Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (1280037)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Egr-1: new conductor for the tissue repair orchestra directs harmony (regeneration) or cacophony (fibrosis) 
The Journal of pathology  2012;229(2):286-297.
Fibroblasts and myofibroblasts are the key effector cells executing physiologic tissue repair leading to regeneration on one hand, and pathological fibrogenesis leading to chronic fibrosing conditions on the other. Recent studies identify the multifunctional transcription factor Early Growth Response-1(Egr-1) as an important mediator of fibroblast activation triggered by diverse stimuli. Egr-1 has potent stimulatory effects on fibrotic gene expression, and aberrant Egr-1 expression or function is associated with animal models of fibrosis and human fibrotic disorders including emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension and systemic sclerosis. Pharmacological suppression or genetic targeting of Egr-1 blocks fibrotic responses in vitro and ameliorates experimental fibrosis in the skin and lung. In contrast, Egr-1 appear to acts as a negative regulator of hepatic fibrosis in mouse models, suggesting a context-dependent role in fibrosis. The Egr-1-binding protein Nab2 is an endogenous inhibitor of Egr-1-mediated signaling, and abrogates the stimulation of fibrotic responses induced by transforming growth factor-ß (TGF-ß). Moreover, mice deficient in Nab2 show excessive collagen accumulation in the skin. These observations highlight a previously unsuspected fundamental physiologic function for the Egr-1/Nab2 signaling axis in regulating fibrogenesis, and suggest that Egr-1 may be a potential novel therapeutic target in human diseases complicated by fibrosis. This review summarizes recent advances in understanding the regulation and complex functional role of Egr-1 and its related proteins and inhibitors in pathological fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC3965177  PMID: 23132749
Egr-1; Nab2; TGF-ß; fibrosis; scleroderma; fibroblast; myofibroblast; p300; c-Abl
2.  Serotonin paracrine signaling in tissue fibrosis☆☆☆ 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2013;1832(7):905-910.
The molecule serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT) is involved in numerous biological processes both inside and outside of the central nervous system. 5-HT signals through 5-HT receptors and it is the diversity of these receptors and their subtypes that give rise to the varied physiological responses. It is clear that platelet derived serotonin is critical for normal wound healing in multiple organs including, liver, lung heart and skin. 5-HT stimulates both vasoconstriction and vasodilation, influences inflammatory responses and promotes formation of a temporary scar which acts as a scaffold for normal tissue to be restored. However, in situations of chronic injury or damage 5-HT signaling can have deleterious effects and promote aberrant wound healing resulting in tissue fibrosis and impaired organ regeneration. This review highlights the diverse actions of serotonin signaling in the pathogenesis of fibrotic disease and explores how modulating the activity of specific 5-HT receptors, in particular the 5-HT2 subclass could have the potential to limit fibrosis and restore tissue regeneration. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Fibrosis: Translation of basic research to human disease.
► Introduction, overview of serotonin signaling and biology ► The role of serotonin in wound healing, regeneration and fibrosis ► Future perspectives
PMCID: PMC3793867  PMID: 23032152
Fibrosis; Serotonin
3.  A synthetic PPAR-γ agonist triterpenoid ameliorates experimental fibrosis: PPAR-γ-independent suppression of fibrotic responses 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2013;73(2):446-454.
Persistent fibroblast activation initiated by transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) is a fundamental event in the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis (SSc), and its pharmacological inhibition represents a potential therapeutic strategy. The nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-γ) exerts potent fibrotic activities. The synthetic triterpenoid oleanane 2-cyano-3,12-dioxoolean-1,9-dien-28-oic (CDDO) is a PPAR-γ agonist with potential effects on TGF-β signaling and dermal fibrosis.
To examine the modulation of fibrogenesis by CDDO in explanted fibroblasts, skin organ cultures and murine models of scleroderma.
Material and methods
The effects of CDDO on experimental fibrosis induced by bleomycin injection or by overexpression of type I constitutively active TGF-β receptor was evaluated. Modulation of fibrotic gene expression was examined in human skin organ cultures. To delineate the mechanisms underlying the anti-fibrotic effects of CDDO, explanted skin fibroblasts cultured in 2-dimensional monolayers or in 3-dimensional full-thickness human skin equivelants were studied.
CDDO significantly ameliorated dermal fibrosis in two complementary mouse models of scleroderma, as well as in human skin organ cultures and in 3-dimensional human skin equivalents. In 2-dimensional monolayer cultures, CDDO abrogated fibrogenic responses in explanted normal human skin fibroblasts. These CDDO effects occurred via disruption of Smad-dependent transcription and were associated with inhibition of Akt activation. In scleroderma fibroblasts, CDDO attenuated collagen synthesis. Remarkably, the anti-fibrotic effects of CDDO were independent of PPAR-γ.
The PPAR-γ agonist triterpenoid CDDO attenuates fibrogenesis by antagonistically targeting canonical TGF-β/Smad and Akt signaling in a PPAR-γ-independent manner. These findings identify this synthetic triterpenoid as a potential new therapy for the control of fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC4028127  PMID: 23515440
CDDO; triterpenoid; fibrosis; PPAR-γ; TGF-β; fibroblast; murine scleroderma
4.  MMP-12 Deficiency Attenuates Angiotensin II-Induced Vascular Injury, M2 Macrophage Accumulation, and Skin and Heart Fibrosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109763.
MMP-12, a macrophage-secreted elastase, is elevated in fibrotic diseases, including systemic sclerosis (SSc) and correlates with vasculopathy and fibrosis. The goal of this study was to investigate the role of MMP-12 in cardiac and cutaneous fibrosis induced by angiotensin II infusion. Ang II-induced heart and skin fibrosis was accompanied by a marked increase of vascular injury markers, including vWF, Thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) and MMP-12, as well as increased number of PDGFRβ+ cells. Furthermore Ang II infusion led to an accumulation of macrophages (Mac3+) in the skin and in the perivascular and interstitial fibrotic regions of the heart. However, alternatively activated (Arg 1+) macrophages were mainly present in the Ang II infused mice and were localized to the perivascular heart regions and to the skin, but were not detected in the interstitial heart regions. Elevated expression of MMP-12 was primarily found in macrophages and endothelial cells (CD31+) cells, but MMP-12 was not expressed in the collagen producing cells. MMP-12 deficient mice (MMP12KO) showed markedly reduced expression of vWF, TSP1, and PDGFRβ around vessels and attenuation of dermal fibrosis, as well as the perivascular fibrosis in the heart. However, MMP-12 deficiency did not affect interstitial heart fibrosis, suggesting a heterogeneous nature of the fibrotic response in the heart. Furthermore, MMP-12 deficiency almost completely prevented accumulation of Arg 1+ cells, whereas the number of Mac3+ cells was partially reduced. Moreover production of profibrotic mediators such as PDGFBB, TGFβ1 and pSMAD2 in the skin and perivascular regions of the heart was also inhibited. Together, the results of this study show a close correlation between vascular injury markers, Arg 1+ macrophage accumulation and fibrosis and suggest an important role of MMP-12 in regulating these processes.
PMCID: PMC4193823  PMID: 25302498
5.  Intrinsic defence capacity and therapeutic potential of natriuretic peptides in pulmonary hypertension associated with lung fibrosis 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2014;171(14):3463-3475.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive fibro-proliferative disorder refractory to current therapy commonly complicated by the development of pulmonary hypertension (PH); the associated morbidity and mortality are substantial. Natriuretic peptides possess vasodilator and anti-fibrotic actions, and pharmacological augmentation of their bioactivity ameliorates renal and myocardial fibrosis. Here, we investigated whether natriuretic peptides possess an intrinsic cytoprotective function preventing the development of pulmonary fibrosis and associated PH, and whether therapeutics targeting natriuretic peptide signalling demonstrate efficacy in this life-threatening disorder.
Pulmonary haemodynamics, right ventricular function and markers of lung fibrosis were determined in wild-type (WT) and natriuretic peptide receptor (NPR)-A knockout (KO) mice exposed to bleomycin (1 mg·kg−1). Human myofibroblast differentiation was studied in vitro.
Exacerbated cardiac, vascular and fibrotic pathology was observed in NPR-A KO animals, compared with WT mice, exposed to bleomycin. Treatment with a drug combination that raised circulating natriuretic peptide levels (ecadotril) and potentiated natriuretic peptide-dependent signalling (sildenafil) reduced indices of disease progression, whether administered prophylactically or to animals with established lung disease. This positive pharmacodynamic effect was diminished in NPR-A KO mice. Atrial natriuretic peptide and sildenafil synergistically reduced TGFβ-induced human myofibroblast differentiation, a key driver of remodelling in IPF patients.
These data highlight an endogenous host-defence capacity of natriuretic peptides in lung fibrosis and PH. A combination of ecadotril and sildenafil reversed the pulmonary haemodynamic aberrations and remodelling that characterize the disease, advocating therapeutic manipulation of natriuretic peptide bioactivity in patients with IPF.
PMCID: PMC4105933  PMID: 24641440
natriuretic peptide; neutral endopeptidase; guanylyl cyclase; cyclic GMP; pulmonary hypertension; phosphodiesterase; bleomycin
6.  Intrinsic defence capacity and therapeutic potential of natriuretic peptides in pulmonary hypertension associated with lung fibrosis 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2014;171(14):3463-3475.
Background and Purpose
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive fibro-proliferative disorder refractory to current therapy commonly complicated by the development of pulmonary hypertension (PH); the associated morbidity and mortality are substantial. Natriuretic peptides possess vasodilator and anti-fibrotic actions, and pharmacological augmentation of their bioactivity ameliorates renal and myocardial fibrosis. Here, we investigated whether natriuretic peptides possess an intrinsic cytoprotective function preventing the development of pulmonary fibrosis and associated PH, and whether therapeutics targeting natriuretic peptide signalling demonstrate efficacy in this life-threatening disorder.
Experimental Approach
Pulmonary haemodynamics, right ventricular function and markers of lung fibrosis were determined in wild-type (WT) and natriuretic peptide receptor (NPR)-A knockout (KO) mice exposed to bleomycin (1 mg·kg−1). Human myofibroblast differentiation was studied in vitro.
Key Results
Exacerbated cardiac, vascular and fibrotic pathology was observed in NPR-A KO animals, compared with WT mice, exposed to bleomycin. Treatment with a drug combination that raised circulating natriuretic peptide levels (ecadotril) and potentiated natriuretic peptide-dependent signalling (sildenafil) reduced indices of disease progression, whether administered prophylactically or to animals with established lung disease. This positive pharmacodynamic effect was diminished in NPR-A KO mice. Atrial natriuretic peptide and sildenafil synergistically reduced TGFβ-induced human myofibroblast differentiation, a key driver of remodelling in IPF patients.
Conclusions and Implications
These data highlight an endogenous host-defence capacity of natriuretic peptides in lung fibrosis and PH. A combination of ecadotril and sildenafil reversed the pulmonary haemodynamic aberrations and remodelling that characterize the disease, advocating therapeutic manipulation of natriuretic peptide bioactivity in patients with IPF.
PMCID: PMC4105933  PMID: 24641440
natriuretic peptide; neutral endopeptidase; guanylyl cyclase; cyclic GMP; pulmonary hypertension; phosphodiesterase; bleomycin
7.  Suramin Alleviates Glomerular Injury and Inflammation in the Remnant Kidney 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e36194.
Recently, we demonstrated that suramin, a compound that inhibits the interaction of multiple cytokines/growth factors with their receptors, inhibits activation and proliferation of renal interstitial fibroblasts, and attenuates the development of renal interstitial fibrosis in the murine model of unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). However, it remains unclear whether suramin can alleviate glomerular and vascular lesions, which are not typical pathological changes in the UUO model. So we tested the efficacy of suramin in the remnant kidney after 5/6 nephrectomy, a model characterized by the slow development of glomerulosclerosis, vascular sclerosis, tubulointerstitial fibrosis and renal inflammation, mimicking human disease.
5/6 of normal renal mass was surgically ablated in male rats. On the second week after surgery, rats were randomly divided into suramin treatment and non-treatment groups. Suramin was given at 10 mg/kg once per week for two weeks. In the remnant kidney of mice receiving suramin, glomerulosclerosis and vascular sclerosis as well as inflammation were ameliorated. Suramin also attenuated tubular expression of two chemokines, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and regulated upon expression normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES). After renal mass ablation, several intracellular molecules associated with renal fibrosis, including NF-kappaB p65, Smad-3, signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 and extracellular regulated kinase 1/2, are phosphorylated; suramin treatment inhibited their phosphorylation. Futhermore, suramin abolished renal ablation-induced phosphorylation of epidermal growth factor receptor and platelet derived growth factor receptor, two receptors that mediate renal fibrosis.
