To investigate the role of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in transforming growth factor (TGF)-β-induced myofibroblast transdifferentiation of human Tenon's fibroblasts.
Primary cultured human Tenon's fibroblasts were exposed to TGF-β1 for up to 48 hours. The mRNA levels of FAK, α smooth muscle actin (αSMA), and β-actin were determined by quantitative real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. The protein levels of collagen type I, FAK, phospho-FAK, αSMA, and β-actin were determined by Western immunoblots. After the small interfering RNA targeting FAK (siRNAFAK) molecules were delivered into the cells, the expressions of αSMA proteins were determined by Western immunoblots.
In human Tenon's fibroblasts, TGF-β1 significantly increased the mRNA and protein expressions of αSMA. However, when the action of FAK was inhibited using siRNAFAK, the TGF-β1-induced expression of αSMA was attenuated.
Our data suggest that FAK may be associated with the TGF-β1-induced transdifferentiation of human Tenon's fibroblasts to myofibroblasts, which is the essential step of subconjunctival fibrosis.
Fibroblast; Focal adhesion protein-tyrosine kinases; Myofibroblast; Transforming growth factors
To gain a better understanding of the roles of interleukins (ILs) in subconjunctival fibrosis, we investigated their expression in transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)-stimulated Tenon’s fibroblasts and examined their association with the transdifferentiation of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts.
After primary culture, fibroblasts derived from human Tenon’s capsule were exposed to TGF-β1. The expression of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) protein was assessed by western immunoblots and immunofluorescence. The mRNA levels of various ILs were also evaluated by multiplex reverse transcription (RT)-PCR. Using the small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) specific for IL-6 and IL-11 and the promoter deletion assay, the contributions of IL-6 and IL-11 to TGF-β1-induced induction of α-SMA were determined.
In human Tenon’s fibroblasts, TGF-β1 stimulated the expression of α-SMA protein determined by western blot analysis and also increased the mRNA levels of IL-6 and IL-11 determined by multiplex RT-PCR. On the western immunoblots and immunofluorescence, the increased expression of α-SMA was attenuated only by the siRNAs specific for IL-6 but not by the siRNAs specific for IL-11. When the activator protein-1 binding sites of the IL-6 promoter region were deleted, the stimulation effects of TGF-β1 decreased.
Our data show that autocrine IL-6 may participate in the TGF-β1-induced transdifferentiation of human Tenon’s fibroblasts to myofibroblasts, which is known to be an essential step for subconjunctival fibrosis.
To investigate the interfering effect of Y-27632, a ROCK-I selective inhibitor, on the signal transduction pathway of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) in ocular Tenon capsule fibroblasts (OTFS) in vitro.
After OTFS from passages 4 to 6 in vitro were induced by TGF-β1 and then treated by Y-27632, the changes of the OTFS cell cycles were analyzed via flow cytometry, and the proteins expression of the α-smooth muscular actin (α-SMA), connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), collagen I were calculated by Western blot. After OTFS treated by the different concentrations of Y-27632, the expression levels of the α-SMA, CTGF and collagen I mRNA were assayed by RT-PCR.
Y-27632 had no markedly effect on the OTFS cell cycles. After treated by TGF-β1, OTFS in G1 period significantly increased. The cell cycles distribution by both TGF-β1 and Y-27632 had no remarkable difference from that in control group. Y-27632 significantly inhibited the proteins expressions of both α-SMA and CTGF, while to some extent inhibited that of collagen I. TGF-β1 significantly promoted the proteins expressions of α-SMA, CTGF and collagen I. After OTFS treated by both TGF-β1 and Y-27632, of α-SMA, the protein expression was similar with that in control group (P=0.066>0.05), but the protein expression of CTGF or collagen I, respectively, was significantly different from that in control group (P=0.000<0.01). The differences of expressions of the α-SMA, CTGF and collagen I mRNA in 30, 150, 750µmol/L Y-27632 group were statistically significant, compared with those in control group, respectively (α-SMA, P=0.002, 0.000, 0.000; CTGF, P=0.014, 0.002, 0.001; collagen I, P=0.003, 0.002, 0.000).
Blocking the Rho/ROCK signaling pathway by using of Y-27632 could inhibit the cellular proliferation and the expression of both CTGF and α-SMA whatever OTFS induced by TGF-β1 or not. Y-27632 suppressed the expression of collagen I mRNA without induction.
Y-27632; ocular Tenon's capsule fibroblasts; transforming growth factor beta type 1; α-smooth muscular actin; connective tissue growth factor; collagen I
To investigate the expression of the matricellular protein SPARC (secreted acidic cysteine-rich glycoprotein) in scarred human Tenon’s capsule and in cultured human Tenon’s fibroblasts (HTF), and to analyze the influence of SPARC on cell proliferation and collagen matrix contraction in vitro.
