Upregulation of transforming growth factor-β1 and vascular endothelial growth factor in cultured keloid fibroblasts: relevance to angiogenic activity

Fujiwara, Masao; Muragaki, Yasuteru; Ooshima, Akira
October 2005
Archives of Dermatological Research;Oct2005, Vol. 297 Issue 4, p161
Academic Journal
Keloids are tumor-like lesions that result from excessive scar formation during healing of wounds. Histologically, keloids show an increased blood vessel density compared with normal dermis or normal scars. However, the angiogenic activity of keloid fibroblasts remains unknown. In this study, we investigated angiogenic activity of keloid fibroblasts. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were investigated as elements of the angiogenic factors. Expressions of TGF-β1 and VEGF in conditioned medium were measured with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (EIA) and Northern blot analysis. Participation of TGF-β1 in the production of VEGF was also investigated with addition of TGF-β1 and a neutralizing anti-TGF-β1 antibody. A modified Boyden chamber assay was performed to assess the chemotactic activity of vascular endothelial cells. Angiogenic activity in vivo was evaluated by neovascularization of nodules formed by implantation of fibroblasts into severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice. EIA showed that the concentrations of TGF-β1 and VEGF in conditioned medium were increased 2.5- and 6-fold, respectively, after the culture of keloid fibroblasts compared with normal fibroblasts. Northern blot analysis revealed that the expression of TGF-β1 and VEGF mRNA was upregulated 3.6- and 6-fold, respectively, in keloid fibroblasts compared with normal fibroblasts. Addition of TGF-β1 to keloid fibroblast cultures increased VEGF production by 3.5-fold, while there was a 6-fold in culture of normal fibroblasts. A neutralizing anti-TGF-β1 antibody reduced VEGF secretion to control levels, suggesting that TGF-β1 mediated the upregulation of VEGF expression. A modified Boyden chamber assay demonstrated that the chemotactic activity of vascular endothelial cells was more strongly (sevenfold) induced by keloid fibroblast-conditioned medium than by normal fibroblast-conditioned medium. Anti-VEGF antibody inhibited chemotaxis to basal levels. When SCID mice underwent implantation of fibroblasts into the back, the nodules formed by keloid fibroblasts were three times larger than those formed by normal fibroblasts. Although abundant neovascularization was observed in keloid fibroblast nodules, neovascularization was scarce in normal fibroblast nodules. Both in vitro and in vivo studies confirmed the significantly higher angiogenic activity of keloid fibroblasts compared with normal fibroblasts, and TGF-β1 and VEGF were clearly shown to be involved. These results suggest that angiogenesis in keloids is promoted by endogenous TGF-β1 and VEGF.


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