SIRT3 is attenuated in systemic sclerosis skin and lungs, and its pharmacologic activation mitigates organ fibrosis.
ABSTRACT: Constitutive fibroblast activation is responsible for organ fibrosis in fibrotic disorders including systemic sclerosis (SSc), but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood, and effective therapies are lacking. We investigated the expression of the mitochondrial deacetylase sirtuin 3 (SIRT3) and its modulation by hexafluoro, a novel fluorinated synthetic honokiol analogue, in the context of fibrosis. We find that augmenting cellular SIRT3 by forced expression in normal lung and skin fibroblasts, or by hexafluoro treatment, blocked intracellular TGF-ß signaling and fibrotic responses, and mitigated the activated phenotype of SSc fibroblasts. Moreover, hexafluoro attenuated mitochondrial and cytosolic reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation in TGF-?-treated fibroblasts. Remarkably, we found that the expression of SIRT3 was significantly reduced in SSc skin biopsies and explanted fibroblasts, and was suppressed by TGF-? treatment in normal fibroblasts. Moreover, tissue levels of acetylated MnSOD, a sensitive marker of reduced SIRT3 activity, were dramatically enhanced in lesional skin and lung biopsies from SSc patients. Mice treated with hexafluoro showed substantial attenuation of bleomycin-induced fibrosis in the lung and skin. Our findings reveal a cell-autonomous function for SIRT3 in modulating fibrotic responses, and demonstrate the ability of a novel pharmacological SIRT3 agonist to attenuate fibrosis in vitro and in vivo. In light of the impaired expression and activity of SIRT3 associated with organ fibrosis in SSc, pharmacological approaches for augmenting SIRT3 might have therapeutic potential.
Project description:Systemic Sclerosis (SSc) is a rare fibrotic autoimmune disorder for which no curative treatments currently exist. Metabolic remodelling has recently been implicated in other autoimmune diseases; however, its potential role in SSc has received little attention. Here, we aimed to determine whether changes to glycolysis and glutaminolysis are important features of skin fibrosis. TGF-?1, the quintessential pro-fibrotic stimulus, was used to activate fibrotic pathways in NHDFs in vitro. Dermal fibroblasts derived from lesions of SSc patients were also used for in vitro experiments. Parameters of glycolytic function were assessed using by measuring extracellular acidification in response to glycolytic activators/inhibitors, whilst markers of fibrosis were measured by Western blotting following the use of the glycolysis inhibitors 2-dg and 3PO and the glutaminolysis inhibitor G968. Succinate was also measured after TGF-?1 stimulation. Itaconate was added to SSc fibroblasts and collagen examined. TGF-?1 up-regulates glycolysis in dermal fibroblasts, and inhibition of glycolysis attenuates its pro-fibrotic effects. Furthermore, inhibition of glutamine metabolism also reverses TGF-?1-induced fibrosis, whilst glutaminase expression is up-regulated in dermal fibroblasts derived from SSc patient skin lesions, suggesting that enhanced glutamine metabolism is another aspect of the pro-fibrotic metabolic phenotype in skin fibrosis. TGF-?1 was also able to enhance succinate production, with increased succinate shown to be associated with increased collagen expression. Incubation of SSc cells with itaconate, an important metabolite, reduced collagen expression. TGF-?1 activation of glycolysis is a key feature of the fibrotic phenotype induced by TGF-B1 in skin cells, whilst increased glutaminolysis is also evident in SSc fibroblasts.
Project description:The Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system plays an important role in variety cellular biological functions; we previously reported levels of IGF binding proteins (IGFBP) -3 and -5 are increased in dermal and pulmonary fibrosis associated with the prototypic fibrosing disease systemic sclerosis (SSc), induce extracellular matrix (ECM) production, and promote fibrosis. We sought to examine the effects of another member of the family, IGFBP-4, on ECM production and fibrosis using cell-based, ex vivo organ culture and in vivo mouse lung fibrosis models. IGFBP-4 mRNA levels were significantly decreased in pulmonary fibroblasts of patients with SSc. ECM components were significantly reduced by endogenous and exogenous IGFBP-4. IGFBP-4 also blocked TGF?-induced ECM production, and inhibited ECM production ex vivo in human lung and skin in organ culture. In vivo, IGFBP-4 reduced bleomycin-induced collagen production and histologic evidence of fibrosis. Silencing IGFBP-4 expression to mimic levels observed in SSc lung fibroblasts resulted in increased ECM production. IGFBP-4 reduced mRNA and protein levels of the chemokine receptor CXCR4 and the pro-fibrotic factor CTGF. Further, CTGF silencing potentiated the anti-fibrotic effects of IGFBP-4. Reduced IGFBP-4 levels in SSc lung fibroblasts may contribute to the fibrotic phenotype via loss of IGFBP-4 anti-fibrotic activity.