Human Tenon's capsule scars obtained from surgical revisions after filtration surgery were analyzed for SPARC expression by immunohistochemistry. In cultured HTF cells, SPARC expression was assessed by northern and western blot analyses after incubation with transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and TGF-β2. Cell proliferation was determined by bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)–labeling and HTF cells-mediated collagen matrix contraction by morphometric measurements of three-dimensional collagen lattices after treatment with SPARC and/or TGF-β1.
In scarred human Tenon’s capsule specimens, an increased expression of SPARC was mainly localized to the extracellular matrix and to blood vessel walls as compared to healthy control Tenon’s capsule. In cultured HTF cells, treatment with TGF-β1 more than TGF-β2 induced the expression of SPARC both on the mRNA and protein level. Incubation of HTF cells with SPARC resulted in an increase in collagen matrix contraction and cell proliferation. Moreover, a combined incubation of SPARC and TGF-β1 stimulated HTF cell proliferation significantly over the levels that were observed after single treatment.
Our data provide evidence that SPARC contributes to excessive wound healing and scar formation in human Tenon’s capsules after filtration surgery and may thus represent a novel target for anti-fibrotic strategies.
To down-regulate expression of mRNA for the platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR)-α, block the signalling pathway of PDGF and its receptor, and study their influence on fibroblast transdifferentiation to myofibroblasts in systemic sclerosis (SSc).
Fibroblasts from skin lesions of SSc patients and health adult controls were cultured in vitro, and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression was determined by immunocytochemistry. Both groups of fibroblasts were stimulated with PDGF-AA, transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1), and costimulated with PDGF-AA and TGF-β1, then PDGFR-α and α-SMA mRNA and protein expression were detected with RT-PCR and WB respectively. Three pairs of siRNAs targeting different PDGFR-α mRNA sequences were synthesized for RNAi. SSc and control fibroblasts were transfected with PDGFR-α siRNA; stimulated with PDGF-AA; and assessed for PDGFR-α and α-SMA mRNA and protein expression.
Although the fibroblasts from both groups had similar morphology, the SSc skin lesions had significantly more myofibroblasts than control skin lesions. PDGF-AA stimulation, TGF-β1 stimulation, and costimulation significantly up-regulated PDGFR-α and α-SMA mRNA and protein expression in SSc fibroblasts compared to control (P<0.05), and costimulation had the strongest effects (P<0.05). All three pairs of siRNAs suppressed PDGFR-α mRNA and protein expression (P<0.05), but siRNA1495 had the highest gene-silencing efficiency (P<0.05). PDGFR-α siRNA attenuated the effects of PDGF-AA through up-regulating PDGFR-α and α-SMA mRNA and protein expression and inhibiting fibroblast transdifferentiation to myofibroblasts in SSc (P<0.05).
PDGFR-α over-expression in SSc fibroblasts bound PDGF-AA more efficiently and promoted fibroblast transdifferentiation, which was enhanced by TGF-β1. PDGFR-α siRNA down-regulated PDGFR-α expression, blocked binding to PDGF-AA, and inhibited fibroblast transdifferentiation to myofibroblasts.
Platelet-derived growth factor A (PDGF-A) signals solely through PDGF-Rα, and is required for fibroblast proliferation and transdifferentiation (fibroblast to myofibroblast conversion) during alveolar development, because pdgfa-null mice lack both myofibroblasts and alveoli. However, these PDGF-A-mediated mechanisms remain incompletely defined. At postnatal days 4 and 12 (P4 and P12), using mouse lung fibroblasts, we examined (a) how PDGF-Rα correlates with ki67 (proliferation marker) or alpha-smooth muscle actin (αSMA, myofibroblast marker) expression, and (b) whether PDGF-A directly affects αSMA or modifies stimulation by transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ).
Using flow cytometry we examined PDGF-Rα, αSMA and Ki67 in mice which express green fluorescent protein (GFP) as a marker for PDGF-Rα expression. Using real-time RT-PCR we quantified αSMA mRNA in cultured Mlg neonatal mouse lung fibroblasts after treatment with PDGF-A, and/or TGFβ.
The intensity of GFP-fluorescence enabled us to distinguish three groups of fibroblasts which exhibited absent, lower, or higher levels of PDGF-Rα. At P4, more of the higher than lower PDGF-Rα + fibroblasts contained Ki67 (Ki67+), and Ki67+ fibroblasts predominated in the αSMA + but not the αSMA- population. By P12, Ki67+ fibroblasts comprised a minority in both the PDGF-Rα + and αSMA+ populations. At P4, most Ki67+ fibroblasts were PDGF-Rα + and αSMA- whereas at P12, most Ki67+ fibroblasts were PDGF-Rα- and αSMA-. More of the PDGF-Rα + than - fibroblasts contained αSMA at both P4 and P12. In the lung, proximate αSMA was more abundant around nuclei in cells expressing high than low levels of PDGF-Rα at both P4 and P12. Nuclear SMAD 2/3 declined from P4 to P12 in PDGF-Rα-, but not in PDGF-Rα + cells. In Mlg fibroblasts, αSMA mRNA increased after exposure to TGFβ, but declined after treatment with PDGF-A.
