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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Macrophage TNF-α mediates parathion-induced airway hyperreactivity in guinea pigs.

  • Author(s): Proskocil, Becky J
  • Bruun, Donald A
  • Jacoby, David B
  • van Rooijen, Nico
  • Lein, Pamela J
  • Fryer, Allison D
  • et al.

Organophosphorus pesticides (OPs) are implicated in human asthma. We previously demonstrated that, at concentrations that do not inhibit acetylcholinesterase activity, the OP parathion causes airway hyperreactivity in guinea pigs as a result of functional loss of inhibitory M2 muscarinic receptors on parasympathetic nerves. Because macrophages are associated with asthma, we investigated whether macrophages mediate parathion-induced M2 receptor dysfunction and airway hyperreactivity. Airway physiology was measured in guinea pigs 24 h after a subcutaneous injection of parathion. Pretreatment with liposome-encapsulated clodronate induced alveolar macrophage apoptosis and prevented parathion-induced airway hyperreactivity in response to electrical stimulation of the vagus nerves. As determined by qPCR, TNF-α and IL-1β mRNA levels were increased in alveolar macrophages isolated from parathion-treated guinea pigs. Parathion treatment of alveolar macrophages ex vivo did not significantly increase IL-1β and TNF-α mRNA but did significantly increase TNF-α protein release. Consistent with these data, pretreatment with the TNF-α inhibitor etanercept but not the IL-1β receptor inhibitor anakinra prevented parathion-induced airway hyperreactivity and protected M2 receptor function. These data suggest a novel mechanism of OP-induced airway hyperreactivity in which low-level parathion activates macrophages to release TNF-α-causing M2 receptor dysfunction and airway hyperreactivity. These observations have important implications regarding therapeutic approaches for treating respiratory disease associated with OP exposures.

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