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J Exp Med. 2001 Sep 17;194(6):809-21.

Interleukin-13 induces tissue fibrosis by selectively stimulating and activating transforming growth factor beta(1).

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  • 1Yale University School of Medicine, Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8057, USA.

Abstract

Interleukin (IL)-13 is a key mediator of tissue fibrosis caused by T helper cell type 2 inflammation. We hypothesized that the fibrogenic effects of IL-13 are mediated by transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta. To test this hypothesis we compared the regulation of TGF-beta in lungs from wild-type mice and CC10-IL-13 mice in which IL-13 overexpression causes pulmonary fibrosis. IL-13 selectively stimulated TGF-beta(1) production in transgenic animals and macrophages were the major site of TGF-beta(1) production and deposition in these tissues. IL-13 also activated TGF-beta(1) in vivo. This activation was associated with decreased levels of mRNA encoding latent TGF-beta-binding protein-1 and increased mRNA encoding urinary plasminogen activator, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, and CD44. TGF-beta(1) activation was abrogated by the plasmin/serine protease antagonist aprotinin. It was also decreased in progeny of crosses of CC10-IL-13 mice and MMP-9 null mice but was not altered in crosses with CD44 null animals. IL-13-induced fibrosis was also significantly ameliorated by treatment with the TGF-beta antagonist soluble TGFbetaR-Fc (sTGFbetaR-Fc). These studies demonstrate that IL-13 is a potent stimulator and activator of TGF-beta(1) in vivo. They also demonstrate that this activation is mediated by a plasmin/serine protease- and MMP-9-dependent and CD44-independent mechanism(s) and that the fibrogenic effects of IL-13 are mediated, in great extent, by this TGF-beta pathway.

PMID:
11560996
PMCID:
PMC2195954
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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