This study is to investigate the inhibitory effects and mechanisms of DEK-targeting aptamer (DTA-64) on epithelial mesenchymaltransition (EMT)-mediated airway remodelling in mice and human bronchial epithelial cell line BEAS-2B. In the ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthmatic mice, DTA-64 significantly reduced the infiltration of eosinophils and neutrophils in lung tissue, attenuated the airway resistance and the proliferation of goblet cells. In addition, DTA-64 reduced collagen deposition, transforming growth factor 1 (TGF-β1) level in BALF and IgE levels in serum, balanced Th1/Th2/Th17 ratio, and decreased mesenchymal proteins (vimentin and α-SMA), as well as weekend matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-2 and MMP-9) and NF-κB p65 activity. In the in vitro experiments, we used TGF-β1 to induce EMT in the human epithelial cell line BEAS-2B. DEK overexpression (ovDEK) or silencing (shDEK) up-regulated or down-regulated TGF-β1 expression, respectively, on the contrary, TGF-β1 exposure had no effect on DEK expression. Furthermore, ovDEK and TGF-β1 synergistically promoted EMT, whereas shDEK significantly reduced mesenchymal markers and increased epithelial markers, thus inhibiting EMT. Additionally, shDEK inhibited key proteins in TGF-β1-mediated signalling pathways, including Smad2/3, Smad4, p38 MAPK, ERK1/2, JNK and PI3K/AKT/mTOR. In conclusion, the effects of DTA-64 against EMT of asthmatic mice and BEAS-2B might partially be achieved through suppressing TGF-β1/Smad, MAPK and PI3K signalling pathways. DTA-64 may be a new therapeutic option for the management of airway remodelling in asthma patients.
© 2020 The Authors. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine published by Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.