ABSTRACT: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a highly heterogeneous and fatal disease. However, IPF treatment has been limited by the low drug delivery efficiency to lungs and dysfunctional "injured" type II alveolar epithelial cell (AEC II). Here, we present surface-engineered nanoparticles (PER NPs) loading astaxanthin (AST) and trametinib (TRA) adhered to monocyte-derived multipotent cell (MOMC) forming programmed therapeutics (MOMC/PER). Specifically, the cell surface is designed to backpack plenty of PER NPs that reach directly to the lungs due to the homing characteristic of the MOMC and released PER NPs retarget injured AEC II after responding to the matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) in IPF tissues. Then, released AST can enhance synergetic effect of TRA for inhibiting myofibroblast activation, and MOMC can also repair injured AEC II to promote damaged lung regeneration. Our findings provide proof of concept for developing a strategy for cell-mediated lung-targeted delivery platform carrying dual combined therapies to reverse IPF.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Chronic tissue injury was shown to induce progressive scarring in fibrotic diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), while an array of repair/regeneration and stress responses come to equilibrium to determine the outcome of injury at the organ level. In the lung, type I alveolar epithelial (ATI) cells constitute the epithelial barrier, while type II alveolar epithelial (ATII) cells play a pivotal role in regenerating the injured distal lungs. It had been demonstrated that eukaryotic cells possess repair machinery that can quickly patch the damaged plasma membrane after injury, and our previous studies discovered the membrane-mending role of Tripartite motif containing 72 (TRIM72) that expresses in a limited number of tissues including the lung. Nevertheless, the role of alveolar epithelial cell (AEC) repair in the pathogenesis of IPF has not been examined yet. METHOD:In this study, we tested the specific roles of TRIM72 in the repair of ATII cells and the development of lung fibrosis. The role of membrane repair was accessed by saponin assay on isolated primary ATII cells and rat ATII cell line. The anti-fibrotic potential of TRIM72 was tested with bleomycin-treated transgenic mice. RESULTS:We showed that TRIM72 was upregulated following various injuries and in human IPF lungs. However, TRIM72 expression in ATII cells of the IPF lungs had aberrant subcellular localization. In vitro studies showed that TRIM72 repairs membrane injury of immortalized and primary ATIIs, leading to inhibition of stress-induced p53 activation and reduction in cell apoptosis. In vivo studies demonstrated that TRIM72 protects the integrity of the alveolar epithelial layer and reduces lung fibrosis. CONCLUSION:Our results suggest that TRIM72 protects injured lungs and ameliorates fibrosis through promoting post-injury repair of AECs.
Project description:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive fibrosing lung disease that is caused by the dysregulation of alveolar epithelial type II cells (AEC II). The mechanisms involved in the progression of IPF remain incompletely understood, although the immune response accompanied by p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation may contribute to some of them. This study aimed to examine the association of p38 activity in the lungs with bleomycin (BLM)-induced pulmonary fibrosis and its transcriptomic profiling. Accordingly, we evaluated BLM-induced pulmonary fibrosis during an active fibrosis phase in three genotypes of mice carrying stepwise variations in intrinsic p38 activity in the AEC II and performed RNA sequencing of their lungs. Stepwise elevation of p38 signaling in the lungs of the three genotypes was correlated with increased severity of BLM-induced pulmonary fibrosis exhibiting reduced static compliance and higher collagen content. Transcriptome analysis of these lung samples also showed that the enhanced p38 signaling in the lungs was associated with increased transcription of the genes driving the p38 MAPK pathway and differentially expressed genes elicited by BLM, including those related to fibrosis as well as the immune system. Our findings underscore the significance of p38 MAPK in the progression of pulmonary fibrosis.
Project description:ER stress in type II alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) is common in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), but the contribution of ER stress to lung fibrosis is poorly understood. We found that mice deficient in C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), an ER stress-regulated transcription factor, were protected from lung fibrosis and AEC apoptosis in 3 separate models where substantial ER stress was identified. In mice treated with repetitive intratracheal bleomycin, we identified localized hypoxia in type II AECs as a potential mechanism explaining ER stress. To test the role of hypoxia in lung fibrosis, we treated mice with bleomycin, followed by exposure to 14% O2, which exacerbated ER stress and lung fibrosis. Under these experimental conditions, CHOP-/- mice, but not mice with epithelial HIF (HIF1/HIF2) deletion, were protected from AEC apoptosis and fibrosis. In vitro studies revealed that CHOP regulates hypoxia-induced apoptosis in AECs via the inositol-requiring enzyme 1? (IRE1?) and the PKR-like ER kinase (PERK) pathways. In human IPF lungs, CHOP and hypoxia markers were both upregulated in type II AECs, supporting a conclusion that localized hypoxia results in ER stress-induced CHOP expression, thereby augmenting type II AEC apoptosis and potentiating lung fibrosis.
Project description:Pathologic features of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) include genetic predisposition, activation of the unfolded protein response, telomere attrition, and cellular senescence. The mechanisms leading to alveolar epithelial cell (AEC) senescence are poorly understood. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been reported as regulators of cellular senescence. Senescence markers including p16, p21, p53, and senescence-associated ?-galactosidase (SA-?gal) activity were measured in type II AECs from IPF lungs and unused donor lungs. miRNAs were quantified in type II AECs using gene expression arrays and quantitative RT-PCR. Molecular markers of senescence (p16, p21, and p53) were elevated in IPF type II AECs. SA-?gal activity was detected in a greater percentage in type II AECs isolated from IPF patients (23.1%) compared to patients with other interstitial lung diseases (1.2%) or normal controls (0.8%). The relative levels of senescence-associated miRNAs miR-34a, miR-34b, and miR-34c, but not miR-20a, miR-29c, or miR-let-7f were significantly higher in type II AECs from IPF patients. Overexpression of miR-34a, miR-34b, or miR-34c in lung epithelial cells was associated with higher SA-?gal activity (27.8%, 35.1%, and 38.2%, respectively) relative to control treated cells (8.8%). Targets of miR-34 miRNAs, including E2F1, c-Myc, and cyclin E2, were lower in IPF type II AECs. These results show that markers of senescence are uniquely elevated in IPF type II AECs and suggest that the miR-34 family of miRNAs regulate senescence in IPF type II AECs.
Project description:We describe here an interrupted reprogramming strategy to generate "induced progenitor-like (iPL) cells" from alveolar epithelial type II (AEC-II) cells. A carefully defined period of transient expression of reprogramming factors (Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc (OSKM)) is able to rescue the limited in vitro clonogenic capacity of AEC-II cells, potentially by activation of a bipotential progenitor-like state. Importantly, our results demonstrate that interrupted reprogramming results in controlled expansion of cell numbers yet preservation of the differentiation pathway to the alveolar epithelial lineage. When transplanted to the injured lungs, AEC-II-iPL cells are retained in the lung and ameliorate bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Interrupted reprogramming can be used as an alternative approach to produce highly specified functional therapeutic cell populations and may lead to significant advances in regenerative medicine.
Project description:Single-dose intratracheal bleomycin has been instrumental for understanding fibrotic lung remodeling, but fails to recapitulate several features of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Since IPF is thought to result from recurrent alveolar injury, we aimed to develop a repetitive bleomycin model that results in lung fibrosis with key characteristics of human disease, including alveolar epithelial cell (AEC) hyperplasia. Wild-type and cell fate reporter mice expressing ?-galactosidase in cells of lung epithelial lineage were given intratracheal bleomycin after intubation, and lungs were harvested 2 wk after a single or eighth biweekly dose. Lungs were evaluated for fibrosis and collagen content. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) was performed for cell counts. TUNEL staining and immunohistochemistry were performed for pro-surfactant protein C (pro-SP-C), Clara cell 10 (CC-10), ?-galactosidase, S100A4, and ?-smooth muscle actin. Lungs from repetitive bleomycin mice had marked fibrosis with prominent AEC hyperplasia, similar to usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP). Compared with single dosing, repetitive bleomycin mice had greater fibrosis by scoring, morphometry, and collagen content; increased TUNEL+ AECs; and reduced inflammatory cells in BAL. Sixty-four percent of pro-SP-C+ cells in areas of fibrosis expressed CC-10 in the repetitive model, suggesting expansion of a bronchoalveolar stem cell-like population. In reporter mice, 50% of S100A4+ lung fibroblasts were derived from epithelial mesenchymal transition compared with 33% in the single-dose model. With repetitive bleomycin, fibrotic remodeling persisted 10 wk after the eighth dose. Repetitive intratracheal bleomycin results in marked lung fibrosis with prominent AEC hyperplasia, features reminiscent of UIP.
