Press Release

Award for a Publication in the Research Area of Lung Fibrosis

Are extracellular vesicles responsible for the transport of signaling molecules thereby causing fibrosis of the lung?

Extracellular vesicles under the microscope © Helmholtz Zentrum Munich

A team of the division of Lung Repair and Regeneration (LRR) at the DZL site Munich (CPC-M) was awarded with a prize honoring the best fundamental scientific publication of the year within the research area of DPLD. This publication was selected to be awarded in the course of the annual DPLD meeting by a board of independent reviewers.

Under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Dr. Melanie Königshoff (Helmholtz Zentrum Munich and University of Denver), the team investigated the role of the signaling molecule WNT-5A in the course of disease of incurable idiopathic lung fibrosis (IPF). They discovered an increased transport of this molecule through small, fluid-filled vesicles outside the cells towards the lung cells where it triggers progressing fibrosis in IPF patients.

Does a reduction of these vesicles lead to reduced fibrosis of the tissue? Are these vesicles suitable tracers (biomarkers) in order to determine the degree of severity of idiopathic lung fibrosis? Is an alteration of the content of these vesicles possible aiming at a therapeutic effect of the vesicles? All these hypotheses will now be further evaluated by the team in future preclinical studies.  

The link to the publication can be found here:
A. Martin-Medina et al, Am J Respir Crit Care Med., 2018:
Increased Extracellular Vesicles Mediate WNT-5A Signaling in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.