Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) can lead to the development of secondary pulmonary hypertension (PH) and ultimately death. Despite this known association, the precise mechanism of disease remains unknown. Using a rat model of IPF, we explored the role of the proangiogenic and antiapoptotic growth factor VEGF in the vascular remodeling that underlies PH. In this model, adenoviral delivery of active TGF-β1 induces pulmonary arterial remodeling, loss of the microvasculature in fibrotic areas, and increased pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP). Immunohistochemistry and mRNA analysis revealed decreased levels of VEGF and its receptor, which were inversely correlated with PAP and endothelial cell apoptosis in both the micro- and macrovasculature. Treatment of IPF rats with adenoviral delivery of VEGF resulted in reduced endothelial apoptosis, increased vascularization, and improved PAP due to reduced remodeling but worsened PF. These data show that experimental pulmonary fibrosis (PF) leads to loss of the microvasculature through increased apoptosis and to remodeling of the pulmonary arteries, with both processes resulting in PH. As administration of VEGF ameliorated the PH in this model but concomitantly aggravated the fibrogenic process, VEGF-based therapies should be used with caution.
Laszlo Farkas, Daniela Farkas, Kjetil Ask, Antje Möller, Jack Gauldie, Peter Margetts, Mark Inman, Martin Kolb
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is characterized by distorted lung architecture and loss of respiratory function. Enhanced (myo)fibroblast activation, ECM deposition, and alveolar epithelial type II (ATII) cell dysfunction contribute to IPF pathogenesis. However, the molecular pathways linking ATII cell dysfunction with the development of fibrosis are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate, in a mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis, increased proliferation and altered expression of components of the WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway in ATII cells. Further analysis revealed that expression of WNT1-inducible signaling protein–1 (WISP1), which is encoded by a WNT target gene, was increased in ATII cells in both a mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis and patients with IPF. Treatment of mouse primary ATII cells with recombinant WISP1 led to increased proliferation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), while treatment of mouse and human lung fibroblasts with recombinant WISP1 enhanced deposition of ECM components. In the mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis, neutralizing mAbs specific for WISP1 reduced the expression of genes characteristic of fibrosis and reversed the expression of genes associated with EMT. More importantly, these changes in gene expression were associated with marked attenuation of lung fibrosis, including decreased collagen deposition and improved lung function and survival. Our study thus identifies WISP1 as a key regulator of ATII cell hyperplasia and plasticity as well as a potential therapeutic target for attenuation of pulmonary fibrosis.
Melanie Königshoff, Monika Kramer, Nisha Balsara, Jochen Wilhelm, Oana Veronica Amarie, Andreas Jahn, Frank Rose, Ludger Fink, Werner Seeger, Liliana Schaefer, Andreas Günther, Oliver Eickelberg
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lethal progressive lung disease culminating in permanent airway obstruction and alveolar enlargement. Previous studies suggest CTL involvement in COPD progression; however, their precise role remains unknown. Here, we investigated whether the CTL activation receptor NK cell group 2D (NKG2D) contributes to the development of COPD. Using primary murine lung epithelium isolated from mice chronically exposed to cigarette smoke and cultured epithelial cells exposed to cigarette smoke extract in vitro, we demonstrated induced expression of the NKG2D ligand retinoic acid early transcript 1 (RAET1) as well as NKG2D-mediated cytotoxicity. Furthermore, a genetic model of inducible RAET1 expression on mouse pulmonary epithelial cells yielded a severe emphysematous phenotype characterized by epithelial apoptosis and increased CTL activation, which was reversed by blocking NKG2D activation. We also assessed whether NKG2D ligand expression corresponded with pulmonary disease in human patients by staining airway and peripheral lung tissues from never smokers, smokers with normal lung function, and current and former smokers with COPD. NKG2D ligand expression was independent of NKG2D receptor expression in COPD patients, demonstrating that ligand expression is the limiting factor in CTL activation. These results demonstrate that aberrant, persistent NKG2D ligand expression in the pulmonary epithelium contributes to the development of COPD pathologies.
Michael T. Borchers, Scott C. Wesselkamper, Victor Curull, Alba Ramirez-Sarmiento, Albert Sánchez-Font, Judith Garcia-Aymerich, Carlos Coronell, Josep Lloreta, Alvar G. Agusti, Joaquim Gea, John A. Howington, Michael F. Reed, Sandra L. Starnes, Nathaniel L. Harris, Mark Vitucci, Bryan L. Eppert, Gregory T. Motz, Kevin Fogel, Dennis W. McGraw, Jay W. Tichelaar, Mauricio Orozco-Levi
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a progressive, lethal lung disease characterized by pulmonary artery SMC (PA-SMC) hyperplasia leading to right-sided heart failure. Molecular events originating in pulmonary ECs (P-ECs) may contribute to the PA-SMC hyperplasia in PH. Thus, we exposed cultured human PA-SMC to medium conditioned by P-EC from patients with idiopathic PH (IPH) or controls and found that IPH P-EC–conditioned medium increased PA-SMC proliferation more than control P-EC medium. Levels of FGF2 were increased in the medium of IPH P-ECs over controls, while there was no detectable difference in TGF-β1, PDGF-BB, or EGF levels. No difference in FGF2-induced proliferation or FGF receptor type 1 (FGFR1) mRNA levels was detected between IPH and control PA-SMCs. Knockdown of FGF2 in P-EC using siRNA reduced the PA-SMC growth-stimulating effects of IPH P-EC medium by 60% and control P-EC medium by 10%. In situ hybridization showed FGF2 overproduction predominantly in the remodeled vascular endothelium of lungs from patients with IPH. Repeated intravenous FGF2-siRNA administration abolished lung FGF2 production, both preventing and nearly reversing a rat model of PH. Similarly, pharmacological FGFR1 inhibition with SU5402 reversed established PH in the same model. Thus, endothelial FGF2 is overproduced in IPH and contributes to SMC hyperplasia in IPH, identifying FGF2 as a promising target for new treatments against PH.
