House dust mites (HDMs) are a common cause of allergic asthma. The group 2 allergen from Dermatophagoides farinae, Der f 2, is one of the major HDM allergens. Elevated Der f 2 immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels are observed in most of the allergic patients. Interleukin-13 (IL-13), a gene associated with asthma pathology, was induced by Der f 2 in BEAS-2B human airway epithelial cells; however, the signaling pathways associated with Der f 2 are not fully understood. In this study, we identified a role of the phosphatidylinositol-3- kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway, a well-known potential target for anti-asthma drugs, in the IL-13 induction by Der f 2. First, Der f 2 activated the PI3K/Akt pathway, which subsequently activated the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) pathway and induced IL-13 expression in BEAS-2B cells. Treatment with the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 abolished Der f 2-induced activation of Akt and NF-κB and the expression of IL-13. Furthermore, Der f 2-induced activation of the PI3K/Akt and NF-κB pathways, expression of IL-13, and the blockade of these effects with a PI3K inhibitor were confirmed in the lungs of mice that were intranasally exposed to Der f 2. Taken together, these results indicate that the PI3K/Akt pathway regulates Der f 2-induced IL-13 expression via activation of the NF-κB pathway.
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