Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis constitutes the most devastating form of fibrotic lung disorders and remains refractory to current therapies. The coagulation cascade is frequently activated during pulmonary fibrosis, but this observation has so far resisted a mechanistic explanation. Recent data suggest that protease-activated receptor (PAR)-2, a receptor activated by (among others) coagulation factor (F)Xa, plays a key role in fibrotic disease; consequently, we assessed the role of PAR-2 in the development of pulmonary fibrosis in this study. We show that PAR-2 is up-regulated in the lungs of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and that bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from these patients displays increased procoagulant activity that triggers fibroblast survival. Using a bleomycin model of pulmonary fibrosis, we show that bleomycin induces PAR-2 expression, as well as both myofibroblast differentiation and collagen synthesis. In PAR-2-/- mice, both the extent and severity of fibrotic lesions are reduced, whereas myofibroblast differentiation is diminished and collagen expression is decreased. Moreover, fibrin deposition in the lungs of fibrotic PAR-2-/- mice is reduced compared with wild-type mice due to differential tissue factor expression in response to bleomycin. Taken together, these results suggest an important role for PAR-2 in the development of pulmonary fibrosis , and the inhibition of the PAR-2-coagulation axis may provide a novel therapeutic approach to treat this devastating disease. Copyright,
American Journal of Pathology
Department of Pathology

Borensztajn, K, Bresser, P, van der Loos, C.M, Bot, I, van den Blink, B, den Bakker, M.A, … Spek, C.A. (2010). Protease-activated receptor-2 induces myofibroblast differentiation and tissue factor up-regulation during bleomycin-induced lung injury: Potential role in pulmonary fibrosis. American Journal of Pathology, 177(6), 2753–2764. doi:10.2353/ajpath.2010.091107