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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Venous ulcer fibroblasts compared with normal fibroblasts show differences in collagen but not fibronectin production under both normal and hypoxic conditions.

Previous immunocytochemical analysis showed that the base of venous ulcers was deficient in fibronectin compared with surrounding "normal" dermis. Here, we investigate whether impaired synthetic ability of ulcer fibroblasts could underlie this observation. Ulcer fibroblasts, established in culture from biopsies of the edge of chronic venous leg ulcers, were compared with normal fibroblasts grown from biopsies of site-and age-matched normal skin for their ability to synthesize matrix molecules. Collagen and fibronectin synthesis were measured following metabolic labeling, as collagenase susceptible counts and counts with gelatin affinity, respectively. More collagen was produced by normal fibroblasts than ulcer fibroblasts, both when the cells were cultured on plastic and in collagen gels. In fibronectin synthesis, however, there was no major difference between the two cell types on either substratum. The hypoxic environment to which ulcer fibroblasts are exposed may have caused the intrinsic differences in collagen synthesis by the two fibroblast types. When we tested the effect of culturing cells under hypoxic conditions, both cell types produced less collagen, especially normal fibroblasts grown in a collagen gel, but there was no effect of hypoxia on fibronectin synthesis. We conclude that venous ulcer edge-derived fibroblasts have an impaired ability to synthesize collagen in vitro, but synthesize fibronectin normally. Therefore, the low level of fibronectin found in venous ulcers is not likely to be due to the inability of ulcer cells to produce it or to the response to hypoxic conditions but may be due to the degradation of synthesized fibronectin by proteases present in these ulcers.[1]


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