Secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) is upregulated by transforming growth factor (TGF)-? and is required for TGF-?-induced hydrogen peroxide production in fibroblasts.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a poorly understood progressive disease characterized by the recurrent damage of alveolar epithelial cells as well as inappropriate expansion and activation of fibroblasts resulting in pronounced extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition. Although recent studies have indicated the involvement of secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC), a matricellular protein regulating ECM deposition, in the pathogenesis of fibrosis, factors regulating SPARC expression or roles of SPARC in fibrosis have not been fully elucidated. RESULTS: Among the profibrotic factors examined in cultured fibroblasts, we showed that SPARC expression was upregulated mainly by transforming growth factor (TGF)-?. We also showed that expression of SPARC in the lung was upregulated in the murine bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis model, which was inhibited by TGF-? receptor I inhibitor. Knockdown of SPARC in fibroblasts using siRNA or treatment with the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine attenuated epithelial cell injury induced by TGF-?-activated fibroblasts in a coculture system. We also demonstrated that SPARC was required for hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production in fibroblasts treated with TGF-?. Furthermore, TGF-? activated integrin-linked kinase (ILK), which was inhibited by SPARC siRNA. Knockdown of ILK attenuated extracellular H2O2 generation in TGF-?-stimulated fibroblasts. Our results indicated that SPARC is upregulated by TGF-? and is required for TGF-?-induced H2O2 production via activation of ILK, and this H2O2 production from fibroblasts is capable of causing epithelial cell injury. CONCLUSIONS: The results presented in this study suggest that SPARC plays a role in epithelial damage in the IPF lung via enhanced H2O2 production from fibroblasts activated by TGF-?. Therefore, SPARC inhibition may prevent epithelial injury in IPF lung and represent a potential therapeutic approach for IPF.
Project description:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a poorly understood progressive disease characterized by the accumulation of scar tissue in the lung interstitium. A hallmark of the disease is areas of injury to type II alveolar epithelial cells with attendant accumulation of fibroblasts in areas called fibroblastic foci. In an effort to better characterize the lung fibroblast phenotype in IPF patients, we isolated fibroblasts from patients with IPF and looked for activation of signaling proteins, which could help explain the exaggerated fibrogenic response in IPF. We found that IPF fibroblasts constitutively expressed increased basal levels of SPARC, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), and active beta-catenin compared with control cells. Control of basal PAI-1 expression in IPF fibroblasts was regulated by SPARC-mediated activation of Akt, leading to inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta and activation of beta-catenin. Additionally, IPF fibroblasts (but not control fibroblasts) were resistant to plasminogen-induced apoptosis and were sensitized to plasminogen-mediated apoptosis by inhibition of SPARC or beta-catenin. These findings uncover a newly discovered regulatory pathway in IPF fibroblasts that is characterized by elevated SPARC, giving rise to activated beta-catenin, which regulates expression of downstream genes, such as PAI-1, and confers an apoptosis-resistant phenotype. Disruption of this pathway may represent a novel therapeutic target in IPF.
Project description:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic scarring disease in which aging, environmental exposure(s) and genetic susceptibility have been implicated in disease pathogenesis, however, the causes and mechanisms of the progressive fibrotic cascade are still poorly understood. As epithelial–mesenchymal interactions are essential for normal wound healing, through human 2D and 3D in vitro studies, we tested the hypothesis that IPF fibroblasts (IPFFs) dysregulate alveolar epithelial homeostasis. Conditioned media from IPFFs exaggerated the wound-healing response of primary human Type II alveolar epithelial cells (AECs). Furthermore, AECs co-cultured with IPFFs exhibited irregular epithelialization compared with those co-cultured with control fibroblasts (NHLFs) or AECs alone, suggesting that epithelial homeostasis is dysregulated in IPF as a consequence of the abnormal secretory phenotype of IPFFs. Secretome analysis of IPFF conditioned media and functional studies identified the matricellular protein, SPARC, as a key mediator in the epithelial–mesenchymal paracrine signaling, with increased secretion of SPARC by IPFFs promoting persistent activation of alveolar epithelium via an integrin/focal adhesion/cellular-junction axis resulting in disruption of epithelial barrier integrity and increased macromolecular permeability. These findings suggest that in IPF fibroblast paracrine signaling promotes persistent alveolar epithelial activation, so preventing normal epithelial repair responses and restoration of tissue homeostasis. Furthermore, they identify SPARC-mediated paracrine signaling as a potential therapeutic target to promote the restoration of lung epithelial homoestasis in IPF patients.
