Antiinflammation and Antioxidant Effects of Thalidomide on Pulmonary Fibrosis in Mice and Human Lung Fibroblasts

Inflammation. 2017 Dec;40(6):1836-1846. doi: 10.1007/s10753-017-0625-2.


In this study, the potential effects of thalidomide (Thal) on bleomycin (BLM)-induced pulmonary fibrosis were investigated. BALB/C mice model of pulmonary fibrosis induced by an intratracheal instillation of BLM was adopted, and then was intraperitoneally injected with Thal (10, 20, 50 mg/kg) daily for 8 days, while the control and BLM-treated mouse groups were injected with a saline solution. The effects of Thal on pulmonary injury were evaluated by the lung wet/dry weight ratios and histopathological examination. Inflammation of lung tissues was assessed by measuring the levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Oxidative stress was evaluated by detecting the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), superoxide dismutase (SOD), total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC), and malondialdehyde (MDA) in lung tissue. The results indicated that Thal treatment remarkably attenuated pulmonary fibrosis, oxidative stress, and inflammation in mouse lungs. The antiinflammatory and antioxidant effects of Thal were also found in human lung fibroblasts. Thal administration significantly enhanced the activity of thioredoxin reductase; however, the other enzymes or proteins involved in biologic oxidation-reduction equilibrium were not affected. Our findings indicate that Thal-mediated suppression of pulmonary fibrosis is related to the inhibition of oxidative stress and inflammatory response. In summary, these results may provide a rationale to explore clinical application of Thal for the prevention of pulmonary fibrosis.

Keywords: inflammation; oxidative stress; pulmonary fibrosis; thalidoamide; thioredoxin reductase.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibroblasts / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Injury / drug therapy
  • Mice
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Thalidomide / pharmacology
  • Thalidomide / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Thalidomide