During both septal eruption (P4) and elongation (P12), alveolar PDGF-Rα may enhance the propensity of fibroblasts to transdifferentiate rather than directly stimulate αSMA, which preferentially localizes to non-proliferating fibroblasts. In accordance, PDGF-Rα more dominantly influences fibroblast proliferation at P4 than at P12. In the lung, TGFβ may overshadow the antagonistic effects of PDGF-A/PDGF-Rα signaling, enhancing αSMA-abundance in PDGF-Rα-expressing fibroblasts.
Fibroblast to myofibroblast transition is believed to contribute to airway remodelling in lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This study examines the role of aclidinium, a new long-acting muscarinic antagonist, on human fibroblast to myofibroblast transition.
Human bronchial fibroblasts were stimulated with carbachol (10−8 to 10−5 M) or transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1; 2 ng/ml) in the presence or absence of aclidinium (10−9 to 10−7 M) or different drug modulators for 48 h. Characterisation of myofibroblasts was performed by analysis of collagen type I and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) mRNA and protein expression as well as α-SMA microfilament immunofluorescence. ERK1/2 phosphorylation, RhoA-GTP and muscarinic receptors (M) 1, 2 and 3 protein expression were determined by western blot analysis and adenosine 3′-5′ cyclic monophosphate levels were determined by ELISA. Proliferation and migration of fibroblasts were also assessed.
Collagen type I and α-SMA mRNA and protein expression, as well as percentage α-SMA microfilament-positive cells, were upregulated in a similar way by carbachol and TGF-β1, and aclidinium reversed these effects. Carbachol-induced myofibroblast transition was mediated by an increase in ERK1/2 phosphorylation, RhoA-GTP activation and cyclic monophosphate downregulation as well as by the autocrine TGF-β1 release, which were effectively reduced by aclidinium. TGF-β1 activated the non-neuronal cholinergic system. Suppression of M1, M2 or M3 partially prevented carbachol- and TGF-β1-induced myofibroblast transition. Aclidinium dose-dependently reduced fibroblast proliferation and migration.
Aclidinium inhibits human lung fibroblast to myofibrobast transition.
Fibroblast; myofibroblast; anticholinergic; asthma; COPD; airway epithelium; interstitial fibrosis
Posterior capsular opacification (PCO) is a common long-term complication of modern cataract surgery. Remnant lens epithelial cells (LECs) undergo a myofibroblast transdifferentiation that is thought to be the initial step of PCO pathogenesis. The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of zebularine on transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ)-induced, LEC-myofibroblast transdifferentiation.
The expression levels of methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2) and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) in human PCO membranes were evaluated by confocal microscopy. The role that MeCP2 played in TGFβ2-induced α-SMA expression was analyzed by western blotting both before and after MeCP2 knockdown with MeCP2-specific siRNA. The effect of zebularine on MeCP2 expression was analyzed over time using a variety of dosages. The effect of zebularine on TGFβ2-induced α-SMA expression was determined by western blot analysis.
MeCP2 and α-SMA co-localized in human PCO membranes. When MeCP2 was depleted, TGFβ2 could not induce α-SMA expression. Zebularine decreased MeCP2 expression in lens epithelial cells in a time- and dose-dependent pattern and reversed TGFβ2-induced α-SMA expression.
MeCP2 plays an important role in TGFβ2-induced α-SMA expression in lens epithelial cells. Zebularine could reverse the TGFβ2-induced α-SMA expression by inhibiting MeCP2 expression. Therefore, zebularine could potentially prevent PCO formation.
Pirfenidone is a novel anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory agent that inhibits the progression of fibrosis in animal models and in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). We previously showed that pirfenidone inhibits the over-expression of collagen type I and of heat shock protein (HSP) 47, a collagen-specific molecular chaperone, in human lung fibroblasts stimulated with transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 in vitro. The increased numbers of HSP47-positive type II pneumocytes as well as fibroblasts were also diminished by pirfenidone in an animal model of pulmonary fibrosis induced by bleomycin. The present study evaluates the effects of pirfenidone on collagen type I and HSP47 expression in the human alveolar epithelial cell line, A549 cells in vitro.
The expression of collagen type I, HSP47 and E-cadherin mRNAs in A549 cells stimulated with TGF-β1 was evaluated by Northern blotting or real-time PCR. The expression of collagen type I, HSP47 and fibronectin proteins was assessed by immunocytochemical staining.
TGF-β1 stimulated collagen type I and HSP47 mRNA and protein expression in A549 cells, and pirfenidone significantly inhibited this process. Pirfenidone also inhibited over-expression of the fibroblast phenotypic marker fibronectin in A549 cells induced by TGF-β1.
