MiR-21 mediates fibrogenic activation of pulmonary fibroblasts and lung fibrosis.
ABSTRACT: Uncontrolled extracellular matrix production by fibroblasts in response to tissue injury contributes to fibrotic diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a progressive and ultimately fatal process that currently has no cure. Although dysregulation of miRNAs is known to be involved in a variety of pathophysiologic processes, the role of miRNAs in fibrotic lung diseases is unclear. In this study, we found up-regulation of miR-21 in the lungs of mice with bleomycin-induced fibrosis and also in the lungs of patients with IPF. Increased miR-21 expression was primarily localized to myofibroblasts. Administration of miR-21 antisense probes diminished the severity of experimental lung fibrosis in mice, even when treatment was started 5-7 d after initiation of pulmonary injury. TGF-beta1, a central pathological mediator of fibrotic diseases, enhanced miR-21 expression in primary pulmonary fibroblasts. Increasing miR-21 levels promoted, whereas knocking down miR-21 attenuated, the pro-fibrogenic activity of TGF-beta1 in fibroblasts. A potential mechanism for the role of miR-21 in fibrosis is through regulating the expression of an inhibitory Smad, Smad7. These experiments demonstrate an important role for miR-21 in fibrotic lung diseases and also suggest a novel approach using miRNA therapeutics in treating clinically refractory fibrotic diseases, such as IPF.
Project description:Excessive extracellular matrix production by fibroblasts in response to tissue injury contributes to fibrotic diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Epithelial-mesenchymal transition, involving transition of alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) to pulmonary fibroblasts, appears to be an important contributory process to lung fibrosis. Although aberrant expression of microRNAs (miRs) is involved in a variety of pathophysiologic processes, the role of miRs in fibrotic lung diseases is less well understood. In the present study, we found that miR-200a, miR-200b, and miR-200c are significantly down-regulated in the lungs of mice with experimental lung fibrosis. Levels of miR-200a and miR-200c were reduced in the lungs of patients with IPF. miR-200 had greater expression in AECs than in lung fibroblasts, and AECs from mice with experimental pulmonary fibrosis had diminished expression of miR-200. We found that the miR-200 family members inhibit transforming growth factor-?1-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition of AECs. miR-200 family members can reverse the fibrogenic activity of pulmonary fibroblasts from mice with experimental pulmonary fibrosis and from patients with IPF. Indeed, the introduction of miR-200c diminishes experimental pulmonary fibrosis in mice. Thus, the miR-200 family members participate importantly in fibrotic lung diseases and suggest that restoring miR-200 expression in the lungs may represent a novel therapeutic approach in treating pulmonary fibrotic diseases.
Project description:As miRNAs are associated with normal cellular processes, deregulation of miRNAs is thought to play a causative role in many complex diseases. Nevertheless, the precise contribution of miRNAs in fibrotic lung diseases, especially the idiopathic form (IPF), remains poorly understood. Given the poor response rate of IPF patients to current therapy, new insights into the pathogenic mechanisms controlling lung fibroblasts activation, the key cell type driving the fibrogenic process, are essential to develop new therapeutic strategies for this devastating disease. To identify miRNAs with potential roles in lung fibrogenesis, we performed a genome-wide assessment of miRNA expression in lungs from two different mouse strains known for their distinct susceptibility to develop lung fibrosis after bleomycin exposure. This led to the identification of miR-199a-5p as the best miRNA candidate associated with bleomycin response. Importantly, miR-199a-5p pulmonary expression was also significantly increased in IPF patients (94 IPF versus 83 controls). In particular, levels of miR-199a-5p were selectively increased in myofibroblasts from injured mouse lungs and fibroblastic foci, a histologic feature associated with IPF. Therefore, miR-199a-5p profibrotic effects were further investigated in cultured lung fibroblasts: miR-199a-5p expression was induced upon TGF? exposure, and ectopic expression of miR-199a-5p was sufficient to promote the pathogenic activation of pulmonary fibroblasts including proliferation, migration, invasion, and differentiation into myofibroblasts. In addition, we demonstrated that miR-199a-5p is a key effector of TGF? signaling in lung fibroblasts by regulating CAV1, a critical mediator of pulmonary fibrosis. Remarkably, aberrant expression of miR-199a-5p was also found in unilateral ureteral obstruction mouse model of kidney fibrosis, as well as in both bile duct ligation and CCl4-induced mouse models of liver fibrosis, suggesting that dysregulation of miR-199a-5p represents a general mechanism contributing to the fibrotic process. MiR-199a-5p thus behaves as a major regulator of tissue fibrosis with therapeutic potency to treat fibroproliferative diseases.
