Microbes and infection

Nuclear erythroid 2 p45-related factor-2 Nrf2 ameliorates cigarette smoking-induced mucus overproduction in airway epithelium and mouse lungs.

PMID 25239867


Nuclear erythroid 2 p45-related factor-2 (Nrf2) is known to play important roles in airway disorders, whereas little has been investigated about its direct role in airway mucus hypersecretion. The aim of this study is to determine whether this factor could protect pulmonary epithelium and mouse airway from cigarette-induced mucus overproduction. Using genetic approaches, the role of Nrf2 on cigarette smoking extracts (CSE) induced MUC5AC expression was investigated in lung A549 cells. Nrf2 deficiency mice were smoked for various periods, and the airway inflammation and mucus production was characterized. Acute smoking exposure induced expression of MUC5AC and Nrf2 in both A549 cells and mouse lungs. Genetic ablation of Nrf2 augmented, whereas overexpression of this molecule ameliorated CSE-induced expression of MUC5AC. Nrf2 knockout mice, after exposure to cigarette smoking, displayed enhanced airway inflammation and mucus production. Nrf2 negatively regulated smoking-induced mucus production in vitro and in vivo, suggesting therapeutic potentials of this factor in airway diseases with hypersecreted mucus.