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J Biol Chem. 2004 May 28;279(22):23098-103. Epub 2004 Mar 23.

Endothelin-1 induces expression of matrix-associated genes in lung fibroblasts through MEK/ERK.

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Centre for Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Royal Free and University College London, United Kingdom.


The endothelins are a family of endothelium-derived peptides that possess a variety of biological activities, including potent vasoconstriction. Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is up-regulated during tissue repair and pulmonary fibrosis. Here, we use genome-wide expression array analysis to show that the addition of ET-1 (100 nm, 4 h) to normal lung fibroblasts directly induces expression of matrix and matrix-associated genes, including the profibrotic protein CCN2 (connective tissue growth factor, or CTGF). ET-1 induces the MEK/ERK MAP kinase pathway in fibroblasts. Blockade of the MEK/ERK kinase pathway with U0126 abrogates the ability of ET-1 to induce expression of matrix and matrix-associated mRNAs and the CCN2 protein. The CCN2 promoter possesses an ET-1 response element, which maps to the previously identified basal control element-1 (BCE-1) site. Our results suggest that ET-1 induces a program of matrix synthesis in lung fibroblasts and that ET-1 may play a key role in connective tissue deposition during wound repair and in pulmonary fibrosis.

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