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Am J Pathol. 2006 Dec;169(6):2254-65.

Platelet-derived growth factor-beta receptor activation is essential for fibroblast and pericyte recruitment during cutaneous wound healing.

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Centre for Rheumatology and Connective Tissue Disease, Department of Medicine, University College London NW3 2PF, UK, and the Clinical Research Center, University Hospital, Orebro, Sweden.


Connective tissue remodeling provides mammals with a rapid mechanism to repair wounds after injury. Inappropriate activation of this reparative process leads to scarring and fibrosis. Here, we studied the effects of platelet-derived growth factor receptor-beta blockade in vivo using the platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR)-beta inhibitor imatinib mesylate on tissue repair. After 7 days, healing of wounds was delayed with significantly reduced wound closure and concomitant reduction in myofibroblast frequency, expression of fibronectin ED-A, and collagen type I. Using a collagen type I transgenic reporter mouse, we showed that inhibiting PDGFR-beta activation restricted the distribution of collagen-synthesizing cells to wound margins and dramatically reduced cell proliferation in vivo. By 14 days, treated wounds were fully closed. Blocking PDGFR-beta signaling did not prevent the differentiation of myofibroblasts in vitro but potently inhibited fibroblast proliferation and migration. In addition, PDGFR-beta inhibition in vivo was accompanied by abnormal microvascular morphogenesis reminiscent of that observed in PDGFR-beta-/- mice with significantly reduced immunostaining of the pericyte marker NG2. Imatinib treatment also inhibited pericyte proliferation and migration in vitro. This study highlights the significance of PDGFR-beta signaling for the recruitment, proliferation, and functional activities of fibro-blasts and pericytes during the early phases of wound healing.

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