Publications by authors named "Amy L Horwell"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Selective deletion of connective tissue growth factor attenuates experimentally-induced pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Int J Biochem Cell Biol 2021 Mar 1;134:105961. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Centre for Rheumatology and Connective Tissue Disease, Department of Inflammation, Division of Medicine, University College London, London, NW3 2PF, UK.

Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF, CCN2) is a matricellular protein which plays key roles in normal mammalian development and in tissue homeostasis and repair. In pathological conditions, dysregulated CCN2 has been associated with cancer, cardiovascular disease, and tissue fibrosis. In this study, genetic manipulation of the CCN2 gene was employed to investigate the role of CCN2 expression in vitro and in experimentally-induced models of pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Knocking down CCN2 using siRNA reduced expression of pro-fibrotic markers (fibronectin p < 0.01, collagen type I p < 0.05, α-SMA p < 0.0001, TIMP-1 p < 0.05 and IL-6 p < 0.05) in TGF-β-treated lung fibroblasts derived from systemic sclerosis patients. In vivo studies were performed in mice using a conditional gene deletion strategy targeting CCN2 in a fibroblast-specific and time-dependent manner in two models of lung disease. CCN2 deletion significantly reduced pulmonary interstitial scarring and fibrosis following bleomycin-instillation, as assessed by fibrotic scores (wildtype bleomycin 3.733 ± 0.2667 vs CCN2 knockout (KO) bleomycin 4.917 ± 0.3436, p < 0.05) and micro-CT. In the well-established chronic hypoxia/Sugen model of pulmonary hypertension, CCN2 gene deletion resulted in a significant decrease in pulmonary vessel remodelling, less right ventricular hypertrophy and a reduction in the haemodynamic measurements characteristic of PAH (RVSP and RV/LV + S were significantly reduced (p < 0.05) in CCN2 KO compared to WT mice in hypoxic/SU5416 conditions). These results support a prominent role for CCN2 in pulmonary fibrosis and in vessel remodelling associated with PAH. Therefore, therapeutics aimed at blocking CCN2 function are likely to benefit several forms of severe lung disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocel.2021.105961DOI Listing
March 2021

Characterization of Mesenchymal-Fibroblast Cells Using the Col1a2 Promoter/Enhancer.

Methods Mol Biol 2017 ;1627:139-161

Department of Musculoskeletal Biology, Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

Excessive deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) is a common hallmark of fibrotic diseases in various organs. Chiefly among this ECM are collagen types I and III, secreted by local fibroblasts, and other mesenchymal cells recruited for repair purposes. In the last two decades, the search for a fibroblast-specific promoter/enhancer has intensified in order to control the regulation of ECM in these cells and limit the scarring of the fibrotic process. In our previous work, we characterized an enhancer region 17 kb upstream of the Col1a2 gene transcription start site. This enhancer in transgenic mice is expressed mainly in mesenchymal cells during development and in adults upon injury. When driving transgenes such as beta-galactosidase or luciferase, this construct acts as an informative reporter of collagen transcription and is predictive of collagen type I deposition. In this chapter, we provide detailed protocols for identifying similar enhancers and using the sequence to generate a construct for transfection and producing transgenic animals. We also provided information on the use of luminescence in transgenic mice, tissue processing, as well as using cre/lox system to obtain conditional gain and loss of function in mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-7113-8_10DOI Listing
May 2018