Background: Small airway remodeling is an important cause of the airflow limitation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A large population of patients with COPD also have pulmonary hypertension. Krüppel-like factor 5 (KLF5) is a zinc-finger transcription factor that contributes to tissue remodeling in cardiovascular diseases. Here, we evaluate the possible involvement of KLF5 in the remodeling of small airways and pulmonary vessels in COPD. Methods: Lung tissues were obtained from 23 control never-smokers, 17 control ex-smokers and 24 ex-smokers with COPD. The expression of KLF5 in the lung tissues was investigated by immunohistochemistry. We investigated whether oxidative/nitrosative stress, which is a major cause of the pathogenesis in COPD, could augment the production of KLF5. We examined the role of KLF5 in the stress-mediated tissue remodeling responses. We also investigated the susceptibility of KLF5 expression to nitrosative stress using bronchial fibroblasts isolated from the lung tissues. Results: The expression of KLF5 was up-regulated in the small airways and pulmonary vessels of the COPD patients and it was mainly expressed in bronchial fibroblasts and cells of the pulmonary vessels. The extent of the KLF5 expression in the small airway of the COPD group had a significant correlation with the severity of the airflow limitation. Oxidative/nitrosative stress augmented the production of KLF5 in lung fibroblasts as well as the translocation of KLF5 into the nuclei. Silencing of KLF5 suppressed the stress-augmented differentiation into myofibroblasts, the release of collagens and metalloproteinases. Bronchial fibroblasts from the patients with COPD highly expressed KLF5 compared to those from the control subjects under basal condition and were more susceptible to the induction of KLF5 expression by nitrosative stress compared to those from the control subjects. Conclusion: We provide the first evidence that the expression of KLF5 is up-regulated in small airways and pulmonary vessels of patients with COPD and may be involved in the tissue remodeling of COPD.
- Disease susceptibility
- Nitrosative stress
- Oxidative stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine