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Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 19;7(1):5843. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-06021-5.

Phycocyanin attenuates pulmonary fibrosis via the TLR2-MyD88-NF-κB signaling pathway.

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Medicine and Pharmacy Research Center, Binzhou Medical University, Yantai, China.
Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai, China.
Department of Respiratory Medicine, Affiliated Hospital of Binzhou Medical University, Binzhou, China.
Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai, China.


Our aim was to investigate the effects of phycocyanin (PC) on bleomycin (BLM)-induced pulmonary fibrosis (PF). In this study, C57 BL/6 wild-type (WT) mice and toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 deficient mice were treated with PC for 28 days following BLM exposure. Serum and lung tissues were collected on days 3, 7 and 28. Data shows PC significantly decreased the levels of hydroxyproline (HYP), vimentin, surfactant-associated protein C (SP-C), fibroblast specific protein-1 (S100A4) and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) but dramatically increased E-cadherin and podoplanin (PDPN) expression on day 28. Moreover, PC greatly decreased the levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) at the earlier time. Reduced expression of key genes in the TLR2 pathway was also detected. Compared with WT mice, TLR2-deficient mice exhibited less injury, and the protective effect of PC was partly diminished in this background. These data indicate the anti-fibrotic effects of PC may be mediated by reducing W/D ratio, MPO, IL-6, TNF-α, protecting type I alveolar epithelial cells, inhibiting fibroblast proliferation, attenuating epithelial-mesenchymal transitions (EMT) and reducing oxidative stress. The TLR2-MyD88-NF-κB pathway plays an important role in PC-mediated reduction in pulmonary fibrosis.

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