Recent studies indicate that monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) may play an important role in pulmonary inflammation. In vitro studies show that a number of cell types are capable of producing MCP-1. In this study, MCP-1 expression in lungs of rats with bleomycin (BLM)-induced pulmonary fibrosis is examined to evaluate its cellular origin and potential role in pathogenesis. Lung fibrosis was induced in male Fisher 344 rats by endotracheal injection on day 0. On selected days after injection, lungs were harvested for in situ and Northern hybridization analyses for MCP-1 mRNA expression, immunochemical and histochemical analyses for MCP-1 protein expression, and identification of cell type. Northern analysis revealed significant elevation in lung MCP-1 mRNA expression beginning on day 3 post-BLM treatment, increasing to a peak on day 7, and then decreasing toward control levels after day 21. In situ hybridization combined with histochemical staining with chromotrope 2R indicate that most of the cells expressing MCP-1 mRNA at these time points are primarily eosinophils. A few scattered reactive fibroblasts, some mononuclear cells, epithelial cells, and cells of certain blood vessel walls also express this mRNA. Increased MCP-1 protein expression also was found to be predominantly within and adjacent to eosinophils. The eosinophils expressing this mRNA were found predominantly within areas of active fibrosis. The kinetics of increase in the number of cells expressing significant MCP-1 mRNA in lung sections paralleled that for MCP-1 mRNA expression, as assessed by Northern analysis. These results, for the first time, demonstrate that MCP-1 is up-regulated significantly in this rat animal model, and that infiltrating eosinophils represent the major cellular source for this increased MCP-1 expression.

This content is only available via PDF.