Research Article

Toll-like receptor 4 promotes fibrosis in bleomycin-induced lung injury in mice

Published: December 21, 2015
Genet. Mol. Res. 14 (4) : 17391-17398 DOI: 10.4238/2015.December.21.8

Abstract

The specific role of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis of mice, a model of human idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, has not been characterized. We injected bleomycin intratracheally into TLR4 knockout (TLR4-/-) and wild-type (WT) mice. Twenty-one days after injection, mice were sacrificed and their lungs were harvested for pathological, hydroxyproline, mRNA expression, and collagen I analyses. Body weight changes and mortality were observed. Light microscopy showed that lung fibrosis was minimal in TLR4-/- compared to that in WT mice on day 21 after bleomycin instillation. The Ashcroft score was significantly lower in TLR4-/- than in WT mice (3.667 ± 0.730 vs 4.945 ± 0.880, P -/- than in WT mice on day 21 after bleomycin injection (0.281 ± 0.022 vs 0.371 ± 0.047, P -/- mice expressed significantly lower type I collagen mRNA levels (mesenchymal marker; 11.069 ± 2.627 vs 4.589 ± 1.440, P -/- than in WT mice (0.838 ± 0.352 vs 2.427 ± 0.551, P -/- mice had a significantly lower mortality rate on day 21 than WT mice (33 vs 75%, P -/- mice than in WT mice; this difference was not statistically significant (-3.735 ± 5.276 vs -6.698 ± 3.218, P > 0.05). Thus, bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis is TLR4-dependent and TLR4 promoted fibrosis in bleomycin-challenged mice.

The specific role of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis of mice, a model of human idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, has not been characterized. We injected bleomycin intratracheally into TLR4 knockout (TLR4-/-) and wild-type (WT) mice. Twenty-one days after injection, mice were sacrificed and their lungs were harvested for pathological, hydroxyproline, mRNA expression, and collagen I analyses. Body weight changes and mortality were observed. Light microscopy showed that lung fibrosis was minimal in TLR4-/- compared to that in WT mice on day 21 after bleomycin instillation. The Ashcroft score was significantly lower in TLR4-/- than in WT mice (3.667 ± 0.730 vs 4.945 ± 0.880, P < 0.05). Hydroxyproline content was significantly lower in TLR4-/- than in WT mice on day 21 after bleomycin injection (0.281 ± 0.022 vs 0.371 ± 0.047, P < 0.05). Compared to WT mice, bleomycin-treated TLR4-/- mice expressed significantly lower type I collagen mRNA levels (mesenchymal marker; 11.069 ± 2.627 vs 4.589 ± 1.440, P < 0.05). Collagen I was significantly lower in TLR4-/- than in WT mice (0.838 ± 0.352 vs 2.427 ± 0.551, P < 0.05). Bleomycin-treated TLR4-/- mice had a significantly lower mortality rate on day 21 than WT mice (33 vs 75%, P < 0.05). Body weight reduction was lower in TLR4-/- mice than in WT mice; this difference was not statistically significant (-3.735 ± 5.276 vs -6.698 ± 3.218, P > 0.05). Thus, bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis is TLR4-dependent and TLR4 promoted fibrosis in bleomycin-challenged mice.