The lung hosts multiple populations of macrophages and dendritic cells, which play a crucial role in lung pathology. The accurate identification and enumeration of these subsets are essential for understanding their role in lung pathology. Flow cytometry is a mainstream tool for studying the immune system. However, a systematic flow cytometric approach to identify subsets of macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs) accurately and consistently in the normal mouse lung has not been described. Here we developed a panel of surface markers and an analysis strategy that accurately identify all known populations of macrophages and DCs, and their precursors in the lung during steady-state conditions and bleomycin-induced injury. Using this panel, we assessed the polarization of lung macrophages during the course of bleomycin-induced lung injury. Alveolar macrophages expressed markers of alternatively activated macrophages during both acute and fibrotic phases of bleomycin-induced lung injury, whereas markers of classically activated macrophages were expressed only during the acute phase. Taken together, these data suggest that this flow cytometric panel is very helpful in identifying macrophage and DC populations and their state of activation in normal, injured, and fibrotic lungs.
pulmonary macrophages; alveolar macrophages; interstitial macrophages; macrophage polarization; lung fibrosis
Acute exposure to particulate matter (PM) air pollution causes thrombotic cardiovascular events, leading to increased mortality rates; however, the link between PM and cardiovascular dysfunction is not completely understood. We have previously shown that the release of IL-6 from alveolar macrophages is required for a prothrombotic state and acceleration of thrombosis following exposure to PM. Here, we determined that PM exposure results in the systemic release of catecholamines, which engage the β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR) on murine alveolar macrophages and augment the release of IL-6. In mice, β2AR signaling promoted the development of a prothrombotic state that was sufficient to accelerate arterial thrombosis. In primary human alveolar macrophages, administration of a β2AR agonist augmented IL-6 release, while the addition of a beta blocker inhibited PM-induced IL-6 release. Genetic loss or pharmacologic inhibition of the β2AR on murine alveolar macrophages attenuated PM-induced IL-6 release and prothrombotic state. Furthermore, exogenous β2AR agonist therapy further augmented these responses in alveolar macrophages through generation of mitochondrial ROS and subsequent increase of adenylyl cyclase activity. Together, these results link the activation of the sympathetic nervous system by β2AR signaling with metabolism, lung inflammation, and an enhanced susceptibility to thrombotic cardiovascular events.
The development of organ fibrosis after injury requires activation of transforming growth factor β1 which regulates the transcription of profibrotic genes. The systemic administration of a proteasomal inhibitor has been reported to prevent the development of fibrosis in the liver, kidney and bone marrow. It is hypothesised that proteasomal inhibition would prevent lung and skin fibrosis after injury by inhibiting TGF-β1-mediated transcription.
Bortezomib, a small molecule proteasome inhibitor in widespread clinical use, was administered to mice beginning 7 days after the intratracheal or intradermal administration of bleomycin and lung and skin fibrosis was measured after 21 or 40 days, respectively. To examine the mechanism of this protection, bortezomib was administered to primary normal lung fibroblasts and primary lung and skin fibroblasts obtained from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and scleroderma, respectively.
Bortezomib promoted normal repair and prevented lung and skin fibrosis when administered beginning 7 days after the initiation of bleomycin. In primary human lung fibroblasts from normal individuals and patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and in skin fibroblasts from a patient with scleroderma, bortezomib inhibited TGF-β1-mediated target gene expression by inhibiting transcription induced by activated Smads. An increase in the abundance and activity of the nuclear hormone receptor PPARγ, a repressor of Smad-mediated transcription, contributed to this response.
Proteasomal inhibition prevents lung and skin fibrosis after injury in part by increasing the abundance and activity of PPARγ. Proteasomal inhibition may offer a novel therapeutic alternative in patients with dysregulated tissue repair and fibrosis.
