Inhibition of Toll-Like Receptor 2-Mediated Interleukin-8 Production in Cystic Fibrosis Airway Epithelial Cells via the α7-Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disorder characterised by chronic inflammation of the airways. The lung manifestations of CF include colonization with Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus leading to neutrophil-dominated airway inflammation and tissue damage. Inflammation in the CF lung is initiated by microbial components which activate the innate immune response via Toll-like receptors (TLRs), increasing airway epithelial cell production of proinflammatory mediators such as the neutrophil chemokine interleukin-8 (IL-8). Thus modulation of TLR function represents a therapeutic approach for CF. Nicotine is a naturally occurring plant alkaloid. Although it is negatively associated with cigarette smoking and cardiovascular damage, nicotine also has anti-inflammatory properties. Here we investigate the inhibitory capacity of nicotine against TLR2- and TLR4-induced IL-8 production by CFTE29o- airway epithelial cells, determine the role of α7-nAChR (nicotinic acetylcholine receptor) in these events, and provide data to support the potential use of safe nicotine analogues as anti-inflammatories for CF.