Increased PDGFRalpha activation disrupts connective tissue development and drives systemic fibrosis

Dev Cell. 2009 Feb;16(2):303-13. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2008.12.003.


PDGF signaling regulates the development of mesenchymal cell types in the embryo and in the adult, but the role of receptor activation in tissue homeostasis has not been investigated. We have generated conditional knockin mice with mutations in PDGFRalpha that drive increased kinase activity under the control of the endogenous PDGFRalpha promoter. In embryos, increased PDGFRalpha signaling leads to hyperplasia of stromal fibroblasts, which disturbs normal smooth muscle tissue in radially patterned organs. In adult mice, elevated PDGFRalpha signaling also increases connective tissue growth, leading to a progressive fibrosis phenotype in multiple organs. Increased PDGFRalpha signaling in an Ink4a/Arf-deficient genetic background leads to accelerated fibrosis, suggesting a new role for tumor suppressors in attenuating fibrotic diseases. These results highlight the role of PDGFRalpha in normal connective tissue development and homeostasis and demonstrate a pivotal role for PDGFRalpha signaling in systemic fibrosis diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Connective Tissue / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibrosis / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha