Neuropeptide Y Antagonizes Development of Pulmonary Fibrosis through IL-1β Inhibition.
Neuropeptide Y (NPY), a 36 amino acid residue polypeptide distributed throughout the nervous system, acts on various immune cells in many organs, including the respiratory system. However, little is known about its role in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis. This study was performed to determine the effects of NPY on pulmonary fibrosis. NPY-deficient and wild-type mice were intratracheally administered bleomycin. Inflammatory cells, cytokine concentrations, and morphological morphometry of the lungs were analyzed. Serum NPY concentrations were also measured in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and healthy control subjects. NPY-deficient mice exhibited significantly enhanced pulmonary fibrosis and higher IL-1β concentrations in the lungs compared with wild-type mice. Exogenous NPY treatment suppressed the development of bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis and decreased IL-1β concentrations in the lungs. Moreover, IL-1β neutralization in NPY-deficient mice attenuated the fibrotic changes. NPY decreased IL-1β release, and Y1 receptor antagonists inhibited IL-1β release and induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition in human alveolar epithelial cells. Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis had lower NPY and greater IL-1β concentrations in the serums compared with healthy control subjects. NPY expression was mainly observed around bronchial epithelial cells in human idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis lungs. These data suggest that NPY plays a protective role against pulmonary fibrosis by suppressing IL-1β release, and manipulating the NPY-Y1 receptor axis could be a potential therapeutic strategy for delaying disease progression.