CD70 activation decreases pulmonary fibroblast production of extracellular matrix proteins

Academic Article


  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a lethal, medically refractory syndrome characterized by intrapulmonary accumulations of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins produced by fibroblasts. Activation, clonal expansion, and differentiation of lymphocytes are also frequently present in IPF. Activated T cells are known to exert several effects that promote ECM production, but opposing homeostatic actions, wherein T cells can inhibit fibrosis, are less well understood. We found that CD27, a TNF receptor ubiquitously expressed on naive T cells, is downregulated on CD4 T cells of patients with IPF and that CD70, the sole ligand for CD27, is present on human pulmonary fibroblasts. We hypothesized that cognate engagements between lymphocyte CD27 and fibroblast CD70 could have functional consequences. Accordingly, a series of subsequent studies were conducted to examine the possible role of CD27-CD70 interactions in the regulation of fibrogenesis. Using IB, flow cytometry, RT-PCR, and kinomic assays, we found that fibroblast CD70 expression was inversely correlated with cell density and upregulated by TGF-b1 (transforming growth factor-b1). CD70 agonists, including T-cell-derived soluble CD27, markedly diminished fibroblast collagen and fibronectin synthesis, and these effects were potent enough to also inhibit profibrotic actions of TGF-b1 on ECM production in vitro and in two distinct ex vivo human skin models. CD70 activation was mediated by AKT (protein kinase B) and complex interconnected signaling pathways, and itwas abated by prior CD70 knockdown. These results show that the CD70-CD27 axis modulates T-cell-fibroblast interactions and may be an important regulator of fibrosis and wound healing. Fibroblast CD70 could also be a novel target for specific mechanistically based antifibrosis treatments.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tran-Nguyen TK; Xue J; Feghali-Bostwick C; Sciurba FC; Kass DJ; Duncan SR
  • Start Page

  • 255
  • End Page

  • 265
  • Volume

  • 63
  • Issue

  • 2