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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

The Improvement Effect of Sodium Ferulate on the Formation of Pulmonary Fibrosis in Silicosis Mice Through the Neutrophil Alkaline Phosphatase 3 (NALP3)/Transforming Growth Factor-β1 (TGF-β1)/α-Smooth Muscle Actin (α-SMA) Pathway

Jingyin Han, Yangmin Jia, Shujuan Wang, Xiaoyu Gan

Department of Occupational Disease, Hangzhou Red Cross Hospital, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2021; 27:e927978

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.927978

Available online: 2021-03-22

Published: 2021-06-15


BACKGROUND: Pneumoconiosis is a chronic progressive fibrotic interstitial pneumonia for which the pathogenesis and treatment remain unclear. Previous studies showed that sodium ferulate (SF) may have a therapeutic effect, and this study explored the mechanism underlying SF-related improvement.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: In this study, a silicosis mouse model and primary cultured mouse lung fibroblasts were established. Hematoxylin-eosin staining, western blot analysis, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, and Masson staining were used to observe the lung injury, expression of vimentin, and the degree of pulmonary fibrosis. The extracted lung fibroblasts were identified by immunofluorescence. The expression of fibrosis-related genes encoding transforming growth factor-ß1 (TGF-ß1), neutrophil alkaline phosphatase 3 (NALP3), collagen-1, alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA), and phosphorylated p38 (p-p38) and p38 proteins were detected by western blot. The effects of SF and the TGF-ß pathway agonist SRI-011381 on cell proliferation and the expression of fibrosis-related protein in mouse lung fibroblasts were measured by Cell Counting Kit-8, immunofluorescence, and western blot as needed.
RESULTS: SF reduced the lung lesions in silicosis mice and inhibited the expression of vimentin and fibrosis-related genes, while having no effect on body weight. Vimentin expression was positive in the extracted cells. In vitro experiments showed that SF inhibited the proliferation of lung fibroblasts and the expression of fibrosis-related proteins. In addition, SF partly reversed the opposite regulatory effect of SRI-011381 on lung fibroblasts.
CONCLUSIONS: SF inhibited lung injury and fibrosis in silicosis mice through the NALP3/TGF-ß1/alpha-SMA pathway.

Keywords: Cell Proliferation, Silicosis, Transforming Growth Factors