Surfactant proteins are produced predominantly by alveolar type II (ATII) cells, and the expression of these proteins can be altered by cytokines and growth factors. Th1/Th2 cytokine imbalance is suggested to be important in the pathogenesis of several adult lung diseases. Recently, we developed a culture system for maintaining differentiated adult human ATII cells. Therefore, we sought to determine the effects of IL-13 and IFN-γ on the expression of surfactant proteins in adult human ATII cells in vitro. Additional studies were done with rat ATII cells.
Adult human ATII cells were isolated from deidentified organ donors whose lungs were not suitable for transplantation and donated for medical research. The cells were cultured on a mixture of Matrigel and rat-tail collagen for 8 d with differentiation factors and human recombinant IL-13 or IFN-γ.
IL-13 reduced the mRNA and protein levels of surfactant protein (SP)-C, whereas IFN-γ increased the mRNA level of SP-C and proSP-C protein but not mature SP-C. Neither cytokine changed the mRNA level of SP-B but IFN-γ slightly decreased mature SP-B. IFN-γ reduced the level of the active form of cathepsin H. IL-13 also reduced the mRNA and protein levels of SP-D, whereas IFN-γ increased both mRNA and protein levels of SP-D. IL-13 did not alter SP-A, but IFN-γ slightly increased the mRNA levels of SP-A.
We demonstrated that IL-13 and IFN-γ altered the expression of surfactant proteins in human adult ATII cells in vitro. IL-13 decreased SP-C and SP-D in human ATII cells, whereas IFN-γ had the opposite effect. The protein levels of mature SP-B were decreased by IFN-γ treatment, likely due to the reduction in active form cathpesin H. Similarly, the active form of cathepsin H was relatively insufficient to fully process proSP-C as IFN-γ increased the mRNA levels for SP-C and proSP-C protein, but there was no increase in mature SP-C. These observations suggest that in disease states with an overexpression of IL-13, there would be some deficiency in mature SP-C and SP-D. In disease states with an excess of IFN-γ or therapy with IFN-γ, these data suggest that there might be incomplete processing of SP-B and SP-C.
Alveolar epithelial cells are directly exposed to acute and chronic fluctuations in alveolar oxygen tension. Previously, we found that the oxygen-binding protein hemoglobin is expressed in alveolar Type II cells (ATII). Here, we report that ATII cells also express a number of highly specific transcription factors and other genes normally associated with hemoglobin biosynthesis in erythroid precursors. Because hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) were shown to play a role in hypoxia-induced changes in ATII homeostasis, we hypothesized that the hypoxia-induced increase in intracellular HIF exerts a concomitant effect on ATII hemoglobin expression. Treatment of cells from the ATII-like immortalized mouse lung epithelial cell line-15 (MLE-15) with hypoxia for 20 hours resulted in dramatic increases in cellular levels of HIF-2α protein and parallel significant increases in hemoglobin messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein expression, as compared with that of control cells cultured in normoxia. Significant increases in the mRNA of globin-associated transcription factors were also observed, and RNA interference (RNAi) experiments demonstrated that the expression of hemoglobin is at least partially dependent on the cellular levels of globin-associated transcription factor isoform 1 (GATA-1). Conversely, levels of prosurfactant proteins B and C significantly decreased in the same cells after exposure to hypoxia. The treatment of MLE-15 cells cultured in normoxia with prolyl 4-hydroxylase inhibitors, which mimic the effects of hypoxia, resulted in increases of hemoglobin and decreases of surfactant proteins. Taken together, these results suggest a relationship between hypoxia, HIFs, and the expression of hemoglobin, and imply that hemoglobin may be involved in the oxygen-sensing pathway in alveolar epithelial cells.
hemoglobin; alveolar epithelial cells; hypoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor
The aims of this study were (a) to determine if rat alveolar type II (ATII) cells and human pulmonary epithelial-derived cells (A549 cell line) could generate IL-6 in vitro, (b) to characterize the cytokine regulation of IL-6 gene and protein expression in these cells, and (c) to detect the in vivo expression of immunoreactive IL-6 by human ATII cells. Rat ATII cells in primary culture secreted bioactive IL-6 and immunostained with an anti-IL-6 antiserum. Spontaneous IL-6 secretion by rat ATII cells amounted to 5,690 +/- 770 pg/ml/10(6) cells (n = 12) and was fivefold higher than spontaneous rat alveolar macrophages IL-6 secretion (1,052 +/- 286 pg/ml/10(6) cells, n = 8, P = 0.001). Rat alveolar macrophage conditioned media (CM) increased IL-6 secretion by rat ATII cells through the effect of IL-1 and TNF. IL-6 gene expression and IL-6 secretion by A549 cells was induced by IL-1 beta, TNF alpha, and by human alveolar macrophages and THP1 cells CM. Induction was abolished when CM were preincubated with anti-IL-1 beta and anti-TNF alpha antibody. The combination of IFN gamma and LPS induced the expression of IL-6 mRNA by A549 cells whereas LPS alone had no effect. Immunohistochemical staining evidenced the expression of immunoreactive IL-6 by hyperplastic ATII cells in fibrotic human lung, a condition in which alveolar macrophages are known to be activated. ATII cells in normal human lung did not express immunoreactive IL-6. Our findings demonstrate that ATII cells may be an important source of IL-6 in the alveolar space thereby participating to the regulation of the intra-alveolar immune response.