Project description:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is progressive and rapidly fatal. Improved understanding of pathogenesis is required to prosper novel therapeutics. Epigenetic changes contribute to IPF; therefore, microRNAs may reveal novel pathogenic pathways.We sought to determine the regulatory role of microRNA (miR)-155 in the profibrotic function of murine lung macrophages and fibroblasts, IPF lung fibroblasts, and its contribution to experimental pulmonary fibrosis.Bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis in wild-type and miR-155-/- mice was analyzed by histology, collagen, and profibrotic gene expression. Mechanisms were identified by in silico and molecular approaches and validated in mouse lung fibroblasts and macrophages, and in IPF lung fibroblasts, using loss-and-gain of function assays, and in vivo using specific inhibitors.miR-155-/- mice developed exacerbated lung fibrosis, increased collagen deposition, collagen 1 and 3 mRNA expression, TGF-? production, and activation of alternatively activated macrophages, contributed by deregulation of the miR-155 target gene the liver X receptor (LXR)? in lung fibroblasts and macrophages. Inhibition of LXR? in experimental lung fibrosis and in IPF lung fibroblasts reduced the exacerbated fibrotic response. Similarly, enforced expression of miR-155 reduced the profibrotic phenotype of IPF and miR-155-/- fibroblasts.We describe herein a molecular pathway comprising miR-155 and its epigenetic LXR? target that when deregulated enables pathogenic pulmonary fibrosis. Manipulation of the miR-155/LXR pathway may have therapeutic potential for IPF.
Project description:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a disease of progressive lung fibrosis with a high mortality rate. In organ repair and remodeling, epigenetic events are important. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally and can target epigenetic molecules important in DNA methylation. The miR-17~92 miRNA cluster is critical for lung development and lung epithelial cell homeostasis and is predicted to target fibrotic genes and DNA methyltransferase (DNMT)-1 expression.We investigated the miR-17~92 cluster expression and its role in regulating DNA methylation events in IPF lung tissue.Expression and DNA methylation patterns of miR-17~92 were determined in human IPF lung tissue and fibroblasts and fibrotic mouse lung tissue. The relationship between the miR-17~92 cluster and DNMT-1 expression was examined in vitro. Using a murine model of pulmonary fibrosis, we examined the therapeutic potential of the demethylating agent, 5'-aza-2'-deoxycytidine.Compared with control samples, miR-17~92 expression was reduced in lung biopsies and lung fibroblasts from patients with IPF, whereas DNMT-1 expression and methylation of the miR-17~92 promoter was increased. Several miRNAs from the miR-17~92 cluster targeted DNMT-1 expression resulting in a negative feedback loop. Similarly, miR-17~92 expression was reduced in the lungs of bleomycin-treated mice. Treatment with 5'-aza-2'-deoxycytidine in a murine bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis model reduced fibrotic gene and DNMT-1 expression, enhanced miR-17~92 cluster expression, and attenuated pulmonary fibrosis.This study provides insight into the pathobiology of IPF and identifies a novel epigenetic feedback loop between miR-17~92 and DNMT-1 in lung fibrosis.
