reduced AHR, Th2 response including IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, and OVA-specific IgE, eotaxin, transforming growth factor-beta1, airway inflammation, expression and metabolites of 12/15-LOX in lung cytosol, lipid peroxidation, and nitric oxide metabolites in the lung, restored the activity and expression of the third subunit of cytochrome-c oxidase in lung mitochondria and bronchial epithelia, respectively, reduced the appearance of cytochrome c in lung cytosol, and also restored mitochondrial ultrastructural changes of bronchial epithelia. In summary, these findings show that Vit-E reduces key mitochondrial dysfunctions and alleviates asthmatic features.
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