Impaired interferon-α expression in plasmacytoid dendritic cells in asthma

Ting Yu Lin, Chun Yu Lo, Kuo-Chien Tsao, Po Jui Chang, Chih His Scott Kuo, Yu-Lun Lo, Shu-min Lin, Meng Heng Hsieh, Tsai Yu Wang, Ping-Chih Hsu, Horng-Chyuan Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Toll-like receptor (TLR)-7-associated rhinovirus (RV) activation is involved in the pathogenesis of asthma. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are the main interferon-α-producing cells against viruses. Objective: To determine whether asthmatic patients and control subjects differ in terms of interferon-α expression in pDCs under TLR-7 or RV stimulation. Methods: pDCs were identified in BDCA-2+ and HLA-DR+ peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Interferon-α expression of pDCs was analyzed after TLR-7 stimulation with or without interleukin 4 (IL-4)/IL-13 pretreatment. Interferon-α expression was also analyzed after RV stimulation over periods of 24, 48, or 96 h with or without IL-4 pretreatment. RV detection and molecular typing were assayed from throat swabs. Results: Following TLR-7 stimulation, the expression of intracellular interferon-α was higher in the pDCs of normal subjects than those of asthmatic patients; however, pretreatment with IL-4 was shown to reduce this effect. After 48- and 96-h RV stimulation, we observed a notable increase in the production of interferon-α of pDCs in normal subjects but not in asthmatic patients. Baseline interferon-α expression in pDCs and the incidence of asthma exacerbation to emergency was higher among the 13% of patients identified as rhinovirus+ than among their RV counterparts. Conclusion: Our study discovered the response to TLR-7 stimulation in pDCs was compromised and the sustainability of interferon-α expression to RV stimulation was reduced in pDCs of asthmatic patients, which provide further evidence of defective innate response and subspeciality to RV infection in asthma. The high exacerbation history founded in RV+ patients agrees with these findings. Further research is required for the modulatory effect of IL-4 on TLR-7 stimulated pDCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-195
Number of pages13
JournalImmunity, Inflammation and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 03 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Immunity, Inflammation and Disease published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • asthma
  • dendritic cells
  • rhinovirus
  • toll-like receptor 7


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