CXCL11 attenuates bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis via inhibition of vascular remodeling
Aberrant vascular remodeling is a central hallmark for the development and progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The mechanisms underlying the pathophysiologic alterations, however, are poorly understood. A recent phase 11 trial of interferon gamma-1b has demonstrated a trend toward a decrease in profibrotic and proangiogenic biologic markers, and upregulation of lung CXCL11 mRNA and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and plasma protein levels of CXCL11. We hypothesized that net aberrant vascular remodeling seen during the pathogenesis of fibroplasia and deposition of extracellular matrix during bleomycin-incluced pulmonary fibrosis can be attenuated by treatment with the angiostatic ELR- CXC chemokine, CXCL11. In a preclinical model, systemic administration of CXCL11 reduced pulmonary Collagen deposition, procollagen gene expression, and histopathologic fibroplasia and extracellular matrix deposition in the lung of bleomycin-treated mice. CXCL11 treatment significantly reduced bleomycin-incluced pulmonary fibrosis without altering specific lung leukocyte populations. CXCR3 is not expressed on fibroblasts and CXCL11 had no direct functional effect on pulmonary fibroblasts. The angiogenic activity in the lung was significantly decreased, however, and CXCL11 treatment reduced the total number of endothelial cells in the lung following bleomycin exposure. The results suggest that CXCL11 inhibits pulmonary fibrosis by altering aberrant vascular remodeling.