Project description:Extracellular matrix deposition and tissue scarring characterize the process of fibrosis. Transforming growth factor beta (TGF?) and Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of fibrosis in various tissues by inducing mesenchymal cell proliferation and extracellular matrix deposition. We identified Syndecan-2 (SDC2) as a gene induced by TGF? in an IGFBP-3-dependent manner. TGF? induction of SDC2 mRNA and protein required IGFBP-3. IGFBP-3 independently induced production of SDC2 in primary fibroblasts. Using an ex-vivo model of human skin in organ culture expressing IGFBP-3, we demonstrate that IGFBP-3 induces SDC2 ex vivo in human tissue. We also identified Mitogen-activated protein kinase-interacting kinase (Mknk2) as a gene induced by IGFBP-3. IGFBP-3 triggered Mknk2 phosphorylation resulting in its activation. Mknk2 independently induced SDC2 in human skin. Since IGFBP-3 is over-expressed in fibrotic tissues, we examined SDC2 levels in skin and lung tissues of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) and lung tissues of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). SDC2 levels were increased in fibrotic dermal and lung tissues of patients with SSc and in lung tissues of patients with IPF. This is the first report describing elevated levels of SDC2 in fibrosis. Increased SDC2 expression is due, at least in part, to the activity of two pro-fibrotic factors, TGF? and IGFBP-3.
Project description:Objective:SSc is an autoimmune disease characterized by progressive fibrosis of the skin and internal organs. IL-6 and related cytokines that signal through STAT3 have been implicated in the pathogenesis of SSc and mouse models of fibrosis. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of inhibiting STAT3 in the development of fibrosis in two mouse models of skin fibrosis. Methods:Biopsy samples of skin from SSc patients and healthy control subjects were used to determine the expression pattern of phosphotyrosyl (pY705)-STAT3. C188-9, a small molecule inhibitor of STAT3, was used to treat fibrosis in the bleomycin-induced fibrosis model and Tsk-1 mice. In vitro studies were performed to determine the extent to which STAT3 regulates the fibrotic phenotype of dermal fibroblasts. Results:Increased STAT3 and pY705-STAT3 was observed in SSc skin biopsies and in both mouse models of SSc. STAT3 inhibition with C188-9 resulted in attenuated skin fibrosis, myofibroblast accumulation, pro-fibrotic gene expression and collagen deposition in both mouse models of skin fibrosis. C188-9 decreased in vitro dermal fibroblast production of fibrotic genes induced by IL-6 trans-signalling and TGF-β. Finally, TGF-β induced phosphotyrosylation of STAT3 in a SMAD3-dependent manner. Conclusion:STAT3 inhibition decreases dermal fibrosis in two models of SSc. STAT3 regulates dermal fibroblasts function in vitro and can be activated by TGF-β. These data suggest that STAT3 is a potential therapeutic target for dermal fibrosis in diseases such as SSc.
Project description:Systemic sclerosis (SSc; scleroderma) is a multisystem fibrotic disease. The mammalian cleavage factor I 25-kD subunit (CFIm25; encoded by NUDT21) is a key regulator of alternative polyadenylation, and its depletion causes predominantly 3'UTR shortening through loss of stimulation of distal polyadenylation sites. A shortened 3'UTR will often lack microRNA target sites, resulting in increased mRNA translation due to evasion of microRNA-mediated repression. Herein, we report that CFlm25 is downregulated in SSc skin, primary dermal fibroblasts, and two murine models of dermal fibrosis. Knockdown of CFIm25 in normal skin fibroblasts is sufficient to promote the 3'UTR shortening of key TGF?-regulated fibrotic genes and enhance their protein expression. Moreover, several of these fibrotic transcripts show 3'UTR shortening in SSc skin. Finally, mice with CFIm25 deletion in fibroblasts show exaggerated skin fibrosis upon bleomycin treatment, and CFIm25 restoration attenuates bleomycin-induced skin fibrosis. Overall, our data link this novel RNA-processing mechanism to dermal fibrosis and SSc pathogenesis.
Project description:The mechanisms underlying persistent fibroblast activation and myofibroblast phenoconversion in underlying multi-organ fibrosis in systemic sclerosis (SSc) remain incompletely understood, hindering effective therapies to slow or reverse the process. Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) is a pleiotropic member of the CDK family originally identified in neuronal cells. In contrast to other CDKs, CDK5 activity depends on its CDK5R1 subunit p35. Here we demonstrate that expression of p35 and CDK5 activity are induced by TGF-ß in fibroblasts and adipocytic cell types. Levels of p35 are markedly elevated in both SSc skin biopsies and explanted SSc fibroblasts, as well as in fibrotic skin in mice. Ectopic p35 and CDK5 suppressed adipogenic markers while stimulating collagen production and myofibroblast markers, whereas RNAi-mediated CDK5 knockdown abrogated TGF-? fibrotic responses in a Smad-independent manner. Pharmacological inhibitors of CDK5 likewise prevented and reversed TGF-? responses in fibroblast monolayers and in ex vivo human skin organ cultures, ameliorated collagen overproduction in SSc fibroblasts, and prevented and reversed skin fibrosis in two distinct mouse models of SSc. Together, these results reveal a previously unrecognized key function for p35/CDK5 as a mediator of mesenchymal cell fibrotic responses. The results suggest a potential pathogenic role for elevated p35 expression and CDK5 activity in SSc, and raise the possibility that their selective pharmacological targeting might represent a novel treatment approach in fibrosis.
