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Exp Dermatol. 2015 Feb;24(2):120-6. doi: 10.1111/exd.12601.

Periostin induces fibroblast proliferation and myofibroblast persistence in hypertrophic scarring.

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Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory, Roth|McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre, Western University, London, ON, Canada; Lawson Health Research Institute, Western University, London, ON, Canada; Department of Biochemistry, Western University, London, ON, Canada.


Hypertrophic scarring is characterized by the excessive development and persistence of myofibroblasts. These cells contract the surrounding extracellular matrix resulting in the increased tissue density characteristic of scar tissue. Periostin is a matricellular protein that is abnormally abundant in fibrotic dermis, however, its roles in hypertrophic scarring are largely unknown. In this report, we assessed the ability of matrix-associated periostin to promote the proliferation and myofibroblast differentiation of dermal fibroblasts isolated from the dermis of hypertrophic scars or healthy skin. Supplementation of a thin type-I collagen cell culture substrate with recombinant periostin induced a significant increase in the proliferation of hypertrophic scar fibroblasts but not normal dermal fibroblasts. Periostin induced significant increases in supermature focal adhesion formation, α smooth muscle actin levels and collagen contraction in fibroblasts cultured from hypertrophic scars under conditions of increased matrix tension in three-dimensional type-I collagen lattices. Inhibition of Rho-associated protein kinase activity significantly attenuated the effects of matrix-associated periostin on hypertrophic scar fibroblasts and myofibroblasts. Depletion of endogenous periostin expression in hypertrophic scar myofibroblasts resulted in a sustained decrease in α smooth muscle actin levels under conditions of reducing matrix tension, while matrix-associated periostin levels caused the cells to retain high levels of a smooth muscle actin under these conditions. These findings indicate that periostin promotes Rho-associated protein kinase-dependent proliferation and myofibroblast persistence of hypertrophic scar fibroblasts and implicate periostin as a potential therapeutic target to enhance the resolution of scars.


fibroblast; hypertrophic scarring; myofibroblast; periostin

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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