Because in vitro studies have shown inhibition of fibroblast proliferation and collagen synthesis by interferon, we tested the hypothesis that murine gamma interferon inhibits bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in mice. Mice were divided into the following groups: saline plus vehicle (27), saline plus interferon (29), bleomycin plus vehicle (26), and bleomycin plus interferon (26). Bleomycin or saline were given intratracheally once at the beginning of the experiment and vehicle (phosphate-buffered saline) or interferon was given intramuscularly daily. Mice were killed at 14 or 21 days of the experiment. About half of the mice from each group were used for collagen biochemistry and half for bronchoalveolar lung lavage, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and morphometry. Hydroxyproline content showed a significant reduction in bleomycin plus interferon compared to bleomycin plus vehicle mice at 21 days. The saline plus vehicle and saline plus interferon mice showed no difference in hydroxyproline content. Similarly, bronchoalveolar lavage showed no differences between saline plus vehicle and saline plus interferon mice; however, all mice treated with bleomycin showed significant increases in total cells as compared to saline treated mice. At 14 and 21 days in bronchoalveolar lavage there were significantly more lymphocytes in bleomycin plus interferon compared to bleomycin plus vehicle mice. In bronchoalveolar lavage, there were usually fewer neutrophils, monocytes and macrophages in bleomycin plus interferon compared to bleomycin plus vehicle mice. Morphometry estimates of the volume of lesion within lung showed no significant differences among the bleomycin treated groups. Stainable collagen fibers were less, but not significantly, in the bleomycin plus interferon compared to bleomycin plus vehicle mice. The number of fibroblasts per volume of lesion was significantly decreased at 14 and 21 days in bleomycin plus interferon compared to bleomycin plus vehicle mice. The total volume of lymphocytes in interstitial lesions was significantly greater at 14 and 21 days in bleomycin plus interferon mice compared to bleomycin plus vehicle mice. These results suggest an inhibitory action of gamma interferon on collagen accumulation and fibroblast proliferation associated with lympocyte accumulation in the lungs of mice following bleomycin administration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry