Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a key mediator in the development of airway immune dysfunction to inhaled allergens. However, the exact role of its receptors-mediated signaling is controversial. In this study, we evaluated the role of VEGF receptor (VEGFR)-1-and VEGFR-2-mediated signaling in T cell priming and polarization in the context of inhalation of LPS-containing allergens. A murine asthma model of mixed Th1 and Th17 cell responses was generated using intranasal sensitization with LPS-containing allergens. Pharmacologic intervention was performed during sensitization. In vivo production of VEGF and Th1-and Th17-polarizing cytokines (IL-12p70 and IL-6, respectively) were upregulated by airway exposure to LPS. Pharmacological intervention with a VEGFR-2-neutralizing Ab (anti-Flk1 mAb) abolished the production of IL-6 (but not IL-12p70) and the subsequent development of allergen-specific Th17 cell response. On the other hand, blocking VEGFR-1 signaling with a VEGFR-1 antagonist (anti-Flt1 hexapeptide) did not affect the production of IL-12p70 and IL-6. However, blocking VEGFR-1 signaling resulted in T cell tolerance rather than priming, mainly by inhibiting the maturation of lung dendritic cells, and their migration into lung-draining lymph nodes. These results suggest that T cell priming to LPS-containing allergens depends on VEGFR-1-mediated signaling, and the subsequent Th17 polarization depends on VEGFR-2 signaling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy