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The Fas ligand is predominantly expressed in activated T lymphocytes and is one of the major effector molecules of cytotoxic T lymphocytes and natural killer cells.Previously, we found excessive apoptosis of epithelial cells and infiltrating lymphocytes expressing Fas ligand mRNA in the lung tissue of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in mice. Here we demonstrated that the administration of a soluble form of Fas antigen or anti-Fas ligand antibody prevented the development of this model and that lpr and gld mice were resistant against the induction of pneumopathy. These results suggest that the Fas-Fas ligand pathway plays an essential role in the development of pulmonary fibrosis and that preventing this pathway could have therapeutic value in lung injury and fibrosis.J.Clin. Invest. 104:13-19 (1999).