Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is a cytokine that is mitogenic for fibroblasts and smooth muscle and may play a role in airway remodeling in asthma. We have used a mouse model of chronic ovalbumin (OVA) allergen-induced airway remodeling to determine whether bFGF and fibroblast growth factor receptor-1 are expressed and regulated by corticosteroids in the airway, as well as to determine whether bFGF mediates expression of another proremodeling cytokine, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1.
The airway levels and localization of bFGF, FGF receptor-1 and TGF-β1 were determined by ELISA, immunohistology and image analysis in the remodeled airways of chronic OVA-challenged mice treated with either corticosteroids or diluent. In vitro cultures of bone narrow-derived macrophages were used to determine whether bFGF induced TGF-β1 expression.
Mice chronically challenged with OVA developed significant airway remodeling that was associated with significantly increased levels of bFGF and TGF-β1. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated significantly increased bFGF and FGF receptor-1 expression by peri- bronchial F4/80+ cells. Double-label immunofluorescence microscopy studies demonstrated that peribronchial macrophages coexpressed bFGF and TGF-β1. In vitro studies demonstrated that incubation of bone marrow-derived macrophages with bFGF induced expression of TGF-β1. Mice treated with corticosteroids and subjected to chronic OVA challenge had significantly reduced levels of bFGF, FGF receptor-1, peribronchial TGF-β1+ cells and airway remodeling.
Overall, this study demonstrates that allergen challenge stimulates peribronchial macrophages to coexpress bFGF and TGF-β1 and that bFGF may potentiate macrophage release of TGF-β1 through autocrine and/or paracrine pathways.
Eosinophils; Allergy; Transforming growth factor-β1; Basic fibroblast growth factor
Genetic ablation of fibroblast growth factor 23 from mice (Fgf-23−/−) results in a short lifespan with numerous abnormal biochemical and morphological features. Such features include kyphosis, hypogonadism and associated infertility, osteopenia, pulmonary emphysema, severe vascular and soft tissue calcifications, and generalized atrophy of various tissues. To determine whether these widespread anomalies in Fgf-23−/− mice can be ameliorated by genetically restoring the systemic actions of FGF-23, we generated Fgf-23−/− mice expressing the human FGF-23 transgene in osteoblasts under the control of the 2.3 kb α1(I) collagen promoter (Fgf-23−/−/hFGF-23-Tg double mutants). This novel mouse model is completely void of all endogenous Fgf-23 activity, but produces human FGF-23 in bone cells that is subsequently released into the circulation. Our results suggest that lack of Fgf-23 activities results in extensive premature ageing-like features and early mortality of Fgf-23−/− mice, while restoring the systemic effects of FGF-23 significantly ameliorates these phenotypes, with the resultant effect being improved growth, restored fertility, and significantly prolonged survival of double mutants. With regard to their serum biochemistry, double mutants reversed the severe hyperphosphataemia, hypercalcaemia, and hypervitaminosis D found in Fgf-23−/− littermates; rather, double mutants show hypophosphataemia and normal serum 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 levels similar to pure FGF-23 Tg mice. These changes were associated with reduced renal expression of NaPi2a and 1α-hydroxylase, compared to Fgf-23−/− mice. FGF-23 acts to prevent widespread abnormal features by acting systemically to regulate phosphate homeostasis and vitamin D metabolism. This novel mouse model provides us with an in vivo tool to study the systemic effects of FGF-23 in regulating mineral ion metabolism and preventing multiple abnormal phenotypes without the interference of native Fgf-23.
