Nanoparticle-Induced Airway Eosinophilia Is Independent of ILC2 Signaling but Associated With Sex Differences in Macrophage Phenotype Development

Jessica L. Ray, Pam K. Shaw, Britten Postma, Celine A. Beamer, Andrij Holian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The majority of lung diseases occur with a sex bias in terms of prevalence and/or severity. Previous studies demonstrated that, compared with males, female mice develop greater eosinophilic inflammation in the airways after multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) exposure. However, the mechanism by which this sex bias occurs is unknown. Two immune cells that could account for the sex bias are type II innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) and alveolar macrophages (AMs). In order to determine which immune cell type was responsible for MWCNT-induced airway eosinophil recruitment and subsequent sex differences in inflammation and disease, male and female C57BL/6 mice were exposed to MWCNTs (2 mg/kg) via oropharyngeal aspiration, and the respiratory immune response was assessed 7 d later. Greater eosinophilia and eotaxin 2 levels were observed in MWCNT-treated females and corresponded with greater changes in airway hyperresponsiveness than those in MWCNT-treated males. In MWCNT-treated females, there was a significant increase in the frequency of ILC2s within the lungs compared with control animals. However, depletion of ILC2s via a-CD90.2 administration did not decrease eosinophil recruitment 24 h and 7 d after MWCNT exposure. AMs isolated from control and MWCNT-treated animals demonstrated that M2a macrophage phenotype gene expression, ex vivo cytokine production, and activation of (p)STAT6 were upregulated to a significantly greater degree in MWCNT-treated females than in males. Our findings suggest that sex differences in AM phenotype development, not ILC2 signaling, are responsible for the observed female bias in eosinophilic inflammation after MWCNT inhalation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-120
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


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