Type I alveolar epithelial cells (ATIs) are very large, thin cells, which extend across several air sacs and cover more than 95% of the alveolar surface area. ATIs are the target of many insults, including ventilator-induced lung injury, and are generally considered terminally differentiated cells arising from type II cell (ATII) lineage. ATIs have proven difficult to harvest and maintain in primary culture, which is why much of ATI biology has been inferred from studies on ex vivo, ATII-derived, so-called ATI-like cells. We report on a modified approach to rat ATI harvest and primary culture, which yielded the following observations: (1) rat ATI can be harvested and maintained with a high degree of purity in primary culture; (2) in vitro growth characteristics of primary ATIs differ from those of ATII-derived ATI-like cells; ATIs, but not ex vivo, ATII-derived ATI-like cells, are capable of cell division; (3) ATIs readily repair plasma membrane wounds without the subsequent loss of their ability to divide; (4) ATI monolayers heal scratch wounds primarily by cell spreading and migration. Although the ability of ATIs to divide may be limited to the in vitro environment, we do believe that their role in alveolar wound repair deserves to be revisited, and the molecular control of ATI–ATII plasticity further explored.
alveolar epithelial type I cell; primary culture; phenotype; proliferation; injury and repair
In mechanically ventilated preterm infants with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), exogenous surfactant application has been demonstrated both to decrease DNA-synthesis but also and paradoxically to increase epithelial cell proliferation. However, the effect of exogenous surfactant has not been studied directly on alveolar type II cells (ATII cells), a key cell type responsible for alveolar function and repair.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of two commercially available surfactant preparations on ATII cell viability and DNA synthesis.
Curosurf® and Alveofact® were applied to two ATII cell lines (human A549 and mouse iMATII cells) and to primary rat ATII cells for periods of up to 24 h. Cell viability was measured using the redox indicator resazurin and DNA synthesis was measured using BrdU incorporation.
Curosurf® resulted in slightly decreased cell viability in all cell culture models. However, DNA synthesis was increased in A549 and rat ATII cells but decreased in iMATII cells. Alveofact® exhibited the opposite effects on A549 cells and had very mild effects on the other two cell models.
This study showed that commercially available exogenous surfactants used to treat preterm infants with RDS can have profound effects on cell viability and DNA synthesis.
Francisella tularensis, an intracellular pathogen, is highly virulent when inhaled. Alveolar epithelial type I (ATI) and type II (ATII) cells line the majority of the alveolar surface and respond to inhaled pathogenic bacteria via cytokine secretion. We hypothesized that these cells contribute to the lung innate immune response to F. tularensis. Results demonstrated that the live vaccine strain (LVS) contacted ATI and ATII cells by 2 h following intranasal inoculation of mice. In culture, primary human ATI or ATII cells, grown on transwell filters, were stimulated on the apical (AP) surface with virulent F. tularensis Schu 4 or LVS. Basolateral (BL) conditioned medium (CM), collected 6 and 24 h later, was added to the BL surfaces of transwell cultures of primary human pulmonary microvasculature endothelial cells (HPMEC) prior to the addition of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) or dendritic cells (DCs) to the AP surface. HPMEC responded to S4- or LVS-stimulated ATII, but not ATI, CM as evidenced by PMN and DC migration. Analysis of the AP and BL ATII CM revealed that both F. tularensis strains induced various levels of a variety of cytokines via NF-κB activation. ATII cells pretreated with an NF-κB inhibitor prior to F. tularensis stimulation substantially decreased interleukin-8 secretion, which did not occur through Toll-like receptor 2, 2/6, 4, or 5 stimulation. These data indicate a crucial role for ATII cells in the innate immune response to F. tularensis.
