Fibrosis and apoptosis are juxtaposed in pulmonary disorders such as asthma and the interstitial diseases, and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 has been implicated in the pathogenesis of these responses. However, the in vivo effector functions of TGF-β1 in the lung and its roles in the pathogenesis of these responses are not completely understood. In addition, the relationships between apoptosis and other TGF-β1–induced responses have not been defined. To address these issues, we targeted bioactive TGF-β1 to the murine lung using a novel externally regulatable, triple transgenic system. TGF-β1 produced a transient wave of epithelial apoptosis that was followed by mononuclear-rich inflammation, tissue fibrosis, myofibroblast and myocyte hyperplasia, and septal rupture with honeycombing. Studies of these mice highlighted the reversibility of this fibrotic response. They also demonstrated that a null mutation of early growth response gene (Egr)-1 or caspase inhibition blocked TGF-β1–induced apoptosis. Interestingly, both interventions markedly ameliorated TGF-β1–induced fibrosis and alveolar remodeling. These studies illustrate the complex effects of TGF-β1 in vivo and define the critical role of Egr-1 in the TGF-β1 phenotype. They also demonstrate that Egr-1–mediated apoptosis is a prerequisite for TGF-β1–induced fibrosis and remodeling.
asthma; pulmonary fibrosis; fibrosis reversibility; airway remodeling
Increased production of EGF or TGF-alpha by the respiratory epithelial cells has been associated with the pathogenesis of various forms of lung injury. Growth factors and cytokines are thought to act locally, via paracrine and autocrine mechanisms, to stimulate cell proliferation and matrix deposition by interstitial lung cells resulting in pulmonary fibrosis. To test whether TGF-alpha mediates pulmonary fibrotic responses, we have generated transgenic mice expressing human TGF-alpha under control of regulatory regions of the human surfactant protein C (SP-C) gene. Human TGF-alpha mRNA was expressed in pulmonary epithelial cells in the lungs of the transgenic mice. Adult mice bearing the SP-C-TGF-alpha transgene developed severe pulmonary fibrosis. Fibrotic lesions were observed in peribronchial, peribronchiolar, and perivascular regions, as well as subjacent to pleural surfaces. Lesions consisted of fibrous tissue that included groups of epithelial cells expressing endogenous SP-C mRNA, consistent with their identification as distal respiratory epithelial cells. Peripheral fibrotic regions consisted of thickened pleura associated with extensive collagen deposition. Alveolar architecture was disrupted in the transgenic mice with loss of alveoli in the lung parenchyma. Pulmonary epithelial cell expression of TGF-alpha in transgenic mice disrupts alveolar morphogenesis and produces fibrotic lesions mediated by paracrine signaling between respiratory epithelial and interstitial cells of the lung.
Inflammation and tissue remodeling with pathologic fibrosis are common consequences of Th2 responses in the lung and other organs. Interleukin (IL)-13 and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) are frequently coexpressed in these responses and are believed to play important roles in the pathogenesis of Th2-induced pathologies. To shed light on the mechanisms of these responses, overexpression transgenic approaches were used to selectively target each of these cytokines to the murine lung. IL-13 proved to be a potent stimulator of eosinophilic inflammation, mucus metaplasia, tissue fibrosis, and alveolar remodeling. CC chemokines, specific chemokine receptors (CCR2, CCR1), adenosine metabolism, vascular endothelial growth factor, and IL-11 contributed to the genesis of these responses. IL-13 also induced tissue fibrosis, at least in part, via its ability to induce and activate TGF-β1. In the TGF-β1 transgenic mouse, epithelial apoptosis preceded the onset of tissue fibrosis and alveolar remodeling. In addition, chemical (Z-VAD-fmk) and genetic (null mutations of early growth response gene 1) interventions blocked apoptosis and ameliorated TGF-β1–induced fibrosis and alveolar restructuring. These studies define an IL-13–TGF-β1 pathway of tissue remodeling that regulates inflammation, mucus metaplasia, apoptosis, vascular responses, and fibrosis in the lung. They also highlight the intimate relationship between apoptosis and fibrosis induced by TGF-β1. By defining the complexities of this pathway, these studies highlight sites at which therapies can be directed to control these important responses.
asthma; fibrosis; interleukin-13; transforming growth factor-β; 1; transgenic
Semaphorin (Sema) 7a regulates TGF- β1 induced fibrosis. Using a murine model of pulmonary fibrosis in which an inducible, bioactive form of the human TGF- β1 gene is overexpressed in the lung, we tested the hypothesis that Sema-7a exerts its pro-fibrotic effects in part by promoting the tissue accumulation of CD45+ fibrocytes.
