Increased expression of transforming growth factor beta isoforms (beta 1, beta 2, beta 3) in bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis.

A. Santana, B. Saxena, N. A. Noble, L. I. Gold, B. C. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Evidence suggests that transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) may play a central role in a variety of fibroproliferative disorders via the induction of extracellular matrix accumulation. The three mammalian TGF-beta isoforms are present in the normal lung, but very little is known about their expression during lung injury and repair. To more fully understand the role of TGF-beta in lung repair, we investigated the expression of the TGF-beta 1, TGF-beta 2, and TGF-beta 3 isoforms in a bleomycin-induced model of pulmonary fibrosis using immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization techniques. We found expression of the three TGF-beta isoforms, in an identical pattern, widely distributed throughout the normal rat lung: in airways, blood vessels, lung parenchyma, and alveolar macrophages. In general, the distribution of TGF-beta mRNA and protein coincided; however, bronchial epithelial cells were a notable exception, exhibiting immunoreactivity but no mRNA expression. During the "inflammatory" phase (days 1 and 3) of bleomycin-induced injury there was an increase in the mRNA and protein expression of all three TGF-beta isoforms in the injured areas, most prominently in parenchymal cells and alveolar macrophages. There was a further increase in TGF-beta isoform expression in the areas of developing fibrosis during the later reparative phase (days 7 and 14), and the bronchial epithelium, previously not expressing TGF-beta mRNA, showed strong expression of mRNA for the three isoforms concomitant with increased immunoreactivity. These findings implicate the three mammalian TGF-beta isoforms in the dysregulated repair process that results in pulmonary fibrosis. Furthermore, the pattern of TGF-beta mRNA and protein expression by the bronchial epithelium suggests that a transition may occur at this site from a paracrine mode of action in the normal lung to an autocrine mode of action during the "reparative" phase of fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-44
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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