We concluded that the anti-fibrotic effects of pirfenidone might be mediated not only through the direct inhibition of collagen type I expression but also through the inhibition of HSP47 expression in alveolar epithelial cells, which results in reduced collagen synthesis in lung fibrosis. Furthermore, pirfenidone might partially inhibit the epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
Pneumocyte; Interstitial pneumonia; Epithelial cell; Epithelial mesenchymal transition; Pulmonary fibrosis
These findings clearly demonstrate that substratum nanotopography inhibits TGFβ-induced corneal myofibroblast differentiation and suggests that structural features of this scale help to stabilize the keratocyte and fibroblast phenotypes in vivo.
The transition of corneal fibroblasts to the myofibroblast phenotype is known to be important in wound healing. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of topographic cues on TGFβ-induced myofibroblast transformation of corneal cells.
Rabbit corneal fibroblasts were cultured on nanopatterned surfaces having topographic features of varying sizes. Cells were cultured in media containing TGFβ at concentrations ranging from 0 to 10 ng/mL. RNA and protein were collected from cells cultured on topographically patterned and planar substrates and analyzed for the myofibroblast marker α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) and Smad7 expression by quantitative real time PCR. Western blot and immunocytochemistry analysis for αSMA were also performed.
Cells grown on patterned surfaces demonstrated significantly reduced levels of αSMA (P < 0.002) compared with planar surfaces when exposed to TGFβ; the greatest reduction was seen on the 1400 nm surface. Smad7 mRNA expression was significantly greater on all patterned surfaces exposed to TGFβ (P < 0.002), whereas cells grown on planar surfaces showed equal or reduced levels of Smad7. Western blot analysis and αSMA immunocytochemical staining demonstrated reduced transition to the myofibroblast phenotype on the 1400 nm surface when compared with cells on a planar surface.
These data demonstrate that nanoscale topographic features modulate TGFβ-induced myofibroblast differentiation and αSMA expression, possibly through upregulation of Smad7. It is therefore proposed that in the wound environment, native nanotopographic cues assist in stabilizing the keratocyte/fibroblast phenotype while pathologic microenvironmental alterations may be permissive for increased myofibroblast differentiation and the development of fibrosis and corneal haze.
Statins are the most commonly prescribed drugs for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. Statins exert not only lipid-lowering but also other cellular effects, including anti-fibrotic properties. The purposes of this study were to determine the effect of simvastatin on Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1-induced myofibroblast differentiation and collagen production in nasal polyp-derived fibroblasts (NPDFs) and to verify the mechanism of the effect of simvastatin in TGF-β1-induced myofibroblast differentiation in NPDFs.
NPDFs were pre-treated with simvastatin with or without mevalonate or Y-27643 for 2 hours prior to induction by TGF-β1. The expression of α-smooth muscle actin (SMA) and collagen type IV mRNA was determined by a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, and the expression of α-SMA protein was determined by immunofluoescent cytochemical staining. Total soluble collagen production was analyzed by the SirCol collagen dye-binding assay. Phosphorylation of Smad 2/3 was evaluated by Western blot analysis.
In TGF-β1-induced NPDFs, simvastatin significantly inhibited the expressions of α-SMA and collagen type IV mRNA and reduced α-SMA and collagen protein levels. Pre-treatment with mevalonate reversed the effect of simvastatin. The expression of α-SMA mRNA and protein was significantly decreased by pre-treatment with Y-27632. The TGF-β1-induced expression of pSmad 2/3 protein was notably decreased by pre-treatment with simvastatin.
We showed that simvastatin inhibits TGF-β1-induced myofibroblast differentiation (expression of α-SMA) and collagen production in NPDFs and Rho/Rock and TGF-β/Smad signaling is involved as an underlying mechanism. The results of our study suggest that simvastatin is a possible candidate for the suppression of nasal polyp formation.
Heat shock protein (HSP) 47, a collagen-specific molecular chaperone, is involved in the processing and/or secretion of procollagens, and its expression is increased in various fibrotic diseases. The aim of this study was to determine whether quantitative immunohistochemical evaluation of the expression levels of HSP47, type I procollagen and α-smooth muscle actin (SMA) allows the differentiation of idiopathic usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP) from UIP associated with collagen vascular disease (CVD) and idiopathic nonspecific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP).
We reviewed surgical lung biopsy specimens of 19 patients with idiopathic UIP, 7 with CVD-associated UIP and 16 with idiopathic NSIP and assigned a score for the expression of HSP47, type I procollagen and α-SMA in type II pneumocytes and/or lung fibroblasts (score 0 = no; 1 = weak; 2 = moderate; 3 = strong staining).
The expression level of HSP47 in type II pneumocytes of idiopathic UIP was significantly higher than in CVD-associated UIP and idiopathic NSIP. The expression of HSP47 in fibroblasts was significantly higher in idiopathic UIP and idiopathic NSIP than in CVD-associated UIP. The expression of type I procollagen in type II pneumocytes was significantly higher in idiopathic UIP than in idiopathic NSIP. The expression of type I procollagen in fibroblasts was not different in the three groups, while the expression of α-SMA in fibroblasts was significantly higher in idiopathic UIP than in idiopathic NSIP.