Fibrosis and fibrocytes were evaluated in TGF- β1 transgenic mice in which the Sema-7a locus had been disrupted. The effect of replacement or deletion of Sema-7a on bone marrow derived cells was ascertained using bone marrow transplantation. The role of the Sema-7a receptor β1 integrin was assessed using neutralizing antibodies. The applicability of these findings to TGF-β1-driven fibrosis in humans was examined in patients with scleroderma-related interstitial lung disease.
The appearance of fibrocytes in the lungs in TGF- β1 transgenic mice requires Sema-7a. Replacement of Sema-7a in bone marrow derived cells restores lung fibrosis and fibrocytes. Immunoneutralization of β1 integrin reduces pulmonary fibrocytes and fibrosis. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with scleroderma-related interstitial lung disease show increased mRNA for Sema-7a and the β1 integrin, with Sema-7a located on collagen producing fibrocytes and CD19+ lymphocytes. Peripheral blood fibrocyte outgrowth is enhanced in these patients. Stimulation of normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells with recombinant Sema-7a enhances fibrocyte differentiation; these effects are attenuated by β1 integrin neutralization.
Interventions that reduce Sema-7a expression or prevent the Sema-7a - β1 integrin interaction may be ameliorative in TGF- β1-driven or fibrocyte-associated autoimmune fibroses.
Interleukin (IL)-13 is a key mediator of tissue fibrosis caused by T helper cell type 2 inflammation. We hypothesized that the fibrogenic effects of IL-13 are mediated by transforming growth factor (TGF)-β. To test this hypothesis we compared the regulation of TGF-β in lungs from wild-type mice and CC10-IL-13 mice in which IL-13 overexpression causes pulmonary fibrosis. IL-13 selectively stimulated TGF-β1 production in transgenic animals and macrophages were the major site of TGF-β1 production and deposition in these tissues. IL-13 also activated TGF-β1 in vivo. This activation was associated with decreased levels of mRNA encoding latent TGF-β–binding protein-1 and increased mRNA encoding urinary plasminogen activator, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, and CD44. TGF-β1 activation was abrogated by the plasmin/serine protease antagonist aprotinin. It was also decreased in progeny of crosses of CC10-IL-13 mice and MMP-9 null mice but was not altered in crosses with CD44 null animals. IL-13–induced fibrosis was also significantly ameliorated by treatment with the TGF-β antagonist soluble TGFβR-Fc (sTGFβR-Fc). These studies demonstrate that IL-13 is a potent stimulator and activator of TGF-β1 in vivo. They also demonstrate that this activation is mediated by a plasmin/serine protease- and MMP-9–dependent and CD44-independent mechanism(s) and that the fibrogenic effects of IL-13 are mediated, in great extent, by this TGF-β pathway.
lung; plasmin; matrix metalloproteinase-9; CD44; asthma
Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is a cytokine implicated in wound healing and in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis. TGF-β stimulates myofibroblast differentiation characterized by expression of contractile smooth muscle (SM)-specific proteins such as SM–α-actin. In the present study, we examined the role of serum response factor (SRF) in the mechanism of TGF-β–induced pulmonary myofibroblast differentiation of human lung fibroblasts (HLF). TGF-β stimulated SM–α-actin expression in HLF, which paralleled with a profound induction of SRF expression and activity. Inhibition of SRF by the pharmacologic SRF inhibitor (CCG-1423), or via adenovirus-mediated transduction of SRF short hairpin RNA (shSRF), blocked the expression of both SRF and SM–α-actin in response to TGF-β without affecting Smad-mediated signaling of TGF-β. However, forced expression of SRF on its own did not promote SM–α-actin expression, whereas expression of the constitutively transactivated SRF fusion protein (SRF-VP16) was sufficient to induce SM–α-actin expression, suggesting that both expression and transactivation of SRF are important. Activation of protein kinase A (PKA) by forskolin or iloprost resulted in a significant inhibition of SM–α-actin expression induced by TGF-β, and this was associated with inhibition of both SRF expression and activity, but not of Smad-mediated gene transcription. In summary, this is the first direct demonstration that TGF-β–induced pulmonary myofibroblast differentiation is mediated by SRF, and that inhibition of myofibroblast differentiation by PKA occurs through down-regulation of SRF expression levels and SRF activity, independent of Smad signaling.
transforming growth factor-β; serum response factor; myofibroblast; protein kinase A; Smad
Tissue repair is a well orchestrated biological process involving numerous soluble mediators, and an imbalance between these factors may result in impaired repair and fibrosis. Transforming growth factor (TGF) β is a key profibrotic element in this process and it is thought that its three isoforms act in a similar way. Here, we report that TGF-β3 administered to rat lungs using transient overexpression initiates profibrotic effects similar to those elicited by TGF-β1, but causes less severe and progressive changes. The data suggest that TGF-β3 does not lead to inhibition of matrix degradation in the same way as TGF-β1, resulting in non-fibrotic tissue repair. Further, TGF-β3 is able to downregulate TGF-β1 induced gene expression, suggesting a regulatory role of TGF-β3. TGF-β3 overexpression results in an upregulation of Smad proteins similar to TGF-β1, but is less efficient in inducing the ALK 5 and TGF-β type II receptor (TβRII). We provide evidence that this difference may contribute to the progressive nature of TGF-β1 induced fibrotic response, in contrast to the limited fibrosis observed following TGF-β3 overexpression. TGF-β3 is important in “normal wound healing”, but is outbalanced by TGF-β1 in “fibrotic wound healing” in the lung.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic fibroproliferative pulmonary disorder for which there are currently no treatments. Although the etiology of IPF is unknown, dysregulated TGF-β signaling has been implicated in its pathogenesis. Recent studies also suggest a central role for abnormal epithelial repair. In this study, we sought to elucidate the function of epithelial TGF-β signaling via TGF-β receptor II (TβRII) and its contribution to fibrosis by generating mice in which TβRII was specifically inactivated in mouse lung epithelium. These mice, which are referred to herein as TβRIINkx2.1-cre mice, were used to determine the impact of TβRII inactivation on (a) embryonic lung morphogenesis in vivo; and (b) the epithelial cell response to TGF-β signaling in vitro and in a bleomycin-induced, TGF-β–mediated mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis. Although postnatally viable with no discernible abnormalities in lung morphogenesis and epithelial cell differentiation, TβRIINkx2.1-cre mice developed emphysema, suggesting a requirement for epithelial TβRII in alveolar homeostasis. Absence of TβRII increased phosphorylation of Smad2 and decreased, but did not entirely block, phosphorylation of Smad3 in response to endogenous/physiologic TGF-β. However, TβRIINkx2.1-cre mice exhibited increased survival and resistance to bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. To our knowledge, these findings are the first to demonstrate a specific role for TGF-β signaling in the lung epithelium in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis.
Transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-β1) has been implicated in hyperoxia-induced cell death and impaired alveolarization in the developing lung. In addition, the c-JunNH2-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway has been shown to have a role for TGF-β1-mediated effects. We hypothesized that the JNK pathway is an important regulator of hyperoxia-induced pulmonary responses in the developing murine lung.
We used cultured human lung epithelial cells, fetal rat lung fibroblasts and a neonatal TGF-β1 transgenic mouse model. We demonstrate that hyperoxia inhibits cell proliferation, activates cell death mediators and causes cell death, and promotes myofibroblast transdifferentiation, in a dose-dependent manner. Except for fibroblast proliferation, the effects were mediated via the JNK pathway. In addition, since we observed increased expression of TGF-β1 by epithelial cells on exposure to hyperoxia, we used a TGF-β1 transgenic mouse model to determine the role of JNK activation in TGF-β1 induced effects on lung development and on exposure to hyperoxia. We noted that, in this model, inhibition of JNK signaling significantly improved the spontaneously impaired alveolarization in room air and decreased mortality on exposure to hyperoxia.
When viewed in combination, these studies demonstrate that hyperoxia-induced cell death, myofibroblast transdifferentiation, TGF-β1- and hyperoxia-mediated pulmonary responses are mediated, at least in part, via signaling through the JNK pathway.
The transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β ) family is comprised of over 30 family members that are structurally related secreted dimeric cytokines, including TGF-β, activins, and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs)/growth and differentiation factors (GDFs). TGF-β are pluripotent regulators of cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, migration, and adhesion of many different cell types. TGF-β pathways are highly evolutionarily conserved and control embryogenesis, tissue repair, and tissue homeostasis in invertebrates and vertebrates. Aberrations in TGF-β activity and signaling underlie a broad spectrum of developmental disorders and major pathologies in humans, including cancer, fibrosis and autoimmune diseases. Recent observations indicate an emerging role for TGF-β in regulation of mitochondrial bioenergetics and oxidative stress responses characteristic of chronic degenerative diseases and ageing. Conversely, energy and metabolic sensory pathways cross-regulate mediators of TGF-β signaling. Here we review TGF-β and regulation of bioenergetic and mitochondrial functions, including energy and oxidant metabolism and apoptotic cell death, as well as their emerging relevance in renal biology and disease.
