Partial inhibition of integrin αvβ6 prevents pulmonary fibrosis without exacerbating inflammation

Gerald S. Horan, Susan Wood, Victor Ona, Jun Li Dan, Matvey E. Lukashev, Paul H. Weinreb, Kenneth J. Simon, Kyungmin Hahm, Normand E. Allaire, Nicola J. Rinaldi, Jaya Goyal, Carol A. Feghali-Bostwick, Eric L. Matteson, Carl O'Hara, Robert Lafyatis, Gerald S. Davis, Xiaozhu Huang, Dean Sheppard, Shelia M. Violette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

285 Scopus citations


Rationale: Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β has a central role in driving many of the pathological processes that characterize pulmonary fibrosis. Inhibition of the integrin αvβ6, a key activator of TGF-β in lung, is an attractive therapeutic strategy, as it may be possible to inhibit TGF-β at sites of αvβ6 up-regulation without affecting other homeostatic roles of TGF-β. Objectives: To analyze the expression of αvβ6 in human pulmonary fibrosis, and to functionally test the efficacy of therapeutic inhibition of αvβ6-mediated TGF-β activation in murine bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Methods: Lung biopsies from patients with a diagnosis of systemic sclerosis or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis were stained for αvβ6 expression. A range of concentrations of a monoclonal antibody that blocks αvβ6-mediated TGF-β activation was evaluated in murine bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis. Measurements and Main Results: αvβ6 is overexpressed in human lung fibrosis within pneumocytes lining the alveolar ducts and alveoli. In the bleomycin model, αvβ6 antibody was effective in blocking pulmonary fibrosis. At high doses, there was increased expression of markers of inflammation and macrophage activation, consistent with the effects of TGF-β inhibition in the lung. Low doses of antibody attenuated collagen expression without increasing alveolar inflammatory cell populations or macrophage activation markers. Conclusions: Partial inhibition of TGF-β using αvβ6 integrin antibodies is effective in blocking murine pulmonary fibrosis without exacerbating inflammation. In addition, the elevated expression of αvβ6, an activator of the fibrogenic cytokine, TGF-β, in human pulmonary fibrosis suggests that αvβ6 monoclonal antibodies could represent a promising new therapeutic strategy for treating pulmonary fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-65
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008


  • Alphavbeta6
  • Fibrosis
  • Integrin
  • Transforming growth factor-β

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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