The ECM propagates processes in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), leading to progressive lung scarring. We established an IPF-conditioned matrix (IPF-CM) system as a platform for testing drug candidates. Here, we tested the involvement of a PGE2 and PDE4 inhibitor, Roflumilast, in the IPF-CM system. Primary normal/IPF tissue-derived human lung fibroblasts (N/IPF-HLFs) were cultured on Matrigel and then removed to create the IPF-CM. N-HLFs were exposed to the IPF-CM/N-CM with/without PGE2 (1 nM) and Roflumilast (1 µM) for 24 h. The effect of the IPF-CM on cell phenotype and pro-fibrotic gene expression was tested. In addition, electronic records of 107 patients with up to 15-year follow-up were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were defined as slow/rapid progressors using forced vital capacity (FVC) annual decline. Medication exposure was examined. N-HLFs cultured on IPF-CM were arranged in large aggregates as a result of increased proliferation, migration and differentiation. A PGE2 and Roflumilast combination blocked the large aggregate formation induced by the IPF-CM (p < 0.001) as well as cell migration, proliferation, and pro-fibrotic gene expression. A review of patient records showed that significantly more slow-progressing patients were exposed to NSAIDs (p = 0.003). PGE2/PDE4 signaling may be involved in IPF progression. These findings should be further studied.
- extracellular matrix