Reprogramming of COPD lung fibroblasts through formation of induced pluripotent stem cells

Hesham Basma, Yoko Gunji, Shunichiro Iwasawa, Amy Nelson, Maha Farid, Jun Ikari, Xiangde Liu, Xingqi Wang, Joel Michalski, Lynette Smith, Javeed Iqbal, Radwa El Behery, William West, Sowmya Yelamanchili, Deborah Rennard, Olaf Holz, Kai Christian Mueller, Helgo Magnussen, Klaus Rabe, Peter J. CastaldiStephen I. Rennard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Reprogramming somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) eliminates many epigenetic modifications that characterize differentiated cells. In this study, we tested whether functional differences between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and non-COPD fibroblasts could be reduced utilizing this approach. Primary fibroblasts from non-COPD and COPD patients were reprogrammed to iPSCs. Reprogrammed iPSCs were positive for oct3/4, nanog, and sox2, formed embryoid bodies in vitro, and induced teratomas in nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient mice. Reprogrammed iPSCs were then differentiated into fibroblasts (non-COPD-i and COPD-i) and were assessed either functionally by chemotaxis and gel contraction or for gene expression by microarrays and compared with their corresponding primary fibroblasts. Primary COPD fibroblasts contracted three-dimensional collagen gels and migrated toward fibronectin less robustly than non-COPD fibroblasts. In contrast, redifferentiated fibroblasts from iPSCs derived from the non-COPD and COPD fibroblasts were similar in response in both functional assays. Microarray analysis identified 1,881 genes that were differentially expressed between primary COPD and non-COPD fibroblasts, with 605 genes differing by more than twofold. After redifferentiation, 112 genes were differentially expressed between COPD-i and non-COPD-i with only three genes by more than twofold. Similar findings were observed with microRNA (miRNA) expression: 56 miRNAs were differentially expressed between non-COPD and COPD primary cells; after redifferentiation, only 3 miRNAs were differentially expressed between non-COPD-i and COPD-i fibroblasts. Interestingly, of the 605 genes that were differentially expressed between COPD and non-COPD fibroblasts, 293 genes were changed toward control after redifferentiation. In conclusion, functional and epigenetic alterations of COPD fibroblasts can be reprogrammed through formation of iPSCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L552-L565
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2014


  • COPD
  • IPSCs
  • miRNA
  • microarray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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