Resident stem/progenitor cells in the lung are important for tissue homeostasis and repair. However, a progenitor population for alveolar type II (ATII) cells in adult human lungs has not been identified. The aim of this study is to isolate progenitor cells from adult human lungs with the ability to differentiate into ATII cells. We isolated colony-forming cells that had the capability for self-renewal and the potential to generate ATII cells in vitro. These undifferentiated progenitor cells expressed surface markers of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and surfactant proteins associated with ATII cells, such as CD90 and pro-surfactant protein-C (pro-SP-C), respectively. Microarray analyses indicated that transcripts associated with lung development were enriched in the pro-SP-C+/CD90+ cells compared with bone marrow-MSCs. Furthermore, pathological evaluation indicated that pro-SP-C and CD90 double-positive cells were present within alveolar walls in normal lungs, and significantly increased in ATII cell hyperplasias contributing to alveolar epithelial repair in damaged lungs. Our findings demonstrated that adult human lungs contain a progenitor population for ATII cells. This study is a first step toward better understanding of stem cell biology in adult human lung alveoli.
lung repair; mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition; tissue stem cells; translational research
GPR116 is an orphan seven-pass transmembrane receptor of previously unknown function. Global disruption of the Gpr116 gene in mice revealed an unexpected, critical role for this receptor in lung surfactant homeostasis, resulting in progressive accumulation of surfactant lipids and proteins in the alveolar space, labored breathing, and a reduced lifespan. GPR116 expression analysis, bone marrow transplantation studies and characterization of conditional knockout mice revealed that GPR116 expression in ATII cells is required for maintaining normal surfactant levels. Aberrant packaging of surfactant proteins with lipids in the Gpr116 mutant mice resulted in compromised surfactant structure, function, uptake, and processing. Thus, GPR116 plays an indispensable role in lung surfactant homeostasis with important ramifications for the understanding and treatment of lung surfactant disorders.
Cigarette smoke (CS) is a main risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Oxidative stress induced by CS causes DNA and lung damage. Oxidant/antioxidant imbalance occurs in the distal air spaces of smokers and in patients with COPD. We studied the effect of oxidative stress generated by CS both in vivo and in vitro on murine primary alveolar type II (ATII) cells isolated from nuclear erythroid 2-related factor-2 (Nrf2)−/− mice. We determined human primary ATII cell injury by CS in vitro and analyzed ATII cells isolated from smoker and non-smoker lung donors ex vivo. We also studied whether trolox (water-soluble derivative of vitamin E) could protect murine and human ATII cells against CS-induced DNA damage and/or decrease injury. We analyzed oxidative stress by 4-hydroxynonenal expression, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation by Amplex Red Hydrogen Peroxide Assay, Nrf2, heme oxygenase 1, p53 and P53-binding protein 1 (53BP1) expression by immonoblotting, Nrf2 nuclear translocation, Nrf2 and p53 DNA-binding activities, apoptosis by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling assay and cytokine production by ELISA. We found that ATII cells isolated from Nrf2−/− mice are more susceptible to CS-induced oxidative DNA damage mediated by p53/53BP1 both in vivo and in vitro compared with wild-type mice. Therefore, Nrf2 activation is a key factor to protect ATII cells against injury by CS. Moreover, trolox abolished human ATII cell injury and decreased DNA damage induced by CS in vitro. Furthermore, we found higher inflammation and p53 mRNA expression by RT-PCR in ATII cells isolated from smoker lung donors in comparison with non-smokers ex vivo. Our results indicate that the Nrf2 and p53 cross talk in ATII cells affect the susceptibility of these cells to injury by CS. Trolox can protect against oxidative stress, genotoxicity and inflammation induced by CS through ROS scavenging mechanism, and serve as a potential antioxidant prevention strategy against oxidative injury of ATII cells in CS-related lung diseases.
alveolar type II cells; cigarette smoke; trolox; Nrf2; lung
The biological effects of inhalable nanoparticles have been widely studied in vitro with pulmonary cells cultured under submerged and air-liquid interface (ALI) conditions. Submerged exposures are experimentally simpler, but ALI exposures are physiologically more realistic and hence potentially biologically more meaningful. In this study, we investigated the cellular response of human alveolar epithelial-like cells (A549) to airborne agglomerates of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles at the ALI, compared it to the response under submerged culture conditions, and provided a quantitative comparison with the literature data on different types of particles and cells. For ZnO nanoparticle doses of 0.7 and 2.5 μg ZnO/cm2 (or 0.09 and 0.33 cm2 ZnO/cm2), cell viability was not mitigated and no significant effects on the transcript levels of oxidative stress markers (HMOX1, SOD-2 and GCS) were observed. However, the transcript levels of proinflammatory markers (IL-8, IL-6, and GM-CSF) were induced to higher levels under ALI conditions. This is consistent with the literature data and it suggests that in vitro toxicity screening of nanoparticles with ALI cell culture systems may produce less false negative results than screening with submerged cell cultures. However, the database is currently too scarce to draw a definite conclusion on this issue.
