Table of Contents
Journal of Allergy
Volume 2012, Article ID 206109, 12 pages
Research Article

Lithium Attenuates TGF- 𝜷 𝟏 -Induced Fibroblasts to Myofibroblasts Transition in Bronchial Fibroblasts Derived from Asthmatic Patients

1Department of Cell Biology, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Kraków, Poland
2Department of Medicine, Jagiellonian University Medical School, Skawińska 8, 30-031 Kraków, Poland
3Department of Food Biotechnology, Faculty of Food Technology, University of Agriculture, Balicka 122, 31-149 Kraków, Poland

Received 13 February 2012; Revised 4 July 2012; Accepted 5 July 2012

Academic Editor: Ting Fan Leung

Copyright © 2012 Marta Michalik et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bronchial asthma is a chronic disorder accompanied by phenotypic transitions of bronchial epithelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and fibroblasts. Human bronchial fibroblasts (HBFs) derived from patients with diagnosed asthma display predestination towards TGF-β-induced phenotypic switches. Since the interference between TGF-β and GSK-3β signaling contributes to pathophysiology of chronic lung diseases, we investigated the effect of lithium, a nonspecific GSK-3β inhibitor, on TGF-β1-induced fibroblast to myofibroblast transition (FMT) in HBF and found that the inhibition of GSK-3β attenuates TGF-β1-induced FMT in HBF populations derived from asthmatic but not healthy donors. Cytoplasmically sequestrated β-catenin, abundant in TGF-β1/LiCl-stimulated asthmatic HBFs, most likely interacts with and inhibits the nuclear accumulation and signal transduction of Smad proteins. These data indicate that the specific cellular context determines FMT-related responses of HBFs to factors interfering with the TGF-β signaling pathway. They may also provide a mechanistic explanation for epidemiological data revealing coincidental remission of asthmatic syndromes and their recurrence upon the discontinuation of lithium therapy in certain psychiatric diseases.