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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 6235614, 14 pages
Research Article

Blockade of Wnt/β-Catenin Pathway Aggravated Silica-Induced Lung Inflammation through Tregs Regulation on Th Immune Responses

Division of Pneumoconiosis, School of Public Health, China Medical University, No. 77 Puhe Road, Shenyang North New Area, Shenyang 110122, China

Received 7 December 2015; Revised 13 February 2016; Accepted 15 February 2016

Academic Editor: Vera L. Petricevich

Copyright © 2016 Wujing Dai 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.


CD4+ T cells play an important role in regulating silica-induced inflammation and fibrosis. Recent studies showed that Wnt/β-catenin pathway could modulate the function and the differentiation of CD4+ T cells. Therefore, Wnt/β-catenin pathway may participate in the development and progress of silicosis. To investigate the role of Wnt/β-catenin pathway, we used lentivirus expressing β-catenin shRNA to block the Wnt/β-catenin pathway by intratracheal instillation to the mice model of silicosis. Treatment of lentivirus could significantly aggravate the silica-induced lung inflammation and attenuated the fibrosis at the late stage. By analyzing CD4+ T cells, we found that blockade of Wnt/β-catenin pathway suppressed regulatory T cells (Tregs). Reciprocally, enhanced Th17 response was responsible for the further accumulation of neutrophils and production of proinflammatory cytokines. In addition, blockade of Wnt/β-catenin pathway delayed the Th1/Th2 polarization by inhibiting Tregs and Th2 response. These results indicated that Wnt/β-catenin pathway could regulate Tregs to modulate Th immune response, which finally altered the pathological character of silicosis. Our study suggested that Wnt/β-catenin pathway might be a potential target to treat the silica-induced inflammation and fibrosis.