Treatment with plant-derived aloperine reduces the severity of lung injury in a mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis, a new Chinese study reports.

The research, “Aloperine Protects Mice against Bleomycin-induced Pulmonary Fibrosis by Attenuating Fibroblast Proliferation and Differentiation,” was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Idiopathic PF (IPF) is characterized by migration, proliferation and differentiation (specialization) of fibroblasts, a common cell type in the lung that is responsible for producing the extracellular matrix (ECM). That causes the ECM, which provides structural and biochemical support to cells, to undergo remodeling.

The differentiation of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts is a crucial event during the course of fibrosis development. Prior research in IPF lung tissues showed that myofibroblasts proliferate at very high rates and have lower apoptosis (meaning programmed cell death).