Sulforaphane treatment reverses corticosteroid resistance in a mixed granulocytic mouse model of asthma by upregulation of antioxidants and attenuation of Th17 immune responses in the airways.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2019 Jul 15 ;855:276-284. Epub 2019 May 14. PMID: 31100413
Naif O Al-Harbi
Sulforaphane has received considerable attention in recent years due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Its preventive effect in the inhibition of airway inflammation is known; however, whether it affects mixed granulocyte asthma (corticosteroid resistance phenotype) is largely undiscovered. Therefore, we assessed the effect of pharmacological activation of Nrf2, a redox-sensitive transcription factor, using sulforaphane in a mouse model of mixed granulocyte airway inflammation. Mice were sensitized and challenged with cockroach allergen extract (CE), and airway inflammatory parameters and markers of steroid resistance [Nrf2 activity, oxidant-antioxidant balance in airway epithelial cells (AECs)/lung, and IL-17A-related pathway in Th17 cells and dendritic cells (DCs)] were investigated. Our results show that sulforaphane administration reduced neutrophilic airway inflammation, myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, and Th17 immune responses in a mixed granulocyte mouse model of asthma through Nrf2 activation. On the other hand, corticosteroid treatment decreased Th2/eosinophilic immune responses but had little on Th17/neutrophilic immune responses. However, combined treatment with both almost completely blocked both neutrophilic/eosinophilic and Th17/Th2 immune responses in the lung. Sulforaphane treatment led to induction of antioxidant enzymes (SOD, GPx) in AECs and pulmonary non-enzymatic antioxidants. Further, it led to reduction in inflammatory cytokines (IL-6/IL-23/IL-17A) in Th17 cells/CD11c + DCs during mixed granulocytic inflammation. Collectively, our study presents the evidence that activation of Nrf2 by sulforaphane reduces neutrophilic airway inflammation by upregulation of antioxidants and downregulation of inflammatory cytokines in airways. This is possibly the basis for reversal of corticosteroid resistance in this model. This shows the therapeutic potential of sulforaphane in mixed granulocyte asthma.