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Lab Invest. 1996 Jan;74(1):209-20.

Overexpression of surfactant protein SP-A, SP-B, and SP-C mRNA in rat lungs with lipopolysaccharide-induced injury.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, Japan.


Regeneration of alveolar epithelial cells is one of the important repair processes in many types of lung injury. We have examined sequential analysis of histopathology and gene expressions of surfactant protein A (SP-A), SP-B, and SP-C mRNA in alveolar type II cells of rats with lipopolysaccharide-induced (LPS-induced) lung injury. A small dose (1 to 2 mg/kg) of LPS was injected by intratracheal instillation in adult rats, and after a given period, the lungs were processed for examination using light and electron microscopy, for immunohistochemical study using anti-bromodeoxyuridine (anti-BrdU) and anti-SP-A antibodies, and for in situ hybridization using type-specific, surfactant cDNA probes. Northern blot analysis was also performed. From 3 to 7 days after LPS administration, alveolar septa were thickened, with increased numbers of epithelial and interstitial cells. BrdU-incorporated cells apparently increased in number in these areas, and many alveolar epithelial cells were intracellularly immunoreactive to anti-SP-A antibody, with many lamellar bodies found on examination using electron microscopy. By in situ hybridization, the number of autoradiographic silver grains for SP-A, SP-B, and SP-C mRNA increased strikingly, in alveolar type II epithelial cells of the lungs from LPS-administered rats. These responses of surfactant gene expression to LPS seemed to be stronger in alveolar epithelial cells than in the bronchiolar epithelium. By Northern blot analysis, the relative abundances of SP-A, SP-B, and SP-C mRNA were also higher in the LPS-administered lungs and correlated well with the results of in situ hybridization. The present study demonstrates that intratracheal administration of LPS induces the marked proliferation of alveolar epithelial cells in association with the concurrently increased SP-A, SP-B, and SP-C mRNA, as well as the SP-A production in the early response to lung injury. These results suggest that proliferation and differentiation of alveolar epithelial cells may play important roles in the repair process of the damaged alveoli after acute lung injury.

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