Background:Overexpression of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) in alveolar type II epithelial (AT II) cells disrupts alveolar structure, causes interstitial fibrosis, and upregulates integrin-linked kinase (ILK). Whether CTGF-ILK signaling induces epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in AT II cells is unknown.Methods:Transgenic mice with targeted overexpression of CTGF in AT II cells were generated utilizing the surfactant protein C (SP-C) gene promoter and doxycycline-inducible system. AT II cells were isolated from 4-wk-old CTGF-overexpressing (CTGF+) mice and control littermates, and cultured on Matrigel. Cells were transfected with ILK siRNA, and cell morphology and expression of cell differentiation markers were analyzed.Results:The AT II cells from the control lungs grew in clusters and formed alveolar-like cysts and expressed SP-C. In contrast, the cells from CTGF+ lungs were spread and failed to form alveolar-like cysts. These cells expressed higher levels of CTGF, α smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), fibronectin and vimentin, the mesenchymal markers, suggesting EMT-like changes. Transfection with ILK siRNA not only dramatically attenuated ILK expression, but also decreased α-SMA expression as well as reversed cell morphological changes in CTGF+ AT II cells.Conclusion:Overexpression of CTGF induces EMT in mouse primary AT II cells and this is mediated by ILK.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health