Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of chronic morbidity and mortality in the United States. As COPD progresses, patients develop more frequent and severe exacerbation, and have an increased rate of emergency room visits and hospitalizations, particularly in the night time and early hours of the day when lung function is lowest and steroids and bronchodilators have their smallest effects. Patients with COPD have abnormal circadian rhythm, reflected in circadian changes in the airway caliber and resistance and respiratory symptoms. However, the cellular and molecular mechanism that underlies altered circadian rhythm in lungs of patients with COPD is not understood. Circadian clock period proteins (Per) and cryptochrome (Cry) and their transcriptional activators core CLOCK and BMAL1 regulate intrinsic daily rhythm, but the role of these molecular oscillators in lung physiology and pathology in response to environmental cues is not known. Our preliminary data show the presence of circadian oscillator in mouse and human lungs and further show that this clock oscillation is disturbed by cigarette smoke (CS) and in patients with COPD. Our preliminary data further show that the acetylation of BMAL1 and Per2 is increased in bronchial epithelial cells, macrophages and lungs of mice exposed to CS, and in sputum and lung cells from COPD patients associated with reduction in the activity/level of deacetylase sirtuin 1 (SIRT1). Genetic ablation of SIRT1 leads to dampening of circadian clock associated with exaggerated lung inflammatory responses and decline in lung function, suggesting that SIRT1 plays a regulatory role in lung circadian physiology. However, the functional consequence of altered circadian rhythmicity in lungs by CS is not known. We, therefore, hypothesize that circadian proteins BMAL1 and Per2 are altered by CS via downregulation of SIRT1 leading to disruption of circadian rhythm, increased lung inflammation and steroid resistance associated with decline in lung function in mouse model of COPD/emphysema and its exacerbations. We propose the three specific aims to test this hypothesis in vitro in bronchial epithelial cells and macrophages and in vivo in mouse lungs exposed to CS. We propose to: (1) determine the molecular mechanisms by which CS exposure results in alteration of circadian proteins BMAL1 and Per 2 in human bronchial epithelial cells, macrophages and in mouse lungs;(2) determine the mechanisms whereby SIRT1 regulates BMAL1, inflammatory response and circadian periodicity by CS;and (3) determine the role of circadian proteins and SIRT1 on CS-mediated alteration in circadian periodicity, inflammation and steroid resistance in a mouse model of COPD and its exacerbations, and in patients with exacerbations of COPD. Overall, this study will understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of peripheral circadian-coupled lung functions and identify SIRT1 as novel target for strategic chronotherapeutic manipulation of circadian proteins and reversal of steroid resistance.

Public Health Relevance

Impact on public health: COPD is the fourth leading cause of chronic morbidity and mortality in the United States, hence it is a major public health concern. Circadian regulation of COPD exacerbations is associated with worsening and rapid decline in lung function in patients with COPD where current therapies are palliative. Our research will identify the mechanisms of molecular circadian clock in lung cells regulating lung inflammation and augment the therapeutic potentials of steroids and bronchodilators by modulating circadian proteins in COPD.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1-CSR-N (S1))
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Laposky, Aaron D
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University of Rochester
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Dentistry
United States
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Sundar, Isaac K; Yao, Hongwei; Sellix, Michael T et al. (2015) Circadian clock-coupled lung cellular and molecular functions in chronic airway diseases. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 53:285-90
Yao, Hongwei; Sundar, Isaac K; Huang, Yadi et al. (2015) Disruption of Sirtuin 1-Mediated Control of Circadian Molecular Clock and Inflammation in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 53:782-92
Sundar, Isaac K; Yao, Hongwei; Sellix, Michael T et al. (2015) Circadian molecular clock in lung pathophysiology. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 309:L1056-75
Sundar, Isaac K; Ahmad, Tanveer; Yao, Hongwei et al. (2015) Influenza A virus-dependent remodeling of pulmonary clock function in a mouse model of COPD. Sci Rep 4:9927
Yao, Hongwei; Sundar, Isaac K; Ahmad, Tanveer et al. (2014) SIRT1 protects against cigarette smoke-induced lung oxidative stress via a FOXO3-dependent mechanism. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 306:L816-28
Sundar, Isaac K; Yao, Hongwei; Huang, Yadi et al. (2014) Serotonin and corticosterone rhythms in mice exposed to cigarette smoke and in patients with COPD: implication for COPD-associated neuropathogenesis. PLoS One 9:e87999
Sundar, Isaac K; Nevid, Michael Z; Friedman, Alan E et al. (2014) Cigarette smoke induces distinct histone modifications in lung cells: implications for the pathogenesis of COPD and lung cancer. J Proteome Res 13:982-96
Hwang, Jae-Woong; Sundar, Isaac K; Yao, Hongwei et al. (2014) Circadian clock function is disrupted by environmental tobacco/cigarette smoke, leading to lung inflammation and injury via a SIRT1-BMAL1 pathway. FASEB J 28:176-94
Yao, Hongwei; Sundar, Isaac K; Gorbunova, Vera et al. (2013) P21-PARP-1 pathway is involved in cigarette smoke-induced lung DNA damage and cellular senescence. PLoS One 8:e80007
Yao, Hongwei; Hwang, Jae-woong; Sundar, Isaac K et al. (2013) SIRT1 redresses the imbalance of tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-1 and matrix metalloproteinase-9 in the development of mouse emphysema and human COPD. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 305:L615-24

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