Project description:A characteristic of dysregulated wound healing in IPF is fibroblastic-mediated damage to lung epithelial cells within fibroblastic foci. In these foci, TGF-? and other growth factors activate fibroblasts that secrete growth factors and matrix regulatory proteins, which activate a fibrotic cascade. Our studies and those of others have revealed that Akt is activated in IPF fibroblasts and it mediates the activation by TGF-? of pro-fibrotic pathways. Recent studies show that mTORC2, a component of the mTOR pathway, mediates the activation of Akt. In this study we set out to determine if blocking mTORC2 with MLN0128, an active site dual mTOR inhibitor, which blocks both mTORC1 and mTORC2, inhibits lung fibrosis. We examined the effect of MLN0128 on TGF-?-mediated induction of stromal proteins in IPF lung fibroblasts; also, we looked at its effect on TGF-?-mediated epithelial injury using a Transwell co-culture system. Additionally, we assessed MLN0128 in the murine bleomycin lung model. We found that TGF-? induces the Rictor component of mTORC2 in IPF lung fibroblasts, which led to Akt activation, and that MLN0128 exhibited potent anti-fibrotic activity in vitro and in vivo. Also, we observed that Rictor induction is Akt-mediated. MLN0128 displays multiple anti-fibrotic and lung epithelial-protective activities; it (1) inhibited the expression of pro-fibrotic matrix-regulatory proteins in TGF-?-stimulated IPF fibroblasts; (2) inhibited fibrosis in a murine bleomycin lung model; and (3) protected lung epithelial cells from injury caused by TGF-?-stimulated IPF fibroblasts. Our findings support a role for mTORC2 in the pathogenesis of lung fibrosis and for the potential of active site mTOR inhibitors in the treatment of IPF and other fibrotic lung diseases.
Project description:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) involves alveolar epithelial injury and abnormal collagen production caused by activated fibroblasts; transforming growth factor (TGF)-?1 is implicated in this activation. In this study, we screened for chemicals capable of inhibiting TGF-?1-induced collagen production in cultured fibroblasts from medicines already in clinical use. We selected felodipine based on its extent of collagen production inhibition, clinical safety profile, and other pharmacological activity. Felodipine is a dihydropyridine Ca2+ channel blocker that has been used clinically to treat patients with high blood pressure. Felodipine suppressed collagen production within LL29 cells in the presence of TGF-?1, but not in its absence. Intratracheal administration of felodipine prevented bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis, alteration of lung mechanics and respiratory dysfunction. Felodipine also improved pulmonary fibrosis, as well as lung and respiratory function when administered after fibrosis development. Furthermore, administration of felodipine suppressed a bleomycin-induced increase in activated fibroblasts in the lung. We also found other dihydropyridine Ca2+ channel blockers (nifedipine and benidipine) inhibited collagen production in vitro and partially prevented bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis, alteration of lung mechanics and respiratory dysfunction in vivo. We propose that these Ca2+ channel blockers may be therapeutically beneficial for IPF patients.
