IGFBP-5 promotes fibrosis via increasing its own expression and that of other pro-fibrotic mediators

Xinh Xinh Nguyen, Lutfiyya NaQiyba Muhammad, Paul J. Nietert, Carol Feghali-Bostwick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Pulmonary fibrosis is a hallmark of diseases such as systemic sclerosis (SSc, scleroderma) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). To date, the therapeutic options for patients with pulmonary fibrosis are limited, and organ transplantation remains the most effective option. Insulinlike growth factor-binding protein 5 (IGFBP-5) is a conserved member of the IGFBP family of proteins that is overexpressed in SSc and IPF. In this study, we demonstrate that both exogenous and adenovirally expressed IGFBP-5 promote fibrosis by increasing the production of extracellular matrix (ECM) genes and the expression of pro-fibrotic genes in primary human lung fibroblasts. IGFBP-5 increased expression of the pro-fibrotic growth factor CTGF and levels of the matrix crosslinking enzyme lysyl oxidase (LOX). Silencing of IGFBP-5 had different effects in lung fibroblasts from normal donors and patients with SSc or IPF. Moreover, we show that IGFBP-5 increases expression of ECM genes, CTGF, and LOX in human lung tissues maintained in organ culture. Together, our data extend our previous findings and demonstrate that IGFBP-5 exerts its pro-fibrotic activity by directly inducing expression of ECM and pro-fibrotic genes. Further, IGFBP-5 promotes its own expression, generating a positive feedback loop. This suggests that IGFBP-5 likely acts in concert with other growth factors to drive fibrosis and tissue remodeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number00601
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Issue numberOCT
StatePublished - Oct 15 2018


  • Extracellular matrix (ECM)
  • Fibrosis
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)
  • Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-5 (IGFBP-5)
  • Systemic sclerosis (SSc)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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