Our results suggest the existence of different fibrotic pathways among these groups involved in the expression of HSP47 and type I procollagen.
usual interstitial pneumonia; nonspecific interstitial pneumonia; collagen vascular disease; heat shock protein 47; type I procollagens
Carcinoma associated fibroblasts (CAFs) that express α-smooth-muscle-actin (αSMA) contribute to cancer progression, but their precise origin and role is unclear. Using mouse models of inflammation-induced gastric cancer, we show that at least 20% of CAFs originate from bone marrow (BM) and derive from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). αSMA+ myofibroblasts (MF) are niche cells normally present in BM and increase markedly during cancer progression. MSC-derived CAFs that are recruited to the dysplastic stomach express IL-6, Wnt5α and BMP4, show DNA-hypomethylation, and promote tumor growth. Moreover, CAFs are generated from MSCs and are recruited to the tumor in TGF-β- and SDF-1α-dependent manner. Carcinogenesis therefore involves expansion and relocation of BM-niche cells to the tumor to create a niche to sustain cancer progression.
Tumor microenvironment; Stem Cells; Bone Marrow-derived Cells (BMDC); MSC; CAF; MF; Carcinogenesis
Background and Objective
Cells with osteoprogenitor potential are present within periodontal tissues during development and in postnatal life. To identify an osteoprogenitor population, this study utilized a transgenic model in which an α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) promoter directed green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression.
Material and Methods
Observation of GFP expression was complemented with analysis of osteogenic differentiation by determining the expression of RNA of bone markers, by histochemical staining for alkaline phosphatase and by the detection of mineralized nodules using xylenol orange. Flow cytometry was utilized to determine the proliferative potential and cell-surface phenotype of cultured αSMA-positive cells.
αSMA–GFP expression was detected within the dental follicle and in the apical region of the root (i.e. areas rich in vascularization) but not in mature bone. αSMA–GFP expression was observed during the early stages of primary cultures derived from the dental follicle and periodontal ligament and was diminished in areas undergoing mineralization. Intense alkaline phosphatase activity and the presence of mineralized nodules was observed 2 wk after osteogenic induction. Consequently, the expression of bone sialoprotein, osteocalcin and dentin matrix protein-1 was increased. Flow cytometry revealed that in vitro expansion enriched for an αSMA–GFP-positive population in which 55–65% of cells expressed the cell-surface markers Thy1+ and Sca1+. The αSMA–GFP-positive population exhibited high proliferative and osteogenic potentials when compared with an αSMA–GFP-negative population.
Our data indicate that the αSMA promoter can be used to identify a population of osteoprogenitor cells residing within the dental follicle and periodontal ligament that can differentiate into mature osteoblasts.
smooth muscle alpha actin; periodontal ligament; dental follicle; osteoprogenitor cell
Persistence of myofibroblasts is believed to contribute to the development of fibrosis in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) irreversibly converts fibroblasts into pathological myofibroblasts, which express smooth muscle α-actin (α-SMA) and produce extracellular matrix proteins, such as procollagen I (α1). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by NADPH oxidases (NOX) have been shown to regulate cell differentiation. We hypothesized that NOX could be expressed in parenchymal pulmonary fibroblasts and could mediate TGF-β1–stimulated conversion of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts.
Fibroblasts were cultured from the lung of 9 Control and 8 IPF patients. We quantified NOX4, α-SMA and procollagen I (α1) mRNA and protein expression, ROS production and Smad2/3 phosphorylation, in the absence and in the presence of incubation with TGF-β1. PDGF-induced fibroblasts migration was also assessed.
We found that (1) NOX4 mRNA and protein expression was upregulated in pulmonary fibroblasts from patients with IPF and correlated with mRNA expression of α-SMA and procollagen I (α1) mRNA; (2) TGF-β1 upregulated NOX4, α-SMA and procollagen I (α1) expression in control and IPF fibroblasts; (3) the change in α-SMA and procollagen I (α1) expression in response to TGF-β1 was inhibited by antioxidants and by a NOX4 siRNA; (4) NOX4 modulated α-SMA and procollagen I (α1) expression by controlling activation of Smad 2/3, and (5) NOX4 modulated PDGF-induced fibroblasts migration.
NOX4 is critical for modulation of pulmonary myofibroblast phenotype in IPF, probably by modulating the response to TGF-β1 and PDGF.
