This investigation assessed the profibrotic role that extracellular histones play in the pathogenesis of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP).
The correlation of extracellular histones with small opacity profusion (SOP) and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) was analyzed. The stimulating effect of extracellular histones on pulmonary fibroblast was assessed in vitro.
The levels of extracellular histones in plasma were positively correlated with SOP and TGF-β in the coal miners investigated. Plasma collected from patients with CWP caused apparent lung fibroblast proliferation, while anti-H4 antibody antagonized the stimulating effect of the patient plasma by blocking histone H4. In vitro experiments showed that extracellular histones directly stimulated fibroblast proliferation.
Consistent with our hypothesis, the concentrations of extracellular histones were indices of the severity of pulmonary fibrosis in simple CWP, and extracellular histones-targeted intervention could inhibit the proliferation of lung fibroblast.
Peking University Third Hospital, Research Center of Occupational Medicine, Beijing, China.
Address correspondence to: Shuqiang Li, MD, No. 49 North Garden Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100191, People's Republic of China (firstname.lastname@example.org); Jinyuan Zhao, No. 49 North Garden Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100191, People's Republic of China (email@example.com).
Funding for this study was provided by National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 81773374, 81641119), Beijing, People's Republic of China; Natural Science Foundation of Beijing Municipality (grant no. 7182179), Beijing, People's Republic of China; Start-up fund for excellent returnee of Peking University Third Hospital (grant no. Y75513–05), Beijing, People's Republic of China; National clinical key specialty project fund of China (occupational medicine), Beijing, People's Republic of China.
Li, Zhang, Guan, Zheng, Mao, and Zhao have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.
The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.