Heather E Ferguson

University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, United States

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Publications (3)9.71 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Acute and chronic lung inflammation is associated with numerous important disease pathologies including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and silicosis. Lung fibroblasts are a novel and important target of anti-inflammatory therapy, as they orchestrate, respond to, and amplify inflammatory cascades and are the key cell in the pathogenesis of lung fibrosis. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) ligands are small molecules that induce anti-inflammatory responses in a variety of tissues. Here, we report for the first time that PPARγ ligands have potent anti-inflammatory effects on human lung fibroblasts. 2-cyano-3, 12-dioxoolean-1, 9-dien-28-oic acid (CDDO) and 15-deoxy-Δ(12,14)-prostaglandin J(2) (15d-PGJ(2)) inhibit production of the inflammatory mediators interleukin-6 (IL-6), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), COX-2, and prostaglandin (PG)E(2) in primary human lung fibroblasts stimulated with either IL-1β or silica. The anti-inflammatory properties of these molecules are not blocked by the PPARγ antagonist GW9662 and thus are largely PPARγ independent. However, they are dependent on the presence of an electrophilic carbon. CDDO and 15d-PGJ(2), but not rosiglitazone, inhibited NF-κB activity. These results demonstrate that CDDO and 15d-PGJ(2) are potent attenuators of proinflammatory responses in lung fibroblasts and suggest that these molecules should be explored as the basis for novel, targeted anti-inflammatory therapies in the lung and other organs.
    PPAR Research 06/2011; 2011(3):318134. DOI:10.1155/2011/318134 · 1.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress plays an important role in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is a key antioxidant enzyme, and overexpression of HO-1 significantly decreases lung inflammation and fibrosis in animal models. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARgamma) is a transcription factor that regulates adipogenesis, insulin sensitization, and inflammation. We report here that the PPARgamma ligands 15d-PGJ2 and 2-cyano-3,12-dioxoolean-1,9-dien-28-oic acid (CDDO), which have potent antifibrotic effects in vitro, also strongly induce HO-1 expression in primary human lung fibroblasts. Pharmacological and genetic approaches are used to demonstrate that induction of HO-1 is PPARgamma independent. Upregulation of HO-1 coincides with decreased intracellular glutathione (GSH) levels and can be inhibited by N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a thiol antioxidant and GSH precursor. Upregulation of HO-1 is not inhibited by Trolox, a non-thiol antioxidant, and does not involve the transcription factors AP-1 or Nrf2. CDDO and 15d-PGJ2 contain an alpha/beta unsaturated ketone that acts as an electrophilic center that can form covalent bonds with free reduced thiols. Rosiglitazone, a PPARgamma ligand that lacks an electrophilic center, does not induce HO-1. These data suggest that in human lung fibroblasts, 15d-PGJ2 and CDDO induce HO-1 via a GSH-dependent mechanism involving the formation of covalent bonds between 15d-PGJ2 or CDDO and GSH. Inhibiting HO-1 upregulation with NAC has only a small effect on the antifibrotic properties of 15d-PGJ2 and CDDO in vitro. These results suggest that CDDO and similar electrophilic PPARgamma ligands may have great clinical potential as antifibrotic agents, not only through direct effects on fibroblast differentiation and function, but indirectly by bolstering antioxidant defenses.
    AJP Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology 10/2009; 297(5):L912-9. DOI:10.1152/ajplung.00148.2009 · 4.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive scarring disease with no effective treatment. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta is up-regulated in fibrotic diseases, where it stimulates differentiation of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts and production of excess extracellular matrix. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma is a transcription factor that regulates adipogenesis, insulin sensitization, and inflammation. We report here that a novel PPARgamma ligand, 2-cyano-3,12-dioxoolean-1,9-dien-28-oic acid (CDDO), is a potent inhibitor of TGF-beta-stimulated differentiation of human lung fibroblasts to myofibroblasts, and suppresses up-regulation of alpha-smooth muscle actin, fibronectin, collagen, and the novel myofibroblast marker, calponin. The inhibitory concentration causing a 50% decrease in aSMA for CDDO was 20-fold lower than the endogenous PPARgamma ligand, 15-deoxy-Delta(12,14)-prostaglandin J(2) (15 d-PGJ(2)), and 400-fold lower than the synthetic ligand, rosiglitazone. Pharmacologic and genetic approaches were used to demonstrate that CDDO mediates its activity via a PPARgamma-independent pathway. CDDO and 15 d-PGJ(2) contain an alpha/beta unsaturated ketone, which acts as an electrophilic center that can form covalent bonds with cellular proteins. Prostaglandin A(1) and diphenyl diselenide, both strong electrophiles, also inhibit myofibroblast differentiation, but a structural analog of 15 d-PGJ(2) lacking the electrophilic center is much less potent. CDDO does not alter TGF-beta-induced Smad or AP-1 signaling, but does inhibit acetylation of CREB binding protein/p300, a critical coactivator in the transcriptional regulation of TGF-beta-responsive genes. Overall, these data indicate that certain PPARgamma ligands, and other small molecules with electrophilic centers, are potent inhibitors of critical TGF-beta-mediated profibrogenic activities through pathways independent of PPARgamma. As the inhibitory concentration causing a 50% decrease in aSMA for CDDO is 400-fold lower than that in rosiglitazone, the translational potential of CDDO for treatment of fibrotic diseases is high.
    American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 04/2009; 41(6):722-30. DOI:10.1165/rcmb.2009-0006OC · 3.99 Impact Factor