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Br J Dermatol. 2011 May;164(5):1030-6.

Collagen triple helix repeat containing-1 inhibits transforming growth factor-b1-induced collagen type I expression in keloid.

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Department of Dermatology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430022, China.



Keloids are benign skin tumours occurring during wound healing in genetically predisposed patients. There is evidence that transforming growth factor (TGF)-b is involved in keloid formation. Collagen triple helix repeat containing- 1 (Cthrc1) was identified as a novel gene expressed in the adventitia and neointima on arterial injury. It is indicated to be a cell type-specific inhibitor of TGF-b, which functionally increases cell migration while reducing collagen type I and III deposition. However, to our knowledge expression and regulatory mechanisms of Cthrc1 and TGF-b1 in keloid and normal skin have not been studied before.


Cthrc1 gene regulation and potential role in keloid formation were determined, and its correlation with TGF-b1 involved in keloid pathogenesis was examined in human fibroblasts of keloids and normal skin.


The expression of Cthrc1 and TGF-b1 was investigated in fibroblasts of keloid and normal skin. Collagen type I expression and collagen synthesis in keloid fibroblasts induced by TGF-b1 were examined. Then, recombinant Cthrc1 was applied to assess its correlation with TGF-b1.


Increased TGF-b1 and Cthrc1 expression was examined in keloid compared with normal skin. Cthrc1 expression increased in a concentration-dependent manner induced by TGF-b1 in keloid fibroblasts. TGF-b1 stimulated collagen type I expression and collagen synthesis in keloid fibroblasts, which can be reversed by recombinant Cthrc1.


TGF-b1 was upregulated in keloid fibroblasts and recombinant Cthrc1 inhibited TGF-b1-stimulated collagen type I synthesis, which suggests that Cthrc1 may be a potential therapeutic option for keloids.

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