Mechanicosensory mechanisms regulate cell differentiation during lung organogenesis. We have previously demonstrated that cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) was integral to stretch-induced growth and development and that transient expression of antisense-CFTR (ASCFTR) had negative effects on lung structure and function. In this study, we examined adult alveolar type II (ATII) cell phenotype after transient knock down of CFTR by adenovirus-directed in utero expression of ASCFTR in the fetal lung.
In comparison to (reporter gene-treated) Controls, ASCFTR-treated adult rat lungs showed elevated phosphatidylcholine (PC) levels in the large but not in the small aggregates of alveolar surfactant. The lung mRNA levels for SP-A and SP-B were lower in the ASCFTR rats. The basal PC secretion in ATII cells was similar in the two groups. However, compared to Control ATII cells, the cells in ASCFTR group showed higher PC secretion with ATP or phorbol myristate acetate. The cell PC pool was also larger in the ASCFTR group. Thus, the increased surfactant secretion in ATII cells could cause higher PC levels in large aggregates of surfactant. In freshly isolated ATII cells, the expression of surfactant proteins was unchanged, suggesting that the lungs of ASCFTR rats contained fewer ATII cells. Gene array analysis of RNA of freshly isolated ATII cells from these lungs showed altered expression of several genes including elevated expression of two calcium-related genes, Ca2+-ATPase and calcium-calmodulin kinase kinase1 (CaMkk1), which was confirmed by real-time PCR. Western blot analysis showed increased expression of calmodulin kinase I, which is activated following phosphorylation by CaMkk1. Although increased expression of calcium regulating genes would argue in favor of Ca2+-dependent mechanisms increasing surfactant secretion, we cannot exclude contribution of alternate mechanisms because of other phenotypic changes in ATII cells of the ASCFTR group.
Developmental changes due to transient disruption of CFTR in fetal lung reflect in altered ATII cell phenotype in the adult life.
This study explored the cellular and biological interrelationships involved in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) lung tissue remodelling using immunohistochemical analysis.
Methods and results
IPF and control lung tissues were examined for localisation of Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition (EMT), proliferation and growth factor markers assessing their relationship to key histological aberrations. E-cadherin was expressed in IPF and control (Alveolar type II) ATII cells (>75%). In IPF, mean expression of N-cadherin was scanty (<10%): however 4 cases demonstrated augmented expression in ATII cells correlating to histological disease status (Pearson correlation score 0.557). Twist was expressed within fibroblastic foci but not in ATII cells. Transforming Growth Factor- β (TGF-β) protein expression was significantly increased in IPF ATII cells with variable expression within fibroblastic foci. Antigen Ki-67 was observed within hyperplastic ATII cells but not in cells overlying foci. Collagen I and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) were strongly expressed within fibroblastic foci (>75%); cytoplasmic collagen I in ATII cells was present in 3 IPF cases. IPF ATII cells demonstrated variable Surfactant Protein-C (SP-C).
The pathogenesis of IPF is complex and involves multiple factors, possibly including EMT. Histological analysis suggests TGF-β-stimulated myofib rob lasts initiate a contractile response within established fibroblastic foci while proliferating ATII cells attempt to instigate alveolar epithelium repair. Marker expression (N-cadherin and Ki-67) correlation with histological disease activity (as reflected by fibroblastic foci extent) may emerge as future prognostic indicators for IPF.
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis; immunohistochemistry; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; tissue repair and remodelling; prognostic markers
Distal alveolar morphogenesis is marked by differentiation of alveolar type (AT)-II to AT-I cells that give rise to the primary site of gas exchange, the alveolar/vascular interface. Endothelial-Monocyte Activating Polypeptide (EMAP) II, an endogenous protein with anti-angiogenic properties, profoundly disrupts distal lung neovascularization and alveolar formation during lung morphogenesis, and is robustly expressed in the dysplastic alveolar regions of infants with Bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Determination as to whether EMAP II has a direct or indirect affect on ATII→ATI trans-differentiation has not been explored.
In a controlled nonvascular environment, an in vitro model of ATII→ATI cell trans-differentiation was utilized to demonstrate the contribution that one vascular mediator has on distal epithelial cell differentiation.