Adult; Aged; Cell Differentiation; drug effects; physiology; Cells, Cultured; Female; Fibroblasts; drug effects; enzymology; pathology; Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic; Humans; Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis; enzymology; pathology; Lung; enzymology; pathology; Male; Middle Aged; NADPH Oxidase; biosynthesis; genetics; physiology; Platelet-Derived Growth Factor; pharmacology; RNA, Messenger; genetics; Reactive Oxygen Species; metabolism; Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction; methods; Smad2 Protein; metabolism; Smad3 Protein; metabolism; Transforming Growth Factor beta1; pharmacology; Up-Regulation
To synthesize a ternary cationic copolymer called CS-g-(PEI-b-mPEG) and characterize its features as a non-viral siRNA carrier; in turn, to investigate the influence of small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting IκB kinase subunit β (IKKβ) on the proliferation of human Tenon’s capsule fibroblasts (HTFs) in vitro.
First, a novel cationic copolymer composed of low molecular weight, linear poly(ethyleneimine) [PEI] blocked with polyethylene glycol (PEG) and grafted onto a chitosan (CS) molecule was synthesized. CS-g-(PEI-b-mPEG) was then compacted with 21nt siRNA at various copolymer/siRNA charge (N/P) ratios, and the resulting complexes were characterized by dynamic light scattering, gel electrophoresis, and serum incubation. Cell Titer 96® AQueous One Solution cell proliferation assay was used to investigate the cytotoxicity of this cationic copolymer. Second, siRNAs targeting IKKβ (IKKΒ-siRNAs) were delivered into the HTFs using CS-g-(PEI-b-mPEG) as the vehicle. Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR) subsequently assessed the mRNA level of IKKβ, and western blot assay was used to determine protein expression. After IKKB-siRNA transfection, Cell Titer 96® AQueous One Solution cell proliferation assay was used to evaluate the proliferation of HTFs.
The diameter of the CS-g-(PEI-b-mPEG)/siRNA complexes tended to decrease whereas their zeta potential tended to increase as the N/P ratio increased. The CS-g-(PEI-b-mPEG) copolymer showed good siRNA binding ability and high siRNA protection capacity. Furthermore, the copolymer presented remarkable transfection efficiency and showed much less cytotoxicity than 25 kDa PEI. IKKB-siRNAs were successfully delivered into HTFs using CS-g-(PEI-b-mPEG) as a vector. As a result, the expression of IKKβ was downregulated at both the mRNA and protein levels, and the activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) in the HTFs was subsequently inhibited. Most impressively, the proliferation of HTFs was also effectively suppressed through the blocking of the NF-κB pathway.
All the results demonstrate that CS-g-(PEI-b-mPEG) is a promising candidate for siRNA delivery, featuring excellent biocompatibility, biodegradability, and transfection efficiency. The RNA interference (RNAi) strategy using cationic copolymers as siRNA carriers will be a safe and efficient anti-scarring method following glaucoma filtration surgery.
In pathological corneas, accumulation of fibrotic extracellular matrix is characterized by proteoglycans with altered glycosaminoglycans that contribute to the reduced transparency of scarred tissue. During wound healing, keratocytes in the corneal stroma transdifferentiate into fibroblasts and myofibroblasts. In this study, molecular markers were developed to identify keratocyte, fibroblast, and myofibroblast phenotypes in primary cultures of corneal stromal cells and the structure of glycosaminoglycans secreted by these cells was characterized. Quiescent primary keratocytes expressed abundant protein and mRNA for keratocan and aldehyde dehydrogenase class 3 and secreted proteoglycans containing macromolecular keratan sulfate. Expression of these marker compounds was reduced in fibroblasts and also in transforming growth factor-β-induced myofibroblasts, which expressed high levels of α-smooth muscle actin, biglycan, and the extra domain A (EDA or EIIIA) form of cellular fibronectin. Collagen types I and III mRNAs were elevated in both fibroblasts and in myofibroblasts. Expression of these molecular markers clearly distinguishes the phenotypic states of stromal cells in vitro. Glycosaminoglycans secreted by fibroblasts and myofibroblasts were qualitatively similar to and differed from those of keratocytes. Chondroitin/dermatan sulfate abundance, chain length, and sulfation were increased as keratocytes became fibroblasts and myofibroblasts. Fluorophore-assisted carbohydrate electrophoresis analysis demonstrated increased N-acetylgalactosamine sulfation at both 4- and 6-carbons. Hyaluronan, absent in keratocytes, was secreted by fibroblasts and myofibroblasts. Keratan sulfate biosynthesis, chain length, and sulfation were significantly reduced in both fibroblasts and myofibroblasts. The qualitatively similar expression of glycosaminoglycans shared by fibroblasts and myofibroblasts suggests a role for fibroblasts in deposition of non-transparent fibrotic tissue in pathological corneas.
