Background: Airway remodeling and dysfunction are characteristic features of asthma thought to be caused by aberrant production of Th2 cytokines. Histamine H4 receptor (H4R) perturbation has previously been shown to modify acute inflammation and Th2 cytokine production in a murine model of asthma. We examined the ability of H4R antagonists to therapeutically modify the effects of Th2 cytokine production such as goblet cell hyperplasia (GCH), and collagen deposition in a sub-chronic model of asthma. In addition, effects on Th2 mediated lung dysfunction were also determined.
Methods: Mice were sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) followed by repeated airway challenge with OVA. After inflammation was established mice were dosed with the H4R antagonist, JNJ 7777120, or anti-IL-13 antibody for comparison. Airway hyperreactivity (AHR) was measured, lungs lavaged and tissues collected for analysis.
Results: Therapeutic H4R antagonism inhibited T cell infiltration in to the lung and decreased Th2 cytokines IL-13 and IL-5. IL-13 dependent remodeling parameters such as GCH and lung collagen were reduced. Intervention with H4R antagonist also improved measures of central and peripheral airway dysfunction.
Conclusions: These data demonstrate that therapeutic H4R antagonism can significantly ameliorate allergen induced, Th2 cytokine driven pathologies such as lung remodeling and airway dysfunction. The ability of H4R antagonists to affect these key manifestations of asthma suggests their potential as novel human therapeutics.