Abstract
Acute lung injury has a range of causes, and occasionally leads to lethal respiratory failure. Despite advances in treatment, acute lung injury continues to have a high mortality rate, and thus a new therapeutic approach is needed. ST2 is an interleukin (IL)-1 receptor-related protein, and its expression is induced by various inflammatory responses. Recently, ST2 has been speculated to exert anti-inflammatory effects; therefore, we investigated the role of the ST2 in the murine model of acute lung injury. To elucidate the function of ST2 in vivo, mice that transiently overexpressed ST2 protein were prepared using the hydrodynamic gene transfer method, and lung injury was induced by intratracheal administration of bleomycin. In bleomycin-treated ST2-overexpressing mice, the increase of neutrophils in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was markedly suppressed. Additionally, the levels of tumour necrosis factor-alpha and IL-6, as well as the concentration of albumin, in BALF were reduced compared with those of controls. Furthermore, the pulmonary architecture in ST2-overexpressing mice remained almost normal, and the survival rate was significantly improved. From these results, we concluded that ST2 has the potential to suppress the initial stage of acute lung injury, and therefore it may be a useful reagent for the treatment of acute lung injury.