BACKGROUND: The molecular and cellular pathways driving the pathogenesis of severe asthma are poorly defined. Tumor progression locus 2 (TPL-2) (COT, MAP3K8) kinase activates the MEK1/2-extracellular-signal regulated kinase 1/2 MAP kinase signaling pathway following Toll-like receptor, TNFR1, and IL-1R stimulation.
OBJECTIVE: TPL-2 has been widely described as a critical regulator of inflammation, and we sought to investigate the role of TPL-2 in house dust mite (HDM)-mediated allergic airway inflammation.
METHODS: A comparative analysis of wild-type and Map3k8(-/-) mice was conducted. Mixed bone marrow chimeras, conditional knockout mice, and adoptive transfer models were also used. Differential cell counts were performed on the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, followed by histological analysis of lung sections. Flow cytometry and quantitative PCR was used to measure type 2 cytokines. ELISA was used to assess the production of IgE, type 2 cytokines, and Ccl24. RNA sequencing was used to characterize dendritic cell (DC) transcripts.
RESULTS: TPL-2 deficiency led to exacerbated HDM-induced airway allergy, with increased airway and tissue eosinophilia, lung inflammation, and IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, and IgE production. Increased airway allergic responses in Map3k8(-/-) mice were not due to a cell-intrinsic role for TPL-2 in T cells, B cells, or LysM(+) cells but due to a regulatory role for TPL-2 in DCs. TPL-2 inhibited Ccl24 expression in lung DCs, and blockade of Ccl24 prevented the exaggerated airway eosinophilia and lung inflammation in mice given HDM-pulsed Map3k8(-/-) DCs.
CONCLUSIONS: TPL-2 regulates DC-derived Ccl24 production to prevent severe type 2 airway allergy in mice.