• Overactive epidermal growth factor receptor signaling leads to increased fibrosis after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection

      Venkataraman, T.; Coleman, C.M.; Frieman, M.B. (American Society for Microbiology, 2017)
      Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is a highly pathogenic respiratory virus that causes morbidity and mortality in humans. After infection with SARS-CoV, the acute lung injury caused by the virus must be repaired to regain lung function. A dysregulation in this wound healing process leads to fibrosis. Many survivors of SARS-CoV infection develop pulmonary fibrosis (PF), with higher prevalence in older patients. Using mouse models of SARS-CoV pathogenesis, we have identified that the wound repair pathway, controlled by the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), is critical to recovery from SARS-CoV-induced tissue damage. In mice with constitutively active EGFR [EGFR(DSK5) mice], we find that SARS-CoV infection causes enhanced lung disease. Importantly, we show that during infection, the EGFR ligands amphiregulin and heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) are upregulated, and exogenous addition of these ligands during infection leads to enhanced lung disease and altered wound healing dynamics. Our data demonstrate a key role of EGFR in the host response to SARS-CoV and how it may be implicated in lung disease induced by other highly pathogenic respiratory viruses.
    • The role of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling in SARS coronavirus-induced pulmonary fibrosis

      Venkataraman, T.; Frieman, M.B. (Elsevier B.V., 2017)
      Many survivors of the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) developed residual pulmonary fibrosis with increased severity seen in older patients. Autopsies of patients that died from SARS also showed fibrosis to varying extents. Pulmonary fibrosis can be occasionally seen as a consequence to several respiratory viral infections but is much more common after a SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection. Given the threat of future outbreaks of severe coronavirus disease, including Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), it is important to understand the mechanisms responsible for pulmonary fibrosis, so as to support the development of therapeutic countermeasures and mitigate sequelae of infection. In this article, we summarize pulmonary fibrotic changes observed after a SARS-CoV infection, discuss the extent to which other respiratory viruses induce fibrosis, describe available animal models to study the development of SARS-CoV induced fibrosis and review evidence that pulmonary fibrosis is caused by a hyperactive host response to lung injury mediated by epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling. We summarize work from our group and others indicating that inhibiting EGFR signaling may prevent an excessive fibrotic response to SARS-CoV and other respiratory viral infections and propose directions for future research.