Bronchoconstriction was recently shown to cause airway remodeling and induce allergic airway inflammation in asthma. However, the mechanisms how mechanical stress via bronchoconstriction could induce airway inflammation and remodeling remain unclear.
We investigated the effect of bronchoconstriction induced by methacholine inhalation in a murine model of asthma.
BALB/c female mice were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA), followed by treatment with methacholine by a nebulizer twice a day for 7 days. Twenty-four hours after the last methacholine treatment, the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lung tissues were collected. The BALF was analyzed for total and differential cell counts and cytokine levels. The lung tissues were analyzed for goblet cell metaplasia, thickness of the smooth muscle, and lung fibrosis. The expression of cytokines in the lung was also examined.
OVA sensitization and challenge induced infiltration of total cells, macrophages, and eosinophils in the BALF along with goblet cell metaplasia and increased airway smooth muscle hypertrophy. Seven days after the last OVA challenge, untreated mice achieved reduction in airway inflammation, while methacholine maintained the number of BALF total cells, macrophages, and eosinophils. The percentage of goblet cells and the thickness of airway smooth muscle were also maintained by methacholine. Moreover, the treatment of methacholine induced the expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β in the lung. This result indicates that the production of TGF-β is involved in induction of airway remodeling caused by bronchoconstriction with methacholine.
Repeated bronchoconstriction caused by methacholine inhalation elicited allergic airway inflammation and airway remodeling.

© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.