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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Pulmonary Medicine 1/2015

Plakoglobin expression in fibroblasts and its role in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Zeitschrift:
BMC Pulmonary Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2015
Autoren:
Stephanie A. Matthes, Thomas J. LaRouere, Jeffrey C. Horowitz, Eric S. White
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors report that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

SAM performed experiments, statistical analysis and drafted the manuscript. TJL performed experiments. JCH was instrumental in study design and data analysis and drafting the manuscript. ESW participated in the design and helped draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Abstract

Background

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is an interstitial fibrotic lung disease of unknown origin and without effective therapy characterized by deposition of extracellular matrix by activated fibroblasts in the lung. Fibroblast activation in IPF is associated with Wnt/β-catenin signaling, but little is known about the role of the β-catenin-homologous desmosomal protein, plakoglobin (PG), in IPF. The objective of this study was to assess the functional role of PG in human lung fibroblasts in IPF.

Methods

Human lung fibroblasts from normal or IPF patients were transfected with siRNA targeting PG and used to assess cellular adhesion to a fibronectin substrate, apoptosis and proliferation. Statistical analysis was performed using Student’s t-test with Mann–Whitney post-hoc analyses and results were considered significant when p < 0.05.

Results

We found that IPF lung fibroblasts expressed less PG protein than control fibroblasts, but that characteristic fibroblast phenotypes (adhesion, proliferation, and apoptosis) were not controlled by PG expression. Consistent with this, normal fibroblasts in which PG was silenced displayed no change in functional phenotype.

Conclusions

We conclude that diminished PG levels in IPF lung fibroblasts do not directly affect certain phenotypic behaviors. Further study is needed to identify the functional consequences of decreased PG in these cells.
Literatur
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