Hypoxia-induced mitogenic factor (HIMF), also known as found in inflammatory zone 1 and resistin-like molecule α, belongs to a novel class of cysteine-rich secreted proteins. It exhibits mitogenic and chemotactic properties during pulmonary hypertensionassociated vascular remodeling, as well as fibrogenic properties during pulmonary fibrosis. HIMF expression in the lung was reported to be regulated by Th2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-13) via the transcription factor STAT6 pathway in a bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis model. However, in this study, we found that in the hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension model, lung HIMF expression is increased in IL-4 and STAT6 knockout (KO) mice to the same degree as in wild-type (WT) mice, suggesting that induction of HIMF expression does not require Th2 regulation in this model. We also found that HIMF-induced proliferative activity, hypertrophy, collagen, and extracellular matrix deposition in the pulmonary arteries are significantly less in IL-4 KO mice than in WT mice. In addition, HIMF-induced production of angiogenic factors/chemokines, such as vascular endothelial growth factor, MCP-1, and stromal-derived factor-1, in the lung resident cells, as well as macrophage infiltration, were significantly suppressed in the lungs of IL-4 KO mice. We also show that IL-4 was significantly increased in the lungs of HIMF-treated WT mice. Our in vitro studies using pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells revealed that HIMF stimulated cell proliferation, vascular endothelial growth factor expression, and MCP-1 production in a manner that is dependent on the IL-4/IL-4Rα system. These findings suggest that IL-4 signaling may play a significant role in HIMF-induced lung inflammation and vascular remodeling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy