Pulmonary fibrosis is a severe condition with no cure and limited therapeutic options. Better understanding of its pathophysiology is needed. Recent studies have suggested that pulmonary fibrosis may be driven by accelerated aging-related mechanisms. Sirtuins (SIRTs), particularly SIRT1, -3, and -6, are well-known mediators of aging, however limited data exist on the contribution of sirtuins to lung fibrosis. We assessed the mRNA and protein levels of all seven known sirtuins in primary lung fibroblasts from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and systemic sclerosis-associated interstitial lung disease (SSc-ILD) in comparison with lung fibroblasts from healthy controls. These unbiased tests revealed a tendency for all sirtuins to be expressed at lower levels in fibroblasts from patients compared to controls, but the greatest decrease was observed with SIRT7. Similarly, SIRT7 was decreased in lung tissues of bleomycin-challenged mice. Inhibition of SIRT7 with siRNA in cultured lung fibroblasts resulted in an increase in collagen and alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA). Reciprocally, overexpression of SIRT7 resulted in lower basal and TGF-β-induced levels of COL1A1, COL1A2, COL3A1, and α-SMA mRNAs, as well as collagen and α-SMA proteins. Induced changes in SIRT7 had no effect on endogenous TGF-β mRNA levels or latent TGF-β activation, but overexpression of SIRT7 reduced the levels of Smad3 mRNA and protein. In conclusion, the decline in SIRT7 in lung fibroblasts has a profibrotic effect, which is mediated by changes in Smad3 levels.
- pulmonary fibrosis
- idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
- systemic sclerosis
- Copyright © 2016, American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology