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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Regulatory Effect of PD1/PD-Ligand 1 (PD-L1) on Treg Cells in Patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Bing Wang, Wenmei Bai, Hongxia Ma, Fengsen Li

(Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Xinjiang Medical University, Urumqi, Xinjiang, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2021; 27:e927577

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.927577


BACKGROUND: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a serious irreversible lung disease. The mechanism of immune checkpoint in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is still unknown.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: First, the expression levels of PD-1/PD-L1 on the surface of CD4+ T cells and the proportion of Treg cells in IPF or controls were detected by flow cytometry. Then, expression of TGF-ß in blood samples was detected with ELISA. Moreover, a co-culture system was composed of fibroblasts stimulated by TGF-ß and CD4+ T cells from healthy people. The proportions of Treg cells and PD-1 in the co-culture system were detected. In addition, we detected the proportion of Treg cells and the level of collagen-1 after adding PD-1 or PD-L1 protein antibody blocker to the co-culture system.
RESULTS: Flow cytometry revealed the upregulated expression of PD-1/PD-L1 in CD4+ T cells of IPF patients. PD-1 appears to inhibit the differentiation of CD4+ T cells into Treg cells. Co-culture of myofibroblasts and CD4+ T cells induced the generation of collagen-1 and reduced the proliferation of CD4+ T cells. When PD-1 was blocked, the inhibition of Treg cell differentiation was reversed, accompanied by decreased collagen-1 production.
CONCLUSIONS: This work identified the molecular mechanism of PD-1 in patients with IPF. It may provide a new perspective on the therapeutic effect of PD-1.

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