Article Title

Dysregulated Notch signaling in the airway epithelium of children with wheeze


The airway epithelium of children with wheeze is characterized by defective repair that contributes to disease pathobiology. Dysregulation of developmental processes controlled by Notch has been identified in chronic asthma. However, its role in airway epithelial cells of young children with wheeze, particularly during repair, is yet to be determined. We hypothesized that Notch is dysregulated in primary airway epithelial cells (pAEC) of children with wheeze contributing to defective repair. This study investigated transcriptional and protein expression and function of Notch in pAEC isolated from children with and without wheeze. Primary AEC of children with and without wheeze were found to express all known Notch receptors and ligands, although pAEC from children with wheeze expressed significantly lower NOTCH2 (10-fold, p = 0.004) and higher JAG1 (3.5-fold, p = 0.002) mRNA levels. These dysregulations were maintained in vitro and cultures from children with wheeze displayed altered kinetics of both NOTCH2 and JAG1 expression during repair. Following Notch signaling inhibition, pAEC from children without wheeze failed to repair (wound closure rate of 76.9 ± 3.2%). Overexpression of NOTCH2 in pAEC from children with wheeze failed to rescue epithelial repair following wounding. This study illustrates the involvement of the Notch pathway in airway epithelial wound repair in health and disease, where its dysregulation may contribute to asthma development.


paediatrics, wheeze, airway epithelium, wound repair, Notch

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