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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1996 Jul;15(1):78-87.

Differential expression of the urokinase receptor in fibroblasts from normal and fibrotic human lungs.

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University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler.


Binding of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) to a specific receptor (uPAR) on human lung fibroblasts enables it to regulate cellular proteolysis and remodeling of the extracellular matrix. Binding studies with radiolabeled uPA indicated that both normal and fibrotic lung fibroblasts express the receptor, but cells from fibrotic tissues bound significantly more uPA (P < 0.001). Phorbol myristate acetate, lipopolysaccharide, transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) increased uPA binding and plasminogen activation at the cell surface, with a greater maximal effect on fibrotic than on normal fibroblasts. Excess unlabeled uPA, specific antibody, or antisense oligonucleotides inhibited uPA binding. Ribonuclease (RNase) protection assays showed higher levels of uPAR messenger ribonuleic acid (mRNA) in each of the five fibrotic cell lines than in normal fibroblasts. uPA was mitogenic for normal as well as fibrotic fibroblasts, indicating that receptor binding concurrently localizes cellular proteolytic activity and stimulates mitogenesis. Morphometry and immunohistochemical analysis showed that uPAR, as well as uPA, was increased in fibroblasts in fibrotic lung tissue. Increased expression of uPAR by fibrotic lung fibroblasts and enhanced urokinase binding induced by proinflammatory cytokines suggest a novel mechanism by which fibroblast-mediated matrix remodeling and proliferation may be regulated in interstitial lung diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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