organ atrophy; mineral ion homeostasis; vitamin D metabolism; transgene; human FGF23
IL-18 plays a key role in the pathogenesis of pulmonary inflammatory diseases including pulmonary infection, pulmonary fibrosis, lung injury and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, it is unknown whether IL-18 plays any role in the pathogenesis of asthma. We hypothesized that overexpression of mature IL-18 protein in the lungs may exacerbate disease activities of asthma. We established lung-specific IL-18 transgenic mice on a Balb/c genetic background. Female mice sensitized– and challenged– with antigen (ovalbumin) were used as a mouse asthma model. Pulmonary inflammation and emphysema were not observed in the lungs of naïve transgenic mice. However, airway hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammatory cells accompanied with CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, eosinophils, neutrophils, and macrophages were significantly increased in ovalbumin-sensitized and challenged transgenic mice, as compared to wild type Balb/c mice. We also demonstrate that IL-18 induces IFN-γ, IL-13, and eotaxin in the lungs of ovalbumin-sensitized and challenged transgenic mice along with an increase in IL-13 producing CD4+ T cells. Treatment with anti-CD4 monoclonal antibody or deletion of the IL-13 gene improves ovalbumin-induced airway hyperresponsiveness and reduces airway inflammatory cells in transgenic mice. Overexpressing the IL-18 protein in the lungs induces type 1 and type 2 cytokines and airway inflammation, and results in increasing airway hyperresponsiveness via CD4+ T cells and IL-13 in asthma.
Emphysema is one of the disease conditions that comprise chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Prothymosin α transgenic mice exhibit an emphysema phenotype, but the pathophysiological role of prothymosin α in emphysema remains unclear. Here we show that prothymosin α contributes to the pathogenesis of emphysema by increasing acetylation of histones and nuclear factor-kappaB, particularly upon cigarette smoke exposure. We find a positive correlation between prothymosin α levels and the severity of emphysema in prothymosin α transgenic mice and emphysema patients. Prothymosin α overexpression increases susceptibility to cigarette smoke-induced emphysema, and cigarette smoke exposure further enhances prothymosin α expression. We show that prothymosin α inhibits the association of histone deacetylases with histones and nuclear factor-kappaB, and that prothymosin α overexpression increases expression of nuclear factor-kappaB-dependent matrix metalloproteinase 2 and matrix metalloproteinase 9, which are found in the lungs of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. These results demonstrate the clinical relevance of prothymosin α in regulating acetylation events during the pathogenesis of emphysema.
Pulmonary emphysema obstruct airflow in the lung and often develop in smokers. Here Su et al. show that prothymosin α contributes to emphysema development through alterations in the acetylation of histones and the transcription factor NF-κB, and that exposure to cigarette smoke increases prothymosin α expression.
Fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF1) and FGF2, the prototypic members of the FGF family of growth factors, have been implicated in a variety of physiological and pathological processes. Unlike most other FGFs, FGF1 and FGF2 are ubiquitously expressed and are not efficiently secreted. Gene knockouts in mice have previously demonstrated a role for FGF2 in brain development, blood pressure regulation, and wound healing. The relatively mild phenotypic defects associated with FGF2 deletion led to the hypothesis that the continued expression of other FGFs partially compensated for the absence of FGF2 in these mice. We now report our generation of mice lacking FGF1 and their use, in combination with our previously described FGF2 null mice, to produce mice lacking both FGF1 and FGF2. FGF1-FGF2 double-knockout mice are viable and fertile and do not display any gross phenotypic defects. In the double-knockout mice we observed defects that were similar in extent to those previously described for the FGF2 null mice. Differences in the organization of neurons of the frontal motor cortex and in the rates of wound healing were observed. We also observed in FGF2−/− mice and in FGF1-FGF2 double-knockout mice novel impairments in hematopoiesis that were similar in severity. Essentially no abnormalities were found in mice lacking only FGF1. Our results suggest that the relatively mild defects in FGF2 knockout animals are not a consequence of compensation by FGF1 and suggest highly restricted roles for both factors under normal developmental and physiological conditions.
Rationale: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by chronic inflammation, alveolar destruction, and airway and vascular remodeling. However, the mechanisms that lead to these diverse alterations have not been defined.
Objectives: We hypothesized that IL-18 plays a central role in the pathogenesis of these lesions.
Methods: We generated and characterized lung-specific, inducible IL-18 transgenic mice.
Measurements and Main Results: Here we demonstrate that the expression of IL-18 in the mature murine lung induces inflammation that is associated with the accumulation of CD4+, CD8+, CD19+, and NK1.1+ cells; emphysema; mucus metaplasia; airway fibrosis; vascular remodeling; and right ventricle cardiac hypertrophy. We also demonstrate that IL-18 induces type 1, type 2, and type 17 cytokines with IFN-γ–inhibiting macrophage, lymphocyte, and eosinophil accumulation while stimulating alveolar destruction and genes associated with cell cytotoxicity and IL-13 and IL-17A inducing mucus metaplasia, airway fibrosis, and vascular remodeling. We also highlight interactions between these responses with IL-18 inducing IL-13 via an IL-17A–dependent mechanism and the type 1 and type17/type 2 responses counterregulating each another.