Here, we show that EMAP II significantly blocked ATII→ATI cell transdifferentiation by increasing cellular apoptosis and inhibiting expression of ATI markers. Moreover, EMAP II-treated ATII cells displayed myofibroblast characteristics, including elevated cellular proliferation, increased actin cytoskeleton stress fibers and Rho-GTPase activity, and increased nuclear:cytoplasmic volume. However, EMAP II-treated cells did not express the myofibroblast markers desmin or αSMA.
Our findings demonstrate that EMAP II interferes with ATII → ATI transdifferentiation resulting in a proliferating non-myofibroblast cell. These data identify the transdifferentiating alveolar cell as a possible target for EMAP II's induction of alveolar dysplasia.
EMAP II; alveolar epithelial cell; transdifferentiation
Mechanical ventilation-induced excessive stretch of alveoli is reported to induce cellular stress failure and subsequent lung injury, and is therefore an injurious factor to the lung. Avoiding cellular stress failure is crucial to ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) treatment. In the present study, primary rat alveolar type II (ATII) cells were isolated to evaluate their viability and the mechanism of their survival under tonic stretch. By the annexin V/ PI staining and flow cytometry assay, we demonstrated that tonic stretch-induced cell death is an immediate injury of mechanical stress. In addition, immunofluorescence and immunoblots assay showed that the cells experienced an expansion-contraction-reexpansion process, accompanied by partial focal adhesion (FA) disassembly during contraction. Manipulation of integrin adherent affinity by altering bivalent cation levels in the culture medium and applying an integrin neutralizing antibody showed that facilitated adhesion affinity promoted cell death under tonic stretch, while lower level of adhesion protected the cells from stretch-induced stress failure. Finally, a simplified numerical model was established to reveal that adequate disassembly of FAs reduced the forces transmitting throughout the cell. Taken together, these results indicate that ATII cells escape stress failure caused by tonic stretch via active cell morphological remodeling, during which cells transiently disassemble FAs to unload mechanical forces.
focal adhesion disassembly; cellular stress failure; cell morphologic remodeling; cell culture; tonic stretch
The properties of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) as a potent vascular permogen and mitogen have led to investigation of its potential role in lung injury. Alternate spliced VEGF transcript generates several isoforms with potentially differing functions. The purpose of this study was to determine VEGF isoform expression and source in normal and ARDS subjects and investigate the expression and regulation of VEGF isoforms by human alveolar type 2 (ATII) cells.
VEGF protein expression was assessed immunohistochemically in archival normal and ARDS human lung tissue. VEGF isoform mRNA expression was assessed in human and murine lung tissue. Purified ATII cells were cultured with proinflammatory cytokines prior to RNA extraction/cell supernatant sampling/proliferation assay.
Measurements and Main Results
VEGF was expressed on alveolar epithelium, vascular endothelium and alveolar macrophages in normal and ARDS human lung tissue. Increases in VEGF expression were detected in later ARDS in comparison to both normal subjects and early ARDS (p < 0.001). VEGF121, VEGF165 and VEGF189 isoform mRNA expression increased in later ARDS (p < 0.05). The ratio of soluble to cell-associated isoforms was lower in early ARDS than normal subjects and later ARDS and also in murine lung injury. ATII cells constitutionally produced VEGF165 and VEGF121 protein which was increased by LPS (p < 0.05). VEGF165 upregulated ATII cell proliferation (p < 0.001) that was inhibited by soluble VEGF receptor 1 (sflt) (p < 0.05).
These data demonstrate that changes in VEGF isoform expression occur in ARDS which may be related to their production by and mitogenic effect on ATII cells; with potentially significant clinical consequences.
Hepatic ischemia-reperfusion can be associated with acute lung injury. Alveolar epithelial type II cells (ATII) play an important role in maintaining lung homeostasis in acute lung injury.
To study potentially new mechanisms of hepatic ischemia-reperfusion-induced lung injury, we examined how liver ischemia-reperfusion altered the proteome of ATII.
Spontaneously breathing male Zucker rats.
Rats were anesthetized with isoflurane. The vascular supply to the left and medial lobe of the liver was clamped for 75 mins and then reperfused. Sham-operated rats were used as controls. After 8 hrs, rats were killed.
