Connective Tissue Growth Factor Is Overexpressed in Explant Lung Tissue and Broncho-Alveolar Lavage in Transplant-Related Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Journal: Frontiers In Immunology

Background: Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is an important mediator in several fibrotic diseases, including lung fibrosis. We investigated CTGF-expression in chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD) and pulmonary graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Materials and

Methods: CTGF expression was assessed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and immunohistochemistry in end-stage CLAD explant lung tissue (bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS), n=20; restrictive allograft syndrome (RAS), n=20), pulmonary GHVD (n=9). Unused donor lungs served as control group (n=20). Next, 60 matched lung transplant recipients (BOS, n=20; RAS, n=20; stable lung transplant recipients, n=20) were included for analysis of CTGF protein levels in plasma and broncho-alveolar lavage (BAL) fluid at 3 months post-transplant, 1 year post-transplant, at CLAD diagnosis or 2 years post-transplant in stable patients.

Results: qPCR revealed an overall significant difference in the relative content of CTGF mRNA in BOS, RAS and pulmonary GVHD vs. controls (p=0.014). Immunohistochemistry showed a significant higher percentage and intensity of CTGF-positive respiratory epithelial cells in BOS, RAS and pulmonary GVHD patients vs. controls (p<0.0001). BAL CTGF protein levels were significantly higher at 3 months post-transplant in future RAS vs. stable or BOS (p=0.028). At CLAD diagnosis, BAL protein content was significantly increased in RAS patients vs. stable (p=0.0007) and BOS patients (p=0.042). CTGF plasma values were similar in BOS, RAS, and stable patients (p=0.74).

Conclusions: Lung CTGF-expression is increased in end-stage CLAD and pulmonary GVHD; and higher CTGF-levels are present in BAL of RAS patients at CLAD diagnosis. Our results suggest a potential role for CTGF in CLAD, especially RAS, and pulmonary GVHD.

Arno Vanstapel, oel Goldschmeding, oel Broekhuizen, ri Nguyen, nnelore Sacreas, anne Kaes, obias Heigl, tijn E Verleden, lexandra De Zutter, eert Verleden, irgit Weynand, rik Verbeken, aurens J Ceulemans, irk E Van Raemdonck, rne P Neyrinck, elene M Schoemans, art M Vanaudenaerde, obin Vos

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