Bitter Taste Receptor Agonists Mitigate Features of Allergic Asthma in Mice
© 2017 The Author(s). Asthma is characterized by airway inflammation, mucus secretion, remodeling and hyperresponsiveness (AHR). Recent research has established the bronchodilatory effect of bitter taste receptor (TAS2R) agonists in various models. Comprehensive pre-clinical studies aimed at establishing effectiveness of TAS2R agonists in disease models are lacking. Here we aimed to determine the effect of TAS2R agonists on features of asthma. Further, we elucidated a mechanism by which TAS2R agonists mitigate features of asthma. Asthma was induced in mice using intranasal house dust mite or aerosol ova-Albumin challenge, and chloroquine or quinine were tested in both prophylactic and treatment models. Allergen challenge resulted in airway inflammation as evidenced by increased immune cells infiltration and release of cytokines and chemokines in the lungs, which were significantly attenuated in TAS2R agonists treated mice. TAS2R agonists attenuated features of airway remodeling including smooth muscle mass, extracellular matrix deposition and pro-fibrotic signaling, and also prevented mucus accumulation and development of AHR in mice. Mechanistic studies using human neutrophils demonstrated that inhibition of immune cell chemotaxis is a key mechanism by which TAS2R agonists blocked allergic airway inflammation and exerted anti-Asthma effects. Our comprehensive studies establish the effectiveness of TAS2R agonists in mitigating multiple features of allergic asthma.
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