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Am J Physiol. 1996 Nov;271(5 Pt 1):G729-40.

Regulation and function of extracellular matrix intestinal epithelial restitution in vitro.

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Gastrointestinal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA.


Repair of epithelial injury in the gastrointestinal tract is initially accomplished by migration of epithelial cells from the wound edge ("restitution"). To assess expression and function of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in the restitution phase after epithelial injury, in vitro studies using wounded monolayers or a rat intestinal epithelium-derived cell line (IEC-6) were undertaken. IEC-6 cells expressed fibronectin (FN) mRNA and protein in large amounts and lesser quantities of laminin-beta 1 (LN beta 1) and LN gamma 1. Collagen IV (Col IV) was weakly expressed, and LN alpha 1 was not detected. After wounding a significant decrease in FN, LN beta 1, LN gamma 1, and Col IV alpha 1 mRNA steady-state levels was observed; mean content 24 h after wounding was reduced by 75-90%. FN, LN, and Col IV proteