Oncostatin M promotes mucosal epithelial barrier dysfunction, and its expression is increased in patients with eosinophilic mucosal disease

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Sep;136(3):737-746.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.01.043. Epub 2015 Apr 1.


Background: Epithelial barrier dysfunction is thought to play a role in many mucosal diseases, including asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), and eosinophilic esophagitis.

Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the role of oncostatin M (OSM) in epithelial barrier dysfunction in human mucosal disease.

Methods: OSM expression was measured in tissue extracts, nasal secretions, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. The effects of OSM stimulation on barrier function of normal human bronchial epithelial cells and nasal epithelial cells cultured at the air-liquid interface were assessed by using transepithelial electrical resistance and fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran flux. Dual-color immunofluorescence was used to evaluate the integrity of tight junction structures in cultured epithelial cells.

Results: Analysis of samples from patients with CRS showed that OSM mRNA and protein levels were highly increased in nasal polyps compared with those seen in control uncinate tissue (P < .05). OSM levels were also increased in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of allergic asthmatic patients after segmental allergen challenge and in esophageal biopsy specimens from patients with eosinophilic esophagitis. OSM stimulation of air-liquid interface cultures resulted in reduced barrier function, as measured by decreased transepithelial electrical resistance and increased fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran flux (P < .05). Alterations in barrier function by OSM were reversible, and the viability of epithelial cells was unaffected. OSM levels in lysates of nasal polyps and uncinate tissue positively correlated with levels of α2-macroglobulin, a marker of epithelial leak, in localized nasal secretions (r = 0.4855, P < .05).

Conclusions: These results suggest that OSM might play a role in epithelial barrier dysfunction in patients with CRS and other mucosal diseases.

Keywords: Oncostatin M; atopic asthma; chronic rhinosinusitis; eosinophilic esophagitis; epithelial barrier; tight junctions; transepithelial electrical resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asthma / genetics*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / metabolism
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dextrans / metabolism
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / genetics*
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / immunology
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / metabolism
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / pathology
  • Epithelial Cells / immunology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Female
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate / analogs & derivatives
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Mucosa / immunology
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Nasal Mucosa / pathology
  • Nasal Polyps / genetics*
  • Nasal Polyps / immunology
  • Nasal Polyps / metabolism
  • Nasal Polyps / pathology
  • Oncostatin M / genetics*
  • Oncostatin M / immunology
  • Permeability
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / immunology
  • Rhinitis / genetics*
  • Rhinitis / immunology
  • Rhinitis / metabolism
  • Rhinitis / pathology
  • Sinusitis / genetics*
  • Sinusitis / immunology
  • Sinusitis / metabolism
  • Sinusitis / pathology
  • Tight Junctions / immunology
  • Tight Junctions / metabolism
  • Tight Junctions / pathology


  • Dextrans
  • OSM protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • fluorescein isothiocyanate dextran
  • Oncostatin M
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate