Epithelial cell dysfunction is postulated as an important component in the pathogenesis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Mutations in the surfactant protein C (SP-C) gene (SFTPC), an alveolar type II (AT2) cell–restricted protein, have been found in sporadic and familial IPF. To causally link these events, we developed a knockin mouse model capable of regulated expression of an IPF-associated isoleucine-to-threonine substitution at codon 73 (I73T) in Sftpc (SP-CI73T). Tamoxifen-treated SP-CI73T cohorts developed rapid increases in SftpcI73T mRNA and misprocessed proSP-CI73T protein accompanied by increased early mortality (days 7–14). This acute phase was marked by diffuse parenchymal lung injury, tissue infiltration by monocytes, polycellular alveolitis, and elevations in bronchoalveolar lavage and AT2 mRNA content of select inflammatory cytokines. Resolution of alveolitis (2–4 weeks), commensurate with a rise in TGF-β1, was followed by aberrant remodeling marked by collagen deposition, AT2 cell hyperplasia, α–smooth muscle actin–positive (α-SMA–positive) cells, and restrictive lung physiology. The translational relevance of the model was supported by detection of multiple IPF biomarkers previously reported in human cohorts. These data provide proof of principle that mutant SP-C expression in vivo causes spontaneous lung fibrosis, strengthening the role of AT2 cell dysfunction as a key upstream driver of IPF pathogenesis.
Shin-Ichi Nureki, Yaniv Tomer, Alessandro Venosa, Jeremy Katzen, Scott J. Russo, Sarita Jamil, Matthew Barrett, Vivian Nguyen, Meghan Kopp, Surafel Mulugeta, Michael F. Beers
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.