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PLoS One. 2015 May 6;10(5):e0125169. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125169. eCollection 2015.

Adiponectin attenuates lung fibroblasts activation and pulmonary fibrosis induced by paraquat.

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Emergency Medicine Department, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, 37 Guoxue Road, Chengdu, Sichuan, 610041, PR China.
Emergency Medicine Department of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, 1025 Walnut Street, 808 College Building, Philadelphia, PA, 19107, United States of America.
Respiratory Department, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, 37 Guoxue Road, Chengdu, Sichuan, 610041, PR China.


Pulmonary fibrosis is one of the most common complications of paraquat (PQ) poisoning, which demands for more effective therapies. Accumulating evidence suggests adiponectin (APN) may be a promising therapy against fibrotic diseases. In the current study, we determine whether the exogenous globular APN isoform protects against pulmonary fibrosis in PQ-treated mice and human lung fibroblasts, and dissect the responsible underlying mechanisms. BALB/C mice were divided into control group, PQ group, PQ + low-dose APN group, and PQ + high-dose APN group. Mice were sacrificed 3, 7, 14, and 21 days after PQ treatment. We compared pulmonary histopathological changes among different groups on the basis of fibrosis scores, TGF-β1, CTGF and α-SMA pulmonary content via Western blot and real-time quantitative fluorescence-PCR (RT-PCR). Blood levels of MMP-9 and TIMP-1 were determined by ELISA. Human lung fibroblasts WI-38 were divided into control group, PQ group, APN group, and APN receptor (AdipoR) 1 small-interfering RNA (siRNA) group. Fibroblasts were collected 24, 48, and 72 hours after PQ exposure for assay. Cell viability and apoptosis were determined via Kit-8 (CCK-8) and fluorescein Annexin V-FITC/PI double labeling. The protein and mRNA expression level of collagen type III, AdipoR1, and AdipoR2 were measured by Western blot and RT-PCR. APN treatment significantly decreased the lung fibrosis scores, protein and mRNA expression of pulmonary TGF-β1, CTGF and α-SMA content, and blood MMP-9 and TIMP-1 in a dose-dependent manner (p<0.05). Pretreatment with APN significantly attenuated the reduced cell viability and up-regulated collagen type III expression induced by PQ in lung fibroblasts, (p<0.05). APN pretreatment up-regulated AdipoR1, but not AdipoR2, expression in WI-38 fibroblasts. AdipoR1 siRNA abrogated APN-mediated protective effects in PQ-exposed fibroblasts. Taken together, our data suggests APN protects against PQ-induced pulmonary fibrosis in a dose-dependent manner, via suppression of lung fibroblast activation. Functional AdipoR1 are expressed by human WI-38 lung fibroblasts, suggesting potential future clinical applicability of APN against pulmonary fibrosis.

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