Epithelial-macrophage-dendritic cell interactions impact alarmins expression in asthma and COPD

Clin Immunol. 2020 Jun;215:108421. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2020.108421. Epub 2020 Apr 14.


In the respiratory system macrophages and dendritic cells collaborate as sentinels against foreign particulate antigens. The study used a triple-cell co-culture model, utilizing nasal epithelial cells, along with: monocyte derived macrophages (moMφs), and monocyte derived DCs (moDCs). Cell cultures from 15 controls, 14 asthma and 11 COPD patients were stimulated with IL-13 and poly I:C for 24 h. Co-cultivation of epithelial cells with moMφs and moDCs increased TSLP level only in asthma and the effect of IL-13 and poly I:C stimulation differed in all groups. Asthma epithelial cells expressed higher level of receptors TSLPR, ST2 and IL-17RA than controls and increased number of ST2 + ciliated and IL17RA + secretory cells. Cytokine expression in respiratory epithelium may be influenced by structural and immunological cell interaction. TSLP pathway may be associated with secretory, while IL-33 with ciliated cells. The impaired function of respiratory epithelium may impact cell-to-cell interactions in asthma.

Keywords: Alarmins; Asthma; COPD; Epithelium; IL-25; IL-33; TSLP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alarmins / immunology*
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Cell Communication / immunology*
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Epithelial Cells / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-33 / immunology
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / immunology*
  • Respiratory Mucosa / immunology
  • Young Adult


  • Alarmins
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-33