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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Acknowledgments The authors appreciate the contribution of Professor Do Sik Min for performing experiments with helpful discussion. This work was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology of Korea (the Translational Research Center for Protein Function Control), Mid-career Researcher Program National Leading Research Lab., Stem Cell Research Project, and Mid-career Researcher Program (2009-0083522, 2012-010285, 2010-0020235, and 2010-0026844, respectively). E. J. Ro, P. H. Cha, H. Y. Kim, and Y. H. Cho were supported by a BK21 studentship from the NRF.
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