Measurements and Main Results
Bronchoalveolar lavage and differential cell counts were performed, and tumor necrosis factor-α and cytokine-induced neutrophil chemotactic factor-1 in plasma were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. ATII were isolated, lysed, tryptically digested, and labeled using isobaric tags (iTRAQ). The samples were fractionated by cation exchange chromatography, separated by high-performance liquid-chromatography, and identified using electrospray tandem mass spectrometry. Spectra were interrogated and quantified using ProteinProspector. Quantitative proteomics provided quantitative data for 94 and 97 proteins in the two groups. Significant changes in ATII protein content included 30% to 40% increases in adenosine triphosphate synthases, adenosine triphosphate/adenosine diphosphate translocase, and catalase (all p < .001). Following liver ischemia-reperfusion, there was also a significant increase in the percentage of neutrophils in bronchoalveolar lavage (48% ± 26%) compared with sham-operated controls (5% ± 3%) (p < .01), and plasma tumor necrosis factor-α levels were also significantly increased.
The proteins identified by quantitative proteomics indicated significant changes in moderators of cell metabolism and host defense in ATII. These findings provide new insights into possible mechanisms responsible for hepatic ischemia-reperfusion-related acute lung injury and suggest that ATII cells in the lung sense and respond to hepatic injury.
liver; lung; quantitative proteomics; isotope ratio mass spectrometry; ischemia; reperfusion injury; Zucker rats; iTRAQ
The air-liquid interface (ALI) is a common microenvironment of the skin, but it is unknown whether the ALI affects melanoma cell behaviors. Using a collagen gel invasion assay, immunohistochemistry, and Western blots, here we show that melanoma cell proliferation in cultures with an ALI is higher than melanoma cell proliferation in submerged cultures. Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) uptake, an indicator of cell proliferation, of melanoma cells at the ALI was about 3 times that of submerged cells, while ALI and submerged melanoma cells had similar levels of single-stranded DNA (a marker of apoptosis). The ALI enhanced the expression of Raf-1, MEK-1 and pERK-1/2 components of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade, in cells more than the submerged condition did. The increases in BrdU uptake and pERK-1/2 expression promoted by ALI was abolished by the MEK inhibitor, PD-98059. ALI-treated and submerged melanoma cells did not infiltrate into the collagen gel, and they showed no significant difference in the expression of the invasion- and motility-related molecules, matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -9, laminin 5, and filamin A. Our data indicate that the ALI, a skin microenvironment, accelerates the growth, but not the apoptosis or invasion, of melanoma cells through MAPK activation.
air-liquid interface; melanoma; proliferation; mitogen-activated protein kinase; collagen gel invasion assay
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is characterized by distorted lung architecture and loss of respiratory function. Enhanced (myo)fibroblast activation, ECM deposition, and alveolar epithelial type II (ATII) cell dysfunction contribute to IPF pathogenesis. However, the molecular pathways linking ATII cell dysfunction with the development of fibrosis are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate, in a mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis, increased proliferation and altered expression of components of the WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway in ATII cells. Further analysis revealed that expression of WNT1-inducible signaling protein–1 (WISP1), which is encoded by a WNT target gene, was increased in ATII cells in both a mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis and patients with IPF. Treatment of mouse primary ATII cells with recombinant WISP1 led to increased proliferation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), while treatment of mouse and human lung fibroblasts with recombinant WISP1 enhanced deposition of ECM components. In the mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis, neutralizing mAbs specific for WISP1 reduced the expression of genes characteristic of fibrosis and reversed the expression of genes associated with EMT. More importantly, these changes in gene expression were associated with marked attenuation of lung fibrosis, including decreased collagen deposition and improved lung function and survival. Our study thus identifies WISP1 as a key regulator of ATII cell hyperplasia and plasticity as well as a potential therapeutic target for attenuation of pulmonary fibrosis.
A tissue-isolated preparation of the P22 rat carcinosarcoma was used to investigate the tumour vascular response to angiotensin II (ATII). In particular, the relative importance of systemic and local tumour factors was assessed by comparing tumour vascular resistance during systemic administration of ATII and during administration directly into the tumour-supplying artery. The effect of hypervolaemia on tumour vascular resistance was determined as well as the effect of ATII on oxygen metabolism. Tumour vascular resistance was increased by ATII in a dose-dependent manner. The response was biphasic with an initial peak in resistance followed by a lower plateau phase. Systemic administration of ATII was more effective in increasing tumour vascular resistance than direct administration. This suggests that systemic administration is not causing any reopening of previously collapsed tumour blood vessels. Further evidence for this is that hypervolaemia caused no reduction in tumour vascular resistance and that there was no difference in oxygen extraction by tumours between groups treated with systemically and directly administered ATII. A heterogeneous distribution of ATII receptors in the P22 tumour is a more likely explanation for the known heterogeneity of blood flow response to ATII.
