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Life Sci. 2008 Jan 16;82(3-4):210-7. Epub 2007 Nov 23.

Pirfenidone inhibits the expression of HSP47 in TGF-beta1-stimulated human lung fibroblasts.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, Nagasaki, Japan.


Pirfenidone (5-methyl-1-phenyl-2-(1H)-pyridone) is a novel anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory agent that inhibits the progression of fibrosis in animal models and patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Heat shock protein (HSP) 47, a collagen-specific molecular chaperone, is involved in the processing and/or secretion of procollagen and plays an important role in the pathogenesis of IPF. The present study evaluated the in vitro effects of pirfenidone on expression of HSP47 and collagen type I in cultured normal human lung fibroblasts (NHLF). Expression levels of HSP47 and collagen type I in NHLF stimulated by transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 were evaluated genetically, immunologically and immunocytochemically. Treatment with TGF-beta1 stimulated both mRNA and protein expressions of both HSP47 and collagen type I in NHLF, and pirfenidone significantly inhibited this TGF-beta1-enhanced expression in a dose-dependent manner. We concluded that the anti-fibrotic effect of pirfenidone may be mediated not only through direct inhibition of collagen type I expression but also at least partly through inhibition of HSP47 expression in lung fibroblasts, with a resultant reduction of collagen synthesis in lung fibrosis.

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