Ectopic lymphoid structures (ELS) consist of B-cell and T-cell aggregates that are initiated de novo in inflamed tissues outside of secondary lymphoid organs. When organized within follicular dendritic cell (FDC) networks, ELS contain functional germinal centers that can yield autoantibody-secreting plasma cells and promote autoimmune disease. Intranasal instillation of lupus-prone mice with crystalline silica (cSiO2), a respirable particle linked to human lupus, triggers ELS formation in the lung, systemic autoantibodies, and early onset of glomerulonephritis. Here we tested the hypothesis that consumption of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid with anti-inflammatory properties, influences the temporal profile of cSiO2-induced pulmonary ectopic germinal center formation and development of glomerulonephritis. Female NZBWF1 mice (6-wk old) were fed purified isocaloric diets supplemented with 0, 4, or 10 g/kg DHA - calorically equivalent to 0, 2, or 5 g DHA per day consumption by humans, respectively. Beginning at age 8 wk, mice were intranasally instilled with 1 mg cSiO2, or saline vehicle alone, once per wk, for 4 wk. Cohorts were sacrificed 1, 5, 9, or 13 wk post-instillation (PI) of the last cSiO2 dose, and lung and kidney lesions were investigated by histopathology. Tissue fatty acid analyses confirmed uniform dose-dependent DHA incorporation across all cohorts. As early as 1 wk PI, inflammation comprising of B (CD45R+) and T (CD3+) cell accumulation was observed in lungs of cSiO2-treated mice compared to vehicle controls; these responses intensified over time. Marked follicular dendritic cell (FDC; CD21+/CD35+) networking appeared at 9 and 13 wk PI. IgG+ plasma cells suggestive of mature germinal centers were evident at 13 wk. DHA supplementation dramatically suppressed cSiO2-triggered B-cell, T-cell, FDC, and IgG+ plasma cell appearance in the lungs as well as anti-dsDNA IgG in bronchial lavage fluid and plasma over the course of the experiment. cSiO2 induced glomerulonephritis with concomitant B-cell accumulation in the renal cortex at 13 wk PI but this response was abrogated by DHA feeding. Taken together, realistic dietary DHA supplementation prevented initiation and/or progression of ectopic lymphoid neogenesis, germinal center development, systemic autoantibody elevation, and resultant glomerulonephritis in this unique preclinical model of environment-triggered lupus.
Crystalline silica (cSiO 2 ) is a widely recognized environmental trigger of autoimmune disease. In the lupus-prone female NZBWF1 mouse, airway exposure to cSiO 2 triggers pulmonary ectopic lymphoid neogenesis, systemic autoantibody elevation, and glomerulonephritis. Here we tested the hypothesis that upregulation of adaptive immune function genes in the lung precedes cSiO 2 -triggering of autoimmune disease in this model. The study include three groups of mice, as follows: (1) necropsied 1 d after a single intranasal instillation of 1 mg cSiO 2 or vehicle, (2) necropsied 1 d after four weekly single instillations of 1 mg cSiO 2 or vehicle, or (3) necropsied 1, 5, 9, or 13 weeks after four weekly single instillations of 1 mg cSiO 2 or vehicle. NanoString nCounter analysis revealed modest transcriptional changes associated with innate and adaptive immune response as early as 1 d after a single cSiO 2 instillation. These responses were greatly expanded after four weekly cSiO 2 instillations. Concurrent with ectopic lymphoid neogenesis, dramatic increases in mRNAs associated with chemokine release, cytokine production, sustained interferon activity, complement activation, and adhesion molecules were observed. As disease progressed, expression of these genes persisted and was further amplified. Consistent with autoimmune pathogenesis, the time between 5 and 9 weeks post-instillation reflected an important transition period where considerable immune gene upregulation in the lung was observed. Upon termination of the chronic study (13 weeks), cSiO 2 -induced changes in transcriptome signatures were similarly robust in kidney as compared to the lung, but more modest in spleen. Transcriptomic signatures in lung and kidney were indicative of infiltration and/or expansion of neutrophils, macrophages, dendritic cells, B cells, and T cells that corresponded with accelerated autoimmune pathogenesis. Taken together, airway exposure to cSiO 2 elicited aberrant mRNA signatures for both innate and adaptive immunity that were consistent with establishment of the lung as the central autoimmune nexus for launching systemic autoimmunity and ultimately, kidney injury.
genes in kidney tissue associated with inflammation, innate/adaptive immunity, IFN, chemokines, and antigen processing, mostly by upregulation; however, feeding DHA dose-dependently suppressed these responses. Taken together, dietary DHA intake in lupus-prone mice impeded cSiO 2 -triggered mRNA signatures known to be involved in ectopic lymphoid tissue neogenesis, systemic autoimmunity, and glomerulonephritis.
Occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica (cSiO2) has been etiologically linked to human autoimmunity. Intranasal instillation with cSiO2 triggers profuse inflammation in the lung and onset of autoimmunity in lupus-prone mice; however, dietary supplementation with the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) abrogates these responses. Inflammasome activation, IL-1 cytokine release, and death in alveolar macrophages following cSiO2 exposure are early and critical events that likely contribute to triggering premature autoimmune pathogenesis by this particle. Here we tested the hypothesis that DHA suppresses cSiO2-induced NLRP3 inflammasome activation, IL-1 cytokine release, and cell death in the macrophage. The model used was the murine macrophage RAW 264.7 cell line stably transfected with the inflammasome adapter protein ASC (RAW-ASC). Following priming with LPS, both the canonical activator nigericin and cSiO2 elicited robust inflammasome activation in RAW-ASC cells, as reflected by IL-1β release and caspase-1 activation. These responses were greatly diminished or absent in wild-type RAW cells. In contrast to IL-1β, cSiO2 induced IL-1α release in both RAW-ASC and to a lesser extent in RAW-WT cells after LPS priming. cSiO2-driven effects in RAW-ASC cells were confirmed in bone-marrow derived macrophages. Pre-incubating RAW-ASC cells with 10 and 25 μM DHA for 24 h enriched this fatty acid in the phospholipids by 15- and 25-fold, respectively, at the expense of oleic acid. DHA pre-incubation suppressed inflammasome activation and release of IL-1β and IL-1α by nigericin, cSiO2, and two other crystals – monosodium urate and alum. DHA's suppressive effects were linked to inhibition of LPS-induced Nlrp3, Il1b, and Il1a transcription, potentially through the activation of PPARγ. Finally, nigericin-induced death was inflammasome-dependent, indicative of pyroptosis, and could be inhibited by DHA pretreatment. In contrast, cSiO2-induced death was inflammasome-independent and not inhibited by DHA. Taken together, these findings indicate that DHA suppresses cSiO2-induced inflammasome activation and IL-1 cytokine release in macrophages by acting at the level of priming, but was not protective against cSiO2-induced cell death.
Lupus is a debilitating multi-organ autoimmune disease clinically typified by periods of flare and remission. Exposing lupus-prone female NZBWF1 mice to crystalline silica (cSiO 2), a known human autoimmune trigger, mimics flaring by inducing interferon-related gene (IRG) expression, inflammation, ectopic lymphoid structure (ELS) development, and autoantibody production in the lung that collectively accelerate glomerulonephritis. cSiO 2-triggered flaring in this model can be prevented by supplementing mouse diet with the ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A limitation of previous studies was the use of purified diet that, although optimized for rodent health, does not reflect the high American intake of saturated fatty acid (SFA), ω-6 PUFAs, and total fat. To address this, we employed here a modified Total Western Diet (mTWD) emulating the 50 th percentile U.S. macronutrient distribution to discern how DHA supplementation and/or SFA and ω-6 reduction influences cSiO 2-triggered lupus flaring in female NZBWF1 mice. Six-week-old mice were fed isocaloric experimental diets for 2 wks, intranasally instilled with cSiO 2 or saline vehicle weekly for 4 wks, and tissues assessed for lupus endpoints 11 wks following cSiO 2 instillation. In mice fed basal mTWD, cSiO 2 induced robust IRG expression, proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine elevation, leukocyte infiltration, ELS neogenesis, and autoantibody production in the lung, as well as early kidney nephritis onset compared to vehicle-treated mice fed mTWD. Consumption of mTWD containing DHA at the caloric equivalent to a human dose of 5 g/day dramatically suppressed induction of all lupus-associated endpoints. While decreasing SFA and ω-6 in mTWD modestly inhibited some disease markers, DHA addition to this diet was required for maximal protection against lupus development. Taken together, DHA supplementation at a translationally relevant dose was highly effective in
Workplace exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust (cSiO2) has been etiologically linked to the development of lupus and other human autoimmune diseases. Lupus triggering can be recapitulated in female NZBWF1 mice by four weekly intranasal instillations with 1 mg cSiO2. This elicits inflammatory/autoimmune gene expression and ectopic lymphoid structure (ELS) development in the lung within 1 week, ultimately driving early onset of systemic autoimmunity and glomerulonephritis. Intriguingly, dietary supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) found in fish oil, beginning 2 week prior to cSiO2 challenge, prevented inflammation and autoimmune flaring in this novel model. However, it is not yet known how ω-3 PUFA intervention influences established autoimmunity in this murine model of toxicant-triggered lupus. Here we tested the hypothesis that DHA intervention after cSiO2-initiated intrapulmonary autoimmunity will suppress lupus progression in the NZBWF1 mouse. Six-week old NZWBF1 female mice were fed purified isocaloric diet for 2 weeks and then intranasally instilled with 1 mg cSiO2 or saline vehicle weekly for 4 consecutive weeks. One week after the final instillation, which marks onset of ELS formation, mice were fed diets supplemented with 0, 4, or 10 g/kg DHA. One cohort of mice (n = 8/group) was terminated 13 weeks after the last cSiO2 instillation and assessed for autoimmune hallmarks. A second cohort of mice (n = 8/group) remained on experimental diets and was monitored for proteinuria and moribund criteria to ascertain progression of glomerulonephritis and survival, respectively. DHA consumption dose-dependently increased ω-3 PUFA content in the plasma, lung, and kidney at the expense of the ω-6 PUFA arachidonic acid. Dietary intervention with high but not low DHA after cSiO2 treatment suppressed or delayed: (i) recruitment of T cells and B cells to the lung, (ii) development of pulmonary ELS, (iii) elevation of a wide spectrum of plasma autoantibodies associated with lupus and other autoimmune diseases, (iv) initiation and progression of glomerulonephritis, and (v) onset of the moribund state. Taken together, these preclinical findings suggest that DHA supplementation at a human caloric equivalent of 5 g/d was an effective therapeutic regimen for slowing progression of established autoimmunity triggered by the environmental toxicant cSiO2.
