Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by airway remodeling and lung inflammation. Collagen triple helix repeat containing 1 (CTHRC1), a glycoprotein, is involved in multiple pathological processes, including inflammation and fibrosis. However, the function of CTHRC1 in asthma remains unclear. In the present study, the mouse asthma model was successfully generated by sensitizing and challenging mice with ovalbumin (OVA). CTHRC1 expression at both RNA and protein levels was significantly upregulated in lung tissues of asthmatic mice. Asthmatic mice exhibited significant airway remodeling as evidenced by increased bronchial wall and smooth muscle cell layer thickness, goblet cell hyperplasia and collagen deposition, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), but those characteristics were reversed by CTHRC1 silencing. The cell model with transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) induction in bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) was conducted to verify the effects of CTHRC1 on EMT, a classic mechanism that mediates airway remodeling. The results showed that TGF-β1 stimulation increased CTHRC1 expression, and CTHRC1 knockdown inhibited TGF-β1-induced EMT. OVA-treated mice also showed increased inflammatory cell infiltration and the production of OVA-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE), interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-13, which were decreased by CTHRC1 downregulation. The effects of CTHRC1 on OVA-induced airway inflammation were further determined by treating BEAS-2B cells with IL-13, in which CTHRC1 knockdown reduced the IL-13-induced secretion of pro-inflammatory factors, including IL-4 and IL-5. In conclusion, these results indicate that CTHRC1 silencing attenuates asthmatic airway remodeling and inflammation in vivo and in vitro, suggesting that CTHRC1 may be a potential target for asthma treatment.
© 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.