University of Oulu

Tenascin expression and distribution in pulmonary and pleural fibrotic disorders

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Author: Kaarteenaho-Wiik, Riitta1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pathology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 1999
Publish Date: 1999-06-18
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, for public discussion in the Auditorium of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, on August 20th, 1999, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Docent Annika Laitinen
Docent (emer.) Seppo Sutinen


Fibrotic pulmonary and pleural disorders represent a group of intrathoracic disorders with different etiologies and prognoses. A prominent part of both pulmonary and pleural fibrotic disorders remains etiologically unknown. An essential feature for all these disorders is an increase and disarray of many extracellular matrix proteins which take part in the remodeling of the fibrotic tissue. Further, the injury in pulmonary as well as in pleural fibrosis occurs often at the border between the epithelial or mesothelial and the mesenchymal cells breaking the epithelial basement membrane. Tenascin is an oligomeric matrix glycoprotein of the extracellular matrix. The best known isoforms are tenascin -C, -X, -R, -Y and -W. Tenascin-C is synthesized during embryonic development, expressed in a variety of tumors, being absent or scantily expressed in most adult tissues. The function of tenascin-C is still unclear. In lung, tenascin-C has been shown to be expressed in fetal lung during branching morphogenesis, benign and malignant lung tumors, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, sarcoidosis and asthma.

The aim of the present study was to study tenascin-C (later called tenascin) expression in various types of pulmonary fibrosis such as usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP), desquamative interstitial pneumonia (DIP), nonspecific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP), bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (BOOP), sarcoidosis and extrinsic allergic alveolitis as well as in fibrotic and inflammatory disorders of the pleura of different etiologies. Further, the aims were to compare the accumulation of tenascin with the prognosis in UIP, to confirm the immunohistochemical findings in UIP by Western blotting and immunoelectron miscroscopic (immuno-EM) studies, to investigate which cells synthesize tenascin in UIP and in pleural fibrosis by mRNA in situ hybridization, and to determine whether epithelial lining fluid (ELF) and serum tenascin concentration are increased in patients with UIP, sarcoidosis and extrinsic allergic alveolitis.

Tenascin was shown to be increased by immunohistochemical studies in all types of pulmonary and pleural fibrotic disorders included in the study. In UIP, increased tenascin expression was associated with a shortened survival time of the patients. In immuno-EM, labeling for tenascin was seen within type II pneumocytes. UIP cases showed reactivity for a polypeptide of Mr = 200 000 by Western blotting. Myofibroblasts and type II pneumocytes were mainly shown to synthesize tenascin in UIP. Also in pleural fibrosis myofibroblasts, and in addition possibly mesothelial cells, were observed to be responsible for its synthesis. ELF and serum tenascin concentrations were increased in UIP, sarcoidosis and extrinsic allergic alveolitis.

In conclusion, tenascin expression is increased in pulmonary and pleural fibrotic disorders, especially in newly formed fibrosis. In UIP, tenascin is actively synthesized at the sites of recent epithelial injury, suggesting that it plays an important role in the fibrogenesis in the lung.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-5305-1
ISBN Print: 951-42-5304-3
Issue: 533
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 1999. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.