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Ernst Spannhake, PhD

  • Professor - Emeritus

Departmental Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E7033
Baltimore, Maryland 21205


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PhD, University of Maryland, College Park, 1975
MS, University of Maryland, College Park, 1973
BS, University of Florida, Gainesville, 1966


Inflammation is recognized as an essential element of many airway pathologies and our recent research has focused on the role of the epithelium in this inflammatory process. These studies utilize human in vivo and cell culture approaches to probe the mechanisms through which epithelial pro-nflammatory activity is initiated and modulated. Pro-inflammatory processes of interest include (1) the induction of mediator synthesis and release, (2) the modulation of epithelial barrier function, (3) the expression of cell-surface markers of inflammation and cell adherence, and (4) epithelial activation of T lymphocytes via MHC class I and II receptors and accessory molecules. Investigations carried out in normal and allergic asthmatic individuals undergoing controlled exposures are used to link in vitro cellular data with observations made in human subjects.

?Current areas of research interest include: (1) the role of bronchial epithelial cells in the modulation of T lymphocyte activity during respiratory virus infection and the role of these cells in mucosal immunity; (2) the patterns of gene expression induced by environmental oxidant pollutant exposure that lead to increased susceptibility of asthmatics to virus-induced exacerbation of their disease; (3) the mechanisms through which the oxidant pollutant, ozone, contributes to morbidity in normals and allergic asthmatics; and (4) the airway epithelial pathways of metabolism and synthesis of active metabolites of environmental agents that induce cytotoxic or carcinogenic effects.

Honors and Awards

1974-1975 Public Health Service Biomedical Sciences, Predoctoral Support Award, U of MD 1975 Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, U of MD 1976-1978 NIH, HLBI Postdoctoral Fellowship 1982-1987 Research Career Development Award, NIH 1986-1987 Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Universität München, Germany 1991 Delta Omega, Alpha Chapter, Honorary Public Health Society, Johns Hopkins University

