Attenuation of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis by a catalytic antioxidant metalloporphyrin

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2001 Aug;25(2):164-9. doi: 10.1165/ajrcmb.25.2.4235.


Oxidative stress plays an important role in the development of fibrotic responses in the lung. However, it is not clear whether inhibiting oxidative stress with antioxidants can attenuate fibrotic processes in the lung. The objective of these studies was to test whether the catalytic antioxidant porphyrin manganese (III) tetrakis (4-benzoic acid) porphyrin (MnTBAP) could protect mice against bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis. A 10 mg/kg intraperitoneal dose of MnTBAP was established as safe and had a serum and lung half-life of 9.5 h in mice. Based on this data, four groups of mice were given one dose of bleomycin (3.2 U/kg, intratracheal) or saline and MnTBAP (5 mg/kg, intraperitoneal) or saline twice daily for 14 d. Lung fibrosis was assessed by measuring (1) lung hydroxyproline content as an index of collagen accumulation, (2) airway dysfunction by whole body plethysmography, and (3) histopathology. Bleomycin produced a 20% loss in body weight that was only 10% in the bleomycin/MnTBAP group. Bleomycin produced a twofold increase in hydroxyproline content that was decreased 23% by MnTBAP. Bleomycin produced a twofold increase in airway dysfunction that was also attenuated 30% by MnTBAP. Histopathologic analysis of the lungs of mice treated with bleomycin demonstrated a severe fibrotic response that was attenuated 28% by MnTBAP. Future studies on the oxidant mechanisms that MnTBAP is affecting in this bleomycin model of lung fibrosis may shed light on potential new therapeutic approaches for treating interstitial lung diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / toxicity
  • Bleomycin / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Bleomycin / toxicity*
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Hydroxyproline / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metalloporphyrins / pharmacokinetics
  • Metalloporphyrins / pharmacology*
  • Metalloporphyrins / toxicity
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / chemically induced*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / prevention & control*


  • Antioxidants
  • Metalloporphyrins
  • manganese(III)-tetrakis(4-benzoic acid)porphyrin
  • Bleomycin
  • Collagen
  • Hydroxyproline