The role of apoptosis in pulmonary fibrosis

Histol Histopathol. 2004 Jul;19(3):867-81. doi: 10.14670/HH-19.867.


Pulmonary fibrosis is a common response to various injuries to the lung. The resolution of a fibroproliferative response after lung injury is key to survival. Although there are various initiating factors or causes, the terminal stages are characterized by proliferation and progressive accumulation of connective tissue replacing normal functional parenchyma. Conventional therapy consisting of glucocorticoids or immunosuppressive drugs is usually ineffective in preventing progression of fibrosis. Further understanding of the molecular mechanisms of endothelial and epithelial cell injury, inflammatory reaction, fibroblast proliferation, collagen deposition and tissue remodeling, should lead to the development of effective treatments against pulmonary fibrosis. Evidence that apoptosis plays an important role in the pathophysiology of pulmonary fibrosis has been accumulated. We overview the role of apoptosis in each of the pathogenic events which have emerged from animal models and human tissue studies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Division
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells / pathology
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Fibroblasts
  • Growth Substances / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Lung Injury*
  • Models, Biological
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / etiology*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • fas Receptor


  • Cytokines
  • Growth Substances
  • fas Receptor
  • Collagen