Bleomycin-induced fibrosis in rodents has been used extensively as a model of human pulmonary fibrosis. The influx of monocytes observed during the early stages of fibrosis is at least partially regulated by the elaboration of chemotactic factors in the lung. Exposure of alveolar macrophages (AM phi) to bleomycin either in vivo or in vitro stimulated secretion of monocyte chemotactic activity (MCA). This MCA has been previously characterized as being primarily due to fibronectin fragments. The present experiments revealed that bleomycin also induced AM phi to secrete a second chemotactic factor, transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta). However, the TGF-beta secreted by macrophages was in latent form, since no TGF-beta activity was detected unless AM phi conditioned medium (CM) was acid-activated. After acidification, chemotactic activity in CM from AM phi stimulated with bleomycin in vitro was increased by 3.6, whereas activity in AM phi CM from fibrotic rats increased by 2 and that of a bleomycin-stimulated AM phi cell line increased by 1.6. This acid-activatable chemotactic activity was inhibited by antibody to TGF-beta. Bleomycin-stimulated AM phi s secreted significantly more TGF-beta than did unstimulated controls. Further, in vitro exposure of AM phi to bleomycin induced TGF-beta mRNA expression in a time- and concentration-dependent manner, with maximal mRNA being detected following a 16-h incubation with 1 microgram/ml bleomycin.
- Copyright © 1993 the American Physiological Society