Article

Rapamycin Prevents Transforming Growth Factor-α–Induced Pulmonary Fibrosis

Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.
American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 4.11). 03/2009; 41(5):562-72. DOI: 10.1165/rcmb.2008-0377OC
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Transforming growth factor (TGF)-alpha is a ligand for the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). EGFR activation is associated with fibroproliferative processes in human lung disease and animal models of pulmonary fibrosis. Overexpression of TGF-alpha in transgenic mice causes progressive and severe pulmonary fibrosis; however, the intracellular signaling pathways downstream of EGFR mediating this response are unknown. Using a doxycycline-regulatable transgenic mouse model of lung-specific TGF-alpha expression, we observed increased PCNA protein and phosphorylation of Akt and p70S6K in whole lung homogenates in association with induction of TGF-alpha. Induction in the lung of TGF-alpha caused progressive pulmonary fibrosis over a 7-week period. Daily administration of rapamycin prevented accumulation of total lung collagen, weight loss, and changes in pulmonary mechanics. Treatment of mice with rapamycin 4 weeks after the induction of TGF-alpha prevented additional weight loss, increases in total collagen, and changes in pulmonary mechanics. Rapamycin prevented further increases in established pulmonary fibrosis induced by EGFR activation. This study demonstrates that mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a major effector of EGFR-induced pulmonary fibrosis, providing support for further studies to determine the role of mTOR in the pathogenesis and treatment of pulmonary fibrosis.

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