Asbestos causes asbestosis and malignancies by mechanisms that are not fully established. Alveolar epithelial cell (AEC) injury and repair are crucial determinants of the fibrogenic potential of noxious agents such as asbestos. We previously showed that mitochondrial reactive oxygen species mediate asbestos-induced AEC intrinsic apoptosis and that mitochondrial human 8-oxoguanine-DNA glycosylase 1 (OGG1), a DNA repair enzyme, prevents oxidant-induced AEC apoptosis. We reasoned that OGG1 deficiency augments asbestos-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Compared with intratracheal instillation of PBS (50 μl) or titanium dioxide (100 μg/50 μl), crocidolite or Libby amphibole asbestos (100 μg/50 μl) each augmented pulmonary fibrosis in wild-type C57BL/6J (WT) mice after 3 weeks as assessed by histology, fibrosis score, lung collagen via Sircol, and type 1 collagen expression; these effects persisted at 2 months. Compared with WT mice, Ogg1 homozygous knockout (Ogg1−/−) mice exhibit increased pulmonary fibrosis after crocidolite exposure and apoptosis in cells at the bronchoalveolar duct junctions as assessed via cleaved caspase-3 immunostaining. AEC involvement was verified by colocalization studies using surfactant protein C. Asbestos increased endoplasmic reticulum stress in the lungs of WT and Ogg1−/− mice. Compared with WT, alveolar type 2 cells isolated from Ogg1−/− mice have increased mtDNA damage, reduced mitochondrial aconitase expression, and increased P53 and cleaved caspase-9 expression, and these changes were enhanced 3 weeks after crocidolite exposure. These findings suggest an important role for AEC mtDNA integrity maintained by OGG1 in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis that may represent a novel therapeutic target.
asbestosis; pulmonary fibrosis; mitochondria; 8-oxyguanosine DNA glycosylase
Infection of mice with human or murine adapted influenza A viruses results in a severe pneumonia. However, the results of studies from different laboratories show surprising variability, even in genetically similar strains. Differences in inoculum size related to the route of viral delivery (intranasal vs. intratracheal) might explain some of this variability. To test this hypothesis, mice were infected intranasally or intratracheally with different doses of influenza A virus (A/WSN/33 [H1N1]). Daily weights, a requirement for euthanasia, viral load in the lungs and brains, inflammatory cytokines, wet-to-dry ratio, total protein and histopathology of the infected mice were examined. With all doses of influenza tested, intranasal delivery resulted in less severe lung injury, as well as smaller and more variable viral loads in the lungs when compared with intratracheal delivery. Virus was not detected in the brain following either method of delivery. It is concluded that compared to intranasal infection, intratracheal infection with influenza A virus is a more reliable method to deliver virus to the lungs.
Influenza A infection; Inoculation; Mice; Lung injury; Intratracheal; Intranasal
Different subsets and/or polarized phenotypes of monocytes and macrophages may play distinct roles during the development and resolution of inflammation. Here, we demonstrate in a murine model of rheumatoid arthritis that non-classical Ly6C− monocytes are required for the initiation and progression of sterile joint inflammation. Moreover, non-classical Ly6C− monocytes differentiate into inflammatory macrophages (M1), which drive disease pathogenesis and display plasticity during the resolution phase. During the development of arthritis, these cells polarize toward an alternatively activated phenotype (M2), promoting the resolution of joint inflammation. The influx of Ly6C− monocytes and their subsequent classical and then alternative activation occurs without changes in synovial tissue-resident macrophages, which express markers of M2 polarization throughout the course of the arthritis and attenuate joint inflammation during the initiation phase. These data suggest that circulating Ly6C− monocytes recruited to the joint upon injury orchestrate the development and resolution of autoimmune joint inflammation.
Although caspase-8 is a well-established initiator of apoptosis and suppressor of necroptosis, recent evidence suggests that this enzyme maintains functions beyond its role in cell death. As cells of the innate immune system, and in particular macrophages, are now at the forefront of autoimmune disease pathogenesis, we examined the potential involvement of caspase-8 within this population.
CreLysMCasp8fl/fl mice were bred via a cross between Casp8fl/fl mice and CreLysM mice, and RIPK3−/−CreLysMCasp8fl/fl mice were generated to assess the contribution of receptor-interacting serine-threonine kinase (RIPK)3. Immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence analyses were used to examine renal damage. Flow cytometric analysis was employed to characterize splenocyte distribution and activation. CreLysMCasp8fl/fl mice were treated with either Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists or oral antibiotics to assess their response to TLR activation or TLR agonist removal. Luminex-based assays and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to measure cytokine/chemokine and immunoglobulin levels in serum and cytokine levels in cell culture studies. In vitro cell culture was used to assess macrophage response to cell death stimuli, TLR activation, and M1/M2 polarization. Data were compared using the Mann–Whitney U test.
Loss of caspase-8 expression in macrophages promotes onset of a mild systemic inflammatory disease, which is preventable by the deletion of RIPK3. In vitro cell culture studies reveal that caspase-8–deficient macrophages are prone to a caspase-independent death in response to death receptor ligation; yet, caspase-8–deficient macrophages are not predisposed to unchecked survival, as analysis of mixed bone marrow chimeric mice demonstrates that caspase-8 deficiency does not confer preferential expansion of myeloid populations. Loss of caspase-8 in macrophages dictates the response to TLR activation, as injection of TLR ligands upregulates expression of costimulatory CD86 on the Ly6ChighCD11b+F4/80+ splenic cells, and oral antibiotic treatment to remove microbiota prevents splenomegaly and lymphadenopathy in CreLysMCasp8fl/fl mice. Further, caspase-8–deficient macrophages are hyperresponsive to TLR activation and exhibit aberrant M1 macrophage polarization due to RIPK activity.
These data demonstrate that caspase-8 functions uniquely in macrophages by controlling the response to TLR activation and macrophage polarization in an RIPK-dependent manner.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0794-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Rationale: Protein kinase C zeta (PKCζ) has been reported to act
as a tumor suppressor. Deletion of PKCζ in experimental cancer models has been
shown to increase tumor growth. However, the mechanisms of PKCζ down-regulation
in cancerous cells have not been previously described.
Objectives: To determine the molecular mechanisms that lead to decreased
PKCζ expression and thus increased survival in cancer cells and tumor
Methods: The levels of expression of heme-oxidized IRP2 ubiquitin ligase
1L (HOIL-1L), HOIL-1–interacting protein (HOIP), Shank-associated RH
domain-interacting protein (SHARPIN), and PKCζ were analyzed by Western blot
and/or quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in different cell lines.
Coimmunoprecipitation experiments were used to demonstrate the interaction between
HOIL-1L and PKCζ. Ubiquitination was measured in an in vitro
ubiquitination assay and by Western blot with specific antibodies. The role of
hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) was determined by gain/loss-of-function experiments.
The effect of HOIL-1L expression on cell death was investigated using RNA
interference approaches in vitro and on tumor growth in mice models.
Increased HOIL-1L and decreased PKCζ expression was assessed in lung
adenocarcinoma and glioblastoma multiforme and documented in several other cancer
types by oncogenomic analysis.
Measurements and Main Results: Hypoxia is a hallmark of rapidly growing
solid tumors. We found that during hypoxia, PKCζ is ubiquitinated and degraded
via the ubiquitin ligase HOIL-1L, a component of the linear ubiquitin chain assembly
complex (LUBAC). In vitro ubiquitination assays indicate that
HOIL-1L ubiquitinates PKCζ at Lys-48, targeting it for proteasomal degradation.
In a xenograft tumor model and lung cancer model, we found that silencing of HOIL-1L
increased the abundance of PKCζ and decreased the size of tumors, suggesting
that lower levels of HOIL-1L promote survival. Indeed, mRNA transcript levels of
HOIL-1L were elevated in tumor of patients with lung adenocarcinoma, and in a lung
adenocarcinoma tissue microarray the levels of HOIL-1L were associated with
high-grade tumors. Moreover, we found that HOIL-1L expression was regulated by HIFs.
