Through Gap Junction Communications, Co-Cultured Mast Cells and Fibroblasts Generate Fibroblast Activities Allied with Hypertrophic Scarring

Hershey, Pa. From the Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Pennsylvania State University, College of Medicine.
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (Impact Factor: 2.99). 05/2013; 131(5):1036-44. DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182865c3f
Source: PubMed


: The prominent inflammatory cell identified in excessive scarring is the mast cell. Hypertrophic scar exhibits myofibroblasts derived from the transformation of fibroblasts, increased collagen synthesis, and stationary nonmigratory resident cells. The co-culture of fibroblasts with an established rat mast cell line (RMC-1) was used to explore the hypothesis of whether mast cells through gap junctional intercellular communications guide fibroblasts in promoting excessive scarring.
: Human dermal fibroblasts were cultured alone or co-cultured with RMC-1 cells as is or with either blocked gap junctional intercellular communications or devoid of cytoplasmic granules. Collagen synthesis was analyzed by dot blot analysis; immunohistology identified myofibroblasts, and a cell migration assay measured fibroblast locomotion.
: Fibroblasts co-cultured with RMC-1 cells transformed into myofibroblasts, had increased collagen synthesis, and showed retarded cell migration. In contrast, RMC-1 cells unable to form gap junctional intercellular communications were similar to fibroblasts alone, failing to promote these activities. Degranulated RMC-1 cells were as effective as intact RMC-1 cells.
: Mast cells induce fibroblast activities associated with hypertrophic scarring through gap junctional intercellular communications. Eliminating the mast cell or its gap junctional intercellular communications with fibroblasts may be a possible approach in preventing hypertrophic scarring or reducing fibrotic conditions.

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