Endothelial microparticles are associated to pathogenesis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
- Platform National Cytometry
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a devastating disease characterized by obliteration of alveolar architecture, resulting in declining lung function and ultimately death. Pathogenic mechanisms remain unclear but involve a concomitant accumulation of scar tissue together with myofibroblasts activation. Microparticles (MPs) have been investigated in several human lung diseases as possible pathogenic elements, prognosis markers and therapeutic targets. We postulated that levels and cellular origins of circulating MPs might serve as biomarkers in IPF patients and/or as active players of fibrogenesis. Flow cytometry analysis showed a higher level of Annexin-V positive endothelial and platelet MPs in 41 IPF patients compared to 22 healthy volunteers. Moreover, in IPF patients with a low diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO<40%), endothelial MPs (EMPs) were found significantly higher compared to those with DLCO>40% (p = 0.02). We then used EMPs isolated from endothelial progenitor cells (ECFCs) extracted from IPF patients or controls to modulate normal human lung fibroblast (NHLF) properties. We showed that EMPs did not modify proliferation, collagen deposition and myofibroblast transdifferentiation. However, EMPs from IPF patients stimulated migration capacity of NHLF. We hypothesized that this effect could result from EMPs fibrinolytic properties and found indeed higher plasminogen activation potential in total circulating MPs and ECFCs derived MPs issued from IPF patients compared to those isolated from healthy controls MPs. Our study showed that IPF is associated with an increased level of EMPs in the most severe patients, highlighting an active process of endothelial activation in the latter. Endothelial microparticles might contribute to the lung fibroblast invasion mediated, at least in part, by a fibrinolytic activity.