Conclusions and Significance
These findings suggest that suramin attenuates glomerular and vascular injury and reduces inflammatory responses by suppression of multiple growth factor receptor-mediated profibrotic signaling pathways. Therefore, suramin may be a useful drug in preventing the fibrosis and sclerosis that characterizes progression of chronic kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC3338607  PMID: 22558380
8.  Renal Cell Protection of Erythropoietin beyond Correcting The Anemia in Chronic Kidney Disease Patients 
Cell Journal (Yakhteh)  2013;15(4):378-380.
Currently many patients with chronic renal failure have profited from the use of erythropoietin to correct anemia (1,2). In chronic kidney disease, anemia is believed to be a surrogate index for tissue hypoxia that continues preexisting renal tissue injury (1-3). Erythropoietin is an essential glycoprotein that accelerates red blood cell maturation from erythroid progenitors and facilitates erythropoiesis. It is a 30.4 kD glycoprotein and class I cytokine containing 165 amino acids (3,4). Approximately 90% of systemic erythropoietin in adults is produced by peritubular interstitial fibroblasts in the renal cortex and outer medulla of the kidney (3-5). A feedback mechanism involving oxygen delivery to the tissues seems to regulate erythropoietin production. Hypoxia-inducible factor regulates transcription of the erythropoietin gene in the kidney, which determines erythropoietin synthesis (3-5). Erythropoietin is an essential glycoprotein that accelerates red blood cell maturation from erythroid progenitors and mediates erythropoiesis in the bone marrow (4-6). Kidney fibrosis is the last common pathway in chronic renal failure irrespective of the initial etiology (5,6). Constant inflammatory cell infiltration and pericyte-myofibroblast transition lead to renal fibrosis and insufficiency which result in decreased production of erythropoietin (4-7). Thus far, therapeutic efforts to treat patients with chronic renal failure by administering erythropoietin have been made only to correct anemia and putative hypoxic tissue damage. The introduction of recombinant human erythropoietin has marked a significant advance in the management of anemia associated with chronic renal failure (6-9). With an increasing number of patients with chronic renal failure receiving erythropoietin treatment, emerging evidence suggests that erythropoietin not only has an erythropoietic function, but also has renoprotective potential. In fact, in recent years, the additional non-erythropoietic tissue/ organ protective efficacy of erythropoietin has become evident, especially in the kidneys (5-12). Various investigations have shown the kidney protective property of erythropoietin in acute kidney injury. In a study to evaluate the ameliorative effects of erythropoietin on renal tubular cells, we studied 40 male rats. We found that erythropoietin was able to prevent the increase in serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen. Furthermore, co-administration of gentamicin and erythropoietin effectively reduced kidney tissue damage compared to the control group. However, the protective properties of erythropoietin were also evident in our study. When the drug was applied after gentamicin- induced tubular damage we were able to show that the drug was still effective after tissue injury onset. This indicates that erythropoietin may have curative effects in addition to its preventive properties (13). Thus, erythropoietin is a promising kidney protective agent to prevent, ameliorate or attenuate tubular damage induced by gentamicin or other nephrotoxic agents that act in a similar manner to this drug (14-17). Recent studies have elucidated the cellular mechanism involved in kidney erythropoietin production and the consequent events that lead to kidney fibrosis, showing that they are closely related to each other (18-20). In contrast to previous findings, fibroblasts originating from damaged renal tubular epithelial cells do not have an important role in kidney fibrosis, but renal erythropoietin- producing cells, stemming from neural crests, have been shown to trans-differentiate into myofibroblasts after long-term exposure to inflammatory situations related to kidney fibrosis. In fact, almost all myofibroblasts expressing α-smooth muscle actin originate from renal erythropoietin-producing cells, which are naturally peritubular interstitial fibroblastic cells expressing neural cell marker genes but not α-smooth muscle actin. Macrophages and myofibroblasts are responsible for fibrosis in the renal tissue. Macrophages could be differentiated to phenotype M1 (classically activated) or M2 (wound healing) according to the distinctive cytokine production and behavior that follows different routes of activation (6,8,21,22). While erythropoietin can disengage macrophages by stopping the activity of NF-κB, it is possible that one of the mechanisms explaining the antifibrotic effects of erythropoietin in chronic kidney disease is in vivo macrophage regulation (20-25). These important findings stipulate the missing link in chronic renal failure between anemia and kidney fibrosis (6,8,21,22). In patients with chronic kidney disease, anemia due to reduced erythropoietin production eventually appears (1,4,5). Recombinant human erythropoietin has been used for more than 20 years in chronic kidney disease to recompense for reduced endogenous erythropoietin production (1,4,5,25). Recent investigations have pointed out that erythropoietin administration improves kidney functions in chronic kidney disease either directly or indirectly (17-24). The therapeutic benefits of erythropoietin beyond the correction of anemia are still questioned. However, it is notable that various pieces of evidence simply reflect the pleiotropic effects of erythropoietinon on the central nervous, cardiovascular system and on the kidney (18,20,25). In brief, clinical evidence shows the kidney protective potential of erythropoietin in patients with chronic renal failure, however, additional clinical investigations are crucial to outline when to start erythropoietin treatment and what is the optimal erythropoietin dosage for slowing disease progression in patients with chronic renal failure. The application of erythropoietin treatment for renoprotection may need to be earlier than that for erythropoiesis, while it is possible that the erythropoietin attenuation of renal fibrosis through macrophage regulation and endothelial cell protection operates through other unidentified mechanisms. While agents restoring the initial function of renal erythropoietin-producing cells could delay kidney fibrosis, further laboratory studies are necessary to clarify the cellular target of erythropoietin in the kidney and for developing a novel erythropoietin derivative or mimetic for kidney protection.
PMCID: PMC3866543  PMID: 24381864
Erythropoietin; Erythropoiesis
9.  Activation of canonical Wnt signalling is required for TGF-β-mediated fibrosis 
Nature Communications  2012;3:735-.
The transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signalling pathway is a key mediator of fibroblast activation that drives the aberrant synthesis of extracellular matrix in fibrotic diseases. Here we demonstrate a novel link between transforming growth factor-β and the canonical Wnt pathway. TGF-β stimulates canonical Wnt signalling in a p38-dependent manner by decreasing the expression of the Wnt antagonist Dickkopf-1. Tissue samples from human fibrotic diseases show enhanced expression of Wnt proteins and decreased expression of Dickkopf-1. Activation of the canonical Wnt pathway stimulates fibroblasts in vitro and induces fibrosis in vivo. Transgenic overexpression of Dickkopf-1 ameliorates skin fibrosis induced by constitutively active TGF-β receptor type I signalling and also prevents fibrosis in other TGF-β-dependent animal models. These findings demonstrate that canonical Wnt signalling is necessary for TGF-β-mediated fibrosis and highlight a key role for the interaction of both pathways in the pathogenesis of fibrotic diseases.
Aberrant activation of the TGF-β pathway leads to fibrotic disease. Distler and colleagues show that TGF-β-mediated fibrosis requires the decrease of Dickkopf-1, an antagonist of canonical Wnt signalling, suggesting that the two pathways interact for the manifestation of this disease.
PMCID: PMC3316881  PMID: 22415826
10.  Bosentan reverses the pro-fibrotic phenotype of systemic sclerosis dermal fibroblasts via increasing DNA binding ability of transcription factor Fli1 
Although the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis (SSc) still remains unknown, recent studies have demonstrated that endothelins are deeply involved in the developmental process of fibrosis and vasculopathy associated with SSc, and a dual endothelin receptor antagonist, bosentan, has a potential to serve as a disease modifying drug for this disorder. Importantly, endothelin-1 (ET-1) exerts a pro-fibrotic effect on normal dermal fibroblasts and bosentan reverses the pro-fibrotic phenotype of SSc dermal fibroblasts. The purpose of this study was to clarify the details of molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of ET-1 and bosentan on dermal fibroblasts, which have not been well studied.
The mRNA levels of target genes and the expression and phosphorylation levels of target proteins were determined by reverse transcription real-time PCR and immunoblotting, respectively. Promoter assays were performed using a sequential deletion of human α2 (I) collagen (COL1A2) promoter. DNA affinity precipitation and chromatin immunoprecipitation were employed to evaluate the DNA binding ability of Fli1. Fli1 protein levels in murine skin were evaluated by immunostaining.
In normal fibroblasts, ET-1 activated c-Abl and protein kinase C (PKC)-δ and induced Fli1 phosphorylation at threonine 312, leading to the decreased DNA binding of Fli1, a potent repressor of the COL1A2 gene, and the increase in type I collagen expression. On the other hand, bosentan reduced the expression of c-Abl and PKC-δ, the nuclear localization of PKC-δ, and Fli1 phosphorylation, resulting in the increased DNA binding of Fli1 and the suppression of type I collagen expression in SSc fibroblasts. In bleomycin-treated mice, bosentan prevented dermal fibrosis and increased Fli1 expression in lesional dermal fibroblasts.
ET-1 exerts a potent pro-fibrotic effect on normal fibroblasts by activating “c-Abl - PKC-δ - Fli1” pathway. Bosentan reverses the pro-fibrotic phenotype of SSc fibroblasts and prevents the development of dermal fibrosis in bleomycin-treated mice by blocking this signaling pathway. Although the efficacy of bosentan for dermal and pulmonary fibrosis is limited in SSc, the present observation definitely provides us with a useful clue to further explore the potential of the upcoming new dual endothelin receptor antagonists as disease modifying drugs for SSc.
PMCID: PMC4060196  PMID: 24708674
11.  New fat-derived products for treating skin-induced lesions of scleroderma in nude mice 
Scleroderma is characterized by cutaneous manifestations that mainly affect the hands, arms and face. As of today, there is no treatment for fibrotic skin lesions of scleroderma. Previously we generated and validated a model of scleroderma-like skin sclerosis in nude mice, appropriate to inject human derived products. We showed that the subcutaneous injection of micro-fat (MF), purified and injected using small caliber cannulas, have anti-fibrotic and pro-angiogenic effects and appears more suitable for the treatment of skin lesions of scleroderma compared to the gold standard (Coleman’s technique or macro-fat). Here we compared the long-term efficacy of micro-fat “enriched” with other therapeutic products including the stromal vascular fraction (SVF) of fat and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) from blood in our murine model of scleroderma.
We used 72 nude mice in this study. We formed six experimental groups: Macro-fat, MF, SVF, PRP, MF + SVF, MF + PRP. This project has three phases: i) Induction of skin sclerosis by daily subcutaneous injections of bleomycin (BLM) for 4 weeks in nude mice; ii) Purification and injection of the different cell therapy products; iii) Histological analyses done 8 weeks post-injections.
MF + SVF and MF + PRP significantly reversed dermal and epidermal sclerosis (P <0.01). Macro-fat, SVF, PRP only corrected the dermal sclerosis (P <0.05). Epidermal sclerosis was reduced in treatments containing MF (P <0.01). MF was more stable. Products containing the SVF were associated with a significant increase of the local vascularization (P <0.01).
All tested substances were effective in treating skin-induced lesions of scleroderma with different levels of fibrosis and vascular improvement; MF derived products are more stable and SVF demonstrated better pro-angiogenic effects. The observed efficacy of this combination of products in the animal model provides a rationale for potential clinical applications to treat human disease.
PMCID: PMC4446000  PMID: 25519759
12.  Serine proteases, inhibitors and receptors in renal fibrosis 
Thrombosis and haemostasis  2009;101(4):656-664.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is estimated to affect one in eight adults. Their kidney function progressively deteriorates as inflammatory and fibrotic processes damage nephrons. New therapies to prevent renal functional decline must build on basic research studies that identify critical cellular and molecular mediators. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), a potent fibrosis-promoting glycoprotein, is one promising candidate. Absent from normal kidneys, PAI-1 is frequently expressed in injured kidneys. Studies in genetically engineered mice have demonstrated its potency as a pro-fibrotic molecule. Somewhat surprising, its ability to inhibit serine protease activity does not appear to be its primary pro-fibrotic effect in CKD. Both tissue-type plasminogen activator and plasminogen deficiency significantly reduced renal fibrosis severity after ureteral obstruction, while genetic urokinase (uPA) deficiency had no effect. PAI-1 expression is associated with enhanced recruitment of key cellular effectors of renal fibrosis – interstitial macrophages and myofibroblasts. The ability of PAI-1 to promote cell migration involves interactions with the low-density lipoprotein receptor-associate protein-1 and also complex interactions with uPA bound to its receptor (uPAR) and several leukocyte and matrix integrins that associate with uPAR as co-receptors. uPAR is expressed by several cell types in damaged kidneys, and studies in uPAR-deficient mice have shown that its serves a protective role. uPAR mediates additional anti-fibrotic effects - it interacts with specific co-receptors to degrade PAI-1 and extracellular collagens, and soluble uPAR has leukocyte chemoattractant properties. Molecular pathways activated by serine proteases and their inhibitor, PAI-1, are promising targets for future anti-fibrotic therapeutic agents.
