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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2000 Jun;278(6):L1231-9.

Ontogeny and localization of TGF-beta type I receptor expression during lung development.

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Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta is a family of multifunctional cytokines controlling cell growth, differentiation, and extracellular matrix deposition in the lung. The biological effects of TGF-beta are mediated by type I (TbetaR-I) and II (TbetaR-II) receptors. Our previous studies show that the expression of TbetaR-II is highly regulated in a spatial and temporal fashion during lung development. In the present studies, we investigated the temporal-spatial pattern and cellular expression of TbetaR-I during lung development. The expression level of TbetaR-I mRNA in rat lung at different embryonic and postnatal stages was analyzed by Northern blotting. TbetaR-I mRNA was expressed in fetal rat lungs in early development and then decreased as development proceeded. The localization of TbetaR-I in fetal and postnatal rat lung tissues was investigated by using in situ hybridization performed with an antisense RNA probe. TbetaR-I mRNA was present in the mesenchyme and epithelium of gestational day 14 rat lungs. An intense TbetaR-I signal was observed in the epithelial lining of the developing bronchi. In gestational day 16 lungs, the expression of TbetaR-I mRNA was increased in the mesenchymal tissue. The epithelium in both the distal and proximal bronchioles showed a similar level of TbetaR-I expression. In postnatal lungs, TbetaR-I mRNA was detected in parenchymal tissues and blood vessels. We further studied the expression of TbetaR-I in cultured rat lung cells. TbetaR-I was expressed by cultured rat lung fibroblasts, microvascular endothelial cells, and alveolar epithelial cells. These studies demonstrate a differential regulation and localization of TbetaR-I that is different from that of TbetaR-II during lung development. TbetaR-I, TbetaR-II, and TGF-beta isoforms exhibit distinct but overlapping patterns of expression during lung development. This implies a distinct role for TbetaR-I in mediating TGF-beta signal transduction during lung development.

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