B cells play an important role in allergic asthma. However, the mechanisms by which these cells are activated in the airways remain poorly understood.
We used a mouse model of ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergic inflammation to study CXCL13 and to investigate the concentration of this chemokine in the BAL fluid derived from asthmatic and normal control subjects.
We found that OVA-challenged mice upregulate the CXCL13/CXCR5 axis, which is associated with several changes in their airways, including recruitment of B and CD4+ cells, development of bronchial-associated lymphoid tissue, and airway inflammation. Treating sensitized mice with an anti-CXCL13 antibody reduced cell recruitment, bronchial-associated lymphoid tissue formation, and airways inflammation. Interestingly, measurements of CXCL13 using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed that levels of this cytokine were significantly elevated in BAL fluid from subjects with asthma compared with control subjects (median, 162 [range, 120-296] vs 31 [range, 120-156] pg/mL; P = .005).
All together, these findings suggest that CXCL13 is involved in the allergic airway inflammatory process, and targeting this chemokine may constitute a novel approach in asthma.