Proteomic Fingerprint of Lung Fibrosis Progression and Response to Therapy in Bleomycin-Induced Mouse Model

Principi, Lucrezia, et al. “Proteomic Fingerprint of Lung Fibrosis Progression and Response to Therapy in Bleomycin-Induced Mouse Model.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 24.5 (2023): 4410.


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic lung disease characterized by the aberrant accumulation of extracellular matrix in the lungs. nintedanib is one of the two FDA-approved drugs for IPF treatment; however, the exact pathophysiological mechanisms of fibrosis progression and response to therapy are still poorly understood. In this work, the molecular fingerprint of fibrosis progression and response to nintedanib treatment have been investigated by mass spectrometry-based bottom-up proteomics in paraffin-embedded lung tissues from bleomycin-induced (BLM) pulmonary fibrosis mice. Our proteomics results unveiled that (i) samples clustered depending on the tissue fibrotic grade (mild, moderate, and severe) and not on the time course after BLM treatment; (ii) the dysregulation of different pathways involved in fibrosis progression such as the complement coagulation cascades, advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and their receptors (RAGEs) signaling, the extracellular matrix-receptor interaction, the regulation of actin cytoskeleton, and ribosomes; (iii) Coronin 1A (Coro1a) as the protein with the highest correlation when evaluating the progression of fibrosis, with an increased expression from mild to severe fibrosis; and (iv) a total of 10 differentially expressed proteins (padj-value ≤ 0.05 and Fold change ≤−1.5 or ≥1.5), whose abundance varied in the base of the severity of fibrosis (mild and moderate), were modulated by the antifibrotic treatment with nintedanib, reverting their trend. Notably, nintedanib significantly restored lactate dehydrogenase B (Ldhb) expression but not lactate dehydrogenase A (Ldha). Notwithstanding the need for further investigations to validate the roles of both Coro1a and Ldhb, our findings provide an extensive proteomic characterization with a strong relationship with histomorphometric measurements. These results unveil some biological processes in pulmonary fibrosis and drug-mediated fibrosis therapy.