The Pattern of Elastic Fiber Breakdown in Bleomycin-Induced Pulmonary Fibrosis May Reflect Microarchitectural Changes

Xingjian Liu, Shuren Ma, Gerard Turino, Jerome Cantor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Desmosine and isodesmosine (DID) are unique elastin crosslinks that may serve as biomarkers for elastic fiber degradation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Previously, our laboratory found that the ratio of free to peptide-bound DID in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) showed a significant positive correlation with the extent of airspace enlargement in an elastase model of pulmonary emphysema. To further evaluate this hypothesis, our laboratory measured this ratio in a bleomycin (BLM) model of pulmonary fibrosis, which involved different microarchitectural changes than those associated with pulmonary emphysema. Methods: Syrian hamsters were instilled intratracheally with 1.0 unit BLM in 0.2 ml of normal saline (controls received the vehicle alone), and BALF was analyzed for both free and total DID, using a combination of liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. Results: Total BALF DID was significantly increased in hamsters receiving BLM at 1 week post-treatment (92 vs 13 pg/ml; p < 0.001), consistent with elastic fiber degradation. However, in contrast to elastase-induced emphysema, free/bound DID was lower in BLM-treated animals compared to controls at both 1 week (0.76 vs 0.84) and 2 weeks post-treatment (0.69 vs 0.86), though the differences were not statistically significant. Conclusions: These results indicate that it may be possible to identify specific pulmonary microarchitecture changes, based on the ratio of free to peptide-bound DID. It is speculated that the proportionate decrease in free DID in BLM-induced fibrosis may be due to preservation of intact elastic fibers as the lung injury progresses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-99
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • COPD
  • Desmosine
  • Elastin
  • Emphysema
  • Percolation


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