Mohamed Izikki, Christophe Guignabert, Elie Fadel, Marc Humbert, Ly Tu, Patricia Zadigue, Philippe Dartevelle, Gerald Simonneau, Serge Adnot, Bernard Maitre, Bernadette Raffestin, Saadia Eddahibi
The bone marrow compartment is enriched in stem and progenitor cells, and an unidentified subpopulation of these cells can contribute to lung epithelial repair. Here we identify this subpopulation and quantitate its relative contribution to injured airway epithelium. A subpopulation of adherent human and murine bone marrow cells that expresses Clara cell secretory protein (CCSP) was identified using flow cytometry. When cultured at the air-liquid interface in ex vivo cultures, Ccsp+ cells expressed type I and type II alveolar markers as well as basal cell markers and active epithelial sodium channels. Ccsp+ cells preferentially homed to naphthalene-damaged airways when delivered transtracheally or intravenously, with the former being more efficient than the latter. Interestingly, naphthalene-induced lung damage transiently increased Ccsp expression in bone marrow and peripheral circulation. Furthermore, lethally irradiated Ccsp-null mice that received tagged wild-type bone marrow contained donor-derived epithelium in both normal and naphthalene-damaged airways. This study therefore identifies what we believe to be a newly discovered cell in the bone marrow that might have airway reconstitution potential in the context of cell-based therapies for lung disease. Additionally, these data could reconcile previous controversies regarding the contribution of bone marrow to lung regeneration.
Amy P. Wong, Armand Keating, Wei-Yang Lu, Pascal Duchesneau, Xinghua Wang, Adrian Sacher, Jim Hu, Thomas K. Waddell
Although acute lung injury contributes significantly to critical illness, resolution often occurs spontaneously via activation of incompletely understood pathways. We recently found that mechanical ventilation of mice increases the level of pulmonary adenosine, and that mice deficient for extracellular adenosine generation show increased pulmonary edema and inflammation after ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI). Here, we profiled the response to VILI in mice with genetic deletions of each of the 4 adenosine receptors (ARs) and found that deletion of the A2BAR gene was specifically associated with reduced survival time and increased pulmonary albumin leakage after injury. In WT mice, treatment with an A2BAR-selective antagonist resulted in enhanced pulmonary inflammation, edema, and attenuated gas exchange, while an A2BAR agonist attenuated VILI. In bone marrow–chimeric A2BAR mice, although the pulmonary inflammatory response involved A2BAR signaling from bone marrow–derived cells, A2BARs located on the lung tissue attenuated VILI-induced albumin leakage and pulmonary edema. Furthermore, measurement of alveolar fluid clearance (AFC) demonstrated that A2BAR signaling enhanced amiloride-sensitive fluid transport and elevation of pulmonary cAMP levels following VILI, suggesting that A2BAR agonist treatment protects by drying out the lungs. Similar enhancement of pulmonary cAMP and AFC were also observed after β-adrenergic stimulation, a pathway known to promote AFC. Taken together, these studies reveal a role for A2BAR signaling in attenuating VILI and implicate this receptor as a potential therapeutic target during acute lung injury.
Tobias Eckle, Almut Grenz, Stefanie Laucher, Holger K. Eltzschig
Hypercapnia (elevated CO2 levels) occurs as a consequence of poor alveolar ventilation and impairs alveolar fluid reabsorption (AFR) by promoting Na,K-ATPase endocytosis. We studied the mechanisms regulating CO2-induced Na,K-ATPase endocytosis in alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) and alveolar epithelial dysfunction in rats. Elevated CO2 levels caused a rapid activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in AECs, a key regulator of metabolic homeostasis. Activation of AMPK was mediated by a CO2-triggered increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase kinase-β (CaMKK-β). Chelating intracellular Ca2+ or abrogating CaMKK-β function by gene silencing or chemical inhibition prevented the CO2-induced AMPK activation in AECs. Activation of AMPK or overexpression of constitutively active AMPK was sufficient to activate PKC-ζ and promote Na,K-ATPase endocytosis. Inhibition or downregulation of AMPK via adenoviral delivery of dominant-negative AMPK-α1 prevented CO2-induced Na,K-ATPase endocytosis. The hypercapnia effects were independent of intracellular ROS. Exposure of rats to hypercapnia for up to 7 days caused a sustained decrease in AFR. Pretreatment with a β-adrenergic agonist, isoproterenol, or a cAMP analog ameliorated the hypercapnia-induced impairment of AFR. Accordingly, we provide evidence that elevated CO2 levels are sensed by AECs and that AMPK mediates CO2-induced Na,K-ATPase endocytosis and alveolar epithelial dysfunction, which can be prevented with β-adrenergic agonists and cAMP.
