Airway fibroblasts exhibit a synthetic phenotype in severe asthma

Christina C. Lewis, Hong Wei Chu, Jay Y. Westcott, Alan Tucker, Esther L. Langmack, E. Rand Sutherland, Monica Kraft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Background: Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) may have a significant role in airway remodeling in asthma, because it is a powerful inductor of many airway fibroblast activities such as collagen synthesis. Objective: To determine whether PDGF is a significant contributor to airway remodeling in patients with asthma by enhancing airway fibroblast procollagen I expression. Methods: Six normal controls without asthma, 10 subjects with mild to moderate asthma, and 5 subjects with severe asthma underwent bronchoscopy with endobronchial biopsy. Biopsies were placed in Dulbecco modified Eagle medium and fibroblasts cultured in the presence and absence of PDGF isoforms -AA, -BB, and -AB (1, 5, 10, 100 ng/mL) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (100 ng/mL). Fibroblast procollagen I and PDGF receptors (PDGFRs) α and β expression were determined by ELISA. Results: Platelet-derived growth factor BB significantly enhanced fibroblast procollagen I expression in patients with severe asthma compared with patients with mild/moderate asthma and normal controls. Furthermore, the baseline fibroblast expression of PDGFR-β was significantly greater in patients with severe asthma compared with the other groups. Conclusion: This pilot study suggests that airway fibroblasts from patients with severe asthma exhibit a synthetic phenotype, which may be driven by the overexpression of PDGFR-β.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-540
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Airway fibroblasts
  • Asthma
  • PDGF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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