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Lab Invest. 2004 Feb;84(2):203-12.

Fibrillin-1 expression in normal and fibrotic rat liver and in cultured hepatic fibroblastic cells: modulation by mechanical stress and role in cell adhesion.

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Groupe de Recherches pour l'Etude du Foie, INSERM E0362, and Institut Fédératif de Recherche 66, Pathologies Infectieuses et Cancers, Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, Bordeaux, France.


Fibrillin-1, together with elastin, is the main component of elastic fibers found throughout the extracellular space and responsible for the biomechanical properties of most tissues and organs. In this work, fibrillin-1 expression and modulation were explored in experimental rat liver fibrosis and in vitro; furthermore, the role of fibrillin-1 fragments on cell adhesion was analyzed. Fibrosis was induced by subjecting rats to common bile duct ligation for 72 h and 7 days or carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4)) treatment for 2 and 6 weeks. Immunohistochemistry showed that, after bile duct ligation, fibrillin-1, elastin, and alpha-smooth muscle actin colocalized in the developing portal connective tissue. In CCl(4)-treated animals, a similar colocalization was observed in septa; however, elastin deposition was not observed around activated alpha-smooth muscle actin-positive stellate cells of the parenchyma. Treatment with the profibrogenic mediator transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) greatly increased the fibrillin-1 expression of cultured liver fibroblasts. The level of fibrillin-1 expression was significantly higher in cells grown in restrained (stressed) collagen lattices compared with those grown in unrestrained collagen lattices. Cell adhesion on the C-terminal fragment of fibrillin-1 containing the RGD sequence (rF6H) slightly increased (between 0.3 and 2.5 microg/ml) and decreased at higher concentrations, while adhesion on the N-terminal fragment of fibrillin-1 (rF16) was dose-dependently decreased. In addition, the rF16 fragment decreased cell adhesion to fibronectin. In conclusion, our study illustrates the important deposition of fibrillin-1 that occurs in two mechanistically distinct settings of liver fibrogenesis. Furthermore, the induction of fibrillin-1 expression by TGF-beta1 and mechanical stress, and the antiadhesive properties of fibrillin-1 fragments suggest important implications for physiological and pathological fibrillin-1 catabolism during tissue remodeling.

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