Interestingly, the actions of HOIL-1L were independent of LUBAC.
Conclusions: These data provide first evidence of a mechanism of cancer
cell adaptation to hypoxia where HIFs regulate HOIL-1L, which targets PKCζ for
degradation to promote tumor survival. We provided a proof of concept that silencing
of HOIL-1L impairs lung tumor growth and that HOIL-1L expression predicts survival
rate in cancer patients suggesting that HOIL-1L is an attractive target for cancer
hypoxia; hypoxia-inducible factors; tumorigenesis; E3 ligase; linear ubiquitin chain assembly complex
Lung cells are exposed to cyclic stretch during normal respiration and during positive pressure mechanical ventilation administered to support gas exchange. Dystroglycan is a ubiquitously expressed matrix receptor that is required for normal basement membrane formation during embryogenesis and for maintaining the function of skeletal muscle myocytes and neurons where it links cells to matrix. We previously reported that equibiaxial stretch of primary alveolar epithelial cells activated the MAP kinase pathway ERK1/2 through a mechanism that required an interaction between dystroglycan and matrix. We determined whether this mechanism of mechanotransduction activates other signaling cascades in lung epithelium. Exposure of rat epithelial alveolar type II cells (AEC) to cyclic mechanical stretch resulted in activation of 5′ AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). This response was not affected by pretreatment of AEC with the ERK inhibitor PD98059 but was inhibited by knockdown in dystroglycan expression. Moreover, production of reactive oxygen species was enhanced in mechanically stimulated AEC in which dystroglycan was knocked down. This enhancement was reversed by treatment of AEC with an AMPK activator. Activation of AMPK was also observed in lung homogenates from mice after 15 minutes of noninjurious mechanical ventilation. Furthermore, knockdown of dystroglycan in the lungs of mice using an adenovirus encoding a dystroglycan shRNA prevented the stretch-induced activation of AMPK. These results suggest that exposure to cyclic stretch activates the metabolic sensing pathway AMPK in the lung epithelium and supports a novel role for dystroglycan in this mechanotransduction.
stretch; lung injury; mechanical ventilation; acute respiratory distress syndrome
Rationale: Wnt/β-catenin signaling has been implicated in lung
fibrosis, but how this occurs and whether expression changes in Wnt pathway
components predict disease progression is unknown.
Objectives: To determine whether the Wnt coreceptor Lrp5 drives
pulmonary fibrosis in mice and is predictive of disease severity in humans.
Methods: We examined mice with impaired Wnt signaling caused by loss of
the Wnt coreceptor Lrp5 in models of lung fibrosis induced by
bleomycin or an adenovirus encoding an active form of transforming growth factor
(TGF)-β. We also analyzed gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells
(PBMC) from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
Measurements and Main Results: In patients with IPF, analysis of
peripheral blood mononuclear cells revealed that elevation of positive regulators,
Lrp5 and 6, was independently associated with
disease progression. LRP5 was also associated with disease severity
at presentation in an additional cohort of patients with IPF. Lrp5
null mice were protected against bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis, an effect that
was phenocopied by direct inhibition of β-catenin signaling by the small
molecular inhibitor of β-catenin responsive transcription. Transplantation of
Lrp5 null bone marrow cells into wild-type mice did not limit
fibrosis. Instead, Lrp5 loss was associated with reduced TGF-β
production by alveolar type 2 cells and leukocytes. Consistent with a role of Lrp5 in
the activation of TGF-β, Lrp5 null mice were not protected
against lung fibrosis induced by TGF-β.
