Cu,Zn-Superoxide Dismutase-Mediated Redox Regulation of Jumonji Domain Containing 3 Modulates Macrophage Polarization and Pulmonary Fibrosis

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M2 macrophages are implicated in the development of pulmonary fibrosis as they generate profibrotic signals. The polarization process, at least in part, is regulated by epigenetic modulation. Because Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase-induced H2O2 can polarize macrophages to a profibrotic M2 phenotype, we hypothesized that modulation of the redox state of the cell is involved in the epigenetic modulation of the macrophage phenotype. In this study, we show that signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 (STAT6) regulates Jumonji domain containing (Jmjd) 3, a histone H3 lysine 27 demethylase, and mutation of a redox-sensitive cysteine in STAT6 attenuates jmjd3 expression. Moreover, Jmjd3 deficiency abrogates profibrotic M2 gene expression. Treatment with leflunomide, which reduces mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production and tyrosine phosphorylation, inhibits jmjd3 expression and M2 polarization, as well as development of a fibrotic phenotype. Taken together, these observations provide evidence that the redox regulation of Jmjd3 is a unique regulatory mechanism for Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase-mediated profibrotic M2 polarization. Furthermore, leflunomide, which reduces reactive oxygen species production and tyrosine phosphorylation, may prove to be therapeutic in the treatment of asbestos-induced pulmonary fibrosis.

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