Conclusions: These studies define the spectrum of inflammatory, parenchymal, airway, and vascular alterations that are induced by pulmonary IL-18; highlight the similarities between these responses and the lesions in COPD; and define the selective roles that type 1, type 2, and type 17 responses play in the generation of IL-18–induced pathologies.
IL-18; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; airway fibrosis; mucus metaplasia; vascular remodeling
Theophylline is commonly used to treat severe asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) characterized by non-eosinophilic inflammation. Acetyl salicylic acid (ASA) is one of the most widely used medications worldwide, but up to 20% of patients with asthma experience aggravated respiratory symptoms after taking ASA. Here we evaluated the adverse effect of ASA on the therapeutic effect of theophylline in mice with non-eosinophilic asthma. A non-eosinophilic asthma mouse model was induced by airway sensitization with lipopolysaccharide-containing allergen and then challenged with allergen alone. Therapeutic intervention was performed during allergen challenge. Theophylline inhibited lung inflammation partly induced by Th1 immune response. ASA attenuated the beneficial effects of theophylline. However, co-administration of the ASA metabolite salicylic acid (SA) showed no attenuating effect on theophylline treatment. The therapeutic effect of theophylline was associated with increase in cAMP levels, which was blocked by co-treatment of theophylline and ASA. ASA co-treatment also attenuated the anti-inflammatory effects of a specific phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor. These results demonstrate that ASA reverses anti-inflammatory effects of theophylline, and that ASA exerts its adverse effects through the inhibition of cAMP production. Our data suggest that ASA reverses lung inflammation in patients taking theophylline, although clinical evidence will be needed.
adverse effect; aspirin; asthma, aspirin-induced; cyclic AMP; cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases, type 4; drug toxicity; pneumonia; theophylline
Fibroblast growth factor 23 null mice (Fgf-23−/−) have a short lifespan and show numerous biochemical and morphological features consistent with premature aging-like phenotypes, including kyphosis, severe muscle wasting, hypogonadism, osteopenia, emphysema, uncoordinated movement, T cell dysregulation, and atrophy of the intestinal villi, skin, thymus, and spleen. Furthermore, increased vitamin D activities in homozygous mutants are associated with severe atherosclerosis and widespread soft tissue calcifications; ablation of vitamin D activity from Fgf-23−/− mice, by genetically deleting the 1α(OH)ase gene, eliminates atherosclerosis and ectopic calcifications and significantly rescues premature aging-like features of Fgf-23−/− mice, resulting in prolonged survival of Fgf-23−/− 1α(OH)ase−/− double mutants. Our results indicate a novel role of Fgf-23 in developing premature aging-like features through regulating vitamin D homeostasis. Finally, our data support a new model of interactions among Fgf-23, vitamin D, and klotho, a gene described as being associated with premature aging process.
rescue; klotho; phosphate
Fibroblast growth factor 2 (basic FGF or FGF2) has been shown to affect growth and differentiation in some tissues and to be required for cardiac hypertrophy in vivo. FGF2 has been shown in vitro to signal through the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) to affect cell survival and growth. To ascertain the role of FGF2 in cardiac hypertrophy, wildtype, Fgf2 knockout, non-transgenic, and FGF2 transgenic mice were treated with isoproterenol or saline via subcutaneous mini-osmotic pump implants to induce a hypertrophic response to β-adrenergic stimulation. Fgf2 knockout hearts are protected from isoproterenol-induced cardiac hypertrophy; whereas, FGF2 transgenic hearts show exacerbated cardiac hypertrophy as assessed by heart weight-to-body weight ratios and myocyte cross-sectional area. Echocardiography reveals significantly decreased fractional shortening in isoproterenol-treated FGF2 transgenic mice but not in Fgf2 knockout mice suggesting that FGF2 mediates the maladaptive cardiac dysfunction seen in cardiac hypertrophy induced by isoproterenol. Western blot analysis also reveals alterations in MAPK signaling in Fgf2 knockout and FGF2 transgenic hearts subjected to isoproterenol treatment, suggesting that this cascade mediates FGF2's pro-hypertrophic effect. Pharmacologic inhibition of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling results in an attenuated hypertrophic response in isoproterenol-treated FGF2 transgenic mice, but this response is not seen with p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38) pathway inhibition, suggesting that FGF2 activation of ERK but not p38 is necessary for FGF2's role in the mediation of cardiac hypertrophy.