Project description:This data article contains complementary figures related to the research article entitled, "Transforming growth factor-?-induced CUX1 isoforms are associated with fibrosis in systemic sclerosis lung fibroblasts" (Ikeda et al. (2016) , http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrep.2016.06.022), which presents that TGF-? increased CUX1 binding in the proximal promoter and enhancer of the COL1A2 and regulated COL1. Further, in the scleroderma (SSc) lung and diffuse alveolar damage lung sections, CUX1 localized within the ?- smooth muscle actin (?-SMA) positive cells (Fragiadaki et al., 2011) , "High doses of TGF-beta potently suppress type I collagen via the transcription factor CUX1" (Ikeda et al., 2016) . Here we show that CUX1 isoforms are localized within ?-smooth muscle actin-positive cells in SSc skin and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) lung tissue sections. In particular, at the granular and prickle cell layers in the SSc skin sections, CUX1 and ?-SMA are co-localized. In addition, at the fibrotic loci in the IPF lung tissue sections, CUX1 localized within the ?-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA) positive cells.
Project description:Type 2 insulin-like growth factor (IGF-II) levels are increased in fibrosing lung diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and scleroderma/systemic sclerosis-associated pulmonary fibrosis (SSc). Our goal was to investigate the contribution of IGF receptors to IGF-II-mediated fibrosis in these diseases and identify other potential mechanisms key to the fibrotic process. Cognate receptor gene and protein expression were analyzed with qRT-PCR and immunoblot in primary fibroblasts derived from lung tissues of normal donors (NL) and patients with IPF or SSc. Compared to NL, steady-state receptor gene expression was decreased in SSc but not in IPF. IGF-II stimulation differentially decreased receptor mRNA and protein levels in NL, IPF, and SSc fibroblasts. Neutralizing antibody, siRNA, and receptor inhibition targeting endogenous IGF-II and its primary receptors, type 1 IGF receptor (IGF1R), IGF2R, and insulin receptor (IR) resulted in loss of the IGF-II response. IGF-II tipped the TIMP:MMP balance, promoting a fibrotic environment both intracellularly and extracellularly. Differentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts by IGF-II was blocked with a TGF?1 receptor inhibitor. IGF-II also increased TGF?2 and TGF?3 expression, with subsequent activation of canonical SMAD2/3 signaling. Therefore, IGF-II promoted fibrosis through IGF1R, IR, and IGF1R/IR, differentiated fibroblasts into myofibroblasts, decreased protease production and extracellular matrix degradation, and stimulated expression of two TGF? isoforms, suggesting that IGF-II exerts pro-fibrotic effects via multiple mechanisms.
Project description:Objectives:SSc is a devastating disease that results in fibrosis of the skin and other organs. Fibroblasts are a key driver of the fibrotic process through deposition of extracellular matrix. The mechanisms by which fibroblasts are induced to become pro-fibrotic remain unclear. Thus, we examined the ability of SSc keratinocytes to promote fibroblast activation and the source of this effect. Methods:Keratinocytes were isolated from skin biopsies of 9 lcSSc, 10 dcSSc and 13 control patients. Conditioned media was saved from the cultures. Normal fresh primary fibroblasts were exposed to healthy control and SSc keratinocyte conditioned media in the presence or absence of neutralizing antibodies for TGF-?. Gene expression was assessed by microarrays and real-time PCR. Immunocytochemistry was performed for ?-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA), collagen type 1 (COL1A1) and CCL5 expression. Results:SSc keratinocyte conditioned media promoted fibroblast activation, characterized by increased ?-SMA and COL1A1 mRNA and protein expression. This effect was independent of TGF-?. Microarray analysis identified upregulation of nuclear factor ?B (NF-?B) and downregulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor ? (PPAR-?) pathways in both SSc subtypes. Scleroderma keratinocytes exhibited increased expression of NF-?B-regulated cytokines and chemokines and lesional skin staining confirmed upregulation of CCL5 in basal keratinocytes. Conclusion:Scleroderma keratinocytes promote the activation of fibroblasts in a TGF-?-independent manner and demonstrate an imbalance in NF-?B1 and PPAR-? expression leading to increased cytokine and CCL5 production. Further study of keratinocyte mediators of fibrosis, including CCL5, may provide novel targets for skin fibrosis therapy.
Project description:Fibroblasts are the effector cells of fibrosis characteristic of systemic sclerosis (SSc, scleroderma) and other fibrosing conditions. The excess production of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins is the hallmark of fibrosis in different organs, such as skin and lung. Experiments designed to assess the pro-fibrotic capacity of factors, their signaling pathways, and potential inhibitors of their effects that are conducted in fibroblasts have paved the way for planning clinical trials in SSc. As such, fibroblasts have proven to be valuable tools in the search for effective anti-fibrotic therapies for fibrosis. Herein we highlight the characteristics of fibroblasts, their role in the etiology of fibrosis, utility in experimental assays, and contribution to drug development and clinical trials in SSc.