Mitochondria; signal transduction; apoptosis; fibrosis; cytokine
Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 has been implicated in the pathogenesis of fibrosis based upon its matrix-inducing effects on stromal cells in vitro, and studies demonstrating increased expression of total TGF-beta1 in fibrotic tissues from a variety of organs. The precise role in vivo of this cytokine in both its latent and active forms, however, remains unclear. Using replication-deficient adenovirus vectors to transfer the cDNA of porcine TGF-beta1 to rat lung, we have been able to study the effect of TGF-beta1 protein in the respiratory tract directly. We have demonstrated that transient overexpression of active, but not latent, TGF-beta1 resulted in prolonged and severe interstitial and pleural fibrosis characterized by extensive deposition of the extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins collagen, fibronectin, and elastin, and by emergence of cells with the myofibroblast phenotype. These results illustrate the role of TGF-beta1 and the importance of its activation in the pulmonary fibrotic process, and suggest that targeting active TGF-beta1 and steps involved in TGF-beta1 activation are likely to be valuable antifibrogenic therapeutic strategies. This new and versatile model of pulmonary fibrosis can be used to study such therapies.
Transforming growth factor (TGF)-α and its receptor, the epidermal growth factor receptor, are induced after lung injury and are associated with remodeling in chronic pulmonary diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis and asthma. Expression of TGF-α in the lungs of adult mice causes fibrosis, pleural thickening, and pulmonary hypertension, in addition to increased expression of a transcription factor, early growth response-1 (Egr-1). Egr-1 was increased in airway smooth muscle (ASM) and the vascular adventitia in the lungs of mice conditionally expressing TGF-α in airway epithelium (Clara cell secretory protein–rtTA+/−/[tetO]7–TGF-α+/−). The goal of this study was to determine the role of Egr-1 in TGF-α–induced lung disease. To accomplish this, TGF-α–transgenic mice were crossed to Egr-1 knockout (Egr-1ko/ko) mice. The lack of Egr-1 markedly increased the severity of TGF-α–induced pulmonary disease, dramatically enhancing airway muscularization, increasing pulmonary fibrosis, and causing greater airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine. Smooth muscle hyperplasia, not hypertrophy, caused the ASM thickening in the absence of Egr-1. No detectable increases in pulmonary inflammation were found. In addition to the airway remodeling disease, vascular remodeling and pulmonary hypertension were also more severe in Egr-1ko/ko mice. Thus, Egr-1 acts to suppress epidermal growth factor receptor–mediated airway and vascular muscularization, fibrosis, and airway hyperresponsiveness in the absence of inflammation. This provides a unique model to study the processes causing pulmonary fibrosis and ASM thickening without the complicating effects of inflammation.
transforming growth factor-α; pulmonary fibrosis; asthma; pulmonary hypertension; vascular remodeling
Transforming growth factor (TGF)-α is a ligand for the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). EGFR activation is associated with fibroproliferative processes in human lung disease and animal models of pulmonary fibrosis. Overexpression of TGF-α in transgenic mice causes progressive and severe pulmonary fibrosis; however, the intracellular signaling pathways downstream of EGFR mediating this response are unknown. Using a doxycycline-regulatable transgenic mouse model of lung-specific TGF-α expression, we observed increased PCNA protein and phosphorylation of Akt and p70S6K in whole lung homogenates in association with induction of TGF-α. Induction in the lung of TGF-α caused progressive pulmonary fibrosis over a 7-week period. Daily administration of rapamycin prevented accumulation of total lung collagen, weight loss, and changes in pulmonary mechanics. Treatment of mice with rapamycin 4 weeks after the induction of TGF-α prevented additional weight loss, increases in total collagen, and changes in pulmonary mechanics. Rapamycin prevented further increases in established pulmonary fibrosis induced by EGFR activation. This study demonstrates that mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a major effector of EGFR-induced pulmonary fibrosis, providing support for further studies to determine the role of mTOR in the pathogenesis and treatment of pulmonary fibrosis.
epidermal growth factor receptor; PI3K; Akt; mTOR
Subsets of cancer survivors who have been subjected to thoracic irradiation face the prospect of developing pulmonary injury. Radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis is an insidious injury that presents 6 to 24 months after irradiation and continues to progress over a period of years. TGF-β and reactive oxygen species contribute significantly to the pathogenesis of this injury. The transcription factor NRF2 controls antioxidant gene expression and therefore regulates the cellular oxidant burden. This work demonstrates an additional paradigm for NRF2: suppression of TGF-β-mediated signaling, assessed by measuring expression of a surrogate TGF-β1 target gene (PAI-1) in lung fibroblasts. Thoracic irradiation of Nfe2l2 (−/−) mice resulted in rapid expression of PAI-1 and FSP-1 compare to irradiated wild type mice. Examination of lung tissue 16 weeks after thoracic irradiation of Nfe2l2 (−/−) mice revealed the presence of distended alveoli and decreased numbers of alveoli compared to wild type mice. Suppression of NRF2 expression shortened life span in mice administered 16 Gy to the thorax. Nfe2l2 (+/−) and (−/−) mice exhibited a mean life span of 176 days compared to wild type mice that lived an average of 212 days. These novel results identify NRF2 as a susceptibility factor for development of late tissue injury.