Fibroblast growth factor; FGF2; Basic FGF; Cardiac hypertrophy; Extracellular regulated kinase; ERK; Mitogen associated protein kinase; MAPK; Isoproterenol
Fibroblast growth factors (Fgfs) are pleiotropic proteins involved in development, repair and metabolism. Fgf16 is predominantly expressed in the heart. However, as the heart function is essentially normal in Fgf16 knockout mice, its role has remained unclear. To elucidate the pathophysiological role of Fgf16 in the heart, we examined angiotensin II-induced cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis in Fgf16 knockout mice. Angiotensin II-induced cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis were significantly promoted by enhancing Tgf-β1 expression in Fgf16 knockout mice. Unexpectedly, the response to cardiac remodeling was apparently opposite to that in Fgf2 knockout mice. These results indicate that Fgf16 probably prevents cardiac remodeling, although Fgf2 promotes it. Cardiac Fgf16 expression was induced after the induction of Fgf2 expression by angiotensin II. In cultured cardiomyocytes, Fgf16 expression was promoted by Fgf2. In addition, Fgf16 antagonized Fgf2-induced Tgf-β1 expression in cultured cardiomyocytes and noncardiomyocytes. These results suggest a possible mechanism whereby Fgf16 prevents angiotensin II-induced cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis by antagonizing Fgf2. The present findings should provide new insights into the roles of Fgf signaling in cardiac remodeling.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by pulmonary inflammation, airways obstruction and emphysema, and is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the contribution of these individual COPD components to this increased risk is unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the contribution of emphysema in the presence or absence of pulmonary inflammation to the increased risk of CVD, using a mouse model for atherosclerosis. Because smoke is a known risk factor for both COPD and CVD, emphysema was induced by intratracheal instillation of porcine pancreatic elastase (PPE).
Hyperlipidemic APOE*3-Leiden mice were intratracheally instilled with vehicle, 15 or 30 µg PPE and after 4 weeks, mice received a Western-type diet (WTD). To study the effect of emphysema combined with pulmonary inflammation on atherosclerosis, mice received 30 µg PPE and during WTD feeding, mice were intranasally instilled with vehicle or low-dose lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 1 µg/mouse, twice weekly). After 20 weeks WTD, mice were sacrificed and emphysema, pulmonary inflammation and atherosclerosis were analysed.
Intratracheal PPE administration resulted in a dose-dependent increase in emphysema, whereas atherosclerotic lesion area was not affected by PPE treatment. Additional low-dose intranasal LPS administration induced a low-grade systemic IL-6 response, as compared to vehicle. Combining intratracheal PPE with intranasal LPS instillation significantly increased the number of pulmonary macrophages and neutrophils. Plasma lipids during the study were not different. LPS instillation caused a limited, but significant increase in the atherosclerotic lesion area. This increase was not further enhanced by PPE.
This study shows for the first time that PPE-induced emphysema both in the presence and absence of pulmonary inflammation does not affect atherosclerotic lesion development.
Bone regeneration is a complex event that requires the interaction of numerous growth factors. Fibroblast growth factor (Fgf)-ligands have been previously described for their importance in osteogenesis during development. In the current study, we investigated the role of Fgf-18 during bone regeneration. By utilizing a unicortical tibial defect model, we revealed that mice haploinsufficient for Fgf-18 have a markedly reduced healing capacity as compared with wild-type mice. Reduced levels of Runx2 and Osteocalcin but not Vegfa accompanied the impaired bone regeneration. Interestingly, our data indicated that upon injury angiogenesis was not impaired in Fgf-18+/− mice. Moreover, other Fgf-ligands and Bmp-2 could not compensate for the loss of Fgf-18. Finally, application of FGF-18 protein was able to rescue the impaired healing in Fgf-18+/− mice. Thus, we identified Fgf-18 as an important mediator of bone regeneration, which is required during later stages of bone regeneration. This study provides hints on how to engineering efficiently programmed bony tissue for long bone repair.
