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Thorax. 2010 Apr;65(4):334-40. doi: 10.1136/thx.2009.119974.

Suppression of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 by RNA interference attenuates pulmonary fibrosis.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Internal Medicine, Graduate School of Biomedical, Sciences, Hiroshima University, 1-2-3 Kasumi, Minami-ku, Hiroshima 734-8551, Japan.



There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) is involved in the progression of pulmonary fibrosis. In fact, PAI-1 knockout mice are protected from bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. This study was conducted to determine whether the intrapulmonary administration of small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting PAI-1 (PAI-1-siRNA) limits the development of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis.


Lung biopsies from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) were stained for PAI-1. The distribution of siRNA in the lung, the PAI-1 level in bronchoalveolar (BAL) fluid and the extent of fibrotic changes in the lung were evaluated following the intranasal administration of PAI-1-siRNA in a mouse model of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. The effect of PAI-1-siRNA on the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) was also evaluated using a mouse lung epithelial cell line, LA-4.


PAI-1 was overexpressed in the hyperplastic type 2 pneumocytes lining the honeycomb lesions of patients with IPF. The single intranasal instillation of PAI-1-siRNA resulted in the diffuse uptake of siRNA into the epithelial cells lining the dense fibrotic lesions. The repeated administration of PAI-1-siRNA initiated during either the inflammatory or the fibrotic phase into bleomycin-injured mice reduced the PAI-1 level in BAL fluid and limited the accumulation of collagen in the lungs. EMT induced by transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) in LA-4 cells was inhibited by transfection with PAI-1-siRNA.


The direct suppression of PAI-1 in the lung by the intrapulmonary administration of PAI-1-siRNA attenuated the development and progression of pulmonary fibrosis. The inhibition of EMT may be, at least in part, involved in this effect.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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