SUMMARYFibroblast heterogeneity has long been recognized in mouse and human lungs, homeostasis, and disease states. However, there is no common consensus on fibroblast subtypes, lineages, biological properties, signaling, and plasticity, which severely hampers our understanding of the mechanisms of fibrosis. To comprehensively classify fibro-blast populations in the lung using an unbiased approach, single-cell RNA sequencing was performed with mesenchymal preparations from either uninjured or bleomycin-treated mouse lungs. Single-cell transcriptome analyses classified and defined six mesenchymal cell types in normal lung and seven in fibrotic lung. Furthermore, delineation of their differentiation trajectory was achieved by a machine learning method. This collection of single-cell transcriptomes and the distinct classification of fibroblast subsets provide a new resource for understanding the fibroblast landscape and the roles of fibroblasts in fibrotic diseases.
: Alveolar epithelial type II cells (AT2) are a heterogeneous population that have critical secretory and regenerative roles in the alveolus to maintain lung homeostasis. However, impairment to their normal functional capacity and development of a pro-fibrotic phenotype has been demonstrated to contribute to the development of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). A number of factors contribute to AT2 death and dysfunction. As a mucosal surface, AT2 cells are exposed to environmental stresses that can have lasting effects that contribute to fibrogenesis. Genetical risks have also been identified that can cause AT2 impairment and the development of lung fibrosis. Furthermore, aging is a final factor that adds to the pathogenic changes in AT2 cells. Here, we will discuss the homeostatic role of AT2 cells and the studies that have recently defined the heterogeneity of this population of cells. Furthermore, we will review the mechanisms of AT2 death and dysfunction in the context of lung fibrosis.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the latest respiratory pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). While infection initiates in the proximal airways, severe and sometimes fatal symptoms of the disease are caused by infection of the alveolar type 2 (AT2) cells of the distal lung and associated inflammation. In this study we develop primary human lung epithelial infection models to understand initial responses of proximal and distal lung epithelium to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Differentiated air-liquid interface (ALI) cultures of proximal airway epithelium and alveosphere cultures of distal lung AT2 cells are readily infected by SARS-CoV-2, leading to an epithelial cell-autonomous proinflammatory response with increased expression of interferon signaling genes. Studies to validate the efficacy of selected candidate COVID-19 drugs confirm that Remdesivir strongly suppresses viral infection/replication. We provide a relevant platform for study of COVID-19 pathobiology and for rapid drug screening against SARS-CoV-2 and emergent respiratory pathogens.
SummaryRecent studies have implicated keratin 5 (KRT5)+ cells in repopulation of damaged lung tissue following severe H1N1 influenza virus infection. However, the origins of the cells repopulating the injured alveolar region remain controversial. We sought to determine the cellular dynamics of lung repair following influenza infection and define whether nascent KRT5+ cells repopulating alveolar epithelium were derived from pre-existing alveolar or airway progenitor cells. We found that the wound-healing response begins with proliferation of SOX2+ SCGB1A1− KRT5− progenitor cells in airways. These cells generate nascent KRT5+ cells as an early response to airway injury and yield progeny that colonize damaged alveolar parenchyma. Moreover, we show that local alveolar progenitors do not contribute to nascent KRT5+ cells after injury. Repopulation of injured airway and alveolar regions leads to proximalization of distal airways by pseudostratified epithelium and of alveoli by airway-derived epithelial cells that lack the normal characteristics of mature airway or alveolar epithelium.
Author contributions G.C. and B.R.S. designed the project and wrote the manuscript. G.C. performed scRNAseq data analysis. A.M. designed and performed experiments for Notch signaling. T.M. designed and performed organoid experiments and population RNAseq. M.P. and B.K. performed tissue processing and immunostainings. C.Y. performed single-cell RNAseq experiments and popRNAseq data processing, M.P. performed single-cell RNAseq experiments. J.L.M. performed high throuput FACS screening experiments and contributed to the project design. D.L., J.R.A. and S.R. contributed to data interpretation.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a common form of interstitial lung disease resulting in alveolar remodeling and progressive loss of pulmonary function because of chronic alveolar injury and failure to regenerate the respiratory epithelium. Histologically, fibrotic lesions and honeycomb structures expressing atypical proximal airway epithelial markers replace alveolar structures, the latter normally lined by alveolar type 1 (AT1) and AT2 cells. Bronchial epithelial stem cells (BESCs) can give rise to AT2 and AT1 cells or honeycomb cysts following bleomycin-mediated lung injury. However, little is known about what controls this binary decision or whether this decision can be reversed. Here we report that inactivation of
in BESCs impairs their contribution to both alveolar epithelial regeneration and honeycomb cysts after bleomycin injury. By contrast overexpression of
in BESCs enhances fibrosis resolution by favoring the more desirable outcome of alveolar epithelial regeneration over the development of pathologic honeycomb cysts.
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