Decreased pulmonary c-Cbl expression and tyrosine phosphorylation in the nitrofen-induced rat model of congenital diaphragmatic hernia
The high morbidity of newborn infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is attributed to pulmonary hypoplasia (PH), which is characterized by a failure of alveolar development. The nitrofen-induced CDH model has been widely used to investigate the pathogenesis of PH in CDH. It has previously been shown that the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) pathway, which is essential for a proper lung development, is disrupted during late gestation of nitrofen-induced CDH. Casitas B-lineage lymphoma (c-Cbl) proteins are known regulators of signal transduction through FGFRs, indicating their important role during alveolarization in developing lungs. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that tyrosine phosphorylation of c-Cbl proteins has a pivotal role for their physiological function and activity during fetal lung development. We designed this study to test the hypothesis that pulmonary c-Cbl expression and tyrosine phosphorylation status are decreased in the nitrofen-induced CDH model.
Timed-pregnant rats received either 100 mg nitrofen or vehicle on gestation day 9 (D9). Fetuses were harvested on D18 and D21, and lungs were divided into two groups: control and hypoplastic lungs with CDH (CDH+) (n = 10 at each time-point, respectively). Pulmonary gene expression levels of c-Cbl were analyzed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Western blotting combined with densitometry analysis was used for semi-quantification of protein levels of pulmonary c-Cbl and tyrosine phosphorylation status. Confocal-immunofluorescence staining was performed to evaluate c-Cbl protein expression and distribution.
Relative mRNA expression levels of pulmonary c-Cbl were significantly decreased in CDH+ on D18 and D21 compared to controls. Western blotting showed markedly decreased protein levels of pulmonary c-Cbl and tyrosine phosphorylation status in CDH+ on D18 and D21. Confocal-immunofluorescence analysis confirmed decreased c-Cbl expression in CDH+ on D18 and D21 mainly in the distal alveolar epithelium compared to controls.
Decreased pulmonary c-Cbl gene and protein expression accompanied by a decreased tyrosine phosphorylation status during the late stages of fetal lung development may result in reduced c-Cbl activity, and thus interfere with the FGFR-mediated alveolarization in the nitrofen-induced CDH model.
Keywordsc-Cbl Tyrosine phosphorylation Fetal lung development Nitrofen Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
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