Characterization of two major populations of lung fibroblasts: distinguishing morphology and discordant display of Thy 1 and class II MHC.

R. P. Phipps, D. P. Penney, P. Keng, H. Quill, A. Paxhia, S. Derdak, M. E. Felch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have determined that murine lung fibroblasts are divisible into two major subpopulations based on expression of Thy 1. Twenty-four to fifty-three percent of freshly isolated lung cells displayed Thy 1 and were separated using FACS into Thy 1+ and Thy 1- fractions for morphologic examination. Analysis by electron microscopy revealed that both the Thy 1+ and Thy 1- fractions contained fibroblasts. Freshly isolated lung cells cultured for 2 wk consisted of greater than 95% fibroblasts, with 28 to 49% displaying Thy 1. These cells were sorted by FACS into Thy 1+ and Thy 1- lines that maintained a stable phenotype over many weeks and that were used as a source to obtain stable fibroblast clones. Adherent pulmonary fibroblasts are not phagocytic and lack the markers of macrophages, dendritic cells, B lymphocytes, and T lymphocytes (with the exception of Thy 1). Interestingly, the Thy 1- fibroblasts spread more and contained a more extensive microfilament and microtubule network than did the spindly and often lipid-containing Thy 1+ population. Both populations of fibroblasts synthesized collagen. Class I MHC expression was very low on Thy 1+ and Thy 1- fibroblasts, but high levels were displayed after gamma-IFN treatment. Most exciting was the unexpected finding that only the Thy 1- lines and clones displayed class II MHC (Ia) in response to treatment with gamma-IFN. Moreover, only the Thy 1- fraction (gamma-IFN-treated) presented antigen to T lymphocyte clones, an observation that suggests that this subset of cells may be involved primarily in promoting chronic lung inflammation, which is associated with developing fibrosis. Thus, two populations of pulmonary fibroblasts exist, defined by the expression of Thy 1, distinguishing morphology, inducibility for Ia expression, and antigen-presenting function. It should now be possible, using these characteristics, to ascertain the role of pulmonary fibroblast subpopulations in developing fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-74
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of two major populations of lung fibroblasts: distinguishing morphology and discordant display of Thy 1 and class II MHC.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this