István Vadász, Laura A. Dada, Arturo Briva, Humberto E. Trejo, Lynn C. Welch, Jiwang Chen, Péter T. Tóth, Emilia Lecuona, Lee A. Witters, Paul T. Schumacker, Navdeep S. Chandel, Werner Seeger, Jacob I. Sznajder
In addition to its well-known expression in the germline and in cells of certain cancers, telomerase activity is induced in lung fibrosis, although its role in this process is unknown. To identify the pathogenetic importance of telomerase in lung fibrosis, we examined the effects of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) deficiency in a murine model of pulmonary injury. TERT-deficient mice showed significantly reduced lung fibrosis following bleomycin (BLM) insult. This was accompanied by a significant reduction in expression of lung α-SMA, a marker of myofibroblast differentiation. Furthermore, lung fibroblasts isolated from BLM-treated TERT-deficient mice showed significantly decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis rates compared with cells isolated from control mice. Transplantation of WT BM into TERT-deficient mice restored BLM-induced lung telomerase activity and fibrosis to WT levels. Conversely, transplantation of BM from TERT-deficient mice into WT recipients resulted in reduced telomerase activity and fibrosis. These findings suggest that induction of telomerase in injured lungs may be caused by BM-derived cells, which appear to play an important role in pulmonary fibrosis. Moreover, TERT induction is associated with increased survival of lung fibroblasts, which favors the development of fibrosis instead of injury resolution.
Tianju Liu, Myoung Ja Chung, Matthew Ullenbruch, Hongfeng Yu, Hong Jin, Biao Hu, Yoon Young Choi, Fuyuki Ishikawa, Sem H. Phan
The molecular mechanisms of acute lung injury resulting in inflammation and fibrosis are not well established. Here we investigate the roles of the IL-1 receptor 1 (IL-1R1) and the common adaptor for Toll/IL-1R signal transduction, MyD88, in this process using a murine model of acute pulmonary injury. Bleomycin insult results in expression of neutrophil and lymphocyte chemotactic factors, chronic inflammation, remodeling, and fibrosis. We demonstrate that these end points were attenuated in the lungs of IL-1R1– and MyD88-deficient mice. Further, in bone marrow chimera experiments, bleomycin-induced inflammation required primarily MyD88 signaling from radioresistant resident cells. Exogenous rIL-1β recapitulated a high degree of bleomycin-induced lung pathology, and specific blockade of IL-1R1 by IL-1 receptor antagonist dramatically reduced bleomycin-induced inflammation. Finally, we found that lung IL-1β production and inflammation in response to bleomycin required ASC, an inflammasome adaptor molecule. In conclusion, bleomycin-induced lung pathology required the inflammasome and IL-1R1/MyD88 signaling, and IL-1 represented a critical effector of pathology and therapeutic target of chronic lung inflammation and fibrosis.
Pamela Gasse, Caroline Mary, Isabelle Guenon, Nicolas Noulin, Sabine Charron, Silvia Schnyder-Candrian, Bruno Schnyder, Shizuo Akira, Valérie F.J. Quesniaux, Vincent Lagente, Bernhard Ryffel, Isabelle Couillin
Squamous metaplasia (SM) is common in smokers and is associated with airway obstruction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A major mechanism of airway obstruction in COPD is thickening of the small airway walls. We asked whether SM actively contributes to airway wall thickening through alteration of epithelial-mesenchymal interactions in COPD. Using immunohistochemical staining, airway morphometry, and fibroblast culture of lung samples from COPD patients; genome-wide analysis of an in vitro model of SM; and in vitro modeling of human airway epithelial-mesenchymal interactions, we provide evidence that SM, through the increased secretion of IL-1β, induces a fibrotic response in adjacent airway fibroblasts. We identify a pivotal role for integrin-mediated TGF-β activation in amplifying SM and driving IL-1β–dependent profibrotic mesenchymal responses. Finally, we show that SM correlates with increased severity of COPD and that fibroblast expression of the integrin αvβ8, which is the major mediator of airway fibroblast TGF-β activation, correlated with disease severity and small airway wall thickening in COPD. Our findings have identified TGF-β as a potential therapeutic target for COPD.
Jun Araya, Stephanie Cambier, Jennifer A. Markovics, Paul Wolters, David Jablons, Arthur Hill, Walter Finkbeiner, Kirk Jones, V. Courtney Broaddus, Dean Sheppard, Andrea Barzcak, Yuanyuan Xiao, David J. Erle, Stephen L. Nishimura