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1.  Bleomycin Induces Molecular Changes Directly Relevant to Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Model for “Active” Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e59348.
The preclinical model of bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis, used to investigate mechanisms related to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), has incorrectly predicted efficacy for several candidate compounds suggesting that it may be of limited value. As an attempt to improve the predictive nature of this model, integrative bioinformatic approaches were used to compare molecular alterations in the lungs of bleomycin-treated mice and patients with IPF. Using gene set enrichment analysis we show for the first time that genes differentially expressed during the fibrotic phase of the single challenge bleomycin model were significantly enriched in the expression profiles of IPF patients. The genes that contributed most to the enrichment were largely involved in mitosis, growth factor, and matrix signaling. Interestingly, these same mitotic processes were increased in the expression profiles of fibroblasts isolated from rapidly progressing, but not slowly progressing, IPF patients relative to control subjects. The data also indicated that TGFβ was not the sole mediator responsible for the changes observed in this model since the ALK-5 inhibitor SB525334 effectively attenuated some but not all of the fibrosis associated with this model. Although some would suggest that repetitive bleomycin injuries may more effectively model IPF-like changes, our data do not support this conclusion. Together, these data highlight that a single bleomycin instillation effectively replicates several of the specific pathogenic molecular changes associated with IPF, and may be best used as a model for patients with active disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059348
PMCID: PMC3614979  PMID: 23565148
2.  Cigarette smoke-induced accumulation of lung dendritic cells is interleukin-1α-dependent in mice 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):81.
Background
Evidence suggests that dendritic cells accumulate in the lungs of COPD patients and correlate with disease severity. We investigated the importance of IL-1R1 and its ligands IL-1α and β to dendritic cell accumulation and maturation in response to cigarette smoke exposure.
Methods
Mice were exposed to cigarette smoke using a whole body smoke exposure system. IL-1R1-, TLR4-, and IL-1α-deficient mice, as well as anti-IL-1α and anti-IL-1β blocking antibodies were used to study the importance of IL-1R1 and TLR4 to dendritic cell accumulation and activation.
Results
Acute and chronic cigarette smoke exposure led to increased frequency of lung dendritic cells. Accumulation and activation of dendritic cells was IL-1R1/IL-1α dependent, but TLR4- and IL-1β-independent. Corroborating the cellular data, expression of CCL20, a potent dendritic cells chemoattractant, was IL-1R1/IL-1α-dependent. Studies using IL-1R1 bone marrow-chimeric mice revealed the importance of IL-1R1 signaling on lung structural cells for CCL20 expression. Consistent with the importance of dendritic cells in T cell activation, we observed decreased CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation in cigarette smoke-exposed IL-1R1-deficient mice.
Conclusion
Our findings convey the importance of IL-1R1/IL-1α to the recruitment and activation of dendritic cells in response to cigarette smoke exposure.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-13-81
PMCID: PMC3519608  PMID: 22992200
Cigarette smoke; Dendritic cells; T cells; CCL20;  Mice
3.  Differential expression and function of breast regression protein 39 (BRP-39) in murine models of subacute cigarette smoke exposure and allergic airway inflammation 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):39.
Background
While the presence of the chitinase-like molecule YKL40 has been reported in COPD and asthma, its relevance to inflammatory processes elicited by cigarette smoke and common environmental allergens, such as house dust mite (HDM), is not well understood. The objective of the current study was to assess expression and function of BRP-39, the murine equivalent of YKL40 in a murine model of cigarette smoke-induced inflammation and contrast expression and function to a model of HDM-induced allergic airway inflammation.
Methods
CD1, C57BL/6, and BALB/c mice were room air- or cigarette smoke-exposed for 4 days in a whole-body exposure system. In separate experiments, BALB/c mice were challenged with HDM extract once a day for 10 days. BRP-39 was assessed by ELISA and immunohistochemistry. IL-13, IL-1R1, IL-18, and BRP-39 knock out (KO) mice were utilized to assess the mechanism and relevance of BRP-39 in cigarette smoke- and HDM-induced airway inflammation.
Results
Cigarette smoke exposure elicited a robust induction of BRP-39 but not the catalytically active chitinase, AMCase, in lung epithelial cells and alveolar macrophages of all mouse strains tested. Both BRP-39 and AMCase were increased in lung tissue after HDM exposure. Examining smoke-exposed IL-1R1, IL-18, and IL-13 deficient mice, BRP-39 induction was found to be IL-1 and not IL-18 or IL-13 dependent, while induction of BRP-39 by HDM was independent of IL-1 and IL-13. Despite the importance of BRP-39 in cellular inflammation in HDM-induced airway inflammation, BRP-39 was found to be redundant for cigarette smoke-induced airway inflammation and the adjuvant properties of cigarette smoke.
Conclusions
These data highlight the contrast between the importance of BRP-39 in HDM- and cigarette smoke-induced inflammation. While functionally important in HDM-induced inflammation, BRP-39 is a biomarker of cigarette smoke induced inflammation which is the byproduct of an IL-1 inflammatory pathway.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-39
PMCID: PMC3079621  PMID: 21473774

Results 1-3 (3)