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Connect Tissue Res. 2018 Jan;59(1):30-44. doi: 10.1080/03008207.2017.1297809. Epub 2017 Apr 12.

Substance P increases CCN2 dependent on TGF-beta yet Collagen Type I via TGF-beta1 dependent and independent pathways in tenocytes.

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a Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Lewis Katz School of Medicine , Temple University , Philadelphia , PA , USA.


Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFbeta-1) and connective tissue growth factor (CCN2) are important mediators of tissue repair and fibrosis, with CCN2 functioning as a downstream mediator of TGFβ-1. Substance P (SP) is also linked to collagen production in tenocytes. A link between SP, TGFbeta-1 and CCN2 has yet to be established in tenocytes or fibrogenic processes. We sought to determine whether SP induces tenocyte proliferation, CCN2, or collagen production via TGFbeta-1 signaling or independently in rat primary tenocytes. Tenocytes were isolated from rat tendons, cultured and stimulated by SP and/or TGFbeta-1. Cultured cells expressed proteins characteristic of tenocytes (vimentin and tenomodulin) and underwent increased proliferation dose dependently after SP and TGFbeta-1 treatments, alone or combined (more than SP alone when combined). SP induced TGFbeta-1 expression in tenocytes in both dose- and time-dependent manners. SP and TGFbeta-1, alone or combined, stimulated CCN2 expression in tenocytes and their supernatants after both 24 and 48 h of stimulation; a response blocked with addition of a TGFbeta-1 receptor inhibitor. In contrast, SP potentiated collagen type I secretion by tenocytes, a response abrogated by the TGFbeta-1 receptor inhibitor after 48 h of stimulation, but not after the shorter 24 h of stimulation. Our findings suggest that both SP and TGFbeta-1 can stimulate tenocyte fibrogenic processes, albeit differently. TGFbeta-1 pathway signaling was involved in CCN2 production at all time points examined, while SP induced collagen type I production independently prior to the onset of signaling through the TGFbeta-1 pathway.


CTGF; Collagen; proliferation; substance P; tendons

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