Pericytes contribute to airway remodeling in a mouse model of chronic allergic asthma

Jill R. Johnson, Erika Folestad, Jessica E. Rowley, Elisa M. Noll, Simone A. Walker, Clare M. Lloyd, Sara M. Rankin, Kristian Pietras, Ulf Eriksson, Jonas Fuxe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Myofibroblast accumulation, subepithelial fibrosis, and vascular remodeling are complicating features of chronic asthma, but the mechanisms are not clear. Platelet-derived growth factors (PDGFs) regulate the fate and function of various mesenchymal cells and have been implicated as mediators of lung fibrosis. However, it is not known whether PDGF-BB signaling via PDGFRβ, which is critical for the recruitment of pericytes to blood vessels, plays a role in airway remodeling in chronic asthma. In the present study, we used a selective PDGFRβ inhibitor (CP-673451) to investigate the role of PDGFRβ signaling in the development of airway remodeling and lung dysfunction in an established mouse model of house dust mite-induced chronic allergic asthma. Unexpectedly, we found that pharmacological inhibition of PDGFRβ signaling in the context of chronic aeroallergen exposure led to exacerbated lung dysfunction and airway smooth muscle thickening. Further studies revealed that the inflammatory response to aeroallergen challenge in mice was associated with decreased PDGF-BB expression and the loss of pericytes from the airway microvasculature. In parallel, cells positive for pericyte markers accumulated in the subepithelial region of chronically inflamed airways. This process was exacerbated in animals treated with CP-673451. The results indicate that perturbed PDGF-BB/PDGFRβ signaling and pericyte accumulation in the airway wall may contribute to airway remodeling in chronic allergic asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L658-L671
Number of pages14
JournalAJP: Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY 3.0: © the American Physiological Society.


  • Airway Remodeling
  • Airway Resistance
  • Animals
  • Asthma
  • Benzimidazoles
  • Bronchi
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Elasticity
  • Female
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle, Smooth
  • Pericytes
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-sis
  • Quinolines
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor beta
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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