Project description:Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been reported to be involved in various pathophysiological processes in many diseases. However, the role and mechanism of lncRNAs in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) have not been explicitly delineated. In the present study, we reported that lncRNA NONMMUT065582, designated pulmonary fibrosis-associated RNA (PFAR), is upregulated in the lungs of mice with lung fibrosis as well as in fibrotic lung fibroblasts. Overexpression of PFAR promoted fibrogenesis through modulation of miR-138, whereas knockdown of PFAR attenuated TGF-?1-induced fibrogenesis in lung fibroblasts. In addition, knockdown of miR-138 promoted fibrogenesis by targeting regulation of yes-associated protein 1 (YAP1), whereas enhanced expression of miR-138 attenuated fibrogenesis in lung fibroblasts. Mechanistically, PFAR acted as competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) of miR-138: forced expression of PFAR reduced the expression and activity of miR-138 to activate YAP1 and promote fibrogenesis in lung fibroblasts, whereas loss of YAP1 abrogated the pro-fibrotic effect of PFAR. More importantly, PFAR silencing alleviated BLM-induced lung fibrosis in mice. Taken together, the results of our study identified lncRNA PFAR as a new pro-fibrotic molecule that acts as a ceRNA of miR-138 during lung fibrosis and demonstrated PFAR as a novel therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of lung fibrosis.
Project description:Aberrant expression of miRNAs is closely associated with initiation and progression of pathological processes, including diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. However, the role of miRNAs in lung fibrosis is not well characterized. We sought to determine the role of miR-31 in regulating the fibrogenic, contractile, and migratory activities of lung fibroblasts and modulating of pulmonary fibrosis in vivo. In vivo lung fibrosis models and ex vivo cell culture systems were employed. Real-time PCR and Western blot analysis were used to determine gene expression levels. miR-31 mimics or inhibitors were transfected into pulmonary fibroblasts. Fibrogenic, contractile, and migratory activities of lung fibroblasts were determined. We found that miR-31 expression is reduced in the lungs of mice with experimental pulmonary fibrosis and in IPF fibroblasts. miR-31 inhibits the profibrotic activity of TGF-?1 in normal lung fibroblasts and diminishes the fibrogenic, contractile, and migratory activities of IPF fibroblasts. In these experiments, miR-31 was shown to directly target integrin ?(5) and RhoA, two proteins that have been shown to regulate activation of fibroblasts. We found that levels of integrin ?(5) and RhoA are up-regulated in fibrotic mouse lungs. Knockdown of integrin ?(5) and RhoA attenuated fibrogenic, contractile, and migratory activities of IPF fibroblasts, in a manner similar to that observed with miR-31. We also found that introduction of miR-31 ameliorated experimental lung fibrosis in mice. Our data suggest that miR-31 is an important regulator of the pathological activities of lung fibroblasts and may be a potential target in the development of novel therapies to treat pathological fibrotic disorders, including pulmonary fibrosis.
Project description:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, progressive, and high-lethality fibrotic lung disease characterized by excessive fibroblast proliferation, extracellular matrix accumulation, and, ultimately, loss of lung function. Although dysregulation of some microRNAs (miRs) has been shown to play important roles in the pathophysiological processes of IPF, the role of miRs in fibrotic lung diseases is not well understood. In this study, we found downregulation of miR-26a in the lungs of mice with experimental pulmonary fibrosis and in IPF, which resulted in posttranscriptional derepression of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), and induced collagen production. More importantly, inhibition of miR-26a in the lungs caused pulmonary fibrosis in vivo, whereas overexpression of miR-26a repressed transforming growth factor (TGF)-?1-induced fibrogenesis in MRC-5 cells and attenuated experimental pulmonary fibrosis in mice. Our study showed that miR-26a was downregulated by TGF-?1-mediated phosphorylation of Smad3. Moreover, miR-26a inhibited the nuclear translocation of p-Smad3 through directly targeting Smad4, which determines the nuclear translocation of p-Smad2/Smad3. Taken together, our experiments demonstrated the antifibrotic effects of miR-26a in fibrotic lung diseases and suggested a new strategy for the prevention and treatment of IPF using miR-26a. The current study also uncovered a novel positive feedback loop between miR-26a and p-Smad3, which is involved in pulmonary fibrosis.
