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Am J Pathol. 2004 Nov;165(5):1663-76.

Severity of lung injury in cyclooxygenase-2-deficient mice is dependent on reduced prostaglandin E(2) production.

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Centre for Respiratory Research, University College London, Rayne Bldg., 5 University St., London WC1E 6JJ, UK.


Levels of prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)), a potent inhibitor of fibroblast function, are decreased in the lungs of patients with pulmonary fibrosis, which has been shown to be because of limited expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). To further investigate the relative importance of COX-2 and PGE(2) in the development of fibrosis we have used a selective COX-2 inhibitor and COX-2-deficient ((-/-) and (+/-)) mice in studies of bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis. We demonstrate in wild-type mice that bleomycin-induced lung PGE(2) production is predominantly COX-2 mediated. Furthermore, COX-2(+/-) mice show limited induction of PGE(2) and an enhanced fibrotic response with increased lung collagen content compared with wild-type mice after bleomycin injury (P < 0.001). In contrast, COX-2(-/-) mice show increased levels of lung PGE(2), compared with wild-type mice after injury (P < 0.05), because of compensatory up-regulation of COX-1, which appears to be associated with macrophage/monocytes but not fibroblasts derived from these mice. COX-2(-/-) mice show an enhanced and persistent inflammatory response to bleomycin, however the fibrotic response to injury was unaltered compared with wild-type animals. These data provide further direct evidence for the importance of up-regulating COX-2 and PGE(2) expression in protecting against the development of fibrosis after lung injury.

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