Chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 mediates direct and indirect fibrotic responses in human and murine cultured fibrocytes.

Research paper by Jason E JE Ekert, Lynne A LA Murray, Anuk M AM Das, Hai H Sheng, Jill J Giles-Komar, Michael A MA Rycyzyn

Indexed on: 21 Oct '11Published on: 21 Oct '11Published in: Fibrogenesis & Tissue Repair


Fibrocytes are a population of circulating bone-marrow-derived cells that express surface markers for leukocytes and mesenchymal cells, and are capable of differentiating into myofibroblasts. They have been observed at sites of active fibrosis and increased circulating numbers correlate with mortality in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Inhibition of chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 2 (CCR2) during experimental models of lung fibrosis reduces lung collagen deposition, as well as reducing lung fibrocyte accumulation. The aim of the present study was to determine whether human and mouse fibrocytes express functional CCR2.Following optimized and identical human and murine fibrocyte isolation, both cell sources were shown to be positive for CCR2 by flow cytometry and this expression colocalized with collagen I and CD45. Human blood fibrocytes stimulated with the CCR2 ligand chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2), demonstrated increased proliferation (P < 0.005) and differentiation into myofibroblasts (P < 0.001), as well as a chemotactic response (P < 0.05). Murine fibrocytes also responded to CCR2 stimulation, with CCL12 being more potent than CCL2.This study directly compares the functional responses of human and murine fibrocytes to CCR2 ligands, and following comparable isolation techniques. We have shown comparable biological effects, strengthening the translatability of the murine models to human disease with respect to targeting the CCR2 axis to ameliorate disease in IPF patients.