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PDGF-A/PDGF alpha-receptor signaling is required for lung growth and the formation of alveoli but not for early lung branching morphogenesis

Journal article
Authors Hans Boström
Amel Gritli Linde
Christer Betsholtz
Published in Developmental Dynamics
Volume 223
Issue 1
Pages 155-162
Publication year 2002
Published at Institute of Odontology, Department of Oral Biochemistry
Institute of Medical Biochemistry
Pages 155-162
Language en
Keywords platelet-derived growth factor, PDGF, PDGF receptor, PDGFR alpha, lung development, branching morphogenesis, epithelial-mesenchymal interactions, organ culture; knockout mouse
Subject categories Developmental Biology, Medical cell biology, Morphology, Cell and molecular biology, Medical Biotechnology (with a focus on Cell Biology (including Stem Cell Biology), Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry or Biopharmacy)

Abstract

Platelet-derived growth factors (PDGF) constitute a family of four gene products (PDGF-A-D) acting by means of two receptor tyrosine kinases, PDGFR alpha and beta. Three of the ligands (PDGF-A, -B, and -C) bind to PDGFR alpha with high affinity. Knockout of pdgf-a in mice has demonstrated a role for PDGF-A in the recruitment of smooth muscle cells to the alveolar sacs and their further compartmentalization into alveoli. Although this is a late, postnatal step in lung development, pdgf-a antisense oligonucleotides were previously shown to inhibit epithelial branching in rat lung explants in vitro, which reflects an early embryonic process. These conflicting results may be explained by substitution of genetic loss of pdgf-a by maternal transfer of PDGF-A to the knockout embryo or the presence of other PDGFR alpha agonists (PDGF-B and -C) in vivo, potentially masking an effect of PDGF-A on branching morphogenesis. Alternatively, the administration of pdgf-a antisense oligonucleotides affected other processes than the intended. To discriminate between these opposing possibilities, we have analyzed lung development in pdgfr alpha -/- embryos and lung primordia grown in vitro. Our analysis shows that, while the pdgfr alpha -/- lungs and explanted lung rudiments were smaller than normal, branching morphogenesis appears qualitatively intact and proceeds until at least embryonic day 15.5, generating both prospective conducting and respiratory airways. We conclude that, although PDGF-AA signaling over PDGFR alpha may have direct or indirect roles in overall lung growth, it does not specifically control early branching of the lung epithelium.

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