Macrophage bone morphogenic protein receptor 2 depletion in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and Group III pulmonary hypertension

Ning Yuan Chen, Scott D. Collum, Fayong Luo, Tingting Weng, Thuy Trahn Le, Adriana M. Hernandez, Kemly Philip, Jose G. Molina, Luis J. Garcia-Morales, Yanna Cao, Tien C. Ko, Javier Amione-Guerra, Odeaa Al-Jabbari, Raquel R. Bunge, Keith A. Youker, Brian A. Bruckner, Rizwan Hamid, Jonathan Davies, Neeraj Sinha, Harry Karmouty-Quintana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a lethal lung disease of unknown etiology. The development of pulmonary hypertension (PH) is considered the single most significant predictor of mortality in patients with chronic lung diseases. The processes that govern the progression and development of fibroproliferative and vascular lesions in IPF are not fully understood. Using human lung explant samples from patients with IPF with or without a diagnosis of PH as well as normal control tissue, we report reduced BMPR2 expression in patients with IPF or IPF+PH. These changes were consistent with dampened P-SMAD 1/5/8 and elevated P-SMAD 2/3, demonstrating reduced BMPR2 signaling and elevated TGF-β activity in IPF. In the bleomycin (BLM) model of lung fibrosis and PH, we also report decreased BMPR2 expression compared with control animals that correlated with vascular remodeling and PH. We show that genetic abrogation or pharmacological inhibition of interleukin-6 leads to diminished markers of fibrosis and PH consistent with elevated levels of BMPR2 and reduced levels of a collection of microRNAs (miRs) that are able to degrade BMPR2. We also demonstrate that isolated bone marrow-derived macrophages from BLM-exposed mice show reduced BMPR2 levels upon exposure with IL6 or the IL6+IL6R complex that are consistent with immunohistochemistry showing reduced BMPR2 in CD206 expressing macrophages from lung sections from IPF and IPF+PH patients. In conclusion, our data suggest that depletion of BMPR2 mediated by a collection of miRs induced by IL6 and subsequent STAT3 phosphorylation as a novel mechanism participating to fibroproliferative and vascular injuries in IPF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-254
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Interleukin-6
  • MiRNA
  • STAT-3
  • TGF
  • Vascular remodeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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