Effect of IFN-gamma and dexamethasone on TGF-beta1-induced human fetal lung fibroblast-myofibroblast differentiation

Li Gu, Yuan-jue Zhu, Zi-jian Guo, Xing-xiang Xu, Wen-bing Xu
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica 2004, 25 (11): 1479-88

AIM: To study whether Smads signaling pathway was involved in human fetal lung fibroblast-myofibroblast differentiation induced by transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 and the role of interferon (IFN)-gamma, dexamethasone (DEX) in the fibroblast-myofibroblast differentiation.

METHODS: Alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA), Smad2/3, and Smad7 protein were assessed by Western blot. Collagen protein was analyzed by measuring hydroxyproline. Alpha-SMA and collagen III mRNA were assessed by RT-PCR. Myofibroblasts morphology and Smad2/3 nuclear translocation were assessed by immunohistochemistry. The overexpression of Smad7, a negative mediator of Smads signaling pathway, was acquired by transfection of Smad7 vector.

RESULTS: During fibroblast-myofibroblast differentiation induced by TGF-beta1, IFN-gamma 200 microg/L markedly blocked TGF-beta1-induced alpha-SMA protein expression (P<0.01), collagen protein (P<0.01) and mRNA (P<0.05) expression, and myofibroblasts morphological transformation, but DEX 10 micromol/L augmented TGF-beta1-induced alpha-SMA expression (P<0.01). For myofibroblasts, both IFN-gamma 200 microg/L and DEX 10 micromol/L did not inhibit alpha-SMA expression (P>0.05) and collagen protein (P>0.05) and mRNA expression (P>0.05) and did not change myofibroblasts morphology. Transient transfection of Smad7 vector resulted in significant inhibition of TGF-beta1-induced alpha-SMA expression (P<0.01). IFN-gamma 200 microg/L did not block TGF-beta1-stimulated Smad2/3 phosphorylation and their nuclear translocation.

CONCLUSION: TGF-beta1 induced fibroblast-myofibroblast differentiation in a Smad proteins-dependent manner. IFN-gamma could block this process but it was not mediated by interrupting smad2/3 phosphorylation and their nuclear translocation and DEX played a synergism with TGF-beta1. Differentiated myofibroblasts, however, were resistant to both IFN-gamma and DEX.

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