Lung fibroblast repair functions in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are altered by multiple mechanisms

Shinsaku Togo, Olaf Holz, Xiangde Liu, Hisatoshi Sugiura, Koichiro Kamio, Xiangqi Wang, Shin Kawasaki, Youngsoo Ann, Karin Fredriksson, C. Magnus Skold, Kai Christian Mueller, Detlef Branscheid, Lutz Welker, Henrik Watz, Helgo Magnussen, Stephen I. Rennard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Rationale: Fibroblasts are believed to be the major cells responsible for the production and maintenance of extracellular matrix. Alterations in fibroblast functional capacity, therefore, could playa role in the pathogenesis of pulmonary emphysema, which is characterized by inadequate maintenance of tissue structure. Objectives: To evaluate the hypothesis that deficient fibroblast repair characterizes cells obtained from individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) compared with control subjects. Methods: Fibroblasts were cultured from lung tissue obtained from individualsundergoingthoracotomyandwerecharacterizedinvitro. Measurements and Main Results: Fibroblasts from individuals with COPD, defined by reduced FEV1, manifested reduced chemotaxis toward fibronectin and reduced contraction of three-dimensional collagen gels, two bioassays associated with fibroblast repair function. At least two mechanisms appear to account for these differences. Prostaglandin E (PGE), a known inhibitor of fibroblast repair functions, was produced in increased amount by fibroblasts from subjects with COPD, which also expressed increased amounts of the receptors EP2 and EP4, both of which signal through cyclic AMP. Incubation of fibroblasts with indomethacin or with the PKA inhibitor KT-5720 partially restored COPD subject fibroblast function. In addition, fibroblasts from subjects with COPD produced more transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, but manifested reduced response toTGF-β1.The functional alterations infibroblasts correlated with both lung function assessedbyFEV1 and, for the data available, with severity of emphysema assessed by DLco. Conclusions: Fibroblasts from individuals with COPD have reduced capabilityto sustain tissuerepair, which suggests that this may beone mechanism that contributes to the development of emphysema.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-260
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008


  • Chemotaxis
  • Contraction
  • Fibroblasts
  • Prostaglandin E
  • Transforming growth factor-β

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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