Project description:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive and fatal interstitial lung disease. IPF is characterized by epithelial cell injury and reprogramming, increases in (myo)fibroblasts, and altered deposition of extracellular matrix. The Wnt1-inducible signaling protein 1 (WISP1) is involved in impaired epithelial-mesenchymal crosstalk in pulmonary fibrosis. Here, we aimed to further investigate WISP1 regulation and function in primary human lung fibroblasts (phLFs). We demonstrate that WISP1 is directly upregulated by Transforming growth factor ?1 (TGF?1) and Tumor necrosis factor ? (TNF?) in phLFs, using a luciferase-based reporter system. WISP1 mRNA and protein secretion increased in a time- and concentration-dependent manner by TGF?1 and TNF? in phLFs, as analysed by qPCR and ELISA, respectively. Notably, WISP1 is required for TGF?1- and TNF?-dependent induction of interleukin 6 (IL-6), a mechanism that is conserved in IPF phLFs. The siRNA-mediated WISP1 knockdown led to a significant IL-6 reduction after TGF?1 or TNF? stimulation. Furthermore, siRNA-mediated downregulation or antibody-mediated neutralization of WISP1 reduced phLFs proliferation, a process that was in part rescued by IL-6. Taken together, these results strongly indicate that WISP1-induced IL-6 expression contributes to the pro-proliferative effect on fibroblasts, which is likely orchestrated by a variety of profibrotic mediators, including Wnts, TGF?1 and TNF?.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive fibrosing interstitial lung disease of unknown aetiology and cure. Recent studies have reported a dysregulation of exosomal microRNAs (miRs) in the IPF context. However, the impact of IPF-related exosomal miRs on the progression of pulmonary fibrosis is unknown. METHODS:Two independent cohorts were enrolled at the ambulatory care polyclinic of Liège University. Exosomes from sputum were obtained from 19 patients with IPF and 23 healthy subjects (HSs) (cohort 1), and the ones from plasma derived from 14 patients with IPF and 14 HSs (cohort 2). Exosomal miR expression was performed by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR. The functional role of exosomal miRs was assessed in vitro by transfecting miR mimics in human alveolar epithelial cells and lung fibroblasts. RESULTS:Exosomal miR analysis showed that miR-142-3p was significantly upregulated in sputum and plasma of patients with IPF (8.06-fold, p<0.0001; 1.64 fold, p=0.008, respectively). Correlation analysis revealed a positive association between exosomal miR-142-3p and the percentage of macrophages from sputum of patients with IPF (r=0.576, p=0.012), suggesting macrophage origin of exosomal miR-142-3p upregulation. The overexpression of miR-142-3p in alveolar epithelial cells and lung fibroblasts was able to reduce the expression of transforming growth factor ? receptor 1 (TGF?-R1) and profibrotic genes. Furthermore, exosomes isolated from macrophages present antifibrotic properties due in part to the repression of TGF?-R1 by miR-142-3p transfer in target cells. DISCUSSION:Our results suggest that macrophage-derived exosomes may fight against pulmonary fibrosis progression via the delivery of antifibrotic miR-142-3?p to alveolar epithelial cells and lung fibroblasts.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic progressive disease with very few effective treatments. The key effector cells in fibrosis are believed to be fibroblasts, which differentiate to a contractile myofibroblast phenotype with enhanced capacity to proliferate and produce extracellular matrix. The role of the lung epithelium in fibrosis is unclear. While there is evidence that the epithelium is disrupted in IPF, it is not known whether this is a cause or a result of the fibroblast pathology. We hypothesized that healthy epithelial cells are required to maintain normal lung homeostasis and can inhibit the activation and differentiation of lung fibroblasts to the myofibroblast phenotype. To investigate this hypothesis, we employed a novel co-culture model with primary human lung epithelial cells and fibroblasts to investigate whether epithelial cells inhibit myofibroblast differentiation. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:In the presence of transforming growth factor (TGF)-?, fibroblasts co-cultured with epithelial cells expressed significantly less ?-smooth muscle actin and collagen and showed marked reduction in cell migration, collagen gel contraction, and cell proliferation compared to fibroblasts grown without epithelial cells. Epithelial cells from non-matching tissue origins were capable of inhibiting TGF-? induced myofibroblast differentiation in lung, keloid and Graves' orbital fibroblasts. TGF-? promoted production of prostaglandin (PG) E2 in lung epithelial cells, and a PGE2 neutralizing antibody blocked the protective effect of epithelial cell co-culture. CONCLUSIONS:We provide the first direct experimental evidence that lung epithelial cells inhibit TGF-? induced myofibroblast differentiation and pro-fibrotic phenotypes in fibroblasts. This effect is not restricted by tissue origin, and is mediated, at least in part, by PGE2. Our data support the hypothesis that the epithelium plays a crucial role in maintaining lung homeostasis, and that damaged and/ or dysfunctional epithelium contributes to the development of fibrosis.
Project description:Alveolar epithelial injury induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and abnormal collagen production by activated fibroblasts (myofibroblasts) is involved in the onset and exacerbation of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Compared with alveolar epithelial cells, lung fibroblasts, especially myofibroblasts, exhibit an apoptosis-resistance phenotype (apoptosis paradox) that appears to be involved in IPF pathogenesis. Thus, we screened for chemicals eliciting preferential cytotoxicity of LL29 cells (lung fibroblasts from an IPF patient) compared with A549 cells (human lung alveolar epithelial cell line) from medicines already in clinical use. We identified idebenone, a synthetic analogue of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10, an antioxidant) that has been used clinically as a brain metabolic stimulant. Idebenone induced cell growth inhibition and cell death in LL29 cells at a lower concentration than in A549 cells, a feature that was not observed for other antioxidant molecules (such as CoQ10) and two IPF drugs (pirfenidone and nintedanib). Administration of idebenone prevented bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis and increased pulmonary ROS levels. Importantly, idebenone also improved pulmonary fibrosis and lung function when administered after the development of fibrosis, whereas administration of CoQ10 similarly prevented bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis, but had no effect after its development. Administration of idebenone, but not CoQ10, suppressed bleomycin-induced increases in lung myofibroblasts. In vitro, treatment of LL29 cells with idebenone, but not CoQ10, suppressed TGF-?-induced collagen production. These results suggest that in addition to antioxidant activity, idebenone exerts inhibitory activity on the function of lung fibroblasts, with the former activity being preventative and the latter therapeutic for bleomycin-induced fibrosis. Thus, we propose that idebenone may be more therapeutically beneficial for IPF patients than current treatments.
Project description:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is the prototypic progressive fibrotic lung disease with a median survival of 2-4 years. Injury to and/or dysfunction of alveolar epithelium are strongly implicated in IPF disease initiation, but what factors determine why fibrosis progresses rather than normal tissue repair occurs remain poorly understood. We previously demonstrated that ZEB1-mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in human alveolar epithelial type II (ATII) cells augments TGF-β-induced profibrogenic responses in underlying lung fibroblasts by paracrine signalling. Here we investigated bi-directional epithelial-mesenchymal crosstalk and its potential to drive fibrosis progression. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) of lung fibroblasts exposed to conditioned media from ATII cells undergoing RAS-induced EMT identified many differentially expressed genes including those involved in cell migration and extracellular matrix (ECM) regulation. We confirmed that paracrine signalling between AS-activated ATII cells and fibroblasts augmented fibroblast recruitment and demonstrated that this involved a ZEB1-tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) axis. In a reciprocal fashion, paracrine signalling from TGF-β-activated lung fibroblasts or IPF fibroblasts induced RAS activation in ATII cells, at least partially via the secreted protein, SPARC. Together these data identify that aberrant bi-directional epithelial-mesenchymal crosstalk in IPF drives a chronic feedback loop that maintains a wound-healing phenotype and provides self-sustaining pro-fibrotic signals.
Project description:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a complex disease of unknown etiology. Environmental factors can affect disease susceptibility via epigenetic effects. Few studies explore global DNA methylation in lung fibroblasts, but none have focused on transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGF-?1) as a potential modifier of the DNA methylome. Here we analyzed changes in methylation and gene transcription in normal and IPF fibroblasts following TGF-?1 treatment. We analyzed the effects of TGF-?1 on primary fibroblasts derived from normal or IPF lungs treated for 24 hours and 5 days using the Illumina 450k Human Methylation array and the Prime View Human Gene Expression Array. TGF-?1 induced an increased number of gene expression changes after short term treatment in normal fibroblasts, whereas greater methylation changes were observed following long term stimulation mainly in IPF fibroblasts. DNA methyltransferase 3 alpha (DMNT3a) and tet methylcytosine dioxygenase 3 (TET3) were upregulated after 5-days TGF-?1 treatment in both cell types, whereas DNMT3a was upregulated after 24h only in IPF fibroblasts. Our findings demonstrate that TGF-?1 induced the upregulation of DNMT3a and TET3 expression and profound changes in the DNA methylation pattern of fibroblasts, mainly in those derived from IPF lungs.