Acute inflammatory injury in the lung precipitated by oxidant stress induces fibroblasts to synthesize and release transforming growth factor-α

Jeevalatha Vivekananda, Alan Lin, Jacqueline J. Coalson, Richard J. King

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60 Scopus citations


Although transforming growth factor-α (TGF-α) is widely distributed in transformed cells and in some normal cells and much is known about its structure and metabolism, there is little information about its physiological actions. TGF-α is not thought to be synthesized by nontransformed fibroblasts, but it is thought to be a mitogen for these and epithelial cells (Derynck, R. (1986) J. Cell. Biochem. 32, 293-304). We report here that fibroblasts obtained from hamsters with oxidant-induced lung injury release TGF-α at levels comparable with those reported for transformed cells. In conditioned media, one isoform of 18 kDa was recognized by a monoclonal antibody to mature TGF-α; five isoforms ranging from 18 to 42 kDa were recognized in cell lysates. Conditioned media from these fibroblasts stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of the epidermal growth factor (EGF)/TGF- α receptor, competed with radioactive EGF for binding sites on A431 cells, and were mitogenic for mesenchymal and epithelial cells. This mitogenic activity could be almost completely blocked by anti-TGF-α. Conditioned media from normal lung fibroblasts exhibited none of these activities. Using normal lung fibroblasts, we found that TGF-α synthesis could be induced in vitro with 25 nmol/ml EGF, suggesting that the induction in vivo may have been due, in part, to a stimulation by EGF (or TGF-α) released by other cell types such as alveolar macrophages recruited to the injury site. TGF-α is, in general, a mitogen for epithelial cells (Derynck, 1986); more specific to acute injury in the lung, it may affect the proliferation (Ryan, R. M., Mineo-Kuhn, M. M., Kromer, C. M., and Finkelstein, J. N. (1994) Am. J. Physiol. 266, L17-L23) and metabolic activities (Whitsett, J. A., Weaver, T. E., Lieberman, M. A., Clark, J. G., and Daugherty, C. (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 7908-7913) of alveolar epithelial type II cells. This is, we believe, the first report of a fibroblast-derived TGF-α induced with oxidant injury. If this response was ubiquitously manifested in other tissues, then fibroblast-derived TGF-α might be an important determinant of the epithelial and mesenchymal hyperplasia commonly observed in tissue repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25057-25061
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 7 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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