Increased epithelial mTORC1 activity in chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology

BACKGROUND: The airway epithelium plays a central role in the pathogenesis of chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP), but the mechanisms by which airway epithelial cells (EpCs) maintain inflammation are poorly understood.OBJECTIVE: We hypothesized that transcriptomic assessment of sorted airway EpCs across the spectrum of differentiation would allow us to define mechanisms by which EpCs perpetuate airway inflammation.METHODS: Ethmoid sinus EpCs from adult patients with CRS were sorted into 3 subsets, bulk RNA sequenced, and analyzed for differentially expressed genes and pathways. Single cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) datasets from eosinophilic and non-eosinophilic CRSwNP and bulk RNA-seq of EpCs from mild/moderate and severe asthma were assessed. Immunofluorescent staining and functional analysis of sinus EpCs were used to validate our findings.RESULTS: Analysis within and across purified EpC subsets revealed an enrichment in glycolytic programming in CRSwNP vs CRSsNP. Correlation analysis identified mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) as a potential regulator of the glycolytic program and identified EpC expression of cytokines and wound healing genes as potential sequelae. mTORC1 activity was upregulated in CRSwNP, and inhibition demonstrated that mTOR is critical for EpC generation of CXCL8, IL-33, and CXCL2. Across patient samples, the degree of glycolytic activity was associated with T2 inflammation in CRSwNP, and with both T2 and non-T2 inflammation in severe asthma.CONCLUSIONS: Together, these findings highlight a metabolic axis required to support epithelial generation of cytokines critical to both chronic T2 and non-T2 inflammation in CRSwNP and asthma.

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