HGF Expressing Stem Cells in Usual Interstitial Pneumonia Originate from the Bone Marrow and Are Antifibrotic

Gazdhar, Amiq Ur Rahman; Susuri, Njomeza; Hostettler, Katrin; Gugger, Mathias; Knudsen, Lars; Roth, Michael; Ochs, Matthias; Geiser, Thomas (2013). HGF Expressing Stem Cells in Usual Interstitial Pneumonia Originate from the Bone Marrow and Are Antifibrotic. PLoS ONE, 8(6), e65453. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0065453

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Pulmonary fibrosis may result from abnormal alveolar wound repair after injury. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) improves alveolar epithelial wound repair in the lung. Stem cells were shown to play a major role in lung injury, repair and fibrosis. We studied the presence, origin and antifibrotic properties of HGF-expressing stem cells in usual interstitial pneumonia.


Immunohistochemistry was performed in lung tissue sections and primary alveolar epithelial cells obtained from patients with usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP, n = 7). Bone marrow derived stromal cells (BMSC) from adult male rats were transfected with HGF, instilled intratracheally into bleomycin injured rat lungs and analyzed 7 and 14 days later.


In UIP, HGF was expressed in specific cells mainly located in fibrotic areas close to the hyperplastic alveolar epithelium. HGF-positive cells showed strong co-staining for the mesenchymal stem cell markers CD44, CD29, CD105 and CD90, indicating stem cell origin. HGF-positive cells also co-stained for CXCR4 (HGF+/CXCR4+) indicating that they originate from the bone marrow. The stem cell characteristics were confirmed in HGF secreting cells isolated from UIP lung biopsies. In vivo experiments showed that HGF-expressing BMSC attenuated bleomycin induced pulmonary fibrosis in the rat, indicating a beneficial role of bone marrow derived, HGF secreting stem cells in lung fibrosis.


HGF-positive stem cells are present in human fibrotic lung tissue (UIP) and originate from the bone marrow. Since HGF-transfected BMSC reduce bleomycin induced lung fibrosis in the bleomycin lung injury and fibrosis model, we assume that HGF-expressing, bone-marrow derived stem cells in UIP have antifibrotic properties.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Forschungsbereich Mu50 > Forschungsgruppe Pneumologie (Erwachsene)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gastro-intestinal, Liver and Lung Disorders (DMLL) > Clinic of Pneumology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Cardiovascular Disorders (DHGE) > Clinic of Cardiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Pathology

UniBE Contributor:

Gazdhar, Amiq, Susuri, Njomeza (B), Gugger, Mathias, Knudsen, Lars, Geiser, Thomas (A)


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology




Public Library of Science




Rahel Holderegger

Date Deposited:

30 Apr 2014 08:48

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:33

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