Matrix stiffening and myofibroblast resistance to apoptosis are cardinal features of chronic fibrotic diseases involving diverse organ systems. The interactions between altered tissue biomechanics and cellular signaling that sustain progressive fibrosis are not well defined. In this study, we used ex vivo and in vivo approaches to define a mechanotransduction pathway involving Rho/Rho kinase (Rho/ROCK), actin cytoskeletal remodeling, and a mechanosensitive transcription factor, megakaryoblastic leukemia 1 (MKL1), that coordinately regulate myofibroblast differentiation and survival. Both in an experimental mouse model of lung fibrosis and in human subjects with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), we observed activation of the Rho/ROCK pathway, enhanced actin cytoskeletal polymerization, and MKL1 cytoplasmic-nuclear shuttling. Pharmacologic disruption of this mechanotransduction pathway with the ROCK inhibitor fasudil induced myofibroblast apoptosis through a mechanism involving downregulation of BCL-2 and activation of the intrinsic mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. Treatment with fasudil during the postinflammatory fibrotic phase of lung injury or genetic ablation of
Yong Zhou, Xiangwei Huang, Louise Hecker, Deepali Kurundkar, Ashish Kurundkar, Hui Liu, Tong-Huan Jin, Leena Desai, Karen Bernard, Victor J. Thannickal
Chemically modified mRNA is capable of inducing therapeutic levels of protein expression while circumventing the threat of genomic integration often associated with viral vectors. We utilized this novel therapeutic tool to express the regulatory T cell transcription factor, FOXP3, in a time- and site-specific fashion in murine lung, in order to prevent allergic asthma in vivo. We show that modified
Lauren E. Mays, Susanne Ammon-Treiber, Benedikt Mothes, Mohammed Alkhaled, Jennifer Rottenberger, Eva Sophie Müller-Hermelink, Melanie Grimm, Markus Mezger, Sandra Beer-Hammer, Esther von Stebut, Nikolaus Rieber, Bernd Nürnberg, Matthias Schwab, Rupert Handgretinger, Marco Idzko, Dominik Hartl, Michael S.D. Kormann
Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV) is a physiological mechanism by which pulmonary arteries constrict in hypoxic lung areas in order to redirect blood flow to areas with greater oxygen supply. Both oxygen sensing and the contractile response are thought to be intrinsic to pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells. Here we speculated that the ideal site for oxygen sensing might instead be at the alveolocapillary level, with subsequent retrograde propagation to upstream arterioles via connexin 40 (Cx40) endothelial gap junctions. HPV was largely attenuated by Cx40-specific and nonspecific gap junction uncouplers in the lungs of wild-type mice and in lungs from mice lacking Cx40 (Cx40–/–). In vivo, hypoxemia was more severe in Cx40–/– mice than in wild-type mice. Real-time fluorescence imaging revealed that hypoxia caused endothelial membrane depolarization in alveolar capillaries that propagated to upstream arterioles in wild-type, but not Cx40–/–, mice. Transformation of endothelial depolarization into vasoconstriction involved endothelial voltage-dependent α1G subtype Ca2+ channels, cytosolic phospholipase A2, and epoxyeicosatrienoic acids. Based on these data, we propose that HPV originates at the alveolocapillary level, from which the hypoxic signal is propagated as endothelial membrane depolarization to upstream arterioles in a Cx40-dependent manner.
Liming Wang, Jun Yin, Hannah T. Nickles, Hannes Ranke, Arata Tabuchi, Julia Hoffmann, Christoph Tabeling, Eduardo Barbosa-Sicard, Marc Chanson, Brenda R. Kwak, Hee-Sup Shin, Songwei Wu, Brant E. Isakson, Martin Witzenrath, Cor de Wit, Ingrid Fleming, Hermann Kuppe, Wolfgang M. Kuebler
Alveolar capillary dysplasia (ACD) is a congenital, lethal disorder of the pulmonary vasculature. Phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted from chromosome 10 (Pten) encodes a lipid phosphatase controlling key cellular functions, including stem/progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation; however, the role of PTEN in mesodermal lung cell lineage formation remains unexamined. To determine the role of mesodermal PTEN in the ontogeny of various mesenchymal cell lineages during lung development, we specifically deleted Pten in early embryonic lung mesenchyme in mice. Pups lacking Pten died at birth, with evidence of failure in blood oxygenation. Analysis at the cellular level showed defects in angioblast differentiation to endothelial cells and an accompanying accumulation of the angioblast cell population that was associated with disorganized capillary beds. We also found decreased expression of Forkhead box protein F1 (Foxf1), a gene associated with the ACD human phenotype. Analysis of human samples for ACD revealed a significant decrease in PTEN and increased activated protein kinase B (AKT). These studies demonstrate that mesodermal PTEN has a key role in controlling the amplification of angioblasts as well as their differentiation into endothelial cells, thereby directing the establishment of a functional gas exchange interface. Additionally, these mice could serve as a murine model of ACD.
