Targeted injury of type II alveolar epithelial cells induces pulmonary fibrosis.
ABSTRACT Ineffective repair of a damaged alveolar epithelium has been postulated to cause pulmonary fibrosis. In support of this theory, epithelial cell abnormalities, including hyperplasia, apoptosis, and persistent denudation of the alveolar basement membrane, are found in the lungs of humans with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and in animal models of fibrotic lung disease. Furthermore, mutations in genes that affect regenerative capacity or that cause injury/apoptosis of type II alveolar epithelial cells have been identified in familial forms of pulmonary fibrosis. Although these findings are compelling, there are no studies that demonstrate a direct role for the alveolar epithelium or, more specifically, type II cells in the scarring process.
To determine if a targeted injury to type II cells would result in pulmonary fibrosis.
A transgenic mouse was generated to express the human diphtheria toxin receptor on type II alveolar epithelial cells. Diphtheria toxin was administered to these animals to specifically target the type II epithelium for injury. Lung fibrosis was assessed by histology and hydroxyproline measurement.
Transgenic mice treated with diphtheria toxin developed an approximately twofold increase in their lung hydroxyproline content on Days 21 and 28 after diphtheria toxin treatment. The fibrosis developed in conjunction with type II cell injury. Histological evaluation revealed diffuse collagen deposition with patchy areas of more confluent scarring and associated alveolar contraction.
The development of lung fibrosis in the setting of type II cell injury in our model provides evidence for a causal link between the epithelial defects seen in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and the corresponding areas of scarring.
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ABSTRACT: Rat type II alveolar epithelial cells are known to undergo morphological and functional changes when maintained in culture for several days. Having previously demonstrated that these cells can deacylate free arachidonic acid (AA) and metabolize it to products of the cyclooxygenase pathway, the present study was undertaken to determine whether in vitro differentiation was accompanied by alterations in the availability and metabolism of AA. We assessed the constitutive and ionophore A23187-induced deacylation and metabolism of endogenous AA, as well as the metabolism of exogenously supplied AA, in primary cultures of rat type II cells at days 2, 4, and 7 after isolation. Levels of free endogenous AA were increased at day 4, whereas eicosanoid synthesis, predominantly prostaglandin E2 and prostacyclin, increased markedly only at day 7. A similar time course of augmentation of prostanoid release was seen in response to exogenous AA. Type II cells cultured on fibronectin, intended to hasten cell flattening and spreading, demonstrated accelerated increases in available free AA in response to A23187; cells cultured on basement membrane derived from Engelbreth-Holm-Swarm mouse sarcoma, known to maintain the type II phenotype, exhibited diminished levels of available free AA. From these findings, we conclude that alterations in arachidonate metabolism are linked to alterations in cellular phenotype. The potentiation of eicosanoid synthesis accompanying in vitro differentiation suggests a possible role for the alveolar epithelium in the modulation of inflammation and fibrosis in the distal lung.The American journal of physiology 09/1990; 259(2 Pt 1):L73-80.