Although fibroblast growth factor 9 (FGF9) is widely expressed in the central nervous system (CNS), the function of FGF9 in neural development remains undefined. To address this question, we deleted the Fgf9 gene specifically in the neural tube and demonstrated that FGF9 plays a key role in the postnatal migration of cerebellar granule neurons. Fgf9-null mice showed severe ataxia associated with disrupted Bergmann fiber scaffold formation, impaired granule neuron migration, and upset Purkinje cell maturation. Ex vivo cultured wildtype or Fgf9-null glia displayed a stellate morphology. Coculture with wildtype neurons, but not Fgf9-deficient neurons, or treating with FGF1 or FGF9 induced the cells to adopt a radial glial morphology. In situ hybridization showed that Fgf9 was expressed in neurons and immunostaining revealed that FGF9 was broadly distributed in both neurons and Bergmann glial radial fibers. Genetic analyses revealed that the FGF9 activities in cerebellar development are primarily transduced by FGF receptors 1 and 2. Furthermore, inhibition of the MAP kinase pathway, but not the PI3K/AKT pathway, abrogated the FGF activity to induce glial morphological changes, suggesting that the activity is mediated by the MAP kinase pathway. This work demonstrates that granule neurons secrete FGF9 to control formation of the Bergmann fiber scaffold, which in turn, guides their own inward migration and maturation of Purkinje cells.
fibroblast growth factor; receptor tyrosine kinase; conditional knockout; cerebellum development; granule neuron; Bergmann glia; mouse model
Pulmonary emphysema is a disease characterized by alveolar cellular loss and inflammation. Recently, excessive apoptosis of structural alveolar cells has emerged as a major mechanism in the development of emphysema. Here, we investigated the proapoptotic and monocyte chemoattractant cytokine endothelial monocyte-activating protein 2 (EMAPII). Lung-specific overexpression of EMAPII in mice caused simplification of alveolar structures, apoptosis, and macrophage accumulation, compared with that in control transgenic mice. Additionally, in a mouse model of cigarette smoke–induced (CS-induced) emphysema, EMAPII levels were significantly increased in murine lungs. This upregulation was necessary for emphysema development, as neutralizing antibodies to EMAPII resulted in reduced alveolar cell apoptosis, inflammation, and emphysema-associated structural changes in alveoli and small airways and improved lung function. The mechanism of EMAPII upregulation involved an apoptosis-dependent feed-forward loop, since caspase-3 instillation in the lung markedly increased EMAPII expression, while caspase inhibition decreased its production, even in transgenic EMAPII mice. These findings may have clinical significance, as both current smokers and ex-smoker chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients had increased levels of secreted EMAPII in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid compared with that of nonsmokers. In conclusion, we suggest that EMAPII perpetuates the mechanism of CS-induced lung emphysema in mice and, given its secretory nature, is a suitable target for neutralization antibody therapy.
Rationale: Fibroblast growth factor-10 (FGF10) controls survival, proliferation, and differentiation of distal-alveolar epithelial progenitor cells during lung development.
Objectives: To test for the protective and regenerative effect of Fgf10 overexpression in a bleomycin-induced mouse model of pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis.
Methods: In SP-C-rtTA; tet(O)Fgf10 double-transgenic mice, lung fibrosis was induced in 2-month-old transgenic mice by subcutaneous delivery of bleomycin (BLM), using an osmotic minipump for 1 week. Exogenous Fgf10 expression in the alveolar epithelium was induced for 7 days with doxycycline during the first, second, and third weeks after bleomycin pump implantation, and lungs were examined at 28 days.
