Molecular and cellular biochemistry

Diallyl disulfide inhibits proliferation and transdifferentiation of lung fibroblasts through induction of cyclooxygenase and synthesis of prostaglandin E₂.

PMID 24756243


Platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) are critically involved in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis by inducing the proliferation and transdifferentiation of lung fibroblasts. In the present study, we examined the impact of diallyl disulfide (DADS), a garlic-derived compound, on such pathological conditions. DADS showed profound inhibitory effects on the PDGF-BB-induced proliferation of human and mouse lung fibroblasts. DADS also abrogated the TGF-β1-induced expression of α-smooth muscle actin, type I collagen and fibronectin. Following treatment with DADS, the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and the synthesis of prostaglandin E₂ (PGE₂) were found to be markedly enhanced, which in turn led to elevated cAMP levels in lung fibroblasts. Notably, the effect of DADS was largely abolished in the presence of either COX inhibitor indomethacin or siRNA-targeting COX-2, or in the absence of the PGE₂ receptor EP2, supporting an essential role for the COX-2-PGE₂-cAMP autocrine loop. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the upregulated expression of COX-2 was a result of increased level of histone 3 acetylation at COX-2 locus in DADS-treated cells. Together, these results suggest that DADS, by inducing COX-2 expression, may have therapeutic potential in treating lung fibrosis.