PMCID: PMC3136815  PMID: 19350108
plasminogen activator inhibitor-1; urokinase; fibrosis; urokinase receptor (uPAR)
13.  Telocytes in human liver fibrosis 
Liver fibrosis is a wound-healing response which engages a variety of cell types to encapsulate injury. Telocyte (TC), a novel type of interstitial cell, has been identified in a variety of tissues and organs including liver. TCs have been reported to be reduced in fibrotic areas after myocardial infarction, human interstitial wall's fibrotic remodelling caused either by ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, and skin of systemic sclerosis. However, the role of TCs in human liver fibrosis remains unclear. Liver samples from human liver biopsy were collected. All samples were stained with Masson's trichrome to determine fibrosis. TCs were identified by several immunofluorescence stainings including double labelling for CD34 and c-kit/CD117, or vimentin, or PDGF Receptor-α, or β. We found that hepatic TCs were significantly decreased by 27%–60% in human liver fibrosis, suggesting that loss of TCs might lead to the altered organization of extracellular matrix and loss the control of fibroblast/myofibroblast activity and favour the genesis of fibrosis. Adding TCs might help to develop effective and targeted antifibrotic therapies for human liver fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC4369823  PMID: 25661250
telocytes; liver; fibrosis; CD34; vimentin; PDGFR-α, β; multiple sclerosis; stellate cells
14.  Human platelets inhibit liver fibrosis in severe combined immunodeficiency mice 
AIM: To investigate the role of human platelets in liver fibrosis.
METHODS: Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice were administered CCl4 and either phosphate-buffered saline (PBS group) or human platelet transfusions (hPLT group). Concentrations of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), matrix metallopeptidases (MMP)-9, and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) in the liver tissue were compared between the PBS and the hPLT groups by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blotting. The effects of a human platelet transfusion on liver fibrosis included the fibrotic area, hydroxyproline content, and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression, which were evaluated by picrosirius red staining, ELISA, and immunohistochemical staining using an anti-mouse α-SMA antibody, respectively. Phosphorylations of mesenchymal-epithelial transition factor (Met) and SMAD3, downstream signals of HGF and TGF-β, were compared between the two groups by Western blotting and were quantified using densitometry. Hepatocyte apoptosis was evaluated by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling. Furthermore, the accumulation of human platelets in the liver 2 h after platelet transfusion was compared between normal and fibrotic livers by immunohistochemical staining using an anti-human CD41 antibody.
RESULTS: The fibrotic area and hydroxyproline content in the liver were both significantly lower in the hPLT group when compared to the PBS group (fibrotic area, 1.7% ± 0.6% vs 2.5% ± 0.6%, P = 0.03; hydroxyproline content, 121 ± 26 ng/g liver vs 156 ± 47 ng/g liver, P = 0.04). There was less α-smooth muscle actin staining in the hPLT group than in the PBS group (0.5% ± 0.1% vs 0.8% ± 0.3%, P = 0.02). Hepatic expression levels of mouse HGF and MMP-9 were significantly higher in the hPLT group than in the PBS group (HGF, 109 ± 13 ng/g liver vs 88 ± 22 ng/g liver, P = 0.03; MMP-9, 113% ± 7%/GAPDH vs 92% ± 11%/GAPDH, P = 0.04). In contrast, the concentration of mouse TGF-β in the liver tissue was significantly lower in the hPLT group than in the PBS group (22 ± 5 ng/g liver vs 39 ± 6 ng/g liver, P = 0.02). Phosphorylation of Met was more prevalent in the hPLT group than in the PBS group (37% ± 4%/GAPDH vs 20% ± 8%/GAPDH, P = 0.03). Phosphorylation of SMAD3 was weaker in the hPLT group than in the PBS group (60% ± 12%/GAPDH vs 84% ± 12%/GAPDH, P = 0.1), although this difference was not significant. Furthermore, a lower rate of hepatocyte apoptosis was observed in the hPLT group than in the PBS group (5.9% ± 1.7% vs 2.9% ± 2.1%, P = 0.02). Significant human platelet accumulation was observed in the fibrotic liver tissues, whereas few platelets accumulated in the normal liver.
CONCLUSION: Human platelets inhibit liver fibrosis in SCID mice. Increased concentration of HGF in the liver suppresses hepatic stellate cell activation, induces MMPs, and inhibits hepatocyte apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC3752558  PMID: 23983427
Human platelet; Liver fibrosis; Hepatocyte apoptosis; Hepatocyte growth factor; Transforming growth factor-β; Matrix metallopeptidases
15.  Angiotensin II type 1 and 2 receptors and lymphatic vessels modulate lung remodeling and fibrosis in systemic sclerosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis 
Clinics  2014;69(1):47-54.
To validate the importance of the angiotensin II receptor isotypes and the lymphatic vessels in systemic sclerosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
We examined angiotensin II type 1 and 2 receptors and lymphatic vessels in the pulmonary tissues obtained from open lung biopsies of 30 patients with systemic sclerosis and 28 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Their histologic patterns included cellular and fibrotic non-specific interstitial pneumonia for systemic sclerosis and usual interstitial pneumonia for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. We used immunohistochemistry and histomorphometry to evaluate the number of cells in the alveolar septae and the vessels stained by these markers. Survival curves were also used.
We found a significantly increased percentage of septal and vessel cells immunostained for the angiotensin type 1 and 2 receptors in the systemic sclerosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis patients compared with the controls. A similar percentage of angiotensin 2 receptor positive vessel cells was observed in fibrotic non-specific interstitial pneumonia and usual interstitial pneumonia. A significantly increased percentage of lymphatic vessels was present in the usual interstitial pneumonia group compared with the non-specific interstitial pneumonia and control groups. A Cox regression analysis showed a high risk of death for the patients with usual interstitial pneumonia and a high percentage of vessel cells immunostained for the angiotensin 2 receptor in the lymphatic vessels.
We concluded that angiotensin II receptor expression in the lung parenchyma can potentially control organ remodeling and fibrosis, which suggests that strategies aimed at preventing high angiotensin 2 receptor expression may be used as potential therapeutic target in patients with pulmonary systemic sclerosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC3870314  PMID: 24473559
Systemic Sclerosis; Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis; Immunohistochemistry; Angiotensin; Survival
16.  The Histone Deacetylase Sirtuin 1 Is Reduced in Systemic Sclerosis and Abrogates Fibrotic Responses by Targeting Transforming Growth Factor β Signaling 
Persistent fibroblast activation underlies skin fibrosis in systemic sclerosis (SSc), but the transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms controlling this process are not well understood. In view of the potent influence of acetylation status governing tissue fibrosis, we undertook this study to investigate the expression of the antiaging deacetylase enzyme sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) in SSc and its effects on fibrotic responses in vitro and in vivo.
Tissue expression of SIRTs was interrogated from publicly available genome-wide expression data sets and by immunohistochemistry. The effects of SIRT1 on modulating fibrotic responses, as well as the underlying mechanisms, were examined in human and mouse fibroblasts in culture and in an experimental fibrosis model in the mouse.
Analysis of transcriptome data revealed a selective reduction of SIRT1 messenger RNA (mRNA) levels in SSc skin biopsy samples as well as a negative correlation of SIRT1 mRNA with the skin score. Cellular SIRT1 levels were suppressed in normal fibroblasts exposed to hypoxia or platelet-derived growth factor and were constitutively down-regulated in SSc fibroblasts. Activation of SIRT1 attenuated fibrotic responses in skin fibroblasts and skin organ cultures, while genetic or pharmacologic inhibition of SIRT1 had profibrotic effects. The antifibrotic effects of SIRT1 were due in part to decreased expression and function of the acetyltransferase p300. In mice, experimentally induced skin fibrosis was accompanied by reduced SIRT1 expression in lesional tissue fibroblasts, and both fibrosis and loss of SIRT1 in these mice were mitigated by treatment with a SIRT1 activator.
SIRT1 has antifibrotic effects, and its reduced tissue expression in patients with SSc might have a direct causal role in progression of fibrosis. Pharmacologic modulation of SIRT1 in these patients therefore might represent a potential treatment strategy.
PMCID: PMC4518870  PMID: 25707573
17.  Knockout of Endothelial Cell-Derived Endothelin-1 Attenuates Skin Fibrosis but Accelerates Cutaneous Wound Healing 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97972.
Endothelin (ET)-1 is known for the most potent vasoconstrictive peptide that is released mainly from endothelial cells. Several studies have reported ET-1 signaling is involved in the process of wound healing or fibrosis as well as vasodilation. However, little is known about the role of ET-1 in these processes. To clarify its mechanism, we compared skin fibrogenesis and wound repair between vascular endothelial cell-specific ET-1 knockout mice and their wild-type littermates. Bleomycin-injected fibrotic skin of the knockout mice showed significantly decreased skin thickness and collagen content compared to that of wild-type mice, indicating that bleomycin-induced skin fibrosis is attenuated in the knockout mice. The mRNA levels of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β were decreased in the bleomycin-treated skin of ET-1 knockout mice. On the other hand, skin wound healing was accelerated in ET-1 knockout mice, which was indicated by earlier granulation tissue reduction and re-epithelialization in these mice. The mRNA levels of TGF-β, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) were reduced in the wound of ET-1 knockout mice. In endothelial ET-1 knockout mouse, the expression of TNF-α, CTGF and TGF-β was down-regulated. Bosentan, an antagonist of dual ET receptors, is known to attenuate skin fibrosis and accelerate wound healing in systemic sclerosis, and such contradictory effect may be mediated by above molecules. The endothelial cell-derived ET-1 is the potent therapeutic target in fibrosis or wound healing, and investigations of the overall regulatory mechanisms of these pathological conditions by ET-1 may lead to a new therapeutic approach.
PMCID: PMC4031171  PMID: 24853267
18.  Myofibroblasts in Murine Cutaneous Fibrosis Originate From Adiponectin-Positive Intradermal Progenitors 
Accumulation of myofibroblasts in fibrotic skin is a hallmark of systemic sclerosis (SSc; scleroderma), but the origins of these cells remain unknown. Because loss of intradermal adipose tissue is a consistent feature of cutaneous fibrosis, we sought to examine the hypothesis that myofibroblasts populating fibrotic dermis derive from adipocytic progenitors.
We performed genetic fate mapping studies to investigate the loss of intradermal adipose tissue and its potential role in fibrosis in mice with bleomycin-induced scleroderma. Modulation of adipocytic phenotypes ex vivo was investigated in adipose tissue–derived cells in culture.
A striking loss of intradermal adipose tissue and its replacement with fibrous tissue were consistently observed in mice with bleomycin-induced fibrosis. Loss of adipose tissue and a decline in the expression of canonical adipogenic markers in lesional skin preceded the onset of dermal fibrosis and expression of fibrogenic markers. Ex vivo, subcutaneous adipocytes were driven by transforming growth factor β to preferentially undergo fibrogenic differentiation. Cell fate mapping studies in mice with the adiponectin promoter–driven Cre recombinase transgenic construct indicated that adiponectin-positive progenitors that are normally confined to the intradermal adipose tissue compartment were distributed throughout the lesional dermis over time, lost their adipocytic markers, and expressed myofibroblast markers in bleomycin-treated mice.
These observations establish a novel link between intradermal adipose tissue loss and dermal fibrosis and demonstrate that adiponectin-positive intradermal progenitors give rise to dermal myofibroblasts. Adipose tissue loss and adipocyte–myofibroblast transition might be primary events in the pathogenesis of cutaneous fibrosis that represent novel potential targets for therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC4472310  PMID: 25504959
19.  Matrix regulation of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: the role of enzymes 
Repairing damaged tissues is an essential homeostatic mechanism that enables clearance of dead or damaged cells after injury, and the maintenance of tissue integrity. However, exaggeration of this process in the lung can lead to the development of fibrotic scar tissue. This is characterized by excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) components such as fibronectin, proteoglycans, hyaluronic acid, and interstitial collagens. After tissue injury, or a breakdown of tissue integrity, a cascade of events unfolds to maintain normal tissue homeostasis. Inflammatory mediators are released from injured epithelium, leading to both platelet activation and inflammatory cell migration. Inflammatory cells are capable of releasing multiple pro-inflammatory and fibrogenic mediators such as transforming growth factor (TGF)β and interleukin (IL)-13, which can trigger myofibroblast proliferation and recruitment. The myofibroblast population is also expanded as a result of epithelial cells undergoing epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and of the activation of resident fibroblasts, leading to ECM deposition and tissue remodeling. In the healthy lung, wound healing then proceeds to restore the normal architecture of the lung; however, fibrosis can develop when the wound is severe, the tissue injury persists, or the repair process becomes dysregulated. Understanding the processes regulating aberrant wound healing and the matrix in the chronic fibrotic lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), is key to identifying new treatments for this chronic debilitating disease. This review focuses primarily on the emerging role of enzymes in the lungs of patients with IPF. Elevated expression of a number of enzymes that can directly modulate the ECM has been reported, and recent data indicates that modulating the activity of these enzymes can have a downstream effect on fibrotic tissue remodeling.
PMCID: PMC4176485  PMID: 24279676
Fibrosis; Matrix; Chronic remodeling; IPF
20.  Curcumin attenuates angiogenesis in liver fibrosis and inhibits angiogenic properties of hepatic stellate cells 
Hepatic fibrosis is concomitant with sinusoidal pathological angiogenesis, which has been highlighted as novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of chronic liver disease. Our prior studies have demonstrated that curcumin has potent antifibrotic activity, but the mechanisms remain to be elucidated. The current work demonstrated that curcumin ameliorated fibrotic injury and sinusoidal angiogenesis in rat liver with fibrosis caused by carbon tetrachloride. Curcumin reduced the expression of a number of angiogenic markers in fibrotic liver. Experiments in vitro showed that the viability and vascularization of rat liver sinusoidal endothelial cells and rat aortic ring angiogenesis were not impaired by curcumin. These results indicated that hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) that are characterized as liver-specific pericytes could be potential target cells for curcumin. Further investigations showed that curcumin inhibited VEGF expression in HSCs associated with disrupting platelet-derived growth factor-β receptor (PDGF-βR)/ERK and mTOR pathways. HSC motility and vascularization were also suppressed by curcumin associated with blocking PDGF-βR/focal adhesion kinase/RhoA cascade. Gain- or loss-of-function analyses revealed that activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) was required for curcumin to inhibit angiogenic properties of HSCs. We concluded that curcumin attenuated sinusoidal angiogenesis in liver fibrosis possibly by targeting HSCs via a PPAR-γ activation-dependent mechanism. PPAR-γ could be a target molecule for reducing pathological angiogenesis during liver fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC4124023  PMID: 24779927
liver fibrosis; angiogenesis; hepatic stellate cell; curcumin; peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ; VEGF
21.  Caveolin-1, TGF-β receptor internalization, and the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis 
Current opinion in rheumatology  2008;20(6):713-719.
To review the scientific literature supporting the participation of caveolin-1 in the pathogenesis of tissue fibrosis and that modulation of the caveolin-1 pathway may represent a novel treatment for systemic sclerosis (SSc) and other fibrotic diseases.
Recent Findings
Caveolin-1 plays an important role in the regulation of transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signaling owing to its participation in TGF-β receptor (TβR) internalization. TβR internalized through caveolin-1 lipid rafts undergoes rapid degradation, effectively decreasing TGF-β signaling. Studies have shown that caveolin-1 knockdown in vitro markedly increased collagen gene expression in normal human lung fibroblasts. Caveolin-1 was reduced in affected SSc lungs and skin and in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) lung tissues and fibroblasts. Increasing caveolin-1 expression markedly improved bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Restoration of caveolin bioavailability employing penetratin, a cell-permeable peptide carrier for a bioactive caveolin-1 fragment abrogated TGF-β activation of cultured human dermal fibroblasts. Systemic administration of penetratin-caveolin-1 peptide to mice with bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis reduced fibrosis.
Caveolin-1 plays an important role in the regulation of TGF-β signaling and participates in the pathogenesis of SSc and IPF. Restoration of caveolin function employing active caveolin-1 fragments coupled to cell-permeable carrier peptides may represent a novel approach for their treatment.
PMCID: PMC2732362  PMID: 18949888
Caveolin-1; TGF-β; fibrosis; collagen; systemic sclerosis; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
22.  IL-13-producing CD8+ T cells mediate dermal fibrosis in patients with systemic sclerosis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2013;65(1):236-246.
Fibrosis is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality in systemic sclerosis (SSc). T cells are the predominant inflammatory infiltrate in affected tissues and are thought to produce cytokines that drive the synthesis of extracellular matrix proteins by fibroblasts, resulting in excessive fibrosis. We showed that aberrant IL-13 production by peripheral blood effector CD8+ T cells from SSc patients correlates with the extent of skin fibrosis. Here we investigate the role of IL-13 production by CD8+ T cells in dermal fibrosis, an early and specific manifestation of SSc.
Extracellular matrix production by normal dermal fibroblasts co-cultured with SSc CD8+ T-cell-supernatants was determined by quantitative PCR and Western blot. Skin-homing receptor expression and IL-13 production by peripheral blood SSc CD8+ T cells were measured by flow cytometry, whereas immunohistochemistry identified IL-13+ and CD8+ cells in sclerotic skin.
IL-13-producing circulating SSc CD8+ T cells express skin-homing receptors and induce a pro-fibrotic phenotype in normal dermal fibroblasts that is inhibited by an anti-IL-13 antibody. High numbers of CD8+ T cells and IL-13+ cells are found in the skin lesions of patients, particularly in the early inflammatory phase of the disease. Thus, IL-13-producing CD8+ T cells are directly involved in modulating dermal fibrosis in SSc.
We make an important mechanistic contribution to understanding the pathogenesis of dermal fibrosis in SSc by showing that CD8+ T cells homing to the skin early in the disease are associated with accumulation of IL-13 and may represent an important target for future therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC3535505  PMID: 23001877
23.  Combined effect of genetic background and gender in a mouse model of bleomycin-induced skin fibrosis 
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a connective tissue disorder characterised by the development of skin fibrosis. Our current understanding of the disease pathogenesis is incomplete and the study of SSc is hindered, at least partially, by a lack of animal models that fully replicate the complex state of human disease. Murine model of bleomycin-induced dermal fibrosis encapsulates important events that take place early in the disease course.
