Clinical and experimental immunology

Ambient particulate matter induces an exacerbation of airway inflammation in experimental asthma: role of interleukin-33.

PMID 24730559


High levels of ambient environmental particulate matter (PM10 i.e. < 10 μm median aerodynamic diameter) have been linked to acute exacerbations of asthma. We examined the effects of delivering a single dose of Sydney PM10 by intranasal instillation to BALB/c mice that had been sensitized to ovalbumin and challenged repeatedly with a low (≈3 mg/m(3)) mass concentration of aerosolized ovalbumin for 4 weeks. Responses were compared to animals administered carbon black as a negative control, or a moderate (≈30 mg/m(3)) concentration of ovalbumin to simulate an allergen-induced acute exacerbation of airway inflammation. Delivery of PM10 to mice, in which experimental mild chronic asthma had previously been established, elicited characteristic features of enhanced allergic inflammation of the airways, including eosinophil and neutrophil recruitment, similar to that in the allergen-induced exacerbation. In parallel, there was increased expression of mRNA for interleukin (IL)-33 in airway tissues and an increased concentration of IL-33 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Administration of a monoclonal neutralizing anti-mouse IL-33 antibody prior to delivery of particulates significantly suppressed the inflammatory response induced by Sydney PM10, as well as the levels of associated proinflammatory cytokines in lavage fluid. We conclude that IL-33 plays a key role in driving airway inflammation in this novel experimental model of an acute exacerbation of chronic allergic asthma induced by exposure to PM10.