Reduced bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 (BMPR2) expression in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) can impair pulmonary arterial EC (PAEC) function. This can adversely affect EC survival and promote SMC proliferation. We hypothesized that interventions to normalize expression of genes that are targets of BMPR2 signaling could restore PAEC function and prevent or reverse PAH. Here we have characterized, in human PAECs, a BMPR2-mediated transcriptional complex between PPARγ and β-catenin and shown that disruption of this complex impaired BMP-mediated PAEC survival. Using whole genome-wide ChIP-Chip promoter analysis and gene expression microarrays, we delineated PPARγ/β-catenin–dependent transcription of target genes including APLN, which encodes apelin. We documented reduced PAEC expression of apelin in PAH patients versus controls. In cell culture experiments, we showed that apelin-deficient PAECs were prone to apoptosis and promoted pulmonary arterial SMC (PASMC) proliferation. Conversely, we established that apelin, like BMPR2 ligands, suppressed proliferation and induced apoptosis of PASMCs. Consistent with these functions, administration of apelin reversed PAH in mice with reduced production of apelin resulting from deletion of PPARγ in ECs. Taken together, our findings suggest that apelin could be effective in treating PAH by rescuing BMPR2 and PAEC dysfunction.
Tero-Pekka Alastalo, Molong Li, Vinicio de Jesus Perez, David Pham, Hirofumi Sawada, Jordon K. Wang, Minna Koskenvuo, Lingli Wang, Bruce A. Freeman, Howard Y. Chang, Marlene Rabinovitch
In cystic fibrosis (CF), a lack of functional CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channels causes defective secretion by submucosal glands (SMGs), leading to persistent bacterial infection that damages airways and necessitates tissue repair. SMGs are also important niches for slow-cycling progenitor cells (SCPCs) in the proximal airways, which may be involved in disease-related airway repair. Here, we report that calcitonin gene–related peptide (CGRP) activates CFTR-dependent SMG secretions and that this signaling pathway is hyperactivated in CF human, pig, ferret, and mouse SMGs. Since CGRP-expressing neuroendocrine cells reside in bronchiolar SCPC niches, we hypothesized that the glandular SCPC niche may be dysfunctional in CF. Consistent with this hypothesis, CFTR-deficient mice failed to maintain glandular SCPCs following airway injury. In wild-type mice, CGRP levels increased following airway injury and functioned as an injury-induced mitogen that stimulated SMG progenitor cell proliferation in vivo and altered the proliferative potential of airway progenitors in vitro. Components of the receptor for CGRP (RAMP1 and CLR) were expressed in a very small subset of SCPCs, suggesting that CGRP indirectly stimulates SCPC proliferation in a non-cell-autonomous manner. These findings demonstrate that CGRP-dependent pathways for CFTR activation are abnormally upregulated in CF SMGs and that this sustained mitogenic signal alters properties of the SMG progenitor cell niche in CF airways. This discovery may have important implications for injury/repair mechanisms in the CF airway.
Weiliang Xie, John T. Fisher, Thomas J. Lynch, Meihui Luo, Turan I.A. Evans, Traci L. Neff, Weihong Zhou, Yulong Zhang, Yi Ou, Nigel W. Bunnett, Andrew F. Russo, Michael J. Goodheart, Kalpaj R. Parekh, Xiaoming Liu, John F. Engelhardt
Laminins and their integrin receptors are implicated in epithelial cell differentiation and progenitor cell maintenance. We report here that a previously unrecognized subpopulation of mouse alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) expressing the laminin receptor α6β4, but little or no pro–surfactant C (pro-SPC), is endowed with regenerative potential. Ex vivo, this subpopulation expanded clonally as progenitors but also differentiated toward mature cell types. Integrin β4 itself was not required for AEC proliferation or differentiation. An in vivo embryonic lung organoid assay, which we believe to be novel, was used to show that purified β4+ adult AECs admixed with E14.5 lung single-cell suspensions and implanted under kidney capsules self-organized into distinct Clara cell 10-kDa secretory protein (CC10+) airway-like and SPC+ saccular structures within 6 days. Using a bleomycin model of lung injury and an SPC-driven inducible cre to fate-map AECs, we found the majority of type II AECs in fibrotic areas were not derived from preexisting type II AECs, demonstrating that SPC– progenitor cells replenished type II AECs during repair. Our findings support the idea that there is a stable AEC progenitor population in the adult lung, provide in vivo evidence of AEC progenitor cell differentiation after parenchymal injury, and identify a strong candidate progenitor cell for maintenance of type II AECs during lung repair.