  • Environmental Health Sciences air pollution ozone respiratory system nasal bronchial epithelium inflammation mucosal immunity T cell activation mediators gene expression asthma influenza A rhinovirus respiratory syncytial virus
  • Zhao, Y., Usatyuk, P.V., Cummings, R., Saatian, B., He, D., Watkins, T., Morris, A., Spannhake, E.W., Brindley, D.N., Natarajan, V. Lipid phosphate phosphatase-1 regulates lysophosphatidic acid-induced calcium release, NF-kappaB activation and interleukin-8 secretion in human bronchial epithelial cells. Biochem. J. 385(Pt 2):493-502, 2005. Cummings, R., Zhao, Y., Jacoby, D., Spannhake, E.W., Ohba, M., Garcia, J.G.N., Watkins, T., He, D.H., Saatian, B. and Natarajan, V. Protein kinase C d mediates lysophosphatidic acid-induced NF-?B activation and interleukin-8 secretion in human bronchial epithelial cells. J. Biol. Chem. 279(39):41085-94, 2004. Saatian, B., Yu, X.Y., Lane P.P., Doyle, T., Casolaro, V., and Spannhake, E.W. Expression of genes for B7-H3 and other T cell ligands by nasal epithelial cells during differentiation and activation. Am. J. Physiol. Lung Cell Mol. Physiol. 287: L217-L225, 2004. Spannhake, E.W., Reddy, S.P.M., Jacoby, D.B., and Tian, J. Synergistic interaction of rhinovirus infection and oxidant exposure on respiratory epithelial cell cytokine production. Environ. Health Perspect. 110:665-670, 2002. Frank, R., Liu, M.C., Spannhake, E.W., Mlynarek, S., Macri, K., and Weinmann, G.G. Repetitive ozone exposure of young adults. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 164:1253-1260, 2001. Yang, V.W., Geiman, D.E., Hubbard, W.C., Spannhake, E.W., Hylind, L.M., Hamilton, S.R., and Giardiello,F.M. Tissue prostanoids as biomarkers for chemoprevention of colorectal neoplasia: correlation between prostanoid synthesis and clinical response in familial adenomatous polyposis. Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. 60: 83-96, 2000. Giardiello, F.M., Spannhake, E.W., DuBois, R.N., Hylind, L.M., Robinson, C.R., Hubbard, W.C., Hamilton, S.R., and Yang, V.W. Prostaglandin levels in human colorectal mucosa: Effects of sulindac in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 43: 311-316, 1998. Yang, V.W., Shields, J.M., Hamilton, S.R., Spannhake, E.W., Hubbard, W.C., Hylind, L.M., Robinson, C.R., and Giardiello, F.M. Size-dependent increase in prostanoid levels in adenomas of patients with familial adenomatous polyposis. Cancer Res. 58: 1750-1753, 1998. Spannhake, E.Wm., Takahashi, N., Chin, B.-Y., Choi, A.M.K., and Yu, X.-Y. Epithelial function as a focus of ozone-allergen interaction. In: Ring, J., Behrendt, H., Vieluf, D. (eds) (1997) New Trends in Allergy IV, together with Environmental Allergy and Allergotoxicology III. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp 379. Yu, X.-Y., Undem, B.J., and Spannhake, E.W. Protective effect of substance P on permeability of airway epithelial cells in culture. Am. J. Physiol 271 (Lung Cell. Mol. Physiol.15): 889-895, 1996. Spannhake, E.Wm. Modulation of airway luminal mast cell function by in vivo exposure to ozone. Exp. Lung Res. 22: 163-178, 1996. Takahashi, N., Yu, X.-Y., Schofield, B.H., Kleeberger, S.R., Scott, A.L., Hasegawa, S., and Spannhake, E.Wm. Expression of ICAM-1 in airway epithelium following acute ozone exposure in the mouse. J. Appl. Physiol. 79: 1753-1761, 1995. Cortese, J.F., Spannhake, E.Wm., Eisinger,W., Potter, J.J., and Yang, V.W. The 5-lipoxygenase pathway in cultured human intestinal epithelial cells. Prostaglandins 49: 155-166, 1995. Jakab, G.J., Spannhake, E.Wm., Canning, B.J., Kleeberger, S.R., and Gilmour, M.I. The effects of ozone on immune function. Environ. Health Perspect 103(Suppl. 2): 78-89, 1995. Ninomiya, H., Yu, X.-Y., Hasegawa, S., and Spannhake, E.W. Specific binding of endothelin-1 to canine tracheal epithelial cells in culture. Am. J. Physiol. 268 (Lung Cell. Mol. Physiol. 12): L424-431, 1995. Yu, X.-Y., Takahashi, N., Croxton, T.L., and Spannhake, E.Wm. Modulation of bronchial epithelial cell barrier function by in vitro ozone exposure. Environ. Health Perspect. 102:1068-1072, 1994. Gabrielson, E.W., Yu, X.-Y., and Spanhake, E.Wm. Comparison of the toxic effects of hydrogen peroxide and ozone on cultured human bronchial epithelial cells. Environ. Health Perspect. 102: 972-974, 1994. Takahashi, N., Liu, M.C., Proud, D., Yu, X.-Y., Hasegawa, S., and Spannhake, E.Wm. Soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1(sICAM-1) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of allergic subjects following segmental antigen challenge. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 150: 704-709, 1994. Yu, X.-Y., Schofield, B.M., Croxton,T., Gabrielson, E.W. and Spannhake, E.W. Physiologic modulation of canine bronchial epithelial cell barrier function by polycationic exposure. Am. J. Respir. Cell Mol. Biol. 11: 188-198, 1994. Ninomiya, H., Yu, X.-Y., Hasegawa, S., and Spannhake, E.W. Endothelin-1 induces stimulation of prostaglandin synthesis in cells obtained from canine airways by bronchoalveolar lavage. Prostaglandins 43: 401-411, 1992. Yu, X.-Y., Hubbard, W., and Spannhake, E.Wm. Inhibition of canine tracheal smooth muscle by mediators from cultured bronchial epithelial cells. Am. J. Physiol. 262 (Lung Cell. Molec. Physiol. 6):L229-L234, 1992.

  • Ernst Wm. Spannhake, Ph. D.