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This article has been peer reviewed. It was published in: PLoS ONE.

Volume 10, Issue 5, 6 May 2015, Article number e0125169.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125169

Copyright © 2015 Yao et al.


Pulmonary fibrosis is one of the most common complications of paraquat (PQ) poisoning, which demands for more effective therapies. Accumulating evidence suggests adiponectin (APN) may be a promising therapy against fibrotic diseases. In the current study, we determine whether the exogenous globular APN isoform protects against pulmonary fibrosis in PQ-treated mice and human lung fibroblasts, and dissect the responsible underlying mechanisms. BALB/C mice were divided into control group, PQ group, PQ + low-dose APN group, and PQ + high-dose APN group. Mice were sacrificed 3, 7, 14, and 21 days after PQ treatment. We compared pulmonary histopathological changes among different groups on the basis of fibrosis scores, TGF-β1, CTGF and α-SMA pulmonary content via Western blot and real-time quantitative fluorescence-PCR (RT-PCR). Blood levels of MMP-9 and TIMP-1 were determined by ELISA. Human lung fibroblasts WI-38 were divided into control group, PQ group, APN group, and APN receptor (AdipoR) 1 small-interfering RNA (siRNA) group. Fibroblasts were collected 24, 48, and 72 hours after PQ exposure for assay. Cell viability and apoptosis were determined via Kit-8 (CCK-8) and fluorescein Annexin V-FITC/PI double labeling. The protein and mRNA expression level of collagen type III, AdipoR1, and AdipoR2 were measured by Western blot and RT-PCR. APN treatment significantly decreased the lung fibrosis scores, protein and mRNA expression of pulmonary TGF-β1, CTGF and α-SMA content, and blood MMP-9 and TIMP-1 in a dose-dependent manner (p

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