Reduced allergic lung inflammation and airway responsiveness in mice lacking the cytoskeletal protein gelsolin

Maya Mikami, Gene T. Yocum, Nicola M. Heller, Charles W. Emala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Airway smooth muscle hyperresponsiveness associated with chronic airway inflammation leads to the typical symptoms of asthma including bronchoconstriction and wheezing. Asthma severity is associated with airway inflammation; therefore, reducing airway inflammation is an important therapeutic target. Gelsolin is an actin capping and severing protein that has been reported to be involved in modulation of the inflammatory response. Using mice genetically lacking gelsolin, we evaluated the role of gelsolin in the establishment of house dust mite (HDM) antigen-induced allergic lung inflammation. The genetic absence of gelsolin was found to be protective against HDM sensitization, resulting in reduced lung inflammation, inflammatory cytokines, and Muc5AC protein in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid. The number of eosinophils, lymphocytes, and interstitial macrophages in the BAL were increased after HDM sensitization in wild-type mice but were attenuated in gelsolin-null mice. The observed attenuation of inflammation may be partly due to delayed migration of immune cells, because the reduced eosinophils in the BALs from gelsolin-null mice compared with controls occurred despite similar amounts of the chemoattractant eotaxin. Splenic T cells demonstrated similar proliferation rates, but ex vivo alveolar macrophage migration was delayed in gelsolin-null mice. In vivo, the reduced lung inflammation after HDM sensitization in gelsolin-null mice was associated with significantly diminished airway resistance to inhaled methacholine compared with HDM-treated wild-type mice. Our results suggest that modulation of gelsolin expression or function in selective inflammatory cell types that modulate allergic lung inflammation could be a therapeutic approach for asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L833-L842
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 3 2020


  • Cytokine
  • FlexiVent
  • House dust mite
  • Macrophage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology

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