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Aortic Carboxypeptidase-Like Protein Is Expressed in Fibrotic Human Lung and its Absence Protects against Bleomycin-Induced Lung Fibrosis

By Scott L. Schissel, Sarah E. Dunsmore, Xiaoli Liu, Robert W. Shine, Mark A. Perrella and Matthew D. Layne


The pathological hallmarks of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis include proliferating fibroblasts and myofibroblasts, as well as excessive collagen matrix deposition. In addition, both myofibroblast contraction and remodeling of the collagen-rich matrix contribute to the abnormal structure and function of the fibrotic lung. Little is known, however, about collagen-associated proteins that promote fibroblast and myofibroblast retention, as well as the proliferation of these cells on the extracellular matrix. In this study, we demonstrate that aortic carboxypeptidase-like protein (ACLP), a collagen-associated protein with a discoidin-like domain, is expressed at high levels in human fibrotic lung tissue and human fibroblasts, and that its expression increases markedly in the lungs of bleomycin-injured mice. Importantly, ACLP-deficient mice accumulated significantly fewer myofibroblasts and less collagen in the lung after bleomycin injury, as compared with wild-type controls, despite equivalent levels of bleomycin-induced inflammation. ACLP that is secreted by lung fibroblasts was retained on fibrillar collagen, and ACLP-deficient lung fibroblasts that were cultured on collagen exhibited changes in cell spreading, proliferation, and contraction of the collagen matrix. Finally, the addition of recombinant discoidin-like domain of ACLP to cultured ACLP-deficient lung fibroblasts restored cell spreading and increased the contraction of collagen gels. Therefore, both ACLP and its discoidin-like domain may be novel targets for anti-myofibroblast-based therapies for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis

Topics: Regular Articles
Publisher: American Society for Investigative Pathology
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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