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Science Presents Atlas of Aberrant Cells in Lung Condition, More

Using single-cell RNA sequencing, a Yale University-led team has built an atlas of aberrant cellular populations in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a fatal interstitial lung disease characterized by irreversible scarring of the distal lung. As they report in Science Advances, the investigators profiled 312,928 cells from 32 IPF patient lungs, the lungs of 28 smoker and nonsmoker controls, and 18 lungs from individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Among their findings are a previously unidentified population of aberrant basaloid cells located at the edge of myofibroblast foci in the IPF lung that co-express basal epithelial, mesenchymal, senescence, and developmental markers. "Our IPF cell atlas provides an interactive and highly accessible resource to allow the exploration of cell specific changes in gene expression in lung health and disease and thus accelerate discovery and translation," the study's authors write.

A group led by Vanderbilt University scientists report applying single-cell RNA sequencing to lungs from pulmonary fibrosis (PF) patients in Science Advances this week, enabling the characterization of the cell types, mechanisms, and mediators driving the fibrotic remodeling associated with the disease. The scientists analyzed 114,396 cells and identified 31 distinct cell subsets/states. They also find a "remarkable shift in epithelial cell phenotypes occurs in the peripheral lung in PF" and find several previously unrecognized epithelial cell phenotypes. "Our results provide substantial insight into the complexity, heterogeneity, and plasticity of the peripheral lung in human disease, building upon molecular atlasing efforts in the diseased and healthy lung," the researchers conclude.