Basophils trigger emphysema development in a murine model of COPD through IL-4–mediated generation of MMP-12–producing macrophages

Sho Shibata, Kensuke Miyake, Tomoya Tateishi, Soichiro Yoshikawa, Yoshinori Yamanishi, Yasunari Miyazaki, Naohiko Inase, Hajime Karasuyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. It has generally been considered a non-Th2-type lung disorder, characterized by progressive airflow limitation with inflammation and emphysema, but its cellular and molecular mechanism remains ill defined, compared with that of asthma characterized by reversible airway obstruction. Here we show a previously unappreciated role for basophils at the initiation phase of emphysema formation in an elastase-induced murine model of COPD in that basophils represent less than 1% of lung-infiltrating cells. Intranasal elastase instillation elicited the recruitment of monocytes to the lung, followed by differentiation into interstitial macrophages (IMs) but rarely alveolar macrophages (AMs). Matrix metalloproteinase-12 (MMP-12) contributing to emphysema formation was highly expressed by IMs rather than AMs, in contrast to the prevailing assumption. Experiments using a series of genetically engineered mice suggested that basophil-derived IL-4, a Th2 cytokine, acted on lung-infiltrating monocytes to promote their differentiation into MMP-12–producing IMs that resulted in the destruction of alveolar walls and led to emphysema development. Indeed, mice deficient for IL-4 only in basophils failed to generate pathogenic MMP-12–producing IMs and hence develop emphysema. Thus, the basophil-derived IL-4/monocyte–derived IM/MMP-12 axis plays a crucial role in emphysema formation and therefore may be a potential target to slow down emphysema progression at the initiation phase of COPD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13057-13062
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - Dec 18 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Basophil
  • COPD
  • Emphysema
  • IL-4
  • Interstitial macrophage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Basophils trigger emphysema development in a murine model of COPD through IL-4–mediated generation of MMP-12–producing macrophages'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this