Rationale: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is caused by alterations in expression of proteins involved in multiple pathways, including matrix deposition, inflammation, injury, and repair.
Objectives: To understand the pathogenic changes in lung protein expression in IPF and to evaluate apolipoprotein (Apo) A-I as a candidate therapeutic molecule.
Methods: Two-dimensional electrophoresis was adopted for differential display proteomics. Reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, Western blotting, immunohistochemical staining, and ELISA were performed for identification and quantitative measurement of Apo A-I in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids from subjects with IPF and experimental bleomycin-induced mice.
Measurements and main results: Sixteen protein spots showed differences in relative intensity between IPF (n = 14) and healthy control subjects (n = 8). Nano liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) revealed increase of haptoglobulin and decrease of alpha(1)-antitrypsin, alpha(1)-antichymotrypsin, macrophage capping protein, angiotensinogen, hemoglobin chain B, Apo A-I, clusterin, protein disulfide isomerase A3, immunoglobulin, and complement C4A in IPF compared with normal control subjects (P = 0.006-0.044). Apo A-I concentrations were lower in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids from subjects with IPF (n = 28) than in normal control subjects (n = 18; P < 0.01). In bleomycin-treated mice, Apo A-I protein in BALF was lower than that in sham-treated control animals. Immunohistochemical analysis showed positive staining on intraalveolar macrophages and epithelial cells of the lungs. Intranasal treatment with Apo A-I protein reduced the bleomycin-induced increases in number of inflammatory cells and collagen deposition in sham-treated mice in a dose-dependent manner.
Conclusions: Alterations of several inflammatory and antiinflammatory proteins in the lungs may be related to the pathogenesis of IPF, and local treatment with Apo A-I is very effective against the development of experimental lung injury and fibrosis.