Conclusions: We show that the Wnt coreceptor, Lrp5, is a genetic driver
of lung fibrosis in mice and a marker of disease progression and severity in humans
with IPF. Evidence that TGF-β signaling can override a loss in Lrp5 has
implications for patient selection and timing of Wnt pathway inhibitors in lung
lung fibrosis; Wnt/β-catenin signaling; peripheral blood mononuclear cell
Ambient particulate matter is increasingly recognized as a significant contributor to human cardiopulmonary morbidity and mortality in the United States and worldwide. We sought to determine whether exposure to ambient particulate matter would alter alveolar fluid clearance in mice. Mice were exposed to a range of doses of a well-characterized particulate matter collected from the ambient air in Düsseldorf, Germany through a single intratracheal instillation, and alveolar fluid clearance and measurements of lung injury were made. Exposure to even very low doses of particulate matter (10 μg) resulted in a significant reduction in alveolar fluid clearance that was maximal 24 h after the exposure, with complete resolution after 7 d. This was paralleled by a decrease in lung Na,K-ATPase activity. To investigate the mechanism of this effect, we measured plasma membrane Na,K-ATPase abundance in A549 cells and Na,K-ATPase activity in primary rat alveolar type II cells after exposure to particulate matter in the presence or abscence of the combined superoxide dismutase and catalase mimetic EUK-134 (5 μM). Membrane but not total protein abundance of the Na,K-ATPase was decreased after exposure to particulate matter, as was Na,K-ATPase activity. This decrease was prevented by the combined superoxide dismutase/catalase mimetic EUK-134. The intratracheal instillation of particulate matter results in alveolar epithelial injury and decreased alveolar fluid clearance, conceivably due to downregulation of the Na,K-ATPase.
antioxidant; lung injury; Na,K-ATPase; pollution; ROS
Lung-related research primarily focuses on the etiology and management of diseases. In recent years, interest in primary prevention has grown. However, primary prevention also includes “health promotion” (actions in a population that keep an individual healthy). We encourage more research on population-based (public health) strategies that could not only maximize lung health but also mitigate “normal” age-related declines—not only for spirometry but across multiple measures of lung health. In developing a successful strategy, a “life course” approach is important. Unfortunately, we are unable to achieve the full benefit of this approach until we have better measures of lung health and an improved understanding of the normal trajectory, both over an individual’s life span and possibly across generations. We discuss key questions in lung health promotion, with an emphasis on the upper (healthier) end of the distribution of lung functioning and resiliency and briefly summarize the few interventions that have been studied to date. We conclude with suggestions regarding the most promising future research for this important, but largely neglected, area of lung research.
Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) treatment induces arteriosclerosis and vascular senescence. Here, we report that the systemic inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) production by L-NAME causes pulmonary emphysema. L-NAME-treated lungs exhibited both the structural (alveolar tissue destruction) and functional (increased compliance and reduced elastance) characteristics of emphysema development. Furthermore, we found that L-NAME-induced emphysema could be attenuated through both genetic deficiency and pharmacological inhibition of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1). Because PAI-1 is an important contributor to the development of senescence both in vitro and in vivo, we investigated whether L-NAME-induced senescence led to the observed emphysematous changes. We found that L-NAME treatment was associated with molecular and cellular evidence of premature senescence in mice, and that PAI-1 inhibition attenuated these increases. These findings indicate that NO serves to protect and defend lung tissue from physiological aging.
The repair of the bronchiolar epithelium damaged by cell-mediated, physical, or chemical insult requires epithelial cell migration over a provisional matrix composed of complexes of extracellular matrix molecules, including fibronectin and laminin. These matrix molecules support migration and enhance cell adhesion. When cells adhere too tightly to their matrix they fail to move; but if they adhere too little, they are unable to develop the traction force necessary for motility. Thus, we investigated the relative contributions of laminin and fibronectin to bronchiolar cell adhesion and migration using the immortalized bronchial lung epithelial cell line (BEP2D) and normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cells, both of which assemble a laminin α3β3γ2 (LM332)/fibronectin-rich matrix. Intriguingly, BEP2D and NHBE cells migrate significantly faster on an LM332-rich matrix than on fibronectin. Moreover, addition of fibronectin to LM332 matrix suppresses motility of both cell types. Finally, fibronectin enhances the adhesion of both BEP2D and NHBE cells to LM332-coated surfaces. These results suggest that fibronectin fine tunes LM332-mediated migration by boosting bronchiolar cell adhesion to substrate. We suggest that, during epithelial wound healing of the injured airway, fibronectin plays an important adhesive role for laminin-driven epithelial cell motility by promoting a stable cellular interaction with the provisional matrix.