Project description:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive and typically fatal lung disease. To gain insight into the pathogenesis of IPF, we reanalyzed our previously published gene expression data profiling IPF lungs. Cytokine receptor-like factor 1 (CRLF1) was among the most highly up-regulated genes in IPF lungs, compared with normal controls. The protein product (CLF-1) and its partner, cardiotrophin-like cytokine (CLC), function as members of the interleukin 6 (IL-6) family of cytokines. Because of earlier work implicating IL-6 family members in IPF pathogenesis, we tested whether CLF-1 expression contributes to inflammation in experimental pulmonary fibrosis. In IPF, we detected CLF-1 expression in both type II alveolar epithelial cells and macrophages. We found that the receptor for CLF-1/CLC signaling, ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor (CNTFR), was expressed only in type II alveolar epithelial cells. Administration of CLF-1/CLC to both uninjured and bleomycin-injured mice led to the pulmonary accumulation of CD4(+) T cells. We also found that CLF-1/CLC administration increased inflammation but decreased pulmonary fibrosis. CLF-1/CLC leads to significantly enriched expression of T-cell-derived chemokines and cytokines, including the antifibrotic cytokine interferon-?. We propose that, in IPF, CLF-1 is a selective stimulus of type II alveolar epithelial cells and may potentially drive an antifibrotic response by augmenting both T-helper-1-driven and T-regulatory-cell-driven inflammatory responses in the lung.
Project description:<h4>Rationale</h4>Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a progressive disease with a dismal prognosis, exhibit an unexplained disparity of increased alveolar epithelial cell (AEC) apoptosis but reduced fibroblast apoptosis.<h4>Objectives</h4>To examine whether the failure of patients with IPF to up-regulate cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, and thus the antifibrotic mediator prostaglandin (PG)E(2), accounts for this imbalance.<h4>Methods</h4>Fibroblasts and primary type II AECs were isolated from control and fibrotic human lung tissue. The effects of COX-2 inhibition and exogenous PGE(2) on fibroblast and AEC sensitivity to Fas ligand (FasL)-induced apoptosis were assessed.<h4>Measurements and main results</h4>IPF lung fibroblasts are resistant to FasL-induced apoptosis compared with control lung fibroblasts. Inhibition of COX-2 in control lung fibroblasts resulted in an apoptosis-resistant phenotype. Administration of PGE(2) almost doubled the rate of FasL-induced apoptosis in fibrotic lung fibroblasts compared with FasL alone. Conversely, in primary fibrotic lung type II AECs, PGE(2) protected against FasL-induced apoptosis. In human control and, to a greater extent, fibrotic lung fibroblasts, PGE(2) inhibits the phosphorylation of Akt, suggesting that regulation of this prosurvival protein kinase is an important mechanism by which PGE(2) modulates cellular apoptotic responses.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The observation that PGE(2) deficiency results in increased AEC but reduced fibroblast sensitivity to apoptosis provides a novel pathogenic insight into the mechanisms driving persistent fibroproliferation in IPF.
Project description:We established a new protocol for negative immunomagnetic isolation of murine primary Type II alveolar epithelial cells (AEC II) yielding untouched primary murine AEC II. AEC II were collected from mice 24h after Aspergillus fumigatus or mock infection (9 replicates per experimental group) and analyzed by label-free quantitative proteomics.
Project description:Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, irreversible lung disease with complex pathophysiology. Evidence of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress has been reported in alveolar epithelial cells (AEC) in IPF patients. Secreted mediators from bone marrow stem cells (BMSC-cm) have regenerative properties. In this study we investigate the beneficial effects of BMSC-cm on ER stress response in primary AEC and ER stressed A549 cells. We hypothesize that BMSC-cm reduces ER stress. Primary AEC isolated from IPF patients were treated with BMSC-cm. To induce ER stress A549 cells were incubated with Tunicamycin or Thapsigargin and treated with BMSC-cm, or control media. Primary IPF-AEC had high Grp78 and CHOP gene expression, which was lowered after BMSC-cm treatment. Similar results were observed in ER stressed A549 cells. Alveolar epithelial repair increased in presence of BMSC-cm in ER stressed A549 cells. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) was detected in biologically relevant levels in BMSC-cm. Neutralization of HGF in BMSC-cm attenuated the beneficial effects of BMSC-cm including synthesis of surfactant protein C (SP-C) in primary AEC, indicating a crucial role of HGF in ER homeostasis and alveolar epithelial repair. Our data suggest that BMSC-cm may be a potential therapeutic option for treating pulmonary fibrosis.