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TH17-Induced Neutrophils Enhance the Pulmonary Allergic Response Following BALB/c Exposure to House Dust Mite Allergen and Fine Particulate Matter From California and China


Asthma is a global and increasingly prevalent disease. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 235 million people suffer from asthma. Studies suggest that fine particulate matter (PM2.5) can induce innate immune responses, promote allergic sensitization, and exacerbate asthmatic symptoms and airway hyper-responsiveness. Recently, severe asthma and allergic sensitization have been associated with T-helper cell type 17 (TH17) activation. Few studies have investigated the links between PM2.5 exposure, allergic sensitization, asthma, and TH17 activation. This study aimed to determine whether (1) low-dose extracts of PM2.5 from California (PMCA) or China (PMCH) enhance allergic sensitization in mice following exposure to house dust mite (HDM) allergen; (2) eosinophilic or neutrophilic inflammatory responses result from PM and HDM exposure; and (3) TH17-associated cytokines are increased in the lung following exposure to PM and/or HDM. Ten-week-old male BALB/c mice (n = 6-10/group) were intranasally instilled with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), PM+PBS, HDM, or PM+HDM, on days 1, 3, and 5 (sensitization experiments), and PBS or HDM on days 12-14 (challenge experiments). Pulmonary function, bronchoalveolar lavage cell differentials, plasma immunoglobulin (Ig) protein levels, and lung tissue pathology, cyto-/chemo-kine proteins, and gene expression were assessed on day 15. Results indicated low-dose PM2.5 extracts can enhance allergic sensitization and TH17-associated responses. Although PMCA+HDM significantly decreased pulmonary function, and significantly increased neutrophils, Igs, and TH17-related protein and gene levels compared with HDM, there were no significant differences between HDM and PMCH+HDM treatments. This may result from greater copper and oxidized organic content in PMCA versus PMCH.

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