WISP1 mediates IL-6-dependent proliferation in primary human lung fibroblasts.

Scientific reports

PubMedID: 26867691

Klee S, Lehmann M, Wagner DE, Baarsma HA, Königshoff M. WISP1 mediates IL-6-dependent proliferation in primary human lung fibroblasts. Sci Rep. 2016;620547.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive and fatal interstitial lung disease. IPF is characterized by epithelial cell injury and reprogramming, increases in (myo)fibroblasts, and altered deposition of extracellular matrix. The Wnt1-inducible signaling protein 1 (WISP1) is involved in impaired epithelial-mesenchymal crosstalk in pulmonary fibrosis. Here, we aimed to further investigate WISP1 regulation and function in primary human lung fibroblasts (phLFs). We demonstrate that WISP1 is directly upregulated by Transforming growth factor ß1 (TGFß1) and Tumor necrosis factor a (TNFa) in phLFs, using a luciferase-based reporter system. WISP1 mRNA and protein secretion increased in a time- and concentration-dependent manner by TGFß1 and TNFa in phLFs, as analysed by qPCR and ELISA, respectively. Notably, WISP1 is required for TGFß1- and TNFa-dependent induction of interleukin 6 (IL-6), a mechanism that is conserved in IPF phLFs. The siRNA-mediated WISP1 knockdown led to a significant IL-6 reduction after TGFß1 or TNFa stimulation. Furthermore, siRNA-mediated downregulation or antibody-mediated neutralization of WISP1 reduced phLFs proliferation, a process that was in part rescued by IL-6. Taken together, these results strongly indicate that WISP1-induced IL-6 expression contributes to the pro-proliferative effect on fibroblasts, which is likely orchestrated by a variety of profibrotic mediators, including Wnts, TGFß1 and TNFa.