Correlation between nuclear factor-κB activity in bronchial brushing samples and lung dysfunction in an animal model of asthma

Fabrice Bureau*, Giuseppina Bonizzi, Nathalie Kirschvink, Sylvie Delhalle, Daniel Desmecht, Marie Paule Merville, Vincent Bours, Pierre Lekeux

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)


Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, in which many inflammatory genes are overexpressed. Transcription factor, nuclear factor- κB (NF-κB), which is thought to control the transcriptional initiation of inflammatory genes, has been poorly investigated in asthma. In the present report, bronchial cells (BCs), recovered by bronchial brushing in healthy and heaves-affected horses (i.e., an animal model of asthma), were assessed for NF-κB activity. Small amounts of active NF-κB were present in BCs of healthy horses, whereas high levels of NF-κB activity was found during crisis (i.e., acute airway obstruction) in all heaves-affected horses. Three weeks after the crisis, the level of NF-κB activity found in BCs of heaves- affected horses was highly correlated (p < 0.01) to the degree of residual lung dysfunction. Unexpectedly, active NFκB complexes found in BCs of heaves-affected horses were mainly p65 homodimers, rather than classic p65- p50 heterodimers. At last, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) expression paralleled p65 homodimers activity in these cells. These results demonstrate that the kinetics of NF-κB activity is strongly related to the course of the disease and confirm the relevance of NF-κB as a putative target in asthma therapy. Moreover, uncommon p65 homodimers could transactivate, in BCs, a subset of genes, such as ICAM-1, characteristic of chronic airway inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1314-1321
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number4 I
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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