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Am J Physiol. 1996 Jul;271(1 Pt 1):L54-60.

Dynamics of TGF-beta 3 peptide activity during rat alveolar epithelial cell proliferative recovery from acute hyperoxia.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Research Institute, University of Southern California School of Medicine 90027, USA.


Hyperoxia causes a reproducible pattern of lung injury and recovery, characterized by proliferation of type II alveolar epithelial cells (AEC2) during the recovery phase. We measured TGF-beta peptide production by AEC2 and macrophages from lungs of adult male rats exposed to 100% oxygen for 48 h and then allowed to recover for up to 72 h in room air. TGF-beta peptide activity levels were measured using the PAI-1 promoter-luciferase mink lung epithelial cell assay and characterized with peptide specific inhibitory antibodies. Control AEC2 produced 997 +/- 54 pg active TGF-beta x 10(6) cells-1.24h-1 (mean +/- SD), of which > 70% was TGF-beta 3, while cultured macrophages produced 58 +/- 17 pg active TGF-beta x 10(6) macrophages-1.24 h-1, > 80% of which was TGF-beta 1. During hyperoxia and recovery, active TGF-beta 3 production by AEC2 decreased by 75%, with a nadir at 24 h recovery (P < 0.005). In contrast, TGF-beta peptide activity increased from undetectable levels in lung lavage from control rats to a peak of 1,470 +/- 743 pg/rat after 48 h oxygen exposure and 24 h recovery, while lavaged macrophage TGF-beta production in culture also increased threefold to a peak of 150 +/- 5 pg. 10(6) cells-1. 24 h-1 after 48 h oxygen exposure (P < 0.005). The nadir of active TGF-beta 3 production by AEC2 coincided with the peak of the AEC2 proliferative phase of repair as determined by BrdU incorporation and FACS analysis of freshly isolated AEC2. We conclude that active TGF-beta 3 production by AEC2 is dynamically downregulated during the proliferative phase of recovery from acute hyperoxic injury in rat. We speculate that decreased autocrine negative regulation of AEC2 proliferation by TGF-beta 3 may facilitate AEC2 proliferation during recovery from acute hyperoxic injury.

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