Previous studies suggest that single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) exposure causes pulmonary fibrosis. We investigated the contribution of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) during SWCNT-induced pulmonary fibrosis. C57BL6 female mice were intratracheally instilled with SWCNT at 80 μg/mouse for up to 56 days. SWCNT exposure caused pulmonary epithelial and mesenchymal injury, followed by granulomatous and fibrotic changes. Immunofluorescence staining demonstrated the increasing occurrence of epithelial-derived fibroblasts up to 42 days post-exposure. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that 42.60% of N-cadherin (N-cad)-positive fibroblasts were derived from pulmonary epithelial cells, and, in separate experiments, 30.68% of SPC positive cells were stained for N-cad at 42 days. These epithelial-derived fibroblasts were functional in collagen production. With the progression of fibrosis, there were increases in the number of hyperplastic epithelial cells stained positively for TGF-β/p-Smad2 or β-catenin. Therefore, EMT contributes significantly to fibroblast expansion. Aberrant activations of TGF-β/p-Smad2 and β-catenin are postulated to induce EMT during SWCNT-induced pathogenic fibrosis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering