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Exp Lung Res. 2002 Jun;28(4):275-84.

Apoptosis of wound fibroblasts induced by oxidative stress.

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First Department of Medicine, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Tokyo, Japan.


Irreversible lung parenchymal injury is usually healed by fibrosis, which depends on the abilities of fibroblasts to proliferate, migrate into the wound, and survive. Because the lung is frequently exposed to increased oxidative stress, which is thought to mediate apoptosis, we examined whether oxidative stress induces apoptosis in fibroblasts during wound healing. We performed an in vitro scratch wound assay where cultured fibroblast monolayers were exposed to H2O2 (10-500 microM) after artificial wounding. Apoptosis was evaluated by nuclear staining with Hoechst33342 or terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)-mediated nucleotide nick end-labeling (TUNEL). Intracellular oxidants were assessed with the peroxide-sensitive fluorochrome carboxydichlorodihydrofluorescein (CDCF). We found that repopulating fibroblasts at the wound margin, but not quiescent fibroblasts at the intact site, selectively underwent oxidant accumulation and apoptosis in response to H2O2 exposure. Some of the apoptotic cells had incorporated bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), an indicator of proliferating cells. These results suggest that oxidative stress selectively induces apoptosis in fibroblasts that are stimulated to proliferate and/or migrate into the wound. Fibroblast apoptosis induced by oxidative stress during wound repopulation may be relevant to intractable wound healing.

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