motility; adhesion; extracellular matrix
During the recent H1N1 outbreak, obese patients had worsened lung injury and increased mortality. We used a murine model of influenza A pneumonia to test the hypothesis that leptin receptor deficiency might explain the enhanced mortality in obese patients.
We infected wild-type, obese mice globally deficient in the leptin receptor (db/db) and non-obese mice with tissue specific deletion of the leptin receptor in the lung epithelium (SPC-Cre/LepRfl/fl) or macrophages and alveolar type II cells (LysM-Cre/Leprfl/fl) with influenza A virus (A/WSN/33 [H1N1]) (500 and 1500 pfu/mouse) and measured mortality, viral clearance and several markers of lung injury severity.
The clearance of influenza A virus from the lungs of mice was impaired in obese mice globally deficient in the leptin receptor (db/db) compared to normal weight wild-type mice. In contrast, non-obese, SP-C-Cre+/+/LepRfl/fl and LysM-Cre+/+/LepRfl/fl had improved viral clearance after influenza A infection. In obese mice, mortality was increased compared with wild-type mice, while the SP-C-Cre+/+/LepRfl/fl and LysM-Cre+/+/LepRfl/fl mice exhibited improved survival.
Global loss of the leptin receptor results in reduced viral clearance and worse outcomes following influenza A infection. These findings are not the result of the loss of leptin signaling in lung epithelial cells or macrophages. Our results suggest that factors associated with obesity or with leptin signaling in non-myeloid populations such as natural killer and T cells may be associated with worsened outcomes following influenza A infection.
The development of non-viral methods for efficient gene transfer to the lung is highly desired for the treatment of a number of pulmonary diseases. We have developed a non-invasive procedure using electroporation to transfer genes to the lungs of rats. Purified plasmid (100 to 600 μg) was delivered to the lungs of anesthetized rats through an endotracheal tube and a series of square wave pulses were delivered via electrodes placed on the chest. Relatively uniform gene expression was observed in multiple cell types and layers throughout the lung, including airway and alveolar epithelial cells, airway smooth muscle cells, and vascular endothelial cells and was dose- and pulse length-dependent. Most importantly, no inflammatory response was detected. To demonstrate efficacy of this approach, the β1 subunit of the Na+,K+-ATPase was transferred to the lungs of rats with or without electroporation, and three days later, alveolar fluid clearance was measured. Animals electroporated with the β1 subunit plasmid showed a two-fold increase in alveolar fluid clearance and Na+,K+-ATPase activity as compared to animals receiving all other plasmids, with or without electroporation. These results demonstrate that electroporation is an effective method to increase clearance by introducing therapeutic genes (Na+,K+-ATPase) into the rat lung.
plasmid; electroporation; acute lung injury; edema
Bactericidal antibiotics with diverse mechanisms of action induce generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species in mammalian cells (Kalghatgi et al., this issue).
