MMP-Dependent Migration of Extrapulmonary Myofibroblast Progenitors Contributing to Posttransplant Airway Fibrosis in the Lung
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Myofibroblasts play a central role in fibroproliferative airway remodeling in obliterative bronchiolitis (OB) after lung transplantation. The purpose of the study is to elucidate the mechanisms whereby matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) contribute to myofibroblast-mediated allograft airway fibrosis. In an intrapulmonary tracheal transplant model of OB, broad-spectrum MMP inhibitors, SC080 and MMI270 reduced the number of myofibroblasts at day 28 without changing differentiation, proliferation or apoptosis of myofibroblasts or fibroblasts. Next, myofibroblasts in allograft airway fibrosis were demonstrated to be almost exclusively of extrapulmonary origin by analyzing RT1A(n) positive myofibroblasts in an animal model combining orthotopic lung transplantation (from Lewis (RT1A(l)) to F1 (Brown-Norway (RT1A(n)) x Lewis)) and intrapulmonary tracheal transplantation (from a Wister-Furth rat (RT1A(u)) into the transplanted Lewis-derived lung). Using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) that can differentiate into alpha-SMA positive myofibroblasts in vitro, we demonstrated their contribution to the myofibroblast population of allograft airway fibrosis in vivo using a fluorescence-labeling cell tracking system. Moreover, PBMC-derived fibroblast-like cells expressed high levels of MMP-9 and MMP-12 and their migration was inhibited by MMP inhibitors in a wound healing assay. In conclusion, MMP-dependent migration of PBMC-derived myofibroblast precursors is an important contributing mechanism to the development of allograft airway fibrosis.
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