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Activation of an Embryonic Gene Product in Pulmonary Emphysema*: Identification of the Secreted Frizzled-Related Protein

K. Imai, DMD, PhD,; J. D’Armiento, MD, PhD
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*From the Division of Molecular Medicine, Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, NY.

Correspondence to: Jeanine D’Armiento, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University, 630 W. 168th Street, PH8-101, New York, NY 10032.



Chest. 2000;117(5_suppl_1):229S. doi:10.1378/chest.117.5_suppl_1.229S
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Abbreviation: sfrp = secreted frizzled-related protein

Chronic pulmonary disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, yet the molecular pathways involved in disease progression have not been fully elucidated. Understanding these mechanisms will provide insight into the disease process and will allow improvement in strategies for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Therefore, differential display analysis was performed on diseased lung tissue to identify those genes that are expressed in emphysema but not in normal lung. Secreted frizzled-related protein (sfrp)-1, an inhibitor of Wnt signaling, was found to be expressed in emphysema and not in normal lung tissue. Other members of the sfrp family did not demonstrate differential expression in lung tissue. Although expression of the mouse homologue, sfrp-1, was not observed in the normal adult mouse lung, both a transgenic and smoke-exposed mouse model of emphysema expressed sfrp-1 in the lung. The detection of this gene in two separate emphysema models correlated with the human studies. Finally, embryonic-specific expression of sfrp-1 suggests that the Wnt signaling pathway is involved in lung development. The novel identification of an embryonic gene activated in the emphysema lung provides insight into the pathophysiological changes in this disease.

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