Vitronectin expression in the airways of subjects with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Lina M. Salazar-Peláez, Thomas Abraham, Ana M. Herrera, Mario A. Correa, Jorge E. Ortega, Peter D. Paré, Chun Y. Seow

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24 Scopus citations


Vitronectin, a multifunctional glycoprotein, is involved in coagulation, inhibition of the formation of the membrane attack complex (MAC), cell adhesion and migration, wound healing, and tissue remodeling. The primary cellular source of vitronectin is hepatocytes; it is not known whether resident cells of airways produce vitronectin, even though the glycoprotein has been found in exhaled breath condensate and bronchoalveolar lavage from healthy subjects and patients with interstitial lung disease. It is also not known whether vitronectin expression is altered in subjects with asthma and COPD. In this study, bronchial tissue from 7 asthmatic, 10 COPD and 14 control subjects was obtained at autopsy and analyzed by immunohistochemistry to determine the percent area of submucosal glands occupied by vitronectin. In a separate set of experiments, quantitative colocalization analysis was performed on tracheobronchial tissue sections obtained from donor lungs (6 asthmatics, 4 COPD and 7 controls). Vitronectin RNA and protein expressions in bronchial surface epithelium were examined in 12 subjects who undertook diagnostic bronchoscopy. Vitronectin was found in the tracheobronchial epithelium from asthmatic, COPD, and control subjects, although its expression was significantly lower in the asthmatic group. Colocalization analysis of 3D confocal images indicates that vitronectin is expressed in the glandular serous epithelial cells and in respiratory surface epithelial cells other than goblet cells. Expression of the 65-kDa vitronectin isoform was lower in bronchial surface epithelium from the diseased subjects. The cause for the decreased vitronectin expression in asthma is not clear, however, the reduced concentration of vitronectin in the epithelial/submucosal layer of airways may be linked to airway remodeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0119717
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 13 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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