A new study identified CD247 as a potential indicator of immune activity in both the lungs and blood and a promising marker to predict lung function and prognosis in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

The authors of the study recently published in Frontiers in Immunology found that CD247—also known as T-cell surface glycoprotein CD3 zeta chain—was downregulated in blood and lung tissue samples of IPF patients when compared with control individuals. Moreover, they observed a positive association between the expression of CD247 and the diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide (Dlco% predicted) in both blood and lung tissue samples.

“Patients with low-expression CD247 had shorter transplant-free survival (TFS) time and more composite end-point events . . . compared with patients with high-expression CD247 (blood),” the authors wrote.

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They also demonstrated that low expression of CD247 might be associated with lower activity of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, checkpoint, and cytolytic activity, as well as higher activity of macrophages and neutrophils.

These conclusions were drawn from the analysis of 11 datasets retrieved from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. The datasets were from blood (n=6), lung tissue (n=4), and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (n=1) samples.

The analysis of one of the blood datasets suggested that the low expression of CD247 remained a risk factor for CEP during patients’ follow-up for 1, 3, 6, and 12 months.

Bioinformatic analysis identified 13 genes that interact with CD247 and were also involved in the functions of T cells and natural killer (NK) cells.

In addition to CD247, Li et al identified a second potential biomarker of disease severity for IPF in blood samples, MYL4. MYL4 was negatively associated with Dlco% predicted in blood samples but not in lung tissue samples. Also, they did not find any association with patients’ prognosis.


Li Y, Chen S, Li X, et al. CD247, a potential T cell–derived disease severity and prognostic biomarker in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Front Immunol. 2021;12:4717. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2021.762594