Harold A. Chapman, Xiaopeng Li, Jonathan P. Alexander, Alexis Brumwell, Walter Lorizio, Kevin Tan, Arnoud Sonnenberg, Ying Wei, Thiennu H. Vu
Multidrug resistance–associated protein 4 (MRP4, also known as Abcc4) regulates intracellular levels of cAMP and cGMP in arterial SMCs. Here, we report our studies of the role of MRP4 in the development and progression of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a severe vascular disease characterized by chronically elevated pulmonary artery pressure and accompanied by remodeling of the small pulmonary arteries as a prelude to right heart failure and premature death. MRP4 expression was increased in pulmonary arteries from patients with idiopathic PAH as well as in WT mice exposed to hypoxic conditions. Consistent with a pathogenic role for MRP4 in PAH, WT mice exposed to hypoxia for 3 weeks showed reversal of hypoxic pulmonary hypertension (PH) following oral administration of the MRP4 inhibitor MK571, and Mrp4–/– mice were protected from hypoxic PH. Inhibition of MRP4 in vitro was accompanied by increased intracellular cAMP and cGMP levels and PKA and PKG activities, implicating cyclic nucleotide-related signaling pathways in the mechanism underlying the protective effects of MRP4 inhibition. Our data suggest that MRP4 could represent a potential target for therapeutic intervention in PAH.
Yannis Hara, Yassine Sassi, Christelle Guibert, Natacha Gambaryan, Peter Dorfmüller, Saadia Eddahibi, Anne-Marie Lompré, Marc Humbert, Jean-Sébastien Hulot
The airway is a primary portal of entry for noxious environmental stimuli that can trigger airway remodeling, which contributes significantly to airway obstruction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic asthma. Important pathologic components of airway remodeling include fibrosis and abnormal innate and adaptive immune responses. The positioning of fibroblasts in interstitial spaces suggests that they could participate in both fibrosis and chemokine regulation of the trafficking of immune cells such as dendritic cells, which are crucial antigen-presenting cells. However, physiological evidence for this dual role for fibroblasts is lacking. Here, in two physiologically relevant models — conditional deletion in mouse fibroblasts of the TGF-β–activating integrin αvβ8 and neutralization of αvβ8 in human COPD fibroblasts — we have elucidated a mechanism whereby lung fibroblast chemokine secretion directs dendritic cell trafficking, in a manner that is critically dependent on αvβ8-mediated activation of TGF-β by fibroblasts. Our data therefore indicate that fibroblasts have a crucial role in regulating both fibrotic and immune responses in the lung.
Hideya Kitamura, Stephanie Cambier, Sangeeta Somanath, Tyren Barker, Shunsuke Minagawa, Jennifer Markovics, Amanda Goodsell, Jean Publicover, Louis Reichardt, David Jablons, Paul Wolters, Arthur Hill, James D. Marks, Jianlong Lou, Jean-Francois Pittet, Jack Gauldie, Jody Lynn Baron, Stephen L. Nishimura
Pulmonary emphysema is a disease characterized by alveolar cellular loss and inflammation. Recently, excessive apoptosis of structural alveolar cells has emerged as a major mechanism in the development of emphysema. Here, we investigated the proapoptotic and monocyte chemoattractant cytokine endothelial monocyte-activating protein 2 (EMAPII). Lung-specific overexpression of EMAPII in mice caused simplification of alveolar structures, apoptosis, and macrophage accumulation, compared with that in control transgenic mice. Additionally, in a mouse model of cigarette smoke–induced (CS-induced) emphysema, EMAPII levels were significantly increased in murine lungs. This upregulation was necessary for emphysema development, as neutralizing antibodies to EMAPII resulted in reduced alveolar cell apoptosis, inflammation, and emphysema-associated structural changes in alveoli and small airways and improved lung function. The mechanism of EMAPII upregulation involved an apoptosis-dependent feed-forward loop, since caspase-3 instillation in the lung markedly increased EMAPII expression, while caspase inhibition decreased its production, even in transgenic EMAPII mice. These findings may have clinical significance, as both current smokers and ex-smoker chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients had increased levels of secreted EMAPII in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid compared with that of nonsmokers. In conclusion, we suggest that EMAPII perpetuates the mechanism of CS-induced lung emphysema in mice and, given its secretory nature, is a suitable target for neutralization antibody therapy.
Matthias Clauss, Robert Voswinckel, Gangaraju Rajashekhar, Ninotchka L. Sigua, Heinz Fehrenbach, Natalia I. Rush, Kelly S. Schweitzer, Ali Ö. Yildirim, Krzysztof Kamocki, Amanda J. Fisher, Yuan Gu, Bilal Safadi, Sandeep Nikam, Walter C. Hubbard, Rubin M. Tuder, Homer L. Twigg III, Robert G. Presson, Sanjay Sethi, Irina Petrache
Although mutations in Kras are present in 21% of lung tumors, there is a high level of heterogeneity in phenotype and outcome among patients with lung cancer bearing similar mutations, suggesting that other pathways are important. Wnt/β-catenin signaling is a known oncogenic pathway that plays a well-defined role in colon and skin cancer; however, its role in lung cancer is unclear. We have shown here that activation of Wnt/β-catenin in the bronchiolar epithelium of the adult mouse lung does not itself promote tumor development. However, concurrent activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling and expression of a constitutively active Kras mutant (KrasG12D) led to a dramatic increase in both overall tumor number and size compared with KrasG12D alone. Activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling altered the KrasG12D tumor phenotype, resulting in a phenotypic switch from bronchiolar epithelium to the highly proliferative distal progenitors found in the embryonic lung. This was associated with decreased E-cadherin expression at the cell surface, which may underlie the increased metastasis of tumors with active Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Together, these data suggest that activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling can combine with other oncogenic pathways in lung epithelium to produce a more aggressive tumor phenotype by imposing an embryonic distal progenitor phenotype and by decreasing E-cadherin expression.
Eugenia C. Pacheco-Pinedo, Amy C. Durham, Kathleen M. Stewart, Ashley M. Goss, Min Min Lu, Francesco J. DeMayo, Edward E. Morrisey
Acute lung injury (ALI) is a life-threatening condition in critically ill patients. Injury to the alveolar epithelium is a critical event in ALI, and accumulating evidence suggests that it is linked to proapoptotic Fas/FasL signals. Active soluble FasL (sFasL) is detectable in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid of patients with ALI, but the mechanisms controlling its bioactivity are unclear. We therefore investigated how the structure of sFasL influences cellular activation in human and mouse lungs and the role of oxidants and proteases in modifying sFasL activity. The sFasL in BAL fluid from patients with ALI was bioactive and present in high molecular weight multimers and aggregates. Oxidants generated from neutrophil myeloperoxidase in BAL fluid promoted aggregation of sFasL in vitro and in vivo. Oxidation increased the biological activity of sFasL at low concentrations but degraded sFasL at high concentrations. The amino-terminal extracellular stalk region of human sFasL was required to induce lung injury in mice, and proteolytic cleavage of the stalk region by MMP-7 reduced the bioactivity of sFasL in human cells in vitro. The sFasL recovered from the lungs of patients with ALI contained both oxidized methionine residues and the stalk region. These data provide what we believe to be new insights into the structural determinants of sFasL bioactivity in the lungs of patients with ALI.
Raquel Herrero, Osamu Kajikawa, Gustavo Matute-Bello, Yi Wang, Naoki Hagimoto, Steve Mongovin, Venus Wong, David R. Park, Nathan Brot, Jay W. Heinecke, Henry Rosen, Richard B. Goodman, Xiaoyun Fu, Thomas R. Martin
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic fibroproliferative pulmonary disorder for which there are currently no treatments. Although the etiology of IPF is unknown, dysregulated TGF-β signaling has been implicated in its pathogenesis. Recent studies also suggest a central role for abnormal epithelial repair. In this study, we sought to elucidate the function of epithelial TGF-β signaling via TGF-β receptor II (TβRII) and its contribution to fibrosis by generating mice in which TβRII was specifically inactivated in mouse lung epithelium. These mice, which are referred to herein as TβRIINkx2.1-cre mice, were used to determine the impact of TβRII inactivation on (a) embryonic lung morphogenesis in vivo; and (b) the epithelial cell response to TGF-β signaling in vitro and in a bleomycin-induced, TGF-β–mediated mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis. Although postnatally viable with no discernible abnormalities in lung morphogenesis and epithelial cell differentiation, TβRIINkx2.1-cre mice developed emphysema, suggesting a requirement for epithelial TβRII in alveolar homeostasis. Absence of TβRII increased phosphorylation of Smad2 and decreased, but did not entirely block, phosphorylation of Smad3 in response to endogenous/physiologic TGF-β. However, TβRIINkx2.1-cre mice exhibited increased survival and resistance to bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. To our knowledge, these findings are the first to demonstrate a specific role for TGF-β signaling in the lung epithelium in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis.
Min Li, Manda Sai Krishnaveni, Changgong Li, Beiyun Zhou, Yiming Xing, Agnes Banfalvi, Aimin Li, Vincent Lombardi, Omid Akbari, Zea Borok, Parviz Minoo
Hereditary deficiency of the protein α-1 antitrypsin (AAT) causes a chronic lung disease in humans that is characterized by excessive mobilization of neutrophils into the lung. However, the reason for the increased neutrophil burden has not been fully elucidated. In this study we have demonstrated using human neutrophils that serum AAT coordinates both CXCR1- and soluble immune complex (sIC) receptor–mediated chemotaxis by divergent pathways. We demonstrated that glycosylated AAT can bind to IL-8 (a ligand for CXCR1) and that AAT–IL-8 complex formation prevented IL-8 interaction with CXCR1. Second, AAT modulated neutrophil chemotaxis in response to sIC by controlling membrane expression of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored (GPI-anchored) Fc receptor FcγRIIIb. This process was mediated through inhibition of ADAM-17 enzymatic activity. Neutrophils isolated from clinically stable AAT-deficient patients were characterized by low membrane expression of FcγRIIIb and increased chemotaxis in response to IL-8 and sIC. Treatment of AAT-deficient individuals with AAT augmentation therapy resulted in increased AAT binding to IL-8, increased AAT binding to the neutrophil membrane, decreased FcγRIIIb release from the neutrophil membrane, and normalization of chemotaxis. These results provide new insight into the mechanism underlying the effect of AAT augmentation therapy in the pulmonary disease associated with AAT deficiency.
David A. Bergin, Emer P. Reeves, Paula Meleady, Michael Henry, Oliver J. McElvaney, Tomás P. Carroll, Claire Condron, Sanjay H. Chotirmall, Martin Clynes, Shane J. O’Neill, Noel G. McElvaney