Volume 1, Issue 2 (June 2024) – 1 articles

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30 April 2024

Arrestin beta 1 Regulates Alveolar Progenitor Renewal and Lung Fibrosis

The molecular mechanisms that regulate progressive pulmonary fibrosis remain poorly understood. Type 2 alveolar epithelial cells (AEC2s) function as adult stem cells in the lung. We previously showed that there is a loss of AEC2s and a failure of AEC2 renewal in the lungs of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients. We also reported that beta-arrestins are the key regulators of fibroblast invasion, and beta-arrestin 1 and 2 deficient mice exhibit decreased mortality, decreased matrix deposition, and increased lung function in bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis. However, the role of beta-arrestins in AEC2 regeneration is unclear. In this study, we investigated the role and mechanism of Arrestin beta 1 (ARRB1) in AEC2 renewal and in lung fibrosis. We used conventional deletion as well as cell type-specific deletion of ARRB1 in mice and found that Arrb1 deficiency in fibroblasts protects mice from lung fibrosis, and the knockout mice exhibit enhanced AEC2 regeneration in vivo, suggesting a role of fibroblast-derived ARRB1 in AEC2 renewal. We further found that Arrb1-deficient fibroblasts promotes AEC2 renewal in 3D organoid assays. Mechanistically, we found that CCL7 is among the top downregulated cytokines in Arrb1 deficient fibroblasts and CCL7 inhibits AEC2 regeneration in 3D organoid experiments. Therefore, fibroblast ARRB1 mediates AEC2 renewal, possibly by releasing chemokine CCL7, leading to fibrosis in the lung.