Functional role of kynurenine and aryl hydrocarbon receptor axis in chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps

Heng Wang, Danh C. Do, Jinxin Liu, Baofeng Wang, Jingjing Qu, Xia Ke, Xiaoyan Luo, Ho Man Tang, Ho Lam Tang, Chengping Hu, Mark E. Anderson, Zheng Liu, Peisong Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) is associated with mast cell–mediated inflammation and heightened oxidant stress. Kynurenine (KYN), an endogenous tryptophan metabolite, can promote allergen-induced mast cell activation through the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). Objectives: We sought to determine the role of the KYN/AhR axis and oxidant stress in mast cell activation and the development of CRSwNP. Methods: We measured the expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1, tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase, KYN, and oxidized calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (ox-CaMKII) in nasal polyps and controls. KYN-potentiated ovalbumin (OVA)-induced ROS generation, cell activation, and ox-CaMKII expression were investigated in wild-type and AhR-deficient (AhR−/−) mast cells. The role of ox-CaMKII in mast cell activation was further investigated. Results: Nasal polyps in CRSwNP showed an increased expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1, tryptophan2,3-dioxygenase, and KYN compared with controls. AhR was predominantly expressed in mast cells in nasal polyps. Activated mast cells and local IgE levels were substantially increased in eosinophilic polyps compared with noneosinophilic polyps and controls. Furthermore, KYN potentiated OVA-induced ROS generation, intracellular Ca2+ levels, cell activation, and expression of ox-CaMKII in wild-type, but not in AhR−/− mast cells. Compared with noneosinophilic polyps and controls, eosinophilic polyps showed increased expression of ox-CaMKII in mast cells. Mast cells from ROS-resistant CaMKII MMVVδ mice or pretreated with CaMKII inhibitor showed protection against KYN-promoted OVA-induced mast cell activation. Conclusions: These studies support a potentially critical but previously unidentified function of the KYN/AhR axis in regulating IgE-mediated mast cell activation through ROS and ox-CaMKII in CRSwNP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-600.e6
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps
  • aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)
  • calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII)
  • kynurenine
  • mast cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Functional role of kynurenine and aryl hydrocarbon receptor axis in chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this