Accumulation of senescent cells is associated with the progression of pulmonary fibrosis, but mechanisms accounting for this linkage are not well understood. To explore this issue, we investigated whether a class of biologically active profibrotic lipids, the leukotrienes (LT), is part of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. The analysis of conditioned medium (CM), lipid extracts, and gene expression of LT biosynthesis enzymes revealed that senescent cells secreted LT, regardless of the origin of the cells or the modality of senescence induction. The synthesis of LT was biphasic and followed by antifibrotic prostaglandin (PG) secretion. The LT-rich CM of senescent lung fibroblasts (IMR-90) induced profibrotic signaling in naive fibroblasts, which were abrogated by inhibitors of ALOX5, the principal enzyme in LT biosynthesis. The bleomycin-induced expression of genes encoding LT and PG synthases, level of cysteinyl LT in the bronchoalveolar lavage, and overall fibrosis were reduced upon senescent cell removal either in a genetic mouse model or after senolytic treatment. Quantification of ALOX5+ cells in lung explants obtained from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients indicated that half of these cells were also senescent (p16Ink4a+). Unlike human fibroblasts from unused donor lungs made senescent by irradiation, senescent IPF fibroblasts secreted LTs but failed to synthesize PGs. This study demonstrates for the first time to our knowledge that senescent cells secrete functional LTs, significantly contributing to the LT pool known to cause or exacerbate IPF.
Christopher D. Wiley, Alexis N. Brumwell, Sonnet S. Davis, Julia R. Jackson, Alexis Valdovinos, Cheresa Calhoun, Fatouma Alimirah, Carlos A. Castellanos, Richard Ruan, Ying Wei, Harold A. Chapman, Arvind Ramanathan, Judith Campisi, Claude Jourdan Le Saux
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.