Inflammation is essential for host defense but can cause tissue damage and organ failure if unchecked. How the inflammation is resolved remains elusive. Here we report that the transcription factor Miz1 was required for terminating lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation. Genetic disruption of the Miz1 POZ domain, which is essential for its transactivation or repression activity, resulted in hyper-inflammation, lung injury and increased mortality in LPS-treated mice while reduced bacterial load and mortality in mice with Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia. Loss of the Miz1 POZ domain prolonged pro-inflammatory cytokine expression. Upon stimulation, Miz1 was phosphorylated at Ser178, which is required for recruiting histone deacetylase 1 to repress transcription of C/EBP-δ, an amplifier of inflammation. Our data provide a long-sought mechanism underlying resolution of LPS-induced inflammation.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease that results in loss of normal lung architecture, but the signaling events that drive tissue destruction are incompletely understood. Wnt/β-catenin signaling is important in normal lung development, but whether abnormal signaling occurs in lung fibrosis due to systemic sclerosis and the consequences of β-catenin signaling toward the fibrogenic phenotype remain poorly defined. In this study, we show nuclear β-catenin accumulation in fibroblastic foci from lungs of patients with systemic sclerosis–associated advanced pulmonary fibrosis. Forced activation of β-catenin signaling in three independently derived sources of normal human lung fibroblasts promotes proliferation and migratory activities but is not sufficient to activate classic markers of fibroblast activation, such as TGF-β, type 1 collagen, α-smooth muscle actin, and connective tissue growth factor. These findings indicate that activation of β-catenin signaling in pulmonary fibroblasts may be a common feature of lung fibrosis, contributing to fibroproliferative and migratory activities associated with the disease.
Wnt/β-catenin signaling; scleroderma; fibrosis
Elevated CO2 levels (hypercapnia) occur in patients with respiratory diseases and impair alveolar epithelial integrity, in part, by inhibiting Na,K-ATPase function. Here, we examined the role of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) in CO2 signaling in mammalian alveolar epithelial cells as well as in diptera, nematodes and rodent lungs. In alveolar epithelial cells, elevated CO2 levels rapidly induced activation of JNK leading to downregulation of Na,K-ATPase and alveolar epithelial dysfunction. Hypercapnia-induced activation of JNK required AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and protein kinase C-ζ leading to subsequent phosphorylation of JNK at Ser-129. Importantly, elevated CO2 levels also caused a rapid and prominent activation of JNK in Drosophila S2 cells and in C. elegans. Paralleling the results with mammalian epithelial cells, RNAi against Drosophila JNK fully prevented CO2-induced downregulation of Na,K-ATPase in Drosophila S2 cells. The importance and specificity of JNK CO2 signaling was additionally demonstrated by the ability of mutations in the C. elegans JNK homologs, jnk-1 and kgb-2 to partially rescue the hypercapnia-induced fertility defects but not the pharyngeal pumping defects. Together, these data provide evidence that deleterious effects of hypercapnia are mediated by JNK which plays an evolutionary conserved, specific role in CO2 signaling in mammals, diptera and nematodes.
Rationale: Diabetic patients have a lower incidence of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and those who develop ARDS are less likely to die. The mechanisms that underlie this protection are unknown.
Objectives: To determine whether leptin resistance, a feature of diabetes, prevents fibroproliferation after lung injury.
Methods: We examined lung injury and fibroproliferation after the intratracheal instillation of bleomycin in wild-type and leptin-resistant (db/db) diabetic mice. We examined the effect of leptin on transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1–mediated transcription in primary normal human lung fibroblasts. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BAL) samples from patients with ARDS and ventilated control subjects were obtained for measurement of leptin and active TGF-β1 levels.
Measurements and Main Results: Diabetic mice (db/db) were resistant to lung fibrosis. The db/db mice had higher levels of peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor-γ (PPARγ), an inhibitor of the transcriptional response to TGF-β1, a cytokine critical in the pathogenesis of fibroproliferative ARDS. In normal human lung fibroblasts, leptin augmented the transcription of profibrotic genes in response to TGF-β1 through a mechanism that required PPARγ. In patients with ARDS, BAL leptin levels were elevated and correlated with TGF-β1 levels. Overall, there was no significant relationship between BAL leptin levels and clinical outcomes; however, in nonobese patients, higher BAL leptin levels were associated with fewer intensive care unit– and ventilator-free days and higher mortality.
Conclusions: Leptin signaling is required for bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis. Leptin augments TGF-β1 signaling in lung fibroblasts by inhibiting PPARγ. These findings provide a mechanism for the observed protection against ARDS observed in diabetic patients.
acute lung injury; fibrosis; lung; diabetes mellitus