Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure has been linked to the worsening of ongoing lung diseases. However, whether SHS exposure affects the manifestation and natural history of imminent pediatric muco-obstructive airway diseases such as cystic fibrosis remains unclear. To address these questions, we exposed Scnn1b transgenic (Scnn1b-Tg+) mice to SHS from postnatal day (PND) 3-21 and lung phenotypes were examined at PND22. Although a majority of filtered air (FA)-exposed Scnn1b-Tg+ (FA-Tg+) mice successfully cleared spontaneous bacterial infections by PND22, the SHS-exposed Scnn1b-Tg+ (SHS-Tg+) mice failed to resolve these infections. This defect was associated with suppressed antibacterial defenses, i.e., phagocyte recruitment, IgA secretion, and Muc5b expression. Whereas the FA-Tg+ mice exhibited marked mucus obstruction and Th2 responses, SHS-Tg+ mice displayed a dramatic suppression of these responses. Mechanistically, downregulated expression of IL-33, a stimulator of type II innate lymphoid cells, in lung epithelial cells was associated with suppression of neutrophil recruitment, IgA secretions, Th2 responses, and delayed bacterial clearance in SHS-Tg+ mice. Cessation of SHS exposure for 21 d restored previously suppressed responses, including phagocyte recruitment, IgA secretion, and mucous cell metaplasia. However, in contrast with FA-Tg+ mice, the SHS-Tg+ mice had pronounced epithelial necrosis, alveolar space consolidation, and lymphoid hyperplasia; indicating lagged unfavorable effects of early postnatal SHS exposure in later life. Collectively, our data show that early postnatal SHS exposure reversibly suppresses IL-33 levels in airspaces which, in turn, results in reduced neutrophil recruitment and diminished Th2 response. Our data indicate that household smoking may predispose neonates with muco-obstructive lung disease to bacterial exacerbations.
Copyright © 2017 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.