GP130-STAT3 regulates epithelial cell migration and is required for repair of the bronchiolar epithelium.


Following injury, bronchiolar cells undergo rapid squamous metaplasia, followed by proliferation and re-establishment of the complex columnar epithelium that is characteristic of the normal airway. Mechanisms that regulate the repair of bronchiolar epithelium are of considerable relevance for understanding the pathogenesis of both acute and chronic lung diseases associated with airway remodeling. This study was designed to identify the role of the GP130-STAT3 signaling pathway during repair of the bronchiolar epithelium. STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3) and GP130 (glycoprotein 130) were each selectively deleted from the pulmonary epithelial cells of transgenic mice in vivo, producing Stat3(Delta/Delta) and Gp130(Delta/Delta) mice, respectively. Airway injury was induced in adult mice by administration of naphthalene, a toxicant of nonciliated respiratory epithelial cells (Clara cells). Nuclear STAT3 staining was induced in bronchiolar epithelial cells following naphthalene-mediated injury in control (Stat3(flox/flox)) mice. Whereas nearly complete repair of the bronchiolar epithelium was observed in control mice within 13 days, restoration of cell shape, cell density, and the pattern of ciliated and nonciliated cells did not occur in the peripheral bronchioles of either Stat3(Delta/Delta) or Gp130(Delta/Delta) mice. Expression of dominant-negative STAT3 inhibited airway epithelial cell migration during repair in vitro; wild-type STAT3 expression activated such migration. In the present study, we show that GP130-STAT3 signaling functions in a cell-autonomous manner to restore cell shape and numbers required for repair of the bronchiolar epithelium following injury.

Am J Pathol