PloS one

Uncoupling between inflammatory and fibrotic responses to silica: evidence from MyD88 knockout mice.

PMID 25050810


The exact implication of innate immunity in granuloma formation and irreversible lung fibrosis remains to be determined. In this study, we examined the lung inflammatory and fibrotic responses to silica in MyD88-knockout (KO) mice. In comparison to wild-type (WT) mice, we found that MyD88-KO animals developed attenuated lung inflammation, neutrophil accumulation and IL-1β release in response to silica. Granuloma formation was also less pronounced in MyD88-KO mice after silica. This limited inflammatory response was not accompanied by a concomitant attenuation of lung collagen accumulation after silica. Histological analyses revealed that while pulmonary fibrosis was localized in granulomas in WT animals, it was diffusely distributed throughout the parenchyma in MyD88-KO mice. Robust collagen accumulation was also observed in mice KO for several other components of innate immunity (IL-1R, IL-1, ASC, NALP3, IL-18R, IL-33R, TRIF, and TLR2-3-4,). We additionally show that pulmonary fibrosis in MyD88-KO mice was associated with the accumulation of pro-fibrotic regulatory T lymphocytes (T regs) and pro-fibrotic cytokine expression (TGF-β, IL-10 and PDGF-B), not with T helper (Th) 17 cell influx. Our findings indicate that the activation of MyD88-related innate immunity is central in the establishment of particle-induced lung inflammatory and granuloma responses. The development of lung fibrosis appears uncoupled from inflammation and may be orchestrated by a T reg-associated pathway.