When human epidermal cells were seeded on floating rafts of collagen and fibroblasts, they stratified at the air-liquid interface. The suprabasal cells synthesized the large type II (K1) and type I (K10/K11) keratins characteristic of terminal differentiation in skin. At earlier times in culture, expression of the large type II keratins appeared to precede the expression of their type I partners. At later times, all suprabasal cells expressed both types, suggesting that the accumulation of a critical level of K1 keratin may be a necessary stimulus for K10 and K11 expression. Expression of the terminal differentiation-specific keratins was completely suppressed by adding retinoic acid to the culture medium, or by submerging the cultures in normal medium. In submerged cultures, removal of vitamin A by delipidization of the serum restored the keratinization process. In contrast, calcium and transforming growth factor-beta did not influence the expression of the large keratins in keratinocytes grown in the presence of retinoids, even though they are known to induce certain morphological features of terminal differentiation. Retinoic acid in the raft medium not only suppressed the expression of the large keratins, but, in addition, induced the synthesis of two new keratins not normally expressed in epidermis in vivo. Immunofluorescence localized one of these keratins, K19, to a few isolated cells of the stratifying culture. In contrast, the other keratin, K13, appeared uniformly in a few outer layers of the culture. Interestingly, K13 expression correlated well with the gradient of retinoid-mediated disruptions of intercellular interactions in the culture. These data suggest that K13 induction may in some way relate to the reduction in either the number or the strength of desmosomal contacts between suprabasal cells of stratified squamous epithelial tissues.
Recent evidence indicates that low oxygen tension (pO2) or hypoxia controls the differentiation of several cell types during development. Variations of pO2 are mediated through the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), a crucial mediator of the adaptative response of cells to hypoxia. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of pO2 in β-cell differentiation.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We analyzed the capacity of β-cell differentiation in the rat embryonic pancreas using two in vitro assays. Pancreata were cultured either in collagen or on a filter at the air/liquid interface with various pO2. An inhibitor of the prolyl hydroxylases, dimethyloxaloylglycine (DMOG), was used to stabilize HIF1α protein in normoxia.
When cultured in collagen, embryonic pancreatic cells were hypoxic and expressed HIF1α and rare β-cells differentiated. In pancreata cultured on filter (normoxia), HIF1α expression decreased and numerous β-cells developed. During pancreas development, HIF1α levels were elevated at early stages and decreased with time. To determine the effect of pO2 on β-cell differentiation, pancreata were cultured in collagen at increasing concentrations of O2. Such conditions repressed HIF1α expression, fostered development of Ngn3-positive endocrine progenitors, and induced β-cell differentiation by O2 in a dose-dependent manner. By contrast, forced expression of HIF1α in normoxia using DMOG repressed Ngn3 expression and blocked β-cell development. Finally, hypoxia requires hairy and enhancer of split (HES)1 expression to repress β-cell differentiation.
These data demonstrate that β-cell differentiation is controlled by pO2 through HIF1α. Modifying pO2 should now be tested in protocols aiming to differentiate β-cells from embryonic stem cells.
The mechanism of ozone-induced lung cell injury is poorly understood. One hypothesis is that ozone induces lipid peroxidation and that these peroxidased lipids produce oxidative stress and DNA damage. Oxysterols are lipid peroxide formed by the direct effect of ozone on pulmonary surfactant and cell membranes. We studied the effects of ozone and the oxysterol 5β,6β-epoxycholesterol (β-epoxide) and its metabolite cholestan-6-oxo-3,5-diol (6-oxo-3,5-diol) on human alveolar epithelial type I-like cells (ATI-like cells) and type II cells (ATII cells). Ozone and oxysterols induced apoptosis and cytotoxicity in ATI-like cells. They also generated reactive oxygen species and DNA damage. Ozone and β-epoxide were strong inducers of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) and Fos-related antigen 1 (Fra1) protein expressions. Furthermore, we found higher sensitivity of ATI-like cells than ATII cells exposed to ozone or treated with β-epoxide or 6-oxo-3,5-diol. In general the response to the cholesterol epoxides was similar to the effect of ozone. The importance of understanding the response of human ATI-like cells and ATII cells to oxysterols may be useful for further studies, because these compounds may represent useful biomarkers in other diseases.
alveolar type I-like cells; ozone; oxysterols; apoptosis
We have previously shown that inhibition of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) significantly reduced intestinal epithelial cell (EC) apoptosis and improved morphometric intestinal adaptation in a mouse model of massive small bowel resection (SBR). This study attempted to further examine the downstream signaling factors in this system by blocking the action of angiotensin II (ATII), hypothesizing that this would lead to similar improvement of intestinal adaptation after SBR.
