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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2019, Article ID 5879714, 11 pages
Research Article

MTOR-Mediated Autophagy Is Involved in the Protective Effect of Ketamine on Allergic Airway Inflammation

1Department of Pulmonary, Anhui Geriatric Institute, The First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Jixi Road 218, Hefei, Anhui 230022, China
2Department of Anesthesiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Jixi Road 218, Hefei, Anhui 230022, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Rongyu Liu; moc.361@uiluygnor

Received 16 August 2018; Revised 29 October 2018; Accepted 11 November 2018; Published 9 January 2019

Academic Editor: Theresa Hautz

Copyright © 2019 Hongyun Zou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Unresolved inflammation underpins the pathogenesis of allergic airway diseases, such as asthma. Ketamine, accepted as a promising therapy for resistant asthma, has been demonstrated to attenuate allergic airway inflammation. However, the anti-inflammatory mechanism by ketamine in this setting is largely unknown. We aimed to investigate whether autophagy was involved in the protective effect of ketamine on allergic airway inflammation. Female C57BL/6 mice were sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) and treated with ketamine at 25, 50, or 100 mg/kg prior to OVA challenge. In this model, the pulmonary morphological findings and airway inflammation were significantly inhibited at 50 mg/kg but not at 25 or 100 mg/kg. Moreover, 50 mg/kg ketamine abrogated the increased concentrations of inflammatory cytokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of allergic mice, as well as activated the expression of phosphorylated mammalian target of rapamycin (p-MTOR) and inhibited autophagy in allergic mice. To confirm whether the effect of 50 mg/kg ketamine on asthma was mediated by inhibiting autophagy, rapamycin was administered to mice sensitized to OVA and exposed to 50 mg/kg ketamine. All of the effect of 50 mg/kg ketamine was reversed by rapamycin treatment, including increased p-MTOR and decreased autophagy. Taken together, the present study demonstrates that 50 mg/kg ketamine inhibits allergic airway inflammation by suppressed autophagy, and this effect is mediated by the activation of MTOR in the lungs of allergic mice.