IL-1 and TNFα Contribute to the Inflammatory Niche to Enhance Alveolar Regeneration

Stem Cell Reports. 2019 Apr 9;12(4):657-666. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2019.02.013. Epub 2019 Mar 28.


Inflammatory responses are known to facilitate tissue recovery following injury. However, the precise mechanisms that enhance lung alveolar regeneration remain unclear. Here, using an organoid-based screening assay, we find that interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) enhance the proliferation of AEC2s while maintaining their differentiation capacity. Furthermore, we find that expression of IL-1β and TNFα are induced in the AEC2 niche following influenza-induced injury in vivo, and lineage tracing analysis revealed that surviving AEC2s around the damaged area contribute to alveolar regeneration. Through genetic and pharmacological modulation of multiple components of the IL-1-nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) signaling axis, we show that cell-intrinsic as well as stromal mediated IL-1 signaling are essential for AEC2 mediated lung regeneration. Taken together, we propose that the IL-1/TNFα-NF-κB signaling axis functions as a component of an inflammation-associated niche to regulate proliferation of surviving AEC2s and promote lung regeneration.

Keywords: IL-1; NF-κB; TNFα; alveolar damage; alveolar epithelium; alveolar organoids; inflammatory niche; influenza virus; lung regeneration; repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alveolar Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Alveolar Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Microenvironment* / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Influenza, Human
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / physiology*
  • Regeneration* / genetics
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Interleukin-1
  • NF-kappa B
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha