Skip to main content

Monocyte-derived alveolar macrophages are key drivers of smoke-induced lung inflammation and tissue remodeling.

Frontiers in immunology

Authors: Christian T Wohnhaas, Kevin Baßler, Carolin K Watson, Yang Shen, Germán G Leparc, Cornelia Tilp, Fabian Heinemann, David Kind, Birgit Stierstorfer, Denis Delić, Thomas Brunner, Florian Gantner, Joachim L Schultze, Coralie Viollet, Patrick Baum

Smoking is a leading risk factor of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), that is characterized by chronic lung inflammation, tissue remodeling and emphysema. Although inflammation is critical to COPD pathogenesis, the cellular and molecular basis underlying smoking-induced lung inflammation and pathology remains unclear. Using murine smoke models and single-cell RNA-sequencing, we show that smoking establishes a self-amplifying inflammatory loop characterized by an influx of molecularly heterogeneous neutrophil subsets and excessive recruitment of monocyte-derived alveolar macrophages (MoAM). In contrast to tissue-resident AM, MoAM are absent in homeostasis and characterized by a pro-inflammatory gene signature. Moreover, MoAM represent 46% of AM in emphysematous mice and express markers causally linked to emphysema. We also demonstrate the presence of pro-inflammatory and tissue remodeling associated MoAM orthologs in humans that are significantly increased in emphysematous COPD patients. Inhibition of the IRAK4 kinase depletes a rare inflammatory neutrophil subset, diminishes MoAM recruitment, and alleviates inflammation in the lung of cigarette smoke-exposed mice. This study extends our understanding of the molecular signaling circuits and cellular dynamics in smoking-induced lung inflammation and pathology, highlights the functional consequence of monocyte and neutrophil recruitment, identifies MoAM as key drivers of the inflammatory process, and supports their contribution to pathological tissue remodeling.

Copyright © 2024 Wohnhaas, Baßler, Watson, Shen, Leparc, Tilp, Heinemann, Kind, Stierstorfer, Delić, Brunner, Gantner, Schultze, Viollet and Baum.

PMID: 38348034

Participating cluster members