Radiation-induced fibrosis; late normal tissue injury; NRF2; TGF-β; Nrf2 null mice; PAI-1; FSP-1
The cytokine transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) plays a pivotal role in a diverse range of cellular responses, including cell proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, migration, adhesion, angiogenesis, stimulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis, and downregulation of ECM degradation. TGF-β and its receptors are ubiquitously expressed by most cell types and tissues in vivo. In intact adult tissues and organs, TGF-β is secreted in a biologically inactive (latent) form associated in a non-covalent complex with the ECM. In response to injury, local latent TGF-β complexes are converted into active TGF-β according to a tissue- and injury type-specific activation mechanism. Such a well and tightly orchestrated regulation in TGF-β activity enables an immediate, highly localized response to type-specific tissue injury. In the pathological process of liver fibrosis, TGF-β plays as a master profibrogenic cytokine in promoting activation and myofibroblastic differentiation of hepatic stellate cells, a central event in liver fibrogenesis. Continuous and/or persistent TGF-β signaling induces sustained production of ECM components and of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase synthesis. Therefore, the regulation of locally activated TGF-β levels is increasingly recognized as a therapeutic target for liver fibrogenesis. This review summarizes our present knowledge of the activation mechanisms and bioavailability of latent TGF-β in biological and pathological processes in the liver.
TGF-β; TSP-1; β6 integrin; fibronectin; local bioavailability; liver disease
Pulmonary fibrosis remains a significant public health burden with no proven therapies. The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/MAPK kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal–regulated kinase (ERK) signaling cascade is a major pathway controlling cellular processes associated with fibrogenesis, including growth, proliferation, and survival. Activation of the MAPK/ERK pathway is detected in the lungs of human fibrosis samples; however, the effect of modulating the pathway in vivo is unknown. Overexpression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-α in the lung epithelium of transgenic mice causes a progressive pulmonary fibrosis associated with increased MEK/ERK activation localized primarily in mesenchymal cells. To determine the role of the MEK pathway in the induction of TGF-α–induced lung fibrosis, TGF-α was overexpressed for 4 weeks while mice were simultaneously treated with the specific MEK inhibitor, ARRY-142886 (ARRY). Treatment with ARRY prevented increases in lung cell proliferation and total lung collagen, attenuated production of extracellular matrix genes, and protected mice from changes in lung function. ARRY administered as a rescue treatment after fibrosis was already established inhibited fibrosis progression, as assessed by lung histology, changes in body weights, extracellular matrix gene expression, and lung mechanics. These findings demonstrate that MEK inhibition prevents progression of established fibrosis in the TGF-α model, and provides proof of concept of targeting the MEK pathway in fibrotic lung disease.
pulmonary fibrosis; transforming growth factor-α; epidermal growth factor receptor; mitogen-activated protein kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase/extracellular signal–regulated kinase; ARRY-142886
Collagen-containing leukocytes (CD45+Col-I+) accumulate in diseased and fibrotic tissues. However, the precise identity of these cells and whether injury is required for their recruitment remain unknown. Using a murine model of pulmonary fibrosis in which an inducible, bioactive form of the human transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 gene is targeted to the lung, we characterized the cell surface phenotype of collagen-containing CD45+ cells in the lung and tested the hypothesis that apoptotic cell death responses are essential to the accumulation of CD45+Col-I+ cells.
Our studies demonstrate that CD45+Col-I+ cells appearing in the TGF-β1-exposed murine lung express markers of the monocyte lineage. Inhibition of apoptosis via pharmacological caspase blockade led to a significant reduction in CD45+Col-I+ cells, which appear to accumulate independently of alternatively activated macrophages. There are also increased levels of apoptosis and greater numbers of CD45+Col-I+ in the lung tissue of patients with two distinct forms of fibrotic lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and connective tissue disease-related interstitial lung disease, when compared to lung from healthy normal controls. These findings are accompanied by an increase in collagen production in cultured monocytes obtained from subjects with fibrotic lung disease. Treatment of these cultured cells with the caspase inhibitor carbobenzoxy-valyl-alanyl-aspartyl-[O-methyl]-fluoromethylketone (Z-VAD/fmk) reduces both apoptosis and collagen production in all subjects.
Interventions that prevent collagen production by monocytes via modulation of caspase activation and of apoptosis may be ameliorative in monocyte-associated, TGF-β1-driven processes such as pulmonary fibrosis.
Recent observations suggest that immune response is involved in the development of pancreatitis. However, the exact pathogenesis underlying this immune-mediated response is still under debate. TGF-β has been known to be an important regulating factor in maintaining immune homeostasis. To determine the role of TGF-β in the initiation or progression of pancreatitis, TGF-β signaling was inactivated in mouse pancreata by overexpressing a dominant-negative mutant form of TGF-β type II receptor in the pancreas, under control of the pS2 mouse trefoil peptide promoter. Transgenic mice showed marked increases in MHC class II molecules and matrix metalloproteinase expression in pancreatic acinar cells. These mice also showed increased susceptibility to cerulein-induced pancreatitis. This pancreatitis was characterized by severe pancreatic edema, inflammatory cell infiltration, T- and B-cell hyperactivation, IgG-type autoantibodies against pancreatic acinar cells, and IgM-type autoantibodies against pancreatic ductal epithelial cells. Therefore, TGF-β signaling seems to be essential either in maintaining the normal immune homeostasis and suppressing autoimmunity or in preserving the integrity of pancreatic acinar cells.
Semaphorin (SEMA) 7A regulates neuronal and immune function. In these studies, we tested the hypothesis that SEMA 7A is also a critical regulator of tissue remodeling. These studies demonstrate that SEMA 7A and its receptors, plexin C1 and β1 integrins, are stimulated by transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 in the murine lung. They also demonstrate that SEMA 7A plays a critical role in TGF-β1–induced fibrosis, myofibroblast hyperplasia, alveolar remodeling, and apoptosis. TGF-β1 stimulated SEMA 7A via a largely Smad 3–independent mechanism and stimulated SEMA 7A receptors, matrix proteins, CCN proteins, fibroblast growth factor 2, interleukin 13 receptor components, proteases, antiprotease, and apoptosis regulators via Smad 2/3–independent and SEMA 7A–dependent mechanisms. SEMA 7A also played an important role in the pathogenesis of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. TGF-β1 and bleomycin also activated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and protein kinase B (PKB)/AKT via SEMA 7A–dependent mechanisms, and PKB/AKT inhibition diminished TGF-β1–induced fibrosis. These observations demonstrate that SEMA 7A and its receptors are induced by TGF-β1 and that SEMA 7A plays a central role in a PI3K/PKB/AKT-dependent pathway that contributes to TGF-β1–induced fibrosis and remodeling. They also demonstrate that the effects of SEMA 7A are not specific for transgenic TGF-β1, highlighting the importance of these findings for other fibrotic stimuli.
pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is characterised by subpleural fibrosis that
progresses to involve all areas of the lung. The expression of
transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), a potent regulator of
connective tissue synthesis, is increased in lung sections of patients
with IPF. TGF-β1 is generally released in a biologically latent form
(L-TGF-β1). Before being biologically active, TGF-β must be
converted to its active form and interact with both TGF-β receptors
type I and II (TβR-I and TβR-II). TGF-β latency binding protein 1 (LTBP-1), which facilitates the release and activation of L-TGF-β1,
is also important in the biology of TGF-β1.
biopsy samples from patients with IPF and normal controls were examined
to localise TβR-I, TβR-II, and LTBP-1. Alveolar macrophages (AM)
and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid were examined using the CCL-64
bioassay to determine if TGF-β is present in its active form in the
lungs of patients with IPF.
