Reduced platelet-derived growth factor receptor expression is a primary feature of human bronchopulmonary dysplasia

Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2014 Aug 1;307(3):L231-9. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00342.2013. Epub 2014 Jun 6.


Animal studies have shown that platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) signaling is required for normal alveolarization. Changes in PDGF receptor (PDGFR) expression in infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), a disease of hypoalveolarization, have not been examined. We hypothesized that PDGFR expression is reduced in neonatal lung mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) from infants who develop BPD. MSCs from tracheal aspirates of premature infants requiring mechanical ventilation in the first week of life were studied. MSC migration was assessed in a Boyden chamber. Human lung tissue was obtained from the University of Rochester Neonatal Lung Biorepository. Neonatal mice were exposed to air or 75% oxygen for 14 days. PDGFR expression was quantified by qPCR, immunoblotting, and stereology. MSCs were isolated from 25 neonates (mean gestational age 27.7 wk); 13 developed BPD and 12 did not. MSCs from infants who develop BPD showed lower PDGFR-α and PDGFR-β mRNA and protein expression and decreased migration to PDGF isoforms. Lungs from infants dying with BPD show thickened alveolar walls and paucity of PDGFR-α-positive cells in the dysmorphic alveolar septa. Similarly, lungs from hyperoxia-exposed neonatal mice showed lower expression of PDGFR-α and PDGFR-β, with significant reductions in the volume of PDGFR-α-positive alveolar tips. In conclusion, MSCs from infants who develop BPD hold stable alterations in PDGFR gene expression that favor hypoalveolarization. These data demonstrate that defective PDGFR signaling is a primary feature of human BPD.

Keywords: PDGFR-α; PDGFR-β; hyperoxia; lung development; prematurity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / etiology
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / genetics*
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / pathology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / genetics
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Hyperoxia / genetics
  • Hyperoxia / metabolism
  • Hyperoxia / pathology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / metabolism
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / genetics
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / pathology
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha / genetics*
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha / metabolism
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor beta / genetics*
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor beta