Oxidative damage and TGF-beta differentially induce lung epithelial cell sonic hedgehog and tenascin-C expression: implications for the regulation of lung remodelling in idiopathic interstitial lung disease

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P>Idiopathic interstitial lung diseases (iILDs) are characterized by inflammation, hyperplasia of Type-II alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) and lung remodelling often with progressive fibrosis. It remains unclear which signals initiate iILD and/or maintain the disease processes. Using real-time RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry on archival biopsies of three patterns of iILD (usual interstitial pneumonitis/UIP, non-specific interstitial pneumonitis/NSIP and cryptogenic organizing pneumonia/COP) we investigated whether hedgehog signalling (previously associated with lung damage and repair) was functional and whether the damage associated extracellular matrix protein tenascin-C was present in activated Type-II AECs in all three iILDs. Using tissue culture, protein and mRNA detection we also determined how two signals (oxidative damage and TGF-beta) associated with iILD pathogenesis affected Sonic hedgehog (SHH) and tenascin-C production by a Type-II AEC cell line. We report that SHH pathway and tenascin-C mRNA and proteins were found in UIP, NSIP and COP. SHH signalling was most active at sites of immature organizing fibrous tissue (fibroblastic foci) in UIP. In vitro Type-II AECs constitutively secrete SHH but not tenascin-C. Oxidative injury stimulated SHH release whereas TGF-beta inhibited it. TGF-beta and oxidative damage both upregulated tenascin-C mRNA but only TGF-beta induced synthesis and release of a distinct protein isoform. SHH signalling is active in Type-II AECs from three types of ILD and all three express tenascin-C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-17
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Experimental Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • fibrosis
  • interstitial lung disease
  • oxidative damage
  • remodelling
  • Sonic hedgehog signalling
  • tenascin-C

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