To characterise the optimum in vivo parameters required for the successful induction of dermal fibrosis we subjected three commonly used mouse strains to repeated subcutaneous bleomycin injections. We aimed to identify the effects of genetic background and gender on the severity of skin fibrosis. We used male and female Balb/C, C57BL/6, and DBA/2 strains and assessed their susceptibility to bleomycin-induced fibrosis by measuring dermal thickness, hydroxyproline/collagen content and number of resident myofibroblasts, all of which are important indicators of the severity of skin fibrosis. All data are expressed as mean values ± SEM. The Mann–Whitney U test was used for statistical analysis with GraphPad Prism 6.04 software.
Dermal fibrosis was most severe in Balb/C mice compared to C57BL/6 and DBA/2 suggesting that Balb/C mice are more susceptible to bleomycin-induced fibrosis. Analysis of the effect of gender on the severity of fibrosis showed that male Balb/C, C57BL/6, DBA/2 mice had a tendency to develop more pronounced fibrosis phenotype than female mice. Of potential importance, male Balb/C mice developed the most severe fibrosis phenotype compared to male C57BL/6 and male DBA/2 as indicated by significantly increased number of dermal myofibroblasts.
Our study highlights the importance of genetic background and gender in the induction of murine dermal fibrosis. Robust and reproducible animal models of fibrosis are important research tools used in pharmacological studies which may lead to better understanding of the pathogenesis of fibrotic diseases and assist in identification of new drugs.
PMCID: PMC4461998  PMID: 26025306
24.  Leptospira Interrogans Induces Fibrosis in the Mouse Kidney through Inos-Dependent, TLR- and NLR-Independent Signaling Pathways 
Leptospira (L.) interrogans are bacteria responsible for a worldwide reemerging zoonosis. Rodents carry L. interrogans asymptomatically in their kidneys and excrete bacteria in the urine, contaminating the environment. Humans get infected through skin contact and develop a mild or severe leptospirosis that may lead to renal failure and fibrosis. L. interrogans provoke an interstitial nephritis, but the induction of fibrosis caused by L. interrogans has not been studied in murine models. Innate immune receptors from the TLR and NLR families have recently been shown to play a role in the development and progression of tissue fibrosis in the lung, liver and kidneys under different pathophysiological situations. We recently showed that TLR2, TLR4, and NLRP3 receptors were crucial in the defense against leptospirosis. Moreover, infection of a human cell line with L. interrogans was shown to induce TLR2-dependent production of fibronectin, a component of the extracellular matrix. Therefore, we thought to assess the presence of renal fibrosis in L. interrogans infected mice and to analyze the contribution of some innate immune pathways in this process.
Methodology/principal findings
Here, we characterized by immunohistochemical studies and quantitative real-time PCR, a model of Leptospira-infected C57BL/6J mice, with chronic carriage of L. interrogans inducing mild renal fibrosis. Using various strains of transgenic mice, we determined that the renal infiltrates of T cells and, unexpectedly, TLR and NLR receptors, are not required to generate Leptospira-induced renal fibrosis. We also show that the iNOS enzyme, known to play a role in Leptospira-induced interstitial nephritis, also plays a role in the induction of renal fibrosis.
To our knowledge, this work provides the first experimental murine model of sustained renal fibrosis induced by a chronic bacterial infection that may be peculiar, since it does not rely on TLR or NLR receptors. This model may prove useful to test future therapeutic strategies to combat Leptospira-induced renal lesions.
Author Summary
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease transmitted by asymptomatic rodents to humans. The symptoms may be mild, or severe with kidney failure. Renal fibrosis, occurring during inflammatory situations, is characterized by the pathological accumulation of extra-cellular matrix components and can compromise the kidney functions of patients with leptospirosis. Recent research revealed that both innate and adaptive immune responses are involved in the establishment of fibrosis, in several organs and in different pathophysiological situations. In the present study, we characterized a mouse model of chronic infection with Leptospira that provokes mild renal fibrosis. We show that fibrogenesis requires the presence of live Leptospira in the kidney and that B and T cells from the adaptive immune response do not participate in the induction of renal fibrosis. Unexpectedly, we also found that innate immune receptors, TLRs and NLRs, are not involved in the Leptospira-induced fibrosis. Finally, we show that the enzyme responsible for NO production, iNOS, known to participate in renal inflammatory lesions induced by Leptospira, is also involved in renal fibrosis. Our work provides a novel mouse model to study fibrosis occurring due to leptospirosis.
PMCID: PMC3907306  PMID: 24498450
25.  Multiplex cytokine analysis of dermal interstitial blister fluid defines local disease mechanisms in systemic sclerosis 
Clinical diversity in systemic sclerosis (SSc) reflects multifaceted pathogenesis and the effect of key growth factors or cytokines operating within a disease-specific microenvironment. Dermal interstitial fluid sampling offers the potential to examine local mechanisms and identify proteins expressed within lesional tissue. We used multiplex cytokine analysis to profile the inflammatory and immune activity in the lesions of SSc patients.
Dermal interstitial fluid sample from the involved forearm skin, and synchronous plasma samples were collected from SSc patients (n = 26, diffuse cutaneous SSc (DcSSc) n = 20, limited cutaneous SSc (LcSSc) n = 6), and healthy controls (HC) (n = 10) and profiled by Luminex® array for inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors.
Luminex® profiling of the dermal blister fluid showed increased inflammatory cytokines (median interleukin ( IL)-6 in SSc 39.78 pg/ml, HC 5.51 pg/ml, p = 0.01, median IL-15 in SSc 6.27 pg/ml, HC 4.38 pg/ml, p = 0.03), chemokines (monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-3 9.81 pg/ml in SSc, 7.18 pg/ml HC, p = 0.04), and profibrotic growth factors (platelet derived growth factor (PDGF)-AA 10.38 pg/ml versus 6.94 pg/ml in HC, p = 0.03). In general dermal fluid and plasma cytokine levels did not correlate, consistent with predominantly local production of these factors within the dermal lesions, rather than leakage from the serum. In hierarchical clustering and network analysis IL-6 emerged as a key central mediator.
Our data confirm that an immuno-inflammatory environment and aberrant vascular repair are intimately linked to fibroblast activation in lesional skin in SSc. This non-invasive method could be used to profile disease activity in the clinic, and identifies key inflammatory or pro-fibrotic proteins that might be targeted therapeutically. Distinct subgroups of SSc may be defined that show innate or adaptive immune cytokine signatures.
PMCID: PMC4411924  PMID: 25885360

Results 1-25 (1280037)