Bone Marrow-Derived Cells Participate in Stromal Remodeling of the Lung Following Acute Bacterial Pneumonia in Mice

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Bone marrow-derived cells (BMDC) have been shown to graft injured tissues, differentiate in specialized cells, and participate in repair. The importance of these processes in acute lung bacterial inflammation and development of fibrosis is unknown. The goal of this study was to investigate the temporal sequence and lineage commitment of BMDC in mouse lungs injured by bacterial pneumonia. We transplanted GFP-tagged BMDC into 5-Gy-irradiated C57BL/6 mice. After 3 months of recovery, mice were subjected to LD50 intratracheal instillation of live E. coli (controls received saline) which produced pneumonia and subsequent areas of fibrosis. Lungs were investigated by immunohistology for up to 6 months. At the peak of lung inflammation, the predominant influx of BMDC were GFP+ leukocytes. Postinflammatory foci of lung fibrosis were evident after 1–2 months. The fibrotic foci in lung stroma contained clusters of GFP+ CD45+ cells, GFP+ vimentin-positive cells, and GFP+ collagen I-positive fibroblasts. GFP+ endothelial or epithelial cells were not identified. These data suggest that following 5-Gy irradiation and acute bacterial pneumonia, BMDC may temporarily participate in lung postinflammatory repair and stromal remodeling without long-term engraftment as specialized endothelial or epithelial cells.

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