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Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 14;6:19276. doi: 10.1038/srep19276.

Focal Adhesion Kinase Regulates Fibroblast Migration via Integrin beta-1 and Plays a Central Role in Fibrosis.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, The Hospital Affiliated to Guizhou Medical University, Guiyang, Guizhou, China.
Department of Infectious Diseases, the First Hospital Affiliated to Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China.
Prenatal Diagnostic Center, The Hospital Affiliated to Guizhou Medical University, Guiyang, Guizhou, China.


Lung fibrosis is a major medical problem for the aging population worldwide. Fibroblast migration plays an important role in fibrosis. Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) senses the extracellular stimuli and initiates signaling cascades that promote cell migration. This study first examined the dose and time responses of FAK activation in human lung fibroblasts treated with platelet derived growth factor BB (PDGF-BB). The data indicate that FAK is directly recruited by integrin β1 and the subsequent FAK activation is required for fibroblast migration on fibronectin. In addition, the study has identified that α5β1 and α4β1 are the major integrins for FAK-mediated fibroblast migration on fibronect. In contrast, integrins αvβ3, αvβ6, and αvβ8 play a minor but distinct role in fibroblast migration on fibronectin. FAK inhibitor significantly reduces PDGF-BB stimulated fibroblast migration. Importantly, FAK inhibitor protects bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis in mice. FAK inhibitor blocks FAK activation and significantly reduces signaling cascade of fibroblast migration in bleomycin-challenged mice. Furthermore, FAK inhibitor decreases lung fibrotic score, collagen accumulation, fibronectin production, and myofibroblast differentiation in in bleomycin-challenged mice. These data demonstrate that FAK mediates fibroblast migration mainly via integrin β1. Furthermore, the findings suggest that targeting FAK signaling is an effective therapeutic strategy against fibrosis.

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