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Immunology - Infectious Diseases - Respiratory Medicine

Pulmonary Vaccination as a Novel Treatment for Lung Fibrosis
Published: Friday, February 17, 2012
Author: Samuel L. Collins et al.

by Samuel L. Collins, Yee Chan-Li, Robert W. Hallowell, Jonathan D. Powell, Maureen R. Horton

Pulmonary fibrosis is an untreatable, uniformly fatal disease of unclear etiology that is the result of unremitting chronic inflammation. Recent studies have implicated bone marrow derived fibrocytes and M2 macrophages as playing key roles in propagating fibrosis. While the disease process is characterized by the accumulation of lymphocytes in the lung parenchyma and alveolar space, their role remains unclear. In this report we definitively demonstrate the ability of T cells to regulate lung inflammation leading to fibrosis. Specifically we demonstrate the ability of intranasal vaccinia vaccination to inhibit M2 macrophage generation and fibrocyte recruitment and hence the accumulation of collagen and death due to pulmonary failure. Mechanistically, we demonstrate the ability of lung Th1 cells to prevent fibrosis as vaccinia failed to prevent disease in Rag-/- mice or in mice in which the T cells lacked IFN-?. Furthermore, vaccination 3 months prior to the initiation of fibrosis was able to mitigate the disease. Our findings clearly demonstrate the role of T cells in regulating pulmonary fibrosis as well as suggest that vaccinia-induced immunotherapy in the lung may prove to be a novel treatment approach to this otherwise fatal disease.