Caterina Tiozzo, Gianni Carraro, Denise Al Alam, Sheryl Baptista, Soula Danopoulos, Aimin Li, Maria Lavarreda-Pearce, Changgong Li, Stijn De Langhe, Belinda Chan, Zea Borok, Saverio Bellusci, Parviz Minoo
Asthma is a chronic condition with unknown pathogenesis, and recent evidence suggests that enhanced airway epithelial chloride (Cl–) secretion plays a role in the disease. However, the molecular mechanism underlying Cl– secretion and its relevance in asthma pathophysiology remain unknown. To determine the role of the solute carrier family 26, member 9 (SLC26A9) Cl– channel in asthma, we induced Th2-mediated inflammation via IL-13 treatment in wild-type and Slc26a9-deficient mice and compared the effects on airway ion transport, morphology, and mucus content. We found that IL-13 treatment increased Cl– secretion in the airways of wild-type but not Slc26a9-deficient mice. While IL-13–induced mucus overproduction was similar in both strains, treated Slc26a9-deficient mice exhibited airway mucus obstruction, which did not occur in wild-type controls. In a study involving healthy children and asthmatics, a polymorphism in the 3′ UTR of SLC26A9 that reduced protein expression in vitro was associated with asthma. Our data demonstrate that the SLC26A9 Cl– channel is activated in airway inflammation and suggest that SLC26A9-mediated Cl– secretion is essential for preventing airway obstruction in allergic airway disease. These results indicate that SLC26A9 may serve as a therapeutic target for airway diseases associated with mucus plugging.
Pinelopi Anagnostopoulou, Brigitte Riederer, Julia Duerr, Sven Michel, Aristea Binia, Raman Agrawal, Xuemei Liu, Katrin Kalitzki, Fang Xiao, Mingmin Chen, Jolanthe Schatterny, Dorothee Hartmann, Thomas Thum, Michael Kabesch, Manoocher Soleimani, Ursula Seidler, Marcus A. Mall
There is emerging evidence that platelets are major contributors to inflammatory processes through intimate associations with innate immune cells. Here, we report that activated platelets induce the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI), which is the leading cause of death after transfusion therapy. NETs are composed of decondensed chromatin decorated with granular proteins that function to trap extracellular pathogens; their formation requires the activation of neutrophils and release of their DNA in a process that may or may not result in neutrophil death. In a mouse model of TRALI that is neutrophil and platelet dependent, NETs appeared in the lung microvasculature and NET components increased in the plasma. We detected NETs in the lungs and plasma of human TRALI and in the plasma of patients with acute lung injury. In the experimental TRALI model, targeting platelet activation with either aspirin or a glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor decreased NET formation and lung injury. We then directly targeted NET components with a histone blocking antibody and DNase1, both of which protected mice from TRALI. These data suggest that NETs contribute to lung endothelial injury and that targeting NET formation may be a promising new direction for the treatment of acute lung injury.
Axelle Caudrillier, Kai Kessenbrock, Brian M. Gilliss, John X. Nguyen, Marisa B. Marques, Marc Monestier, Pearl Toy, Zena Werb, Mark R. Looney
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/emphysema (COPD/emphysema) is characterized by chronic inflammation and premature lung aging. Anti-aging sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), a NAD+-dependent protein/histone deacetylase, is reduced in lungs of patients with COPD. However, the molecular signals underlying the premature aging in lungs, and whether SIRT1 protects against cellular senescence and various pathophysiological alterations in emphysema, remain unknown. Here, we showed increased cellular senescence in lungs of COPD patients. SIRT1 activation by both genetic overexpression and a selective pharmacological activator, SRT1720, attenuated stress-induced premature cellular senescence and protected against emphysema induced by cigarette smoke and elastase in mice. Ablation of Sirt1 in airway epithelium, but not in myeloid cells, aggravated airspace enlargement, impaired lung function, and reduced exercise tolerance. These effects were due to the ability of SIRT1 to deacetylate the FOXO3 transcription factor, since Foxo3 deficiency diminished the protective effect of SRT1720 on cellular senescence and emphysematous changes. Inhibition of lung inflammation by an NF-κB/IKK2 inhibitor did not have any beneficial effect on emphysema. Thus, SIRT1 protects against emphysema through FOXO3-mediated reduction of cellular senescence, independently of inflammation. Activation of SIRT1 may be an attractive therapeutic strategy in COPD/emphysema.
