Alpha-1-antitrypsin stimulates fibroblast proliferation and procollagen production and activates classical MAP kinase signalling pathways.


Connective tissue formation at sites of tissue repair is regulated by matrix protein synthesis and degradation, which in turn is controlled by the balance between proteases and antiproteases. Recent evidence has suggested that antiproteases may also exert direct effects on cell function, including influencing cell migration and proliferation. The antiprotease, alpha1-antitrypsin, is the major circulating serine protease inhibitor which protects tissues from neutrophil elastase attack. Its deficiency is associated with the destruction of connective tissue in the lung and the development of emphysema, whereas accumulation of mutant alpha1-antitrypsin within hepatocytes often leads to liver fibrosis. In this study, we report that alpha1antitrypsin, at physiologically relevant concentrations, promotes fibroblast proliferation, with maximal stimulatory effects of 118 +/- 2% (n=6, P < 0.02) above media controls for cells exposed to 60 microM. We further show that alpha1antitrypsin also stimulates fibroblast procollagen production, independently of its effects on cell proliferation, with values maximally increased by 34 +/- 3% (n = 6, P < 0.01) above media controls at 30 microM. Finally, mechanistic studies to examine the mechanism by which alpha1-antitrypsin acts, showed that alpha1-antitrypsin induced the rapid activation of p42MAPK and p44MAPK (also known as ERK1/2) and that the specific MEK1 inhibitor PD98059 totally blocked alpha1-antitrypsin's mitogenic effects. These results support the hypothesis that alpha1-antitrypsin may play a role in influencing tissue repair in vivo by directly stimulating fibroblast proliferation and extracellular matrix production via classical mitogen-activated signalling pathways.

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@article{Dabbagh2001Alpha1antitrypsinSF, title={Alpha-1-antitrypsin stimulates fibroblast proliferation and procollagen production and activates classical MAP kinase signalling pathways.}, author={Khalid A . O . Al - Dabbagh and Geoffrey John Laurent and Anthony Shock and Patricia Leoni and Jenny Papakrivopoulou and Rachel C. Chambers}, journal={Journal of cellular physiology}, year={2001}, volume={186 1}, pages={73-81} }