Changes in extracellular matrix and tissue viscoelasticity in bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis. Temporal aspects

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2000 Oct;162(4 Pt 1):1569-76. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.162.4.9912011.


Bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis results in changes in tissue mechanical properties due to alterations in the extracellular matrix (ECM). How oscillatory mechanics and changes in the matrix evolve over time has not been addressed. Sprague-Dawley rats were instilled with bleomycin sulfate (BM) (1.5 U) intratracheally; control animals (C) received saline. At 7, 14, and 28 d after BM, parenchymal strips (7 x 2 x 2 mm) were obtained and strips suspended in a Krebs-filled organ bath. One end of the strip was attached to a force (F) transducer and the other to a lever arm that effected sinusoidal length (L) oscillations. Strips were oscillated at varying amplitudes (1, 3, and 10% of resting L) and frequencies (f = 0.3, 1, 3, and 10 Hz) at an operating stress of 2 kPa. Resistance (R) and elastance (E) were estimated by fitting changes in F and L to the equation of motion. Hysteresivity (eta) was calculated as eta = (R/E) 2pif. Strips were then fixed for morphological study of collagen, elastic fibers, and the small proteoglycans (PGs), biglycan and fibromodulin (FM). R and E were significantly greater and eta significantly less in BM versus C strips (p < 0.001). The increase in R and E peaked at 14 d after BM; the decrement in eta was maximal at Day 7. Biglycan was increased in BM lung strips at all time points, FM and elastic fibers were increased at 14 and 28 d, and collagen was increased at 28 d only. Hence, changes in mechanics were maximal before collagen content had increased. In addition, we demonstrated a significant correlation between biglycan and all mechanical parameters. These data suggest that changes in PGs may be critical in determining changes in lung tissue viscoelastic behavior in this fibrosis model

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bleomycin / toxicity*
  • Elasticity
  • Extracellular Matrix / drug effects*
  • Extracellular Matrix / pathology
  • Lung Compliance / drug effects*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / chemically induced*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Bleomycin