Author(s): Ohba T, McDonald JK, Silver RM, Strange C, LeRoy EC,
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Abstract In addition to its procoagulant properties, the serine protease thrombin increases endothelial permeability, stimulates granulocyte adherence, and serves as a fibroblast mitogen. We demonstrate that thrombin is mitogenic for human lung fibroblasts in vitro. The mitogenic effect of thrombin is associated with an increase in the expression of the ligand PDGF-AA and up-regulation of PDGF alpha-receptor. Since scleroderma (systemic sclerosis; SSc) is characterized by widespread microvascular injury and is frequently complicated by pulmonary fibrosis, we sought to determine the level of thrombin activity in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid from SSc patients and normal controls. We report a significantly higher level of thrombin activity in BAL fluid from SSc patients compared with normal controls (P < 0.001). Taken together, the high levels of thrombin in BAL fluid and its demonstrated mitogenicity for lung fibroblasts suggest an important role for thrombin in the pathogenesis of SSc and perhaps other fibrotic lung diseases.
This article was published in Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol
and referenced in Rheumatology: Current Research