Extracellular matrix structure and tissue stiffness control postnatal lung development through the lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5/Tie2 signaling system

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2013 Dec;49(6):1009-18. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2013-0147OC.


Physical properties of the tissues and remodeling of extracellular matrix (ECM) play an important role in organ development. Recently, we have reported that low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP) 5/Tie2 signaling controls postnatal lung development by modulating angiogenesis. Here we show that tissue stiffness modulated by the ECM cross-linking enzyme, lysyl oxidase (LOX), regulates postnatal lung development through LRP5-Tie2 signaling. The expression of LRP5 and Tie2 is up-regulated twofold in lung microvascular endothelial cells when cultured on stiff matrix compared to those cultured on soft matrix in vitro. LOX inhibitor, β-aminopropionitrile, disrupts lung ECM (collagen I, III, and VI, and elastin) structures, softens neonatal mouse lung tissue by 20%, and down-regulates the expression of LRP5 and Tie2 by 20 and 60%, respectively, which leads to the inhibition of postnatal lung development (30% increase in mean linear intercept, 1.5-fold increase in air space area). Importantly, hyperoxia treatment (Postnatal Days 1-10) disrupts ECM structure and stiffens mouse lung tissue by up-regulating LOX activity, thereby increasing LRP5 and Tie2 expression and deregulating alveolar morphogenesis in neonatal mice, which is attenuated by inhibiting LOX activity. These findings suggest that appropriate physical properties of lung tissue are necessary for physiological postnatal lung development, and deregulation of this mechanism contributes to postnatal lung developmental disorders, such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / etiology
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / metabolism
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Elasticity
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Hyperoxia / complications
  • Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Related Protein-5 / deficiency
  • Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Related Protein-5 / genetics
  • Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Related Protein-5 / metabolism*
  • Lung / blood supply
  • Lung / growth & development*
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Lung Injury / etiology
  • Lung Injury / metabolism
  • Lung Injury / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Protein-Lysine 6-Oxidase / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptor, TIE-2 / genetics
  • Receptor, TIE-2 / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Related Protein-5
  • Lrp5 protein, mouse
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Protein-Lysine 6-Oxidase
  • Receptor, TIE-2
  • Tek protein, mouse