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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008 Sep;49(9):3955-60. doi: 10.1167/iovs.07-1610. Epub 2008 Apr 17.

Lovastatin inhibits TGF-beta-induced myofibroblast transdifferentiation in human tenon fibroblasts.

Author information

1
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The transdifferentiation of Tenon fibroblasts to myofibroblasts is a pivotal step in filtering bleb scarring. It is mediated by the cytokine TGF-beta, Rho-dependent contractility, and cell-matrix interactions in an interdependent fashion. HMG-CoA-reductase inhibitors (statins) have been shown to inhibit Rho-GTPase signaling; therefore, the authors studied the influence of lovastatin on TGF-beta-mediated myofibroblast transdifferentiation to assess the potential use of statins in wound healing modulation.

METHODS:

Human Tenon fibroblasts were grown in culture, pretreated with lovastatin, lovastatin and mevalonate, or specific inhibitors of farnesyl transferase or geranylgeranyl transferase and were stimulated with TGF-beta1. alpha-Smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) transcription were assessed by real-time PCR. alpha-SMA protein expression and localization were studied by Western blot and confocal immunofluorescence microscopy. Cell contractility was determined in collagen gel contraction assays. Phosphorylation of the signaling proteins Smad-2/3 and p38 were detected by Western blot, and Smad-2/3 localization was determined by confocal immunofluorescence microscopy.

RESULTS:

Lovastatin inhibited TGF-beta-induced CTGF transcription, alpha-SMA expression and incorporation into actin stress fibers, and subsequent collagen gel contraction. These effects were reversed by mevalonate. The inhibition of geranylgeranyl transferase but not farnesyl transferase blocked TGF-beta-induced alpha-SMA expression. Lovastatin decreased TGF-beta-induced p38 activation, whereas Smad-2/3 phosphorylation and nuclear translocation were preserved.

CONCLUSIONS:

Lovastatin inhibits TGF-beta-induced myofibroblast transdifferentiation in human Tenon fibroblasts, most likely by interfering with Rho-signaling. Statins may, therefore, serve to inhibit scarring after filtering glaucoma surgery.

PMID:
18421080
DOI:
10.1167/iovs.07-1610
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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