Hongwei Yao, Sangwoon Chung, Jae-woong Hwang, Saravanan Rajendrasozhan, Isaac K. Sundar, David A. Dean, Michael W. McBurney, Leonard Guarente, Wei Gu, Mikko Rönty, Vuokko L. Kinnula, Irfan Rahman
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is caused primarily by cigarette smoking, is a major health problem worldwide. The progressive decline in lung function that occurs in COPD is a result of persistent inflammation of the airways and destruction of the lung parenchyma. Despite the key role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of COPD, treatment with corticosteroids — normally highly effective antiinflammatory drugs — has little therapeutic benefit. This corticosteroid resistance is largely caused by inactivation of histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2), which is critical for the transrepressive activity of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) that mediates the antiinflammatory effect of corticosteroids. Here, we show that in alveolar macrophages from patients with COPD, S-nitrosylation of HDAC2 is increased and that this abolishes its GR-transrepression activity and promotes corticosteroid insensitivity. Cys-262 and Cys-274 of HDAC2 were found to be the targets of S-nitrosylation, and exogenous glutathione treatment of macrophages from individuals with COPD restored HDAC2 activity. Treatment with sulforaphane, a small-molecule activator of the transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (NRF2), was also able to denitrosylate HDAC2, restoring dexamethasone sensitivity in alveolar macrophages from patients with COPD. These effects of sulforaphane were glutathione dependent. We conclude that NRF2 is a novel drug target for reversing corticosteroid resistance in COPD and other corticosteroid-resistant inflammatory diseases.
Deepti Malhotra, Rajesh K. Thimmulappa, Nicolas Mercado, Kazuhiro Ito, Ponvijay Kombairaju, Sarvesh Kumar, Jinfang Ma, David Feller-Kopman, Robert Wise, Peter Barnes, Shyam Biswal
Pulmonary hypertension is a severe and progressive disease, a key feature of which is pulmonary vascular remodeling. Several growth factors, including EGF, PDGF, and TGF-β1, are involved in pulmonary vascular remodeling during pulmonary hypertension. However, increased knowledge of the downstream signaling cascades is needed if effective clinical interventions are to be developed. In this context, calpain provides an interesting candidate therapeutic target, since it is activated by EGF and PDGF and has been reported to activate TGF-β1. Thus, in this study, we examined the role of calpain in pulmonary vascular remodeling in two rodent models of pulmonary hypertension. These data showed that attenuated calpain activity in calpain-knockout mice or rats treated with a calpain inhibitor resulted in prevention of increased right ventricular systolic pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy, as well as collagen deposition and thickening of pulmonary arterioles in models of hypoxia- and monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension. Additionally, inhibition of calpain in vitro blocked intracellular activation of TGF-β1, which led to attenuated Smad2/3 phosphorylation and collagen synthesis. Finally, smooth muscle cells of pulmonary arterioles from patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension showed higher levels of calpain activation and intracellular active TGF-β. Our data provide evidence that calpain mediates EGF- and PDGF-induced collagen synthesis and proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells via an intracrine TGF-β1 pathway in pulmonary hypertension.
Wanli Ma, Weihong Han, Peter A. Greer, Rubin M. Tuder, Haroldo A. Toque, Kevin K.W. Wang, R. William Caldwell, Yunchao Su
During lung development, parabronchial SMC (PSMC) progenitors in the distal mesenchyme secrete fibroblast growth factor 10 (Fgf10), which acts on distal epithelial progenitors to promote their proliferation. β-catenin signaling within PSMC progenitors is essential for their maintenance, proliferation, and expression of Fgf10. Here, we report that this Wnt/Fgf10 embryonic signaling cascade is reactivated in mature PSMCs after naphthalene-induced injury to airway epithelium. Furthermore, we found that this paracrine Fgf10 action was essential for activating surviving variant Clara cells (the cells in the airway epithelium from which replacement epithelial cells originate) located at the bronchoalveolar duct junctions and adjacent to neuroendocrine bodies. After naphthalene injury, PSMCs secreted Fgf10 to activate Notch signaling and induce Snai1 expression in surviving variant Clara cells, which subsequently underwent a transient epithelial to mesenchymal transition to initiate the repair process. Epithelial Snai1 expression was important for regeneration after injury. We have therefore identified PSMCs as a stem cell niche for the variant Clara cells in the lung and established that paracrine Fgf10 signaling from the niche is critical for epithelial repair after naphthalene injury. These findings also have implications for understanding the misregulation of lung repair in asthma and cancer.
Thomas Volckaert, Erik Dill, Alice Campbell, Caterina Tiozzo, Susan Majka, Saverio Bellusci, Stijn P. De Langhe