Project description:Uncontrolled extracellular matrix (ECM) production by fibroblasts in response to injury contributes to fibrotic diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation is involved in the pathogenesis of IPF. Transforming growth factor-?1 (TGF-?1) stimulates the production of NADPH oxidase 4 (NOX4)-dependent ROS, promoting lung fibrosis (LF). Dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) has been shown to contribute to LF. To identify miRNAs involved in redox regulation relevant for IPF, we performed arrays in human lung fibroblasts exposed to ROS. miR-9-5p was selected as the best candidate and we demonstrate its inhibitory effect on TGF-? receptor type II (TGFBR2) and NOX4 expression. Increased expression of miR-9-5p abrogates TGF-?1-dependent myofibroblast phenotypic transformation. In the mouse model of bleomycin-induced LF, miR-9-5p dramatically reduces fibrogenesis and inhibition of miR-9-5p and prevents its anti-fibrotic effect both in vitro and in vivo. In lung specimens from patients with IPF, high levels of miR-9-5p are found. In omentum-derived mesothelial cells (MCs) from patients subjected to peritoneal dialysis (PD), miR-9-5p also inhibits mesothelial to myofibroblast transformation. We propose that TGF-?1 induces miR-9-5p expression as a self-limiting homeostatic response.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRs) are known to limit gene expression at the post-transcriptional level and have important roles in the pathogenesis of various conditions, including acute lung injury (ALI) and fibrotic diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). In this study, we found increased levels of miR-34 at times of fibrosis resolution following injury, in myofibroblasts from Bleomycin-treated mouse lungs, which correlates with susceptibility to cell death induced by immune cells. On the contrary, a substantial downregulation of miR-34 was detected at stages of evolution, when fibroblasts resist cell death. Concomitantly, we found an inverse correlation between miR-34 levels with that of the survival molecule FLICE-like inhibitory protein (FLIP) in lung myofibroblasts from humans with IPF and the experimental model. Forced upregulation of miR-34 with miR-34 mimic in human IPF fibrotic-lung myofibroblasts led to decreased cell survival through downregulation of FLIP. Using chimeric miR-34 knock-out (KO)-C57BL/6 mice with miR34KO myofibroblasts but wild-type (WT) hematopoietic cells, we found, in contrast to WT mice, increased and persistent FLIP levels with a more severe fibrosis and with no signs of resolution as detected in pathology and collagen accumulation. Moreover, a mimic of miR-34a decreased FLIP expression and susceptibility to cell death was regained in miR-34KO fibroblasts. Through this study, we show for the first time an inverse correlation between miR-34a and FLIP expression in myofibroblasts, which affects survival, and accumulation in lung fibrosis. Reprogramming fibrotic-lung myofibroblasts to regain susceptibility to cell-death by specifically increasing their miR34a and downregulating FLIP, may be a useful strategy, enabling tissue regeneration following lung injury.
Project description:Radiation therapy is critical for the control of many tumors and lung is an important dose-limiting organ that impacts radiation dose prescribed to avoid irreversible pulmonary fibrosis in cancer survivors. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, irreversible lung disease caused by aberrantly activated lung (myo)fibroblasts. The presence of pro-fibrotic, apoptosis-resistant fibroblasts in IPF promotes progressive fibrosis and may have a role in other diseases, if these resistant cells are selected for as a consequence of treatment. However, the pathological response of IPF fibroblasts to radiation compared to non-IPF lung fibroblasts is not known. To address this, we examined fibroblast viability following radiation in lung fibroblasts from IPF and non-IPF patients and the underlying mechanism that protects IPF fibroblasts from radiation-induced death. IPF fibroblasts are significantly more resistant to apoptosis compared to non-IPF lung fibroblasts, suggesting that resistance to radiation-induced cell death is a predominant mechanism leading to lung fibrosis. Analysis of ?H2AX induction demonstrated that radiation-induced DNA damage is reduced in IPF fibroblasts and correlates to the activation of the transcription factor forkhead box M1 (FoxM1) and subsequent upregulation of DNA repair proteins RAD51 and BRCA2. FoxM1 activation occurs secondary to FoxO3a suppression in IPF fibroblasts while restoration of FoxO3a function sensitizes IPF fibroblasts to radiation-induced cell death and downregulates FoxM1, RAD51, and BRCA2. Our findings support that increased FoxO3a/FoxM1-dependent DNA repair may be integral to the preservation of death-resistant fibrotic fibroblasts after radiation and that selective targeting of radioresistant fibroblasts may mitigate fibrosis.