Conjugated bile acids (CBAs), such as tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), are known to resolve the inflammatory and unfolded protein response (UPR) in inflammatory diseases, such as asthma. Whether CBAs exert their beneficial effects on allergic airway responses via 1 arm or several arms of the UPR, or alternatively through the signaling pathways for conserved bile acid receptor, remains largely unknown. We used a house dust mite-induced (HDM-induced) murine model of asthma to evaluate and compare the effects of 5 CBAs and 1 unconjugated bile acid in attenuating allergen-induced UPR and airway responses. Expression of UPRassociated transcripts was assessed in airway brushings from human patients with asthma and healthy subjects. Here we show that CBAs, such as alanyl β-muricholic acid (AβM) and TUDCA, significantly decreased inflammatory, immune, and cytokine responses; mucus metaplasia; and airway hyperresponsiveness, as compared with other CBAs in a model of allergic airway disease. CBAs predominantly bind to activating transcription factor 6α (ATF6α) compared with the other canonical transducers of the UPR, subsequently decreasing allergen-induced UPR activation and resolving allergic airway disease, without significant activation of the bile acid receptors. TUDCA and AβM also attenuated other HDM-induced ER stress markers in the lungs of allergic mice. Quantitative mRNA analysis of airway epithelial brushings from human subjects demonstrated that several ATF6α-related transcripts were significantly upregulated in patients with asthma compared with healthy subjects. Collectively, these results demonstrate that CBA-based therapy potently inhibits the allergen-induced UPR and allergic airway disease in mice via preferential binding of the canonical transducer of the UPR, ATF6α. These results potentially suggest a novel avenue to treat allergic asthma using select CBAs.
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