The role of neutrophils and epidermal growth factor receptors in lipopolysaccharide-induced mucus hypersecretion

Sang Myeon Bak, Soo Yeon Park, Gyu Young Hur, Seung Heon Lee, Je Hyeong Kim, Sang Yeub Lee, Chol Shin, Jae Jeong Shim, Kwang Ho In, Kyung Ho Kang, Se Hwa Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Goblet cell hyperplasia is a critical pathological feature in hypersecretory diseases of the airways. A bacterial infection of the lung is also known to induce inflammatory responses, which can lead to the overproduction of mucus. Recently, mucin synthesis in the airways has been reported to be regulated by neutrophilic inflammation-induced epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression and activation. In addition, it was reported that migration of the activated neutrophils is dependent on the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), especially MMP-9. In this study, bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced goblet cell hyperplasia and mucus hypersecretion by EGFR cascade, resulting from the MMPs-dependent neutrophilic inflammation were investigated in the rat airways. Methods: Pathogen-free Sprague-Dawley rats were studied in vivo. Various concentrations of LPS were instilled into the trachea in 300ℓ PBS (LPS group). Sterile PBS (300ℓ) was instilled into the trachea of the control animals (control group). The airways were examined on different days after instilling LPS. For an examination of the relationship between the LPS-induced goblet cell hyperplasia and MMPs, the animals were pretreated 3 days prior to the LPS instillation and daily thereafter with the matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor (MMPI; 20 mg/Kg/day of CMT-3; Collagenex Pharmaceuticals, USA). The neutrophilic infiltration was quantified as a number in five high power fields (HPF). The alcian blue/periodic acid-Schiff (AB/PAS) stain were performed for the mucus glycoconjugates and the immunohistochemical stains were performed for MUC5AC, EGFR and MMP-9. Their expressions were quantified by an image analysis program and were expressed by the percentage of the total bronchial epithelial area. Results: The instillation of LPS induced AB/PAS and MUC5AC staining in the airway epithelium in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Treatment with the MMPI prevented the LPS-induced goblet cell hyperplasia significantly. The instillation of LPS into the trachea induced also EGFR expression in the airway epithelium. The control airway epithelium contained few leukocytes, but the intratracheal instillation of LPS resulted in a neutrophilic recruitment. A pretreatment with MMPI prevented neutrophilic recruitment, EGFR expression, and goblet cell hyperplasia in the LPS-instilled airway epithelium. Conclusion: Matrix metalloproteinase is involved in LPS-induced mucus hypersecretion, resulting from a neutrophilic inflammation and EGFR cascade. These results suggest a potential therapeutic role of MMPI in the treatment of mucus hypersecretion that were associated with a bacterial infection of the airways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-90
Number of pages11
JournalTuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jan 1


  • Epidermal growth factor receptor
  • Goblet cell hyperplasia
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Mucus hypersecretion
  • Neutrophilic inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases


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