L-TGF-β1 was present in all lung cells of patients with IPF except
for fibroblasts in the subepithelial regions of honeycomb cysts. LTBP-1
was detected primarily in AM and epithelial cells lining honeycomb
cysts in areas of advanced IPF. In normal lungs LTBP-1 immunoreactivity
was observed in a few AM. AM from the upper and lower lobes of patients
with IPF secreted 1.6 (0.6) fmol and 4.1 (1.9) fmol active TGF-β,
respectively, while AM from the lower lobes of control patients
secreted no active TGF-β (p⩽0.01 for TGF-β in the conditioned
media from AM obtained from the lower lobes of IPF patients
v normal controls). The difference in
percentage active TGF-β secreted by AM from the lower lobes of
patients with IPF and the lower lobes of control patients was
significant (p⩽0.01), but the difference between the total TGF-β
secreted from these lobes was not significant. The difference in active
TGF-β in conditioned media of AM from the upper and lower lobes of
patients with IPF was also not statistically significant. BAL fluid
from the upper and lower lobes of patients with IPF contained 0.7 (0.2) fmol and 2.9 (1.2) fmol active TGF-β, respectively
(p⩽0.03). The percentage of active TGF-β in the upper and lower
lobes was 17.6 (1.0)% and 78.4 (1.6)%, respectively (p⩽0.03). In
contrast, BAL fluid from control patients contained small amounts of
L-TGF-β. Using immunostaining, both TβR-I and TβR-II were present
on all cells of normal lungs but TβR-I was markedly reduced in most
cells in areas of honeycomb cysts except for interstitial
myofibroblasts in lungs of patients with IPF. TGF-β1 inhibits
epithelial cell proliferation and a lack of TβR-I expression by
epithelial cells lining honeycomb cysts would facilitate repair of the
alveoli by epithelial cell proliferation. However, the presence of both
TβRs on fibroblasts is likely to result in a response to TGF-β1 for
synthesis of connective tissue proteins. Our findings show that
biologically active TGF-β1 is only present in the lungs of patients
with IPF. In addition, the effects of TGF-β1 on cells may be further
regulated by the expression of TβRs.
of L-TGF-β1 and the differential expression of TβRs may be
important in the pathogenesis of remodelling and fibrosis in IPF.
TGF-β potently induces apoptosis in Burkitt’s Lymphoma (BL) cell lines and in explanted primary human B lymphocytes. The physiological relevance and mechanism of TGF-β-mediated apoptosis induction in these cells remains to be determined. Here we demonstrate the requirement for TGF-β-mediated regulation of BIK and BCL-XL to activate an intrinsic apoptotic pathway in centroblastic BL cells. TGF-β directly induced transcription of BIK and a consensus Smad binding element identified in the BIK promoter recruits TGF-β-activated Smad transcription factor complexes in vivo. TGF-β also transcriptionally repressed expression of the apoptosis inhibitor BCL-XL. Inhibition of BCL-XL sensitised BL cells to TGF-β-induced apoptosis while overexpression of BCL-XL or suppression of BIK by shRNA, diminished TGF-β-induced apoptosis. BIK and BCL-XL were also identified as TGF-β target genes in purified normal human centroblast B cells and immunohistochemical analyses of tonsil tissue revealed widespread TGF-β receptor-regulated Smad activation and a focal pattern of BIK expression. Furthermore, using a selective inhibitor of the TGF-β receptor we provide evidence that autocrine TGF-β signaling through ALK5 contributes to the default apoptotic program in normal human centroblasts undergoing spontaneous apoptosis. Our data suggests that TGF-β may act as a physiological mediator of human germinal centre homeostasis via regulation of BIK and BCL-XL.
TGF-β; apoptosis; centroblast; BIK; BCL-XL
Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 is a pluripotent cytokine that profoundly inhibits epithelial proliferation, induces apoptosis, and influences morphogenesis by mediating extracellular matrix deposition and remodeling. The physiologic roles of the action of TGF-β in mammary gland, indeed in most tissues, are poorly understood. In order to understand the actions of TGF-β, we need to take into account the complexity of its effects on different cell types and the influence of context on cellular responses. This task is further compounded by multiple mechanisms for regulating TGF-β transcription, translation, and activity. One of the most significant factors that obscures the action of TGF-β is that it is secreted as a stable latent complex, which consists of the 24-kDa cytokine and the 80-kDa dimer of its prepro region, called latency-associated peptide. Latency imposes a critical restraint on TGF-β activity that is often overlooked.The extracellular process known as activation, in which TGF-β is released from the latent complex, is emphasized in the present discussion of the role of TGF-β in mammary gland development. Definition of the spatial and temporal patterns of latent TGF-β activation in situ is essential for understanding the specific roles that TGF-β plays during mammary gland development, proliferation, and morphogenesis.
transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1; activation; latent; mammary; proliferation
Transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) is a cardinal cytokine in the pathogenesis of airway remodeling, and promotes epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). As a molecular interaction between TGF-β1 and Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) has been demonstrated, the goal of this study was to elucidate whether JNK plays a role in TGF-β1-induced EMT. Primary cultures of mouse tracheal epithelial cells (MTEC) from wild-type, JNK1–/– or JNK2–/– mice were comparatively evaluated for their ability to undergo EMT in response to TGF-β1. Wild-type MTEC exposed to TGF-β1 demonstrated a prominent induction of mesenchymal mediators and a loss of epithelial markers, in conjunction with a loss of trans-epithelial resistance (TER). Significantly, TGF-β1-mediated EMT was markedly blunted in epithelial cells lacking JNK1, while JNK2–/– MTEC underwent EMT in response to TGF-β1 in a similar way to wild-type cells. Although Smad2/3 phosphorylation and nuclear localization of Smad4 were similar in JNK1–/– MTEC in response to TGF-β1, Smad DNA-binding activity was diminished. Gene expression profiling demonstrated a global suppression of TGF-β1-modulated genes, including regulators of EMT in JNK1–/– MTEC, in comparison with wild-type cells. In aggregate, these results illuminate the novel role of airway epithelial-dependent JNK1 activation in EMT.
Lung; EMT; TGF-β; JNK; SMAD; Mouse
Background: TGF-β induces apoptosis in Burkitt's lymphoma cells.
PUMA is a direct target gene of TGF-β signaling and is required for rapid apoptosis.
Conclusion: TGF-β-mediated direct induction of PUMA contributes to apoptosis in human and murine c-Myc-driven lymphomas.
Significance: These studies link TGF-β signaling and transcriptional activation of PUMA, two factors with critical roles in regulating B-cell survival.
c-Myc transformed human Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) cells are highly sensitive to TGF-β-induced apoptosis. Previously we demonstrated that TGF-β-mediated cell death in BL cells is regulated via the mitochondrial intrinsic apoptosis pathway, which is dependent on the activation of BAX and/or BAK. TGF-β directly induces transcription of the BH3-only protein BIK and represses expression of the pro-survival factor BCL-XL but has no effect on the direct BAX/BAK “activators” BIM or BID (tBID). Here we show that TGF-β induces the BH3-only activator PUMA to aid induction of the intrinsic cell death pathway. TGF-β also induced PUMA in normal germinal center CD77-positive centroblasts isolated from human tonsil tissue. PUMA was a direct TGF-β target gene in B-cells, and we identify a putative Smad-binding region within the human PUMA promoter that recruits Smad3 and Smad4 in cells in response to TGF-β signaling. Constitutive activity of the isolated Smad-binding region in luciferase reporter assays was dependent on Smad consensus sequences and was partially dependent on endogenous TGF-β signaling and Smad4. Knockdown of PUMA in BL cells using lentiviral shRNA resulted in slower kinetics of the TGF-β-mediated apoptotic response. Analysis of Eμ-Myc cell lines demonstrated that c-myc-driven murine lymphomas are also sensitive to TGF-β-mediated apoptosis. Moreover, Puma−/− Eμ-Myc lines demonstrated significantly delayed kinetics of the apoptotic response when compared with wild type lymphomas. TGF-β therefore induces a polygenic response in Myc-driven lymphomas involving transcription of PUMA, which is necessary for the rapid induction of cell death.
Apoptosis; Bcl-2 Family Proteins; Lymphoma; Myc; Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGFbeta); Burkitt's Lymphoma; PUMA
Rationale: Asthma is characterized by increases in airway resistance, pulmonary remodeling, and lung inflammation. The cytokine transforming growth factor (TGF)-β has been shown to have a central role in asthma pathogenesis and in mouse models of allergic airway disease.
Objectives: To determine the contribution of TGF-β to airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), we examined the time course, source, and isoform specificity of TGF-β production in an in vivo mouse asthma model. To then elucidate the function of TGF-β in AHR, inflammation, and pulmonary fibrosis, we examined the effects of blocking TGF-β signaling with neutralizing antibody.
Methods: Mice were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA) to establish allergic airway disease. TGF-β activity was neutralized by intranasal administration of monoclonal antibody.
Measurements and Main Results: TGF-β1 protein levels were increased in OVA-challenged lungs versus naive controls, and airway epithelial cells were shown to be a likely source of TGF-β1. In addition, TGF-β1 levels were elevated in OVA-exposed IL-5–null mice, which fail to recruit eosinophils into the airways. Neutralization of TGF-β1 with specific antibody had no significant effect on airway inflammation and eosinophilia, although anti–TGF-β1 antibody enhanced OVA-induced AHR and suppressed pulmonary fibrosis.
Conclusions: These data show that TGF-β1 is the main TGF-β isoform produced after OVA challenge, with a likely cellular source being the airway epithelium. The effects of blocking TGF-β1 signaling had differential effects on AHR, fibrosis, and inflammation. While TGF-β neutralization may be beneficial to abrogating airway remodeling, it may be detrimental to lung function by increasing AHR.
lung; mice; hypersensitivity; cytokines