Moderate hyperoxia induces senescence in developing human lung fibroblasts

Kai You, Pavan Parikh, Karl Khandalavala, Sarah A. Wicher, Logan Manlove, Binxia Yang, Annie Roesler, Ben B. Roos, Jacob J. Teske, Rodney D. Britt, Christina M. Pabelick, Y. S. Prakash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Hyperoxia exposure in premature infants increases the risk of subsequent lung diseases, such as asthma and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Fibroblasts help maintain bronchial and alveolar integrity. Thus, understanding mechanisms by which hyperoxia influences fibroblasts is critical. Cellular senescence is increasingly recognized as important to the pathophysiology of multiple diseases. We hypothesized that clinically relevant moderate hyperoxia (<50% O2) induces senescence in developing fibroblasts. Using primary human fetal lung fibroblasts, we investigated effects of 40% O2 on senescence, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and autophagy pathways. Fibroblasts were exposed to 21% or 40% O2 for 7 days with etoposide as a positive control to induce senescence, evaluated by morphological changes, β-galactosidase activity, and DNA damage markers. Senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) profile of inflammatory and profibrotic markers was further assessed. Hyperoxia decreased proliferation but increased cell size. SA-β-gal activity and DNA damage response, cell cycle arrest in G2/M phase, and marked upregulation of phosphorylated p53 and p21 were noted. Reduced autophagy was noted with hyperoxia. mRNA expression of proinflammatory and profibrotic factors (TNF-α, IL-1, IL-8, MMP3) was elevated by hyperoxia or etoposide. Hyperoxia increased several SASP factors (PAI-1, IL1-α, IL1-β, IL-6, LAP, TNF-α). The secretome of senescent fibroblasts promoted extracellular matrix formation by naïve fibroblasts. Overall, we demonstrate that moderate hyperoxia enhances senescence in primary human fetal lung fibroblasts with reduced autophagy but not enhanced ER stress. The resulting SASP is profibrotic and may contribute to abnormal repair in the lung following hyperoxia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L525-L536
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019


  • Autophagy
  • Endoplasmic reticulum stress
  • Lung development
  • Oxygen
  • Senescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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