Combination of IL-17A/F and TNF-α uniquely alters the bronchial epithelial cell proteome to enhance proteins that augment neutrophil migration
Hiemstra, Pieter S.
Halayko, Andrew J.
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Abstract Background The heterodimer interleukin (IL)-17A/F is elevated in the lungs in chronic respiratory disease such as severe asthma, along with the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). Although IL-17A/F and TNF-α are known to functionally cooperate to exacerbate airway inflammation, proteins altered by their interaction in the lungs are not fully elucidated. Results We used Slow Off-rate Modified Aptamer-based proteomic array to identify proteins that are uniquely and/or synergistically enhanced by concurrent stimulation with IL-17A/F and TNF-α in human bronchial epithelial cells (HBEC). The abundance of 38 proteins was significantly enhanced by the combination of IL-17A/F and TNF-α, compared to either cytokine alone. Four out of seven proteins that were increased > 2-fold were those that promote neutrophil migration; host defence peptides (HDP; Lipocalin-2 (LCN-2) and Elafin) and chemokines (IL-8, GROα). We independently confirmed the synergistic increase of these four proteins by western blots and ELISA. We also functionally confirmed that factors secreted by HBEC stimulated with the combination of IL-17A/F and TNF-α uniquely enhances neutrophil migration. We further showed that PI3K and PKC pathways selectively control IL-17A/F + TNF-α-mediated synergistic production of HDPs LCN-2 and Elafin, but not chemokines IL-8 and GROα. Using a murine model of airway inflammation, we demonstrated enhancement of IL-17A/F, TNF-α, LCN-2 and neutrophil chemokine KC in the lungs, thus corroborating our findings in-vivo. Conclusion This study identifies proteins and signaling mediated by concurrent IL-17A/F and TNF-α exposure in the lungs, relevant to respiratory diseases characterized by chronic inflammation, especially neutrophilic airway inflammation such as severe asthma.