Two groups of mice (C57BL/6J) underwent either a 60 % mid-intestinal resection (SBR group) or a transaction/re-anastomosis (Sham group). Because real-time PCR studies showed that only ATII receptor type1a (ATII-1a) expression was significantly increased after SBR, compared to SHAM mice, we decided to use the specific ATII-1a receptor antagonist Losartan, to block this signaling pathway. An additional two groups of mice received daily i.p. injections of Losartan (SBR+Losartan and Sham+Losartan group). At 7 days the adaptive response was assessed in the remnant gut including: villus height, crypt depth, EC apoptosis (TUNEL staining) and proliferation (BrdU incorporation). The apoptotic and proliferation signaling pathways were addressed by analysis of EC mRNA expression.
SBR (with and without Losartan) led to a significant increase in villus height and crypt depth. Losartan treatment did not significantly change EC proliferation, but did significantly reduce EC apoptosis rates as compared to the non-treated SBR group. Losartan treatment was associated with a significant reduction of the bax-to-bcl-2 ratio and TNF-α expression after SBR compared to non treated groups. Interestingly, Losartan treated groups showed a tremendous increase in proliferation signaling factors EGFR, KGFR and IL7R, which may indicate an expanded potential for further intestinal adaptation also beyond 7 days after SBR.
This study showed that the ATII-1a receptor may be of crucial importance for the modulation of intestinal EC apoptosis and proliferation, and for regulating the post-resectional EC adaptive response.
Renin-angiotensin-system; angiotensin II receptor type1a (ATII-1a); small bowel resection
It is widely believed that the alveolar epithelium is unresponsive to LPS, in the absence of serum, due to low expression of TLR4 and CD14. Furthermore, the responsiveness of the epithelium to TLR-2 ligands is also poorly understood. We hypothesised that human alveolar type I (ATI) and type II (ATII) epithelial cells were responsive to TLR2 and TLR4 ligands (MALP-2 and LPS respectively), expressed the necessary TLRs and co-receptors (CD14 and MD2) and released distinct profiles of cytokines via differential activation of MAP kinases. Primary ATII cells and alveolar macrophages and an immortalised ATI cell line (TT1) elicited CD14 and MD2-dependent responses to LPS which did not require the addition of exogenous soluble CD14. TT1 and primary ATII cells expressed CD14 whereas A549 cells did not, as confirmed by flow cytometry. Following LPS and MALP-2 exposure, macrophages and ATII cells released significant amounts of TNFα, IL-8 and MCP-1 whereas TT1 cells only released IL-8 and MCP-1. P38, ERK and JNK were involved in MALP-2 and LPS-induced cytokine release from all three cell types. However, ERK and JNK were significantly more important than p38 in cytokine release from macrophages whereas all three were similarly involved in LPS-induced mediator release from TT1 cells. In ATII cells, JNK was significantly more important than p38 and ERK in LPS-induced MCP-1 release. MALP-2 and LPS exposure stimulated TLR4 protein expression in all three cell types; significantly more so in ATII cells than macrophages and TT1 cells. In conclusion, this is the first study describing the expression of CD14 on, and TLR2 and 4 signalling in, primary human ATII cells and ATI cells; suggesting that differential activation of MAP kinases, cytokine secretion and TLR4 expression by the alveolar epithelium and macrophages is important in orchestrating a co-ordinated response to inhaled pathogens.
Owing to wide availability, low cost and avoidance of ethical concerns, umbilical cord blood (UCB) provides an attractive source of stem cells for investigational and therapeutic uses. In this study, we sought to characterize the gene expression changes as stem cells from UCB differentiate toward alveolar type II pneumocytes (ATII).
Control and experimental cells were cultured in maintenance medium (mesenchymal stem cell growth medium) or differentiation medium (small airway growth medium (SAGM)), respectively, for 8 days. Total RNA was isolated from control and experimental groups for gene expression profiling and real-time polymerase chain reaction assay.
Analysis of only mixed cell lines (n = 2) with parameters including a P value of 0.01 and an intergroup gap of 2.0 yielded a set of 373 differentially expressed genes. Prominently upregulated genes included several genes associated with ATII cells and also lung cancers: ALDH3A1, VDR and CHKA. Several upregulated genes have been shown to be integral or related to ATII functioning: SGK1, HSD17B11 and LEPR. Finally, several upregulated genes appear to play a role in lung cancers, including FDXR and GP96. Downregulated genes appear to be associated with bone, muscle and central nervous system tissues as well as other widespread tissues.
To the best of our knowledge, this accounting of the gene expression changes associated with the differentiation of a human UCB-derived stem cell toward an ATII cell represents the first such effort. Dissecting which components of SAGM affect specific gene regulation events is warranted.