Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a devastating disease characterised by myofibroblast proliferation and abnormal extracellular matrix accumulation in the lungs. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 initiates key profibrotic signalling involving the SMAD pathway and the small heat shock protein B5 (HSPB5). Tripartite motif-containing 33 (TRIM33) has been reported to negatively regulate TGF-β/SMAD signalling, but its role in fibrogenesis remains unknown. The objective of this study was to elucidate the role of TRIM33 in IPF.
TRIM33 expression was assessed in the lungs of IPF patients and rodent fibrosis models. Bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM), primary lung fibroblasts and 3D lung tissue slices were isolated from
Trim33-floxed mice and cultured with TGF-β1 or bleomycin (BLM). Trim33expression was then suppressed by adenovirus Cre recombinase (AdCre). Pulmonary fibrosis was evaluated in haematopoietic-specific Trim33knockout mice and in Trim33-floxed mice that received AdCre and BLM intratracheally. Results
TRIM33 was overexpressed in alveolar macrophages and fibroblasts in IPF patients and rodent fibrotic lungs.
Trim33inhibition in BMDM increased TGF-β1 secretion upon BLM treatment. Haematopoietic-specific Trim33knockout sensitised mice to BLM-induced fibrosis. In primary lung fibroblasts and 3D lung tissue slices, Trim33deficiency increased expression of genes downstream of TGF-β1. In mice, AdCre- Trim33inhibition worsened BLM-induced fibrosis. In vitro, HSPB5 was able to bind directly to TRIM33, thereby diminishing its protein level and TRIM33/SMAD4 interaction. Conclusion
Our results demonstrate a key role of TRIM33 as a negative regulator of lung fibrosis. Since TRIM33 directly associates with HSPB5, which impairs its activity, inhibitors of TRIM33/HSPB5 interaction may be of interest in the treatment of IPF.