Inhibition of acidic mammalian chitinase by RNA interference suppresses ovalbumin-sensitized allergic asthma

Hum Gene Ther. 2009 Dec;20(12):1597-606. doi: 10.1089/hum.2008.092.


Asthma, a chronic helper T cell type 2-mediated inflammatory disease, is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation. Growing evidence suggests that increased expression of acidic mammalian chitinase (AMCase) may play a role in the pathogenesis of asthma. In the present study, we sought to develop an RNA interference approach to suppress allergic asthma in mice through silencing of AMCase expression. Mice sensitized with ovalbumin (OVA) were intratracheally administered a recombinant adeno-associated virus expressing short hairpin RNA (rAAV-shRNA) against AMCase. In OVA-sensitized mice, the development of allergic symptoms was significantly associated with elevated AMCase expression. After administration of rAAV-shRNA, there was a significant reduction of AMCase expression in the lung and in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) cells of sensitized mice. Sensitized mice receiving rAAV-shRNA showed a significant improvement in allergic symptoms, including airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), eosinophil infiltration, eotaxin, interleukin-13 secretion in BALF, and serum OVA-specific IgE level. Our data suggest the hyperexpression of AMCase in asthma can be suppressed by rAAV-mediated shRNA. Silencing AMCase expression by shRNA may be a promising therapeutic strategy in asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Chitinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Chitinases / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • RNA Interference*


  • Ovalbumin
  • AMCase, mouse
  • Chitinases