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Cell Biol Int. 1998;22(7-8):499-508.

Effect of dexamethasone on the assembly of the matrix of fibronectin and on its receptors organization in Ehlers-Danlos syndrome skin fibroblasts.

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Division of Biology and Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.


The effect of dexamethasone (DEX) on the expression of fibronectin (FN), proalpha(1)(I) collagen (Col1), integrin alpha(2), alpha(5)and beta(1)subunits mRNAs, were studied by quantitative in situ hybridization (ISH) with radiolabelled probes in relationship with the organization of the extracellular matrix (ECM) of FN in human skin fibroblasts. In particular, two fibroblast strains were analysed, one derived from a control donor, typically organizing a rich ECM of FN, and the other from a patient affected by Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), which did not assemble the FN-ECM. Treatment of both fibroblast strains with 10(-7) m DEX slightly enhanced the level of FN mRNA (by about 1.5-fold), did not influence the level of alpha(5)subunit mRNA and reduced Col1, alpha(2)and beta(1)integrin subunits mRNAs by 2-3-fold. These results show that, in these cells, DEX coordinately downregulates the expression of Col1 and its specific integrin alpha(2)beta(1). Moreover, DEX regulates in a different manner the alpha(5)and beta(1)subunits forming the main FN receptor (FNR) in skin fibroblasts. Immunofluorescence microscopy evidencing the FN-ECM and integrins containing alpha(5)and beta(1)subunits showed that in control cells DEX induced a slight enhancement of the FN-ECM and of the alpha(5)beta(1)receptors patches. Therefore, in these cells the decrease of beta(1)FN receptor subunit mRNA, as well as the decrease of Col1 and its receptor mRNAs, did not influence the FN-ECM assembly. In EDS fibroblasts, DEX decreased the cytoplasmic accumulation of FN and induced the assembly of a rich FN-ECM through the formation of large FNR integrin patches, codistributing with the FN-ECM. We suggest that in EDS skin fibroblasts DEX corrects the defective FN-ECM favouring the sorting and the organization of FN and its alpha(5)beta(1)integrin receptor.

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