Occupational exposure to crystalline silica (cSiO2) is etiologically associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) and other autoimmune diseases. cSiO2's autoimmune effects in humans can be mimicked chronically in female lupus-prone NZBWF1 mice following repeated exposure to the particle. However, the immediate and short-term effects of cSiO2 in this widely used model of autoimmune disease are not well-understood. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that a single acute cSiO2 dose triggers early presentation of cellular, histopathological, transcriptomic, and protein biomarkers of inflammation and autoimmunity in lupus-prone mice. Eight-week old female NZBWF1 mice were intranasally instilled once with 2.5 mg cSiO2 or saline vehicle and necropsied at 1, 7, 14, 21, and 28 d post-instillation (PI). Analyses of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lung tissue revealed that by 7 d PI, acute cSiO2 exposure persistently provoked: (i) robust recruitment of macrophages, neutrophils, and lymphocytes into the alveoli, (ii) cell death as reflected by increased protein, double-stranded DNA, and lactate dehydrogenase activity, (iii) elevated secretion of the cytokines IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-18, TNF-α, IL-6, MCP-1, and B cell activation factor (BAFF), and (iv) upregulation of genes associated with chemokines, proinflammatory cytokines, lymphocyte activation, and type I interferon signaling. The appearance of these endpoints was subsequently followed by the emergence in the lung of organized CD3+ T cells (14 d PI) and CD45R+ B cells (21 d PI) that were indicative of ectopic lymphoid structure (ELS) development. Taken together, acute cSiO2 exposure triggered a rapid onset of autoimmune disease pathogenesis that was heralded in the lung by unresolved inflammation and cell death, proinflammatory cytokine production, chemokine-driven recruitment of leukocytes, an interferon response signature, B and T cell activation, and ELS neogenesis. This short-term murine model provides valuable new insight into potential early mechanisms of cSiO2-induced lupus flaring and, furthermore, offers a rapid venue for evaluating interventions against respirable particle-triggered inflammation and autoimmunity.
Background The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted lives and greatly affected the mental health and public safety of an already vulnerable population—college students. Social distancing and isolation measures have presented challenges to students’ mental health. mHealth apps and wearable sensors may help monitor students at risk of COVID-19 and support their mental well-being. Objective This study aimed to monitor students at risk of COVID-19 by using a wearable sensor and a smartphone-based survey. Methods We conducted a prospective study on undergraduate and graduate students at a public university in the Midwest United States. Students were instructed to download the Fitbit, Social Rhythms, and Roadmap 2.0 apps onto their personal smartphone devices (Android or iOS). Subjects consented to provide up to 10 saliva samples during the study period. Surveys were administered through the Roadmap 2.0 app at five timepoints: at baseline, 1 month later, 2 months later, 3 months later, and at study completion. The surveys gathered information regarding demographics, COVID-19 diagnoses and symptoms, and mental health resilience, with the aim of documenting the impact of COVID-19 on the college student population. Results This study enrolled 2158 college students between September 2020 and January 2021. Subjects are currently being followed-up for 1 academic year. Data collection and analysis are currently underway. Conclusions This study examined student health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic and assessed the feasibility of using a wearable sensor and a survey in a college student population, which may inform the role of our mHealth tools in assessing student health and well-being. Finally, using data derived from a wearable sensor, biospecimen collection, and self-reported COVID-19 diagnosis, our results may provide key data toward the development of a model for the early prediction and detection of COVID-19. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04766788; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04766788 International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID) DERR1-10.2196/29561
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