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Am J Pathol. 2005 Jul;167(1):71-80.

Tenascin-C regulates recruitment of myofibroblasts during tissue repair after myocardial injury.

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Department of Pathology and Biology, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-174 Edobashi, Tsu, Mie 514-8507, Japan.


Tenascin-C (TN-C) is an extracellular matrix molecule that is expressed during wound healing in various tissues. Although not detectable in the normal adult heart, it is expressed under pathological conditions. Previously, using a rat model, we found that TN-C was expressed during the acute stage after myocardial infarction and that alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA)-positive myofibroblasts appeared in TN-C-positive areas. In the present study, we examined whether TN-C controls the dynamics of myofibroblast recruitment and wound healing after electrical injury to the myocardium of TN-C knockout (TNKO) mice compared with wild-type (WT) mice. In TNKO mice, myocardial repair seemed to proceed normally, but the appearance of myofibroblasts was delayed. With cultured cardiac fibroblasts, TN-C significantly accelerated cell migration, alpha-SMA expression, and collagen gel contraction but did not affect proliferation. Using recombinant fragments of murine TN-C, the functional domain responsible for promoting migration of cardiac fibroblasts was mapped to the conserved fibronectin type III (FNIII)-like repeats and the fibrinogen (Fbg)-like domain. Furthermore, alternatively spliced FNIII and Fbg-like domains proved responsible for the up-regulation of alpha-SMA expression. These results indicate that TN-C promotes recruitment of myofibroblasts in the early stages of myocardial repair by stimulating cell migration and differentiation.

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