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JCI Insight ; 8(4)2023 02 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2256062


Persistent symptoms and radiographic abnormalities suggestive of failed lung repair are among the most common symptoms in patients with COVID-19 after hospital discharge. In mechanically ventilated patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) secondary to SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia, low tidal volumes to reduce ventilator-induced lung injury necessarily elevate blood CO2 levels, often leading to hypercapnia. The role of hypercapnia on lung repair after injury is not completely understood. Here - using a mouse model of hypercapnia exposure, cell lineage tracing, spatial transcriptomics, and 3D cultures - we show that hypercapnia limits ß-catenin signaling in alveolar type II (AT2) cells, leading to their reduced proliferative capacity. Hypercapnia alters expression of major Wnts in PDGFRα+ fibroblasts from those maintaining AT2 progenitor activity toward those that antagonize ß-catenin signaling, thereby limiting progenitor function. Constitutive activation of ß-catenin signaling in AT2 cells or treatment of organoid cultures with recombinant WNT3A protein bypasses the inhibitory effects of hypercapnia. Inhibition of AT2 proliferation in patients with hypercapnia may contribute to impaired lung repair after injury, preventing sealing of the epithelial barrier and increasing lung flooding, ventilator dependency, and mortality.

Hypercapnia , Wnt Signaling Pathway , Mice , beta Catenin/metabolism , Cell Proliferation , COVID-19/complications , Hypercapnia/metabolism
Sci Adv ; 6(33): eabb7238, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-733188


Cigarette smoking, the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), has been implicated as a risk factor for severe disease in patients infected with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Here we show that mice with lung epithelial cell-specific loss of function of Miz1, which we identified as a negative regulator of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) signaling, spontaneously develop progressive age-related changes resembling COPD. Furthermore, loss of Miz1 up-regulates the expression of Ace2, the receptor for SARS-CoV-2. Concomitant partial loss of NF-κB/RelA prevented the development of COPD-like phenotype in Miz1-deficient mice. Miz1 protein levels are reduced in the lungs from patients with COPD, and in the lungs of mice exposed to chronic cigarette smoke. Our data suggest that Miz1 down-regulation-induced sustained activation of NF-κB-dependent inflammation in the lung epithelium is sufficient to induce progressive lung and airway destruction that recapitulates features of COPD, with implications for COVID-19.

Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors/metabolism , Lung/metabolism , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Phenotype , Protein Inhibitors of Activated STAT/genetics , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/genetics , Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases/genetics , Up-Regulation/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Gene Knockout Techniques , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Protein Inhibitors of Activated STAT/metabolism , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/etiology , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction/genetics , Smoking/adverse effects , Transcription Factor RelA/metabolism , Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases/metabolism