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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Apr 15;1501(1):51-62.

Abnormal phenotype of in vitro dermal fibroblasts from patients with Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE).

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Department of Biomedical Sciences- General Pathology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via Campi 287, 41100, Modena, Italy.


Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is a genetic connective tissue disease, whose gene and pathogenesis are still unknown. Dermal fibroblasts from patients affected by PXE have been compared in vitro with fibroblasts taken from sex and age-matched normal individuals. Cells were grown and investigated in monolayer, into three-dimensional collagen gels and in suspension. Compared with normal cells, PXE fibroblasts cultured in monolayer entered more rapidly within the S phase and exhibited an increased proliferation index; on the contrary, similarly to normal fibroblasts, PXE cells did not grow in suspension. Furthermore, compared with normal fibroblasts, PXE cells exhibited lower efficiency in retracting collagen type I lattices and lower adhesion properties to collagen type I and to plasma fibronectin. This behavior was associated with higher expression of integrin subunits alpha2, alpha5, alphav, whereas beta1 subunit as well as alpha2beta1 and alpha5beta1 integrin expression was lower than in controls. Compared to controls, PXE fibroblasts had higher CAM protein expression in accordance with their high tendency to form cellular aggregates, when kept in suspension. The demonstration that PXE fibroblasts have altered cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, associated with modified proliferation capabilities, is consistent with the hypothesis that the gene responsible for PXE might have a broad regulatory role on the cellular machinery.

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