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Open Access Open Badges Research

Role of T cells in a gp91phox knockout murine model of acute allergic asthma

Ena Ray Banerjee12* and William R Henderson1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Center for Allergy and Inflammation, University of Washington, Room 254, 850 Republican Street, Seattle, WA 98109, USA

2 Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, 35 Ballygunge Circular Road, Kolkata 700019, West Bengal, India

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Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology 2013, 9:6  doi:10.1186/1710-1492-9-6

Published: 7 February 2013



Molecular regulation of inflammation, especially, the role of effector cells in NADPH oxidase-mediated redox reactions for producing O2- (superoxide anion) is a critical step. This study explores the roles of macrophages and neutrophils and their cross-talk with extra-cellular matrix components in the light of the role essayed by T cells. Materials and Methods and Treatment: To clarify the role of NADPH oxidase in the pathophysiology of T cell-initiatedmacrophage-associated allergic asthma, we induced allergen dependent inflammation in a gp91phox−/− SKO (single knockout) and a gp91phox−/− MMP-12−/− DKO (double knockout) mouse and analysed trafficking and functionality of various cell types, the T cell function and T cell-macrophage interaction being given special emphasis.


Composite asthma symptoms expressed in a more aggravated manner in both the KO (SKO and DKO) mice compared to WT indicating that some redundancy may exist in the response pathways of gp91phox and MMP-12. On the one hand, upregulation in macrophage functions such as proliferation, mixed lymphocyte reaction, and MCP-1 directed chemotaxis, may indicate that a regulatory cross-talk is switched on between T cell and macrophage and on the other, downregulation of respiratory burst response hints at a dichotomy in their signaling pathways. Increased B7.1 but reduced B7.2 and MHC class II expression on KO alveolar macrophages may suggest that a switching on-off mechanism is operative where alteration of co-stimulatory molecule expression selectively activating T cell is a critical step.


T cell mediated functions such as Th2 cytokine secretion, and T cell proliferation in response to OVA were upregulated synchronous with the overall robustness of the asthma phenotype.


As far as cell-cell interaction is concerned, the data is indicative of the existence of a plethora of networks where molecular switches may exist that selectively induce activation and deactivation of regulatory pathways that ultimately manifest in the overall response. gp91phox and MMP-12 either redundantly or synergistically but not additively, provide a regulatory checkpoint for restricting T cell cross-talk with macrophages and keep excessive tissue damage and ECM degradation during acute allergic inflammation under control.