Differential susceptibility to epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of alveolar, bronchial and intestinal epithelial cells in vitro and the effect of angiotensin II receptor inhibition
Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of obliterative bronchiolitis (OB) after lung transplant. Although TNF-alpha accentuates TGF-beta1 driven EMT in primary human bronchial epithelial cells (PBECs), we hypothesized that other acute pro-inflammatory cytokines elevated in the airways of patients with OB may also accentuate EMT and contribute to dysregulated epithelial wound repair. PBECs from lung transplant recipients were stimulated with TGF-beta1+/-IL-1beta, IL-8, TNF-alpha or activated macrophages in co-culture and EMT assessed. The quality and rate of wound closure in a standardized model of lung epithelial injury was assessed in response to above stimuli. Co-treatment with TGF-beta1+TNF-alpha or IL-1beta significantly accentuates phenotypic and some functional features of EMT compared to TGF-beta1 alone. Co-treatment with TGF-beta1+TNF-alpha or IL-1beta accelerates epithelial wound closure however the quality of repair is highly dysregulated. Co-treatment with TGF-beta1+IL-8 has no significant effect on EMT or the speed or quality of wound healing. Activated macrophages dramatically accentuate TGF-beta1-driven EMT and cause dysregulated wound repair. Crosstalk between macrophage-derived acute inflammation in the airway and elevated TGF-beta1 may favor dysregulated airway epithelial repair and fibrosis in the lung allograft via EMT.