Several recent studies have demonstrated that endothelial to mesenchymal transition (EndoMT), a newly recognized type of cellular transdifferentiation may be an important source of myofibroblasts during the development of experimentally induced pulmonary, cardiac and kidney fibrosis. EndoMT is a complex biological process induced by members of the transforming growth factor (TGF-β) family of regulatory polypeptides in which endothelial cells adopt a mesenchymal or myofibroblastic phenotype acquiring motile and contractile properties and initiating expression of mesenchymal cell products such as α smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and type I collagen. Although these experimental studies provide compelling evidence for the participation of EndoMT in the development of experimentally-induced fibrotic processes the precise role of EndoMT in the pathogenesis of human fibrotic disorders requires confirmation and validation from studies of human clinical pathologic conditions. Such confirmation should lead to a change in the paradigm of the origin of profibrogenic myofibroblasts involved in human fibrotic diseases. Further understanding of the molecular mechanisms and the regulatory pathways involved in EndoMT may lead to the development of novel therapeutic approaches for the incurable and often devastating fibrotic disorders.
This study aimed to identify signaling pathways that oppose connective tissue fibrosis in the aortic valve. Using valvular interstitial cells (VICs) isolated from porcine aortic valve leaflets, we show that basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) effectively blocks transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)-mediated myofibroblast activation. FGF-2 prevents the induction of α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) expression and the exit of VICs from the cell cycle, both of which are hallmarks of myofibroblast activation. By blocking the activity of the Smad transcription factors that serve as the downstream nuclear effectors of TGF-β1, FGF-2 treatment inhibits fibrosis in VICs. Using an exogenous Smad-responsive transcriptional promoter reporter, we show that Smad activity is repressed by FGF-2, likely an effect of the fact that FGF-2 treatment prevents the nuclear localization of Smads in these cells. This appears to be a direct effect of FGF signaling through mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades as the treatment of VICs with the MAPK/extracellular regulated kinase (MEK) inhibitor U0126 acted to induce fibrosis and blocked the ability of FGF-2 to inhibit TGF-β1 signaling. Furthermore, FGF-2 treatment of VICs blocks the development of pathological contractile and calcifying phenotypes, suggesting that these pathways may be utilized in the engineering of effective treatments for valvular disease.—Cushing, M. C., Mariner, P. D., Liao, J. T., Sims, E. A., Anseth, K. S. Fibroblast growth factor represses Smad-mediated myofibroblast activation in aortic valvular interstitial cells.
transforming growth factor-β1; heart disease; α-smooth muscle actin; cell signaling
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the joints. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) is a secreted protein that promotes differentiation of synovial fibroblasts to α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA)-positive myofibroblasts to repair the damaged joints. Synovial fluid from patients with RA (RA-SF) induced expression of α-SMA in human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hASCs). RA-SF-induced α-SMA expression was abrogated by immunodepletion of TGF-β1 from RA-SF with anti-TGF-β1 antibody. Furthermore, pretreatment of hASCs with the TGF-β type I receptor inhibitor SB431542 or lentiviral small hairpin RNA-mediated silencing of TGF-β type I receptor expression in hASCs blocked RA-SF-induced α-SMA expression. Small interfering RNA-mediated silencing of Smad2 or adenoviral overexpression of Smad7 (an inhibitory Smad isoform) completely inhibited RA-SF-stimulated α-SMA expression. These results suggest that TGF-β1 plays a pivotal role in RA-SF-induced differentiation of hASCs to α-SMA-positive cells.
mesenchymal stem cells; rheumatoid arthritis; synovial fluid; transforming growth factor β1; α-smooth muscle actin
Injuring mouse corneas with alkali causes myofibroblast expression leading to tissue opacification. However, in transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 channel (TRPV1-/-) knockout mice healing results in transparency restoration. Since TGFβ is the primary inducer of the myofibroblast phenotype, we examined the mechanism by which TRPV1 affects TGFβ-induced myofibroblast development. Experiments were performed in pig corneas and human corneal fibroblasts (HCFs). Immunohistochemical staining of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) stress fibers was used to visualize myofibroblasts. Protein and phosphoprotein were determined by Western blotting. siRNA transfection silenced TRPV1 gene expression. Flow cytometry with a reactive oxygen species (ROS) reporting dye analyzed intracellular ROS. [Ca2+]I was measured by loading HCF with fura2. In organ cultured corneas, the TRPV1 antagonist capsazepine drastically reduced by 75% wound-induced myofibroblast development. In HCF cell culture, TGF-β1 elicited rapid increases in Ca2+ influx, phosphorylation of SMAD2 and MAPKs (ERK1/2, JNK1/2 and p38), ROS generation and, after 72 hrs myofibroblast development. SMAD2 and p38 activation continued for more than 16 h, whereas p-ERK1/2 and p-JNK1/2 waned within 90 min. The long-lived SMAD2 activation was dependent on activated p38 and vice versa, and it was essential to generate a > 13-fold increase in α-SMA protein and a fully developed myofibroblast phenotype. These later changes were markedly reduced by inhibition of TRPV1 or reduction of the ROS generation rate. Taken together our results indicate that in corneal derived fibroblasts, TGFβ- induced myofibroblast development is highly dependent on a positive feedback loop where p-SMAD2-induced ROS activates TRPV1, TRPV1 causes activation of p38, the latter in turn further enhances the activation of SMAD2 to establish a recurrent loop that greatly extends the residency of the activated state of SMAD2 that drives myofibroblast development.
Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) is a highly conserved multifunctional enzyme, and its catalytic activity is stimulated by DNA breaks. The activation of PARP-1 and subsequent depletion of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) contributes to significant cytotoxicity in inflammation of various etiologies. On the contrary, induction of heat shock response and production of heat shock protein 70 (HSP-70) is a cytoprotective defense mechanism in inflammation. Recent data suggests that PARP-1 modulates the expression of a number of cellular proteins at the transcriptional level. In this study, small interfering RNA (siRNA) mediated PARP-1 knockdown in murine wild-type fibroblasts augmented heat shock response as compared to untreated cells (as evaluated by quantitative analysis of HSP-70 mRNA and HSP-70 protein expression). These events were associated with increased DNA binding of the heat shock factor-1 (HSF-1), the major transcription factor of the heat shock response. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments in nuclear extracts of the wild type cells demonstrated that PARP-1directly interacted with HSF-1. These data demonstrate that, in wild type fibroblasts, PARP-1 plays a pivotal role in modulating the heat shock response both through direct interaction with HSF-1 and poly (ADP-ribosylation).
To evaluate the role of nerve growth factor (NGF) in remodeling processes of vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC). VKC is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the conjunctiva and is characterized by marked tissue remodeling. NGF, a pleiotrophic factor with documented profibrogenic activities, is produced by inflammatory and structural cells populating the VKC conjunctiva and is increased in the serum and tears of VKC patients.
Primary cultures of VKC-derived fibroblasts (VKC-FBs) were exposed to increasing NGF concentrations (1-500 ng/ml) to evaluate and compare the expression of α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA, a defining myofibroblast marker), collagens (types I and IV), and metalloproteinases and tissue inhibitors (MMP9/TIMP1, MMP2/TIMP2) at the biochemical as well as molecular levels.
Endogenous NGF was increased in the VKC-FB supernatant, as compared to healthy-FB supernatant. VKC-FBs expressed αSMA and increased types I and IV collagens. VKC-FBs, and in particular all αSMA positive cells, expressed both trkANGFR and p75NTR, while healthy-FBs only expressed trkANGFR. Exogenous NGF did not change αSMA expression, while αSMA expression was enhanced by specific neutralization of p75NTR. NGF (10 ng/ml) exposure significantly decreased type I collagen expression, without affecting type IV collagen, and increased MMP9mRNA and protein.
The autocrine modulation of differentiation and response of VKC-FBs to NGF exposure with downregulation of type I collagen and upregulation of MMP9 expression supports a relevant role for NGF in tissue remodeling of VKC.
Heat shock protein (Hsp) 70B′ is a human Hsp70 chaperone that is strictly inducible, having little or no basal expression levels in most cells. Using siRNAs to knockdown Hsp70B′ and Hsp72 in HT-29, SW-480, and CRL-1807 human colon cell lines, we have found that the two are regulated coordinately in response to stress. We also have found that proteasome inhibition is a potent activator of Hsp70B′. Flow cytometry was used to assay Hsp70B′ promoter activity in HT-29eGFP cells in this study. Knockdown of both Hsp70B′- and Hsp72-sensitized cells to heat stress and increasing concentrations of proteasome inhibitor. These data support the conclusion that Hsp72 is the primary Hsp70 family responder to increasing levels of proteotoxic stress, and Hsp70B′ is a secondary responder. Interestingly ZnSO4 induces Hsp70B′ and not Hsp72 in CRL-1807 cells, suggesting a stressor-specific primary role for Hsp70B′. Both Hsp70B′ and Hsp72 are important for maintaining viability under conditions that increase the accumulation of damaged proteins in HT-29 cells. These findings are likely to be important in pathological conditions in which Hsp70B′ contributes to cell survival.
Heat shock protein (Hsp) 70B′ is a human Hsp70 chaperone that is strictly inducible, having little or no basal expression levels in most cells. Using siRNAs to knockdown Hsp70B′ and Hsp72 in HT-29, SW-480, and CRL-1807 human colon cell lines, we have found that the two are regulated coordinately in response to stress. We also have found that proteasome inhibition is a potent activator of hsp70B′. Flow cytometry was used to assay hsp70B′ promoter activity in HT-29eGFP cells in this study. Knockdown of both Hsp70B′ and Hsp72 sensitized cells to heat stress and increasing concentrations of proteasome inhibitor. These data support the conclusion that Hsp72 is the primary Hsp70 family responder to increasing levels of proteotoxic stress, and Hsp70B′ is a secondary responder. Interestingly ZnSO4 induces Hsp70B′ and not Hsp72 in CRL-1807 cells, suggesting a stressor-specific primary role for Hsp70B′. Both Hsp70B′ and Hsp72 are important for maintaining viability under conditions that increase the accumulation of damaged proteins in HT-29 cells. These findings are likely to be important in pathological conditions in which Hsp70B′ contributes to cell survival.