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J Invest Dermatol. 2004 Nov;123(5):832-9.

Protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR-2) expression in human fibroblasts is regulated by growth factors and extracellular matrix.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, New York, USA.


Many cell types express a membrane receptor, activated by trypsin-like proteases, termed protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR-2). Previous studies describing PAR-2 expression on fibroblasts have been conflicting. In this report, we investigated in vitro PAR-2 expression on several fibroblast cell lines using flow cytometry, immunohistology, and immunoblots of cell lysates. Consistent PAR-2 expression was detected in cultured fibroblasts, although we observed heterogeneity of cellular expression among the cell lines. Some fibroblast lines expressed PAR-2 predominantly as an intracellular protein with differing cytoplasmic staining patterns, whereas other fibroblast lines displayed PAR-2 primarily as a cell surface receptor. Immunoblots of cell lysates with polyclonal anti-PAR-2 demonstrated a 44 kDa band, the predicted molecular weight for the PAR-2 core protein. Furthermore, we noted that expression of PAR-2 was subject to regulation. Fibroblasts grown within a collagen matrix downregulated receptor expression whereas increased PAR-2 expression was observed by the addition of fibroblast growth factors PDGF-BB and TGF-beta. This study may explain the previous inconsistencies in PAR-2 expression observed on tissue fibroblasts. Results indicate that the degree of fibroblast proliferation, attenuated by extracellular matrix and upregulated by growth factors, influences whether fibroblasts express PAR-2 and, thus, would be responsive to protease signaling.

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