Allele-specific effects of ecSOD on asbestos-induced fibroproliferative lung disease in mice

Sujung Jun, Cheryl L. Fattman, Byung Jin Kim, Harlan Jones, Ladislav Dory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Previous work by others suggests that there is a strain-dependent variation in the susceptibility to inflammatory lung injury in mice. Specifically, the 129/J mice appear to be more resistant to asbestos-induced pulmonary fibrosis than the C57BL/6 strain. A separate line of evidence suggests that extracellular superoxide dismutase (ecSOD) may play an important role in protecting the lung from such injuries. We have recently reported that the 129/J strain of mice has an ecSOD genotype and phenotype distinctly different from those of the C57BL/6 mice. In order to identify ecSOD as a potential "asbestos-injury resistance" gene, we bred congenic mice, on the C57BL/6 background, carrying the wild type (sod3wt) or the 129/J (sod3129) allele for ecSOD. This allowed us to examine the role of ecSOD polymorphism in susceptibility to lung injury in an otherwise identical genetic background. Interestingly, asbestos treatment induces a significant (~ 40%) increase in plasma ecSOD activity in the sod3129 mice, but not in the sod3 wt mice. Asbestos administration results in a loss of ecSOD activity and protein from lung tissue of both congenic strains, but the lung ecSOD activity remains significantly higher in sod3129 mice. As expected, asbestos treatment results in a significant recovery of ecSOD protein in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). The BALF of sod3129 mice also have significantly lower levels of proteins and inflammatory cells, especially neutrophils, accompanied by a significantly lower extent of lung injury, as measured by a pathology index score or hydroxyproline content. Immunohistochemistry reveals a significant loss of ecSOD from the tips of the respiratory epithelial cells in response to asbestos treatment and that the loss of immunodetectable ecSOD is compensated for by enzyme expression by infiltrating cells, especially in the sod3wt mice. Our studies thus identify ecSOD as an important anti-inflammatory gene, responsible for most, if not all of the resistance to asbestos-induced lung injury reported for the 129/J strain of mice. The data further suggest allele-specific differences in the regulation of ecSOD expression. These congenic mice therefore represent a very useful model to study the role of this enzyme in all inflammatory diseases. Polymorphisms in human ecSOD have also been reported and it appears logical to assume that such variations may have a profound effect on disease susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1288-1296
Number of pages9
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • lung injury
  • murine extracellular superoxide dismutase polymorphism asbestos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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