Apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) is an important component of high-density lipoprotein particles that mediates reverse cholesterol transport out of cells by interacting with the ATP-binding cassette transporter 1 (ABCA1). apoA-I has also been shown to attenuate neutrophilic airway inflammation in experimental ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthma by reducing the expression of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). Here, we hypothesized that overexpression of the ABCA1 transporter might similarly attenuate OVA-induced neutrophilic airway inflammation. Tie2-human ABCA1 (hABCA1) mice expressing human ABCA1 under the control of the Tie2 promoter, which is primarily expressed by vascular endothelial cells, but can also be expressed by macrophages, received daily intranasal OVA challenges, 5 d/wk for 5 weeks. OVA-challenged Tie2-hABCA1 mice had significant reductions in total bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) cells that reflected a decrease in neutrophils, as well as reductions in peribronchial inflammation, OVA-specific IgE levels, and airway epithelial thickness. The reduced airway neutrophilia in OVA-challenged Tie2-hABCA1 mice was associated with significant decreases in G-CSF protein levels in pulmonary vascular endothelial cells, alveolar macrophages, and BALF. Intranasal administration of recombinant murine G-CSF to OVA-challenged Tie2-hABCA1 mice for 5 days increased BALF neutrophils to a level comparable to that of OVA-challenged wild-type mice. We conclude that ABCA1 suppresses OVA-induced airway neutrophilia by reducing G-CSF production by vascular endothelial cells and alveolar macrophages. These findings suggest that ABCA1 expressed by vascular endothelial cells and alveolar macrophages may play important roles in attenuating the severity of neutrophilic airway inflammation in asthma.
Keywords: ATP-binding cassette transporter 1; airway inflammation; neutrophil; ovalbumin; vascular endothelial cells.