Proteoglycans decorin and biglycan differentially modulate TGF-β-mediated fibrotic responses in the lung
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Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta is a key cytokine in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis, and pharmacological interference with TGF-beta can ameliorate the fibrotic tissue response. The small proteoglycans decorin and biglycan are able to bind and inhibit TGF-beta activity in vitro. Although decorin has anti-TGF-beta properties in vivo, little is known about the physiological role of biglycan in vivo. Adenoviral gene transfer was used to overexpress active TGF-beta, decorin, and biglycan in cell culture and in murine lungs. Both proteoglycans were able to interfere with TGF-beta bioactivity in vitro in a dose-dependant manner. In vivo, overexpression of TGF-beta resulted in marked lung fibrosis, which was significantly reduced by concomitant overexpression of decorin. Biglycan, however, had no significant effect on lung fibrosis induced by TGF-beta. The data suggest that differences in tissue distribution are responsible for the different effects on TGF-beta bioactivity in vivo, indicating that decorin, but not biglycan, has potential therapeutic value in fibrotic disorders of the lung.
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