Measurements and Main Results: Fgf10 overexpression during Week 1 (inflammatory phase) resulted in increased survival and attenuated lung fibrosis score and collagen deposition. In these Fgf10-overexpressing mice, an increase in regulatory T cells and a reduction in both transforming growth factor-β1 and matrix metalloproteinase-2 activity were observed in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids whereas the number of surfactant protein C (SP-C)–positive, alveolar epithelial type II cells (AEC2) was markedly elevated. Analysis of SP-C and TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase dUTP nick end labeling) double-positive cells and isolation of AEC2 from lungs overexpressing Fgf10 demonstrated increased AEC2 survival. Expression of Fgf10 during Weeks 2 and 3 (fibrotic phase) showed significant attenuation of the lung fibrosis score and collagen deposition.
Conclusions: In the bleomycin model of lung inflammation and fibrosis, Fgf10 overexpression during both the inflammatory and fibrotic phases results in a greatly reduced extent of lung fibrosis, suggesting that FGF10 may be useful as a novel approach to the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis.
bleomycin; fibrosis; Fgf10; transforming growth factor-β1; alveolar epithelial progenitors
The fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-FGF receptor (FGFR) signaling system plays critical roles in a variety of normal developmental and physiological processes. It is also well documented that dysregulation of FGF-FGFR signaling may have important roles in tumor development and progression. The FGFR4–FGF19 signaling axis has been implicated in the development of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) in mice, and potentially in humans. In this study, we demonstrate that FGFR4 is required for hepatocarcinogenesis; the progeny of FGF19 transgenic mice, which have previously been shown to develop HCCs, bred with FGFR4 knockout mice fail to develop liver tumors. To further test the importance of FGFR4 in HCC, we developed a blocking anti-FGFR4 monoclonal antibody (LD1). LD1 inhibited: 1) FGF1 and FGF19 binding to FGFR4, 2) FGFR4–mediated signaling, colony formation, and proliferation in vitro, and 3) tumor growth in a preclinical model of liver cancer in vivo. Finally, we show that FGFR4 expression is elevated in several types of cancer, including liver cancer, as compared to normal tissues. These findings suggest a modulatory role for FGFR4 in the development and progression of hepatocellular carcinoma and that FGFR4 may be an important and novel therapeutic target in treating this disease.
Eosinophilic inflammation and remodeling of the airways including subepithelial fibrosis and myofibroblast hyperplasia are characteristic pathological findings of bronchial asthma. Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays a critical role in airway remodelling. In this study, we hypothesized that infiltrating eosinophils promote airway remodelling in bronchial asthma. To demonstrate this hypothesis we evaluated the effect of eosinophils on EMT by in vitro and in vivo studies. EMT was assessed in mice that received intra-tracheal instillation of mouse bone marrow derived eosinophils and in human bronchial epithelial cells co-cultured with eosinophils freshly purified from healthy individuals or with eosinophilic leukemia cell lines. Intra-tracheal instillation of eosinophils was associated with enhanced bronchial inflammation and fibrosis and increased lung concentration of growth factors. Mice instilled with eosinophils pre-treated with transforming growth factor(TGF)-β1 siRNA had decreased bronchial wall fibrosis compared to controls. EMT was induced in bronchial epithelial cells co-cultured with human eosinophils and it was associated with increased expression of TGF-β1 and Smad3 phosphorylation in the bronchial epithelial cells. Treatment with anti-TGF-β1 antibody blocked EMT in bronchial epithelial cells. Eosinophils induced EMT in bronchial epithelial cells, suggesting their contribution to the pathogenesis of airway remodelling.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a common condition and a major cause of mortality. COPD is characterized by irreversible airflow obstruction. The physiological abnormalities observed in COPD are due to a combination of emphysema and obliteration of the small airways in association with airway inflammation. The predominant cells involved in this inflammatory response are CD8+ lymphocytes, neutrophils, and macrophages. Although eosinophilic airway inflammation is usually considered a feature of asthma, it has been demonstrated in large and small airway tissue samples and in 20%–40% of induced sputum samples from patients with stable COPD. This airway eosinophilia is increased in exacerbations. Thus, modifying eosinophilic inflammation may be a potential therapeutic target in COPD. Eosinophilic airway inflammation is resistant to inhaled corticosteroid therapy, but does respond to systemic corticosteroid therapy, and the degree of response is related to the intensity of the eosinophilic inflammation. In COPD, targeting treatment to normalize the sputum eosinophilia reduced the number of hospital admissions. Whether controlling eosinophilic inflammation in COPD patients with an airway eosinophilia will modify disease progression and possibly alter mortality is unknown, but warrants further investigation.
