Research Papers:

The correlation between pulmonary fibrosis and methylation of peripheral Smad3 in cases of pigeon breeder's lung in a Chinese Uygur population

Chao Wu, Wei Ding, Qifeng Li, Wenyi Wang, Mingqin Deng, Rong Jin, Baosen Pang and Xiaohong Yang _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:43104-43113. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17763

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Chao Wu1, Wei Ding1, Qifeng Li2, Wenyi Wang1, Mingqin Deng1, Rong Jin1, Baosen Pang3 and Xiaohong Yang1

1Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, People’s Hospital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Urumqi 830001, China

2Institute of Pediatrics of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Urumqi 830001, China

3Beijing Institute of Respiratory Medicine, Beijing Chao-Yang Hospital, Beijing 100043, China

Correspondence to:

Xiaohong Yang, email: [email protected]

Chao Wu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: Smad3 gene, pigeon breeder’s lung, pulmonary fibrosis, polymerase chain reaction, Uygur

Received: November 21, 2016    Accepted: April 6, 2017    Published: May 10, 2017


Smad3 is a key protein in the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β)/Smad signaling pathway, which is involved in fibrosis in many organs. We investigated the relationship between Smad3 gene methylation and pulmonary fibrosis in pigeon breeder’s lung (PBL). Twenty Uygur PBL patients with pulmonary fibrosis in Kashi between October 2015 and March 2016 were enrolled. Twenty PBL-free pigeon breeders and 20 healthy non-pigeon breeders enrolled during the same period constituted the negative and normal control groups, respectively. Participants’ data and peripheral blood samples were collected, and three Smad3 CpG loci were examined. Distributions of CpG_2 and CpG_4 methylation rates did not differ across groups, whereas distributions of CpG_3 methylation rates were significantly different among the three groups. The CpG_3 methylation rate was significantly lower in the patient group than in the negative control group. Smad3 mRNA expression was significantly higher in the patient group than in the negative control group but did not differ between the two control groups. TGF-βlevels were significantly higher in the patient group than in either control group (both P<0.01). Smad3 gene methylation and Smad3 mRNA expression were negatively correlated, with a correlation coefficient of -0.84. The number of pigeons bred during the preceding three months was positively correlated with Smad3 mRNA expression, with a correlation coefficient of 0.77. Smad3 gene hypomethylation might promote pulmonary fibrosis in Uygur PBL patients via increased Smad3 mRNA expression. Smad3 methylation, Smad3 mRNA expression and TGF-β level were correlated with the number of pigeons bred by patients.

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