Growth factors and dexamethasone regulate Hoxb5 protein in cultured murine fetal lungs

Mala R. Chinoy, Maryann V. Volpe, Robert E. Cilley, Steven E. Zgleszewski, Robert J. Vosatka, Ana Martin, Heber C. Nielsen, Thomas M. Krummel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Studies on lung morphogenesis have indicated a role of homeobox (Hox) genes in the regulation of lung development. In the present study, we attempted to modulate the synthesis of Hoxb5 protein in cultured murine fetal lungs after mechanical or chemical stimuli. Murine fetuses at gestational day 14 (GD14) were removed from pregnant CD-1 mice, and lungs were excised and cultured for 7 days in BGJb media. The experimental groups were 1) untreated, unligated; 2) tracheal ligation; 3) supplemented media with either epidermal growth factor (EGF; 10 ng/ml), transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 (2 ng/ml), dexamethasone (10 nM), EGF+TGF-β1, or EGF+TGFβ1+dexamethasone. After 3 or 7 days, the cultured lungs were compared with in vivo lungs. Immunoblotting signals at 3 days in culture were stronger than those at 7 days. Western blot analyses showed that ligation, EGF, TGF-β1, and EGF+TGF- β1 downregulated Hoxb5 protein to ~20-70% of Hoxb5 protein levels in unligated, untreated cultured lungs. Furthermore, dexamethasone alone or in combination with EGF and TGF-β1 downregulated Hoxb5 protein by >90% (P < 0.05) signal strength, similar to that seen in GD19 or in neonatal lungs. Immunostaining showed that Hoxb5 protein was expressed strongly in the lung mesenchyme at early stages in gestation. However, by GD19 and in neonates, it was present only in specific epithelial cells. A persistent level of Hoxb5 protein in the mesenchyme after EGF or TGF-β1 treatments or tracheal ligation was noted. Hoxb5 protein was significantly downregulated by EGF+TGF- β1, and it was least in lungs after dexamethasone or EGF+TGF- β1+dexamethasone treatment. The decrease in Hoxb5 protein was significant only in the groups with dexamethasone added to the media. Thus immunostaining results parallel those of immunoblotting. The degree of Hoxb5 downregulation by dexamethasone or EGF+TGF-β1+dexamethasone was similar to that seen in vivo in very late gestation, which correlated to the advancing structural development of the lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L610-L620
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number4 18-4
StatePublished - Apr 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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