COPD; sputum eosinophilia; corticosteroids
Long-term and unresolved airway inflammation and airway remodeling, characteristic features of chronic asthma, if not treated could lead to permanent structural changes in the airways. Aldose reductase (AR), an aldo-sugar and lipid aldehyde metabolizing enzyme, mediates allergen-induced airway inflammation in mice, but its role in the airway remodeling is not known. In the present study, we have examined the role of AR on airway remodeling using ovalbumin (OVA)-induced chronic asthma mouse model and cultured human primary airway epithelial cells (SAECs) and mouse lung fibroblasts (mLFs).
Airway remodeling in chronic asthma model was established in mice sensitized and challenged twice a week with OVA for 6 weeks. AR inhibitor, fidarestat, was administered orally in drinking water after first challenge. Inflammatory cells infiltration in the lungs and goblet cell metaplasia, airway thickening, collagen deposition and airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR) in response to increasing doses of methacholine were assessed. The TGFβ1-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in SAECs and changes in mLFs were examined to investigate AR-mediated molecular mechanism(s) of airway remodeling.
In the OVA-exposed mice for 6 wks inflammatory cells infiltration, levels of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, goblet cell metaplasia, collagen deposition and AHR were significantly decreased by treatment with AR inhibitor, fidarestat. Further, inhibition of AR prevented TGFβ1-induced altered expression of E-cadherin, Vimentin, Occludin, and MMP-2 in SAECs, and alpha-smooth muscle actin and fibronectin in mLFs. Further, in SAECs, AR inhibition prevented TGFβ1- induced activation of PI3K/AKT/GSK3β pathway but not the phosphorylation of Smad2/3.
Our results demonstrate that allergen-induced airway remodeling is mediated by AR and its inhibition blocks the progression of remodeling via inhibiting TGFβ1-induced Smad-independent and PI3K/AKT/GSK3β-dependent pathway.
Fibroblast Growth Factors play critical roles during development, tissue homeostasis and repair by controlling cell proliferation, survival, migration and differentiation. Of the 22 mammalian FGFs, FGF22, a member of the FGF7/10/22 subfamily, has been shown to have a clear role in synaptogenesis, but its roles in other tissues have not been studied. We have investigated the in vivo functions of FGF22 in mice. Fgf22 null animals were viable, fertile and did not display any obvious abnormalities. Despite the known expression profile of FGF22 in the skin, no differences in either skin or pelage were observed, demonstrating that FGF22 is dispensable during embryogenesis and in unchallenged adult skin. Mice lacking FGF22 were able to heal acute wounds just as efficiently as wild type mice. However, classical two-step skin carcinogenesis challenge revealed that FGF22 null mice developed fewer papillomas than wild type controls, suggesting a potential pro-oncogenic role for FGF22 in the skin.
Rationale: There is growing evidence that alveolar cell apoptosis plays an important role in emphysema pathogenesis, a chronic inflammatory lung disease characterized by alveolar destruction. The association of α1-antitrypsin deficiency with the development of emphysema has supported the concept that protease/antiprotease imbalance mediates cigarette smoke–induced emphysema.
Objectives: We propose that, in addition to its antielastolytic effects, α1-antitrypsin may have broader biological effects in the lung, preventing emphysema through inhibition of alveolar cells apoptosis.
Methods, Measurements, and Main Results: Transduction of human α1-antitrypsin via replication-deficient adeno-associated virus attenuated airspace enlargement and emphysema caused by inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors with SU5416 in mice, a model of apoptosis-dependent emphysema lacking neutrophilic inflammation. The overexpressed human serine protease inhibitor accumulated in lung cells and suppressed caspase-3 activation and oxidative stress in lungs treated with the VEGF blocker or with VEGF receptor-1 and -2 antibodies. Similar results were obtained in SU5416-treated rats given human α1-antitrypsin intravenously.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that inhibition of structural alveolar cell apoptosis by α1-antitrypsin represents a novel protective mechanism of the serpin against emphysema. Further elucidation of this mechanism may extend the therapeutic options for emphysema caused by reduced level or loss of function of α1-antitrypsin.
antiprotease; caspase; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; oxidative stress; serpin
Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs) are important signaling molecules that regulate many stages of endochondral bone development. During the healing of a skeletal fracture, several features of endochondral bone development are reactivated. To better understand the role of FGFs in skeletal fracture healing, we quantitatively evaluated the temporal expression patterns of Fgfs, Fgf receptors (Fgfrs), and molecular markers of bone development over a 14-day period following long bone fracture in a mouse model. These studies identify distinct groups of FGFs that are differentially expressed and suggest active stage-specific roles for FGF signaling during the fracture repair process.
fracture repair; FGF; fibroblast growth factor; endochondral ossification; fracture healing
Methods: The models used were an elastase induced emphysema model for acute alveolar destruction and a tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α transgenic mouse which exhibits chronic air space enlargement, loss of elastic recoil, increased lung volume, and pulmonary hypertension comparable to human pulmonary emphysema. All-trans-retinoic acid (2 mg/kg) was injected for 12 successive days after the establishment of emphysema. The effects of treatment were evaluated using physiological and morphometric analyses.
Results: In contrast to the rat, administration of all-trans-retinoic acid in these murine models did not improve the emphysema. Moreover, worsening of emphysema was observed in TNF-α transgenic mice treated with all-trans-retinoic acid. The level of keratinocyte chemoattractant (KC), a CXC chemokine, in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was increased in TNF-α transgenic mice following retinoic acid treatment. These data raise the possibility that retinoic acid causes deterioration of emphysema by promoting inflammation in this model.
Conclusions: In these models, retinoic acid did not show positive effects on emphysema. The effect of retinoic acid in the treatment of pulmonary emphysema remains controversial, and further studies are required to determine its physiological effects under a variety of experimental conditions.
Development and regeneration of muscle tissue is a highly organized, multistep process that requires cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, and maturation. Previous data implicate fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) as critical regulators of these processes, although their precise role in vivo is still not clear. We have explored the consequences of the loss of multiple FGFs (FGF2 and FGF6 in particular) for muscle regeneration in mdx mice, which serve as a model for chronic muscle damage. We show that the combined loss of FGF2 and FGF6 leads to severe dystrophic changes in the musculature. We found that FGF6 mutant myoblasts had decreased migration ability in vivo, whereas wild-type myoblasts migrated normally in a FGF6 mutant environment after transplantation of genetically labeled myoblasts from FGF6 mutants in wild-type mice and vice versa. In addition, retrovirus-mediated expression of dominant-negative versions of Ras and Ral led to a reduced migration of transplanted myoblasts in vivo. We propose that FGFs are critical components of the muscle regeneration machinery that enhance skeletal muscle regeneration, probably by stimulation of muscle stem cell migration.
TGF-β regulates isoform switching of FGF receptors and epithelial–mesenchymal transition
Both TGF-β and FGF signalling regulate the epithelial–mesenchymal transition. Here, TGF-β is found to promote myofibroblast differentiation, while concomitant FGF pathway activation instead drives cells towards an invasive mesenchymal fate.
The epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a crucial event in wound healing, tissue repair, and cancer progression in adult tissues. Here, we demonstrate that transforming growth factor (TGF)-β induced EMT and that long-term exposure to TGF-β elicited the epithelial–myofibroblastic transition (EMyoT) by inactivating the MEK-Erk pathway. During the EMT process, TGF-β induced isoform switching of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptors, causing the cells to become sensitive to FGF-2. Addition of FGF-2 to TGF-β-treated cells perturbed EMyoT by reactivating the MEK-Erk pathway and subsequently enhanced EMT through the formation of MEK-Erk-dependent complexes of the transcription factor δEF1/ZEB1 with the transcriptional corepressor CtBP1. Consequently, normal epithelial cells that have undergone EMT as a result of combined TGF-β and FGF-2 stimulation promoted the invasion of cancer cells. Thus, TGF-β and FGF-2 may cooperate with each other and may regulate EMT of various kinds of cells in cancer microenvironment during cancer progression.
EMT; FGF-2; FGF receptor; TGF-β; δEF1