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J Pathol. 2001 Sep;195(2):251-6.

Upregulation of tenascin and TGFbeta production in a type II alveolar epithelial cell line by antibody against a pulmonary auto-antigen.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Edinburgh University Medical School, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG, UK.


Type II alveolar epithelial cells express a 70-90 kDa antigen to which circulating auto-antibodies have been previously identified in patients with cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis (CFA). In vitro experiments have been conducted with a rabbit polyclonal antibody raised to this auto-antigen, and the type II epithelial cell line A549. This study examined possible effects that interaction of this antibody with type II epithelial cells might have on the production of cytokines and extracellular matrix components that may be important in the pathogenesis of CFA. There was a significant increase in TGFbeta and tenascin, but not IL4, production by the A549 cells after culture with the immune serum. Further experiments showed that after 72 hours in culture, the antibody decreased A549 cell number in a complement-dependent process, which appeared to be cytostatic rather than cytolytic. These results indicate in vitro biological activity for this antibody and suggest a possible in vivo role for auto-antibody to type II epithelial cells in the pathogenesis of CFA.

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