Secreted Phosphoprotein 1 Is a Determinant of Lung Function Development in Mice

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Secreted phosphoprotein 1 (Spp1) is located within quantitative trait loci associated with lung function that was previously identified by contrasting C3H/HeJ and JF1/Msf mouse strains that have extremely divergent lung function. JF1/Msf mice with diminished lung function had reduced lung SPP1 transcript and protein during the peak stage of alveologenesis (postnatal day [P]14-P28) as compared with C3H/HeJ mice. In addition to a previously identified genetic variant that altered runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2) binding in the Spp1 promoter, we identified another promoter variant in a putative RUNX2 binding site that increased the DNA protein binding. SPP1 induced dose-dependent mouse lung epithelial-15 cell proliferation. Spp1(−/−) mice have decreased specific total lung capacity/body weight, higher specific compliance, and increased mean airspace chord length (Lm) compared with Spp1(+/+) mice. Microarray analysis revealed enriched gene ontogeny categories, with numerous genes associated with lung development and/or respiratory disease. Insulin-like growth factor 1, Hedgehog-interacting protein, wingless-related mouse mammary tumor virus integration site 5A, and NOTCH1 transcripts decreased in the lung of P14 Spp1(−/−) mice as determined by quantitative RT-PCR analysis. SPP1 promotes pneumocyte growth, and mice lacking SPP1 have smaller, more compliant lungs with enlarged airspace (i.e., increased Lm). Microarray analysis suggests a dysregulation of key lung developmental transcripts in gene-targeted Spp1(−/−) mice, particularly during the peak phase of alveologenesis. In addition to its known roles in lung disease, this study supports SPP1 as a determinant of lung development in mice.

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