Journal of thoracic disease

Overexpression of farnesoid X receptor in small airways contributes to epithelial to mesenchymal transition and COX-2 expression in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

PMID 28066584


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) contribute to airway remodelling and inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Recent data suggest that the farnesoid X receptor (FXR), a nuclear receptor traditionally considered as bile acid-activated receptor, is also expressed in non-classical bile acids target tissues with novel functions beyond regulating bile acid homeostasis. This study aimed to investigate the potential role of FXR in the development of COPD, as well as factors that affect FXR expression. Expression of FXR, EMT biomarkers and COX-2 was examined by immunohistochemistry in lung tissues from non-smokers, smokers, and smokers with COPD. The role of FXR in TGF-β1-induced EMT and COX-2 expression in human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells was evaluated in vitro. Factors regulating FXR expression were assessed in cultured HBE cells and a cigarette smoke-induced rat model of COPD. Expression of FXR, EMT markers and COX-2 was significantly elevated in small airway epithelium of COPD patients compared with controls. The staining scores of FXR in small airway epithelium were negatively related with FEV1% of predicted of smokers without and with COPD. FXR agonist GW4064 remarkably enhanced and FXR antagonist Z-Guggulsterone significantly inhibited EMT changes in TGF-β1-treated HBE cells. Both chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) and GW4064 increased COX-2 expression in HBE cells, whereas Z-Guggulsterone dramatically restrained CDCA-induced COX-2 expression. Finally, FXR expression is induced by IL-4 and IL-13 in HBE cells, as well as by cigarette smoke exposure in a rat model of COPD. Overexpression of FXR in small airway may contribute to airway remodelling and inflammation in COPD by regulating EMT and COX-2 expression.

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GW4064, ≥97% (HPLC)