Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 2007 Jun 16;292(6):L1543-55. Epub 2007 Mar 16.
Division of Respiratory, Critical Care and Occupational Pulmonary Medicine, University of Utah Health Sciences Center and Veterans Administration Medical Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132, USA.
Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) plays a pivotal role in increasing airway smooth muscle mass in severe asthma by inducing proliferation and hypertrophy of human airway smooth muscle. The mechanism(s) for these effects of TGF-beta1 have not been fully elucidated. In this study, we demonstrate that TGF-beta1 is a potent inducer of expression of the nonphagocyte NAD(P)H oxidase catalytic homolog Nox4, diphenylene iodonium-inhibitable reactive oxygen species production, proliferation, and hypertrophy in cultured human airway smooth muscle cells. By confocal microscopy, TGF-beta1-induced Nox4 was localized with the endoplasmic reticulum and the nucleus, implying a role for Nox4 in regulation of both the cell cycle and protein synthesis. Consistent with this hypothesis, TGF-beta1 increased retinoblastoma protein phosphorylation at both Ser807/811 and Ser780. Silencing Nox4 prevented TGF-beta1-mediated retinoblastoma protein phosphorylation, proliferation, and cell hypertrophy. TGF-beta1 also increased phosphorylation of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E binding protein-1 at Thr37/46, and this was likewise blocked by silencing Nox4. This is the first report to suggest a functional role for Nox4 in cell cycle transition and to demonstrate that Nox4 influences the pathobiochemistry of asthma by generating reactive oxygen species that promote TGF-beta1-induced proliferation and hypertrophy of human airway smooth muscle.