Deficient repair response of IPF fibroblasts in a co-culture model of epithelial injury and repair.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive disorder marked by relentless fibrosis and damage of the lung architecture. A growing body of evidence now suggests that IPF progresses as a result of aberrant epithelial-fibroblast crosstalk. Injured epithelia are a major source of growth factors such as PDGF which guide resident fibroblasts to injury sites. RESULTS: In this study, we utilized a novel co-culture system to investigate the effect of fibroblast phenotype on their response to epithelial injury. Fibroblasts from normal lungs (NHLF) responded to epithelial injury and populated the wound site forming a fibroblast plug/mechanical barrier which prevented epithelial wound closure. IPF fibroblasts were impaired in their response to epithelial injury. They also expressed reduced PDGFR? compared to NHLFs and were defective towards PDGF-AA mediated directional movement. Neutralization of PDGF-AA and pan-PDGF but not PDGF-BB reduced the injury response of NHLFs thereby preventing the formation of the mechanical barrier and promoting epithelial wound closure. Co-culture of epithelial cells with IPF fibroblasts led to marked increase in the levels of pro-fibrotic growth factors - bFGF and PDGF and significant depletion of anti-fibrotic HGF in the culture medium. Furthermore, IPF fibroblasts but not NHLFs induced a transient increase in mesenchymal marker expression in the wound lining epithelial cells. This was accompanied by increased migration and faster wound closure in co-cultures with IPF fibroblasts. CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate that the IPF fibroblasts have an aberrant repair response to epithelial injury.
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:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive and ultimately fatal disease characterised by fibrosis of the lung parenchyma and loss of lung function. Although the pathogenic pathways involved in IPF have not been fully elucidated, IPF is believed to be caused by repetitive alveolar epithelial cell injury and dysregulated repair, in which there is uncontrolled proliferation of lung fibroblasts and differentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts, which excessively deposit extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins in the interstitial space. A number of profibrotic mediators including platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and transforming growth factor-? are believed to play important roles in the pathogenesis of IPF. Nintedanib is a potent small molecule inhibitor of the receptor tyrosine kinases PDGF receptor, FGF receptor and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor. Data from in vitro studies have shown that nintedanib interferes with processes active in fibrosis such as fibroblast proliferation, migration and differentiation, and the secretion of ECM. In addition, nintedanib has shown consistent anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory activity in animal models of lung fibrosis. These data provide a strong rationale for the clinical efficacy of nintedanib in patients with IPF, which has recently been demonstrated in phase III clinical trials.
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) is a progressive disease of insidious onset, and is responsible for up to 30,000 deaths per year in the U.S. Excessive production of extracellular matrix by myofibroblasts has been shown to be an important pathological feature in IPF. TGF-?1 is expressed in fibrotic lung and promotes fibroblast to myofibroblast differentiation (FMD) as well as matrix deposition.To identify the mechanism of Arsenic trioxide's (ATO)'s anti-fibrotic effect in vitro, normal human lung fibroblasts (NHLFs) were treated with ATO for 24 hours and were then exposed to TGF-?1 (1 ng/ml) before harvesting at multiple time points. To investigate whether ATO is able to alleviate lung fibrosis in vivo, C57BL/6 mice were administered bleomycin by oropharyngeal aspiration and ATO was injected intraperitoneally daily for 14 days. Quantitative real-time PCR, western blotting, and immunofluorescent staining were used to assess the expression of fibrotic markers such as ?-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA) and ?-1 type I collagen.Treatment of NHLFs with ATO at very low concentrations (10-20nM) inhibits TGF-?1-induced ?-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA) and ?-1 type I collagen mRNA and protein expression. ATO also diminishes the TGF-?1-mediated contractile response in NHLFs. ATO's down-regulation of profibrotic molecules is associated with inhibition of Akt, as well as Smad2/Smad3 phosphorylation. TGF-?1-induced H2O2 and NOX-4 mRNA expression are also blocked by ATO. ATO-mediated reduction in Smad3 phosphorylation correlated with a reduction of promyelocytic leukemia (PML) nuclear bodies and PML protein expression. PML-/- mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) showed decreased fibronectin and PAI-1 expression in response to TGF-?1. Daily intraperitoneal injection of ATO (1 mg/kg) in C57BL/6 mice inhibits bleomycin induced lung ?-1 type I collagen mRNA and protein expression.In summary, these data indicate that low concentrations of ATO inhibit TGF-?1-induced fibroblast to myofibroblast differentiation and decreases bleomycin induced pulmonary fibrosis.
Project description:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is characterized by peripheral lung fibrosis and increased interstitial extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition. In IPF, tumor growth factor (TGF)-?1 which is the major stimulus of ECM deposition, and platelet derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB is a potent stimulus of fibrosis. Thus, the effect of Treprostinil on TGF-ß1 and PDGF-induced fibroblast proliferation and ECM deposition was investigated. Human peripheral lung fibroblasts of seven IPF patients and five lung donors were stimulated by PDGF, or TGF-?1, or the combination. Cells were pre-incubated (30?min) with either Treprostinil, forskolin, di-deoxyadenosine (DDA), or vehicle. Treprostinil time dependently activated cAMP thereby preventing PDGF-BB induced proliferation and TGF-?1 secretion. Cell counts indicated proliferation; ?-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA) indicted differentiation, and collagen type-1 or fibronectin deposition remodeling. Myo-fibroblast indicating ?-SMA expression was significantly reduced and its formation was altered by Treprostinil. Collagen type-I and fibronectin deposition were also reduced by Treprostinil. The effect of Treprostinil on collagen type-I deposition was cAMP sensitive as it was counteracted by DDA, while the effect on fibronectin was not cAMP mediated. Treprostinil antagonized the pro-fibrotic effects of both PDGF-BB and TGF-?1 in primary human lung fibroblasts. The data presented propose a therapeutic relevant anti-fibrotic effect of Treprostinil in IPF.
Project description:We previously showed that coincident exposure to heat shock (HS; 42°C for 2 h) and TNF-? synergistically induces apoptosis in mouse lung epithelium. We extended this work by analyzing HS effects on human lung epithelial responses to clinically relevant injury. Cotreatment with TNF-? and HS induced little caspase-3 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage in human small airway epithelial cells, A549 cells, and BEAS2B cells. Scratch wound closure rates almost doubled when A549 and BEAS2B cells and air-liquid interface cultures of human bronchial epithelial cells were heat shocked immediately after wounding. Microarray, qRT-PCR, and immunoblotting showed fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF1) to be synergistically induced by HS and wounding. Enhanced FGF1 expression in HS/wounded A549 was blocked by inhibitors of p38 MAPK (SB203580) or HS factor (HSF)-1 (KNK-437) and in HSF1 knockout BEAS2B cells. PCR demonstrated FGF1 to be expressed from the two most distal promoters in wounded/HS cells. Wound closure in HS A549 and BEAS2B cells was reduced by FGF receptor-1/3 inhibition (SU-5402) or FGF1 depletion. Exogenous FGF1 accelerated A549 wound closure in the absence but not presence of HS. In the presence of exogenous FGF1, HS slowed wound closure, suggesting that it increases FGF1 expression but impairs FGF1-stimulated wound closure. Frozen sections from normal and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) lung were analyzed for FGF1 and HSP70 by immunofluorescence confocal microscopy and qRT-PCR. FGF1 and HSP70 mRNA levels were 7.5- and 5.9-fold higher in IPF than normal lung, and the proteins colocalized to fibroblastic foci in IPF lung. We conclude that HS signaling may have an important impact on gene expression contributing to lung injury, healing, and fibrosis.
Project description:The causes underlying the self-perpetuating nature of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a progressive and usually lethal disease, remain unknown. We hypothesised that alveolar soluble annexin V contributes to lung fibrosis, based on the observation that human IPF bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) containing high annexin V levels promoted fibroblast involvement in alveolar epithelial wound healing that was reduced when annexin V was depleted from the BALF. Conditioned medium from annexin V-treated alveolar epithelial type 2 cells (AEC2), but not annexin V per se, induced proliferation of human fibroblasts and contained pro-fibrotic, IPF-associated proteins, as well as pro-inflammatory cytokines that were found to correlate tightly (r>0.95) with annexin V levels in human BALF. ErbB2 receptor tyrosine kinase in AECs was activated by annexin V, and blockade reduced the fibrotic potential of annexin V-treated AEC-conditioned medium. In vivo, aerosol delivery of annexin V to mouse lung induced inflammation, fibrosis and increased hydroxyproline, with activation of Wnt, transforming growth factor-?, mitogen-activated protein kinase and nuclear factor-?B signalling pathways, as seen in IPF. Chronically increased alveolar annexin V levels, as reflected in increased IPF BALF levels, may contribute to the progression of IPF by inducing the release of pro-fibrotic mediators.
Project description:Extracellular matrix (ECM) composition and stiffness are major driving forces for the development and persistence of fibrotic diseases. Lysyl oxidase (LOX) and LOX-like (LOXL) proteins play crucial roles in ECM remodeling due to their collagen crosslinking and intracellular functions. Here, we systematically investigated LOX/L expression in primary fibroblasts and epithelial cells under fibrotic conditions, Bleomycin (BLM) induced lung fibrosis and in human IPF tissue. Basal expression of all LOX/L family members was detected in epithelial cells and at higher levels in fibroblasts. Various pro-fibrotic stimuli broadly induced LOX/L expression in fibroblasts, whereas specific induction of LOXL2 and partially LOX was observed in epithelial cells. Immunohistochemical analysis of lung tissue from 14 IPF patients and healthy donors revealed strong induction of LOX and LOXL2 in bronchial and alveolar epithelium as well as fibroblastic foci. Using siRNA experiments we observed that LOXL2 and LOXL3 were crucial for fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transition (FMT). As FMT could only be reconstituted with an enzymatically active LOXL2 variant, we conclude that LOXL2 enzymatic function is crucial for fibroblast transdifferentiation. In summary, our study provides a comprehensive analysis of the LOX/L family in fibrotic lung disease and indicates prominent roles for LOXL2/3 in fibroblast activation and LOX/LOXL2 in IPF.
Project description:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive and fatal parenchymal lung disease with limited therapeutic options, with fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transdifferentiation and hyperproliferation playing a major role. Investigating ex vivo-cultured (myo)fibroblasts from human IPF lungs as well as fibroblasts isolated from bleomycin-challenged mice, Forkhead box O3 (FoxO3) transcription factor was found to be less expressed, hyperphosphorylated, and nuclear-excluded relative to non-diseased controls. Downregulation and/or hyperphosphorylation of FoxO3 was reproduced by exposure of normal human lung fibroblasts to various pro-fibrotic growth factors and cytokines (FCS, PDGF, IGF1, TGF-?1). Moreover, selective knockdown of FoxO3 in the normal human lung fibroblasts reproduced the transdifferentiation and hyperproliferation phenotype. Importantly, mice with global- (Foxo3-/-) or fibroblast-specific (Foxo3f.b-/-) FoxO3 knockout displayed enhanced susceptibility to bleomycin challenge, with augmented fibrosis, loss of lung function, and increased mortality. Activation of FoxO3 with UCN-01, a staurosporine derivative currently investigated in clinical cancer trials, reverted the IPF myofibroblast phenotype in vitro and blocked the bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis in vivo These studies implicate FoxO3 as a critical integrator of pro-fibrotic signaling in lung fibrosis and pharmacological reconstitution of FoxO3 as a novel treatment strategy.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive parenchymal lung disease of unknown aetiology and poor prognosis, characterized by altered tissue repair and fibrosis. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a critical component in regulating cellular homeostasis and appropriate wound healing. The aim of our study was to determine the expression profile of highlighted ECM proteins in IPF lungs. METHODS: ECM gene and protein expression was analyzed by cDNA microarrays, rt-PCR, immunohistochemistry and western-blot in lungs from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP), categorized as chronic (cHP) and subacute (saHP), and healthy lung tissue. Primary fibroblast cultures from normal subjects and fibrotic patients were studied to evaluate tenascin-C (TNC) synthesis. RESULTS: A total of 20 ECM proteins were upregulated and 6 proteins downregulated in IPF. TNC was almost undetected in normal lungs and significantly upregulated in fibrotic lungs (IPF and cHP) compared to saHP. Furthermore, it was located specifically in the fibroblastic foci areas of the fibrotic lung with a subepithelial gradient pattern. TNC levels were correlated with fibroblastic foci content in cHP lungs. Versican and fibronectin glycoproteins were associated with TNC, mainly in fibroblastic foci of fibrotic lungs. Fibroblasts from IPF patients constitutively synthesized higher levels of TNC than normal fibroblasts. TNC and ?-sma was induced by TGF-?1 in both fibrotic and normal fibroblasts. TNC treatment of normal and fibrotic fibroblasts induced a non-significant increased ?-sma mRNA. CONCLUSIONS: The difference in ECM glycoprotein content in interstitial lung diseases could contribute to the development of lung fibrosis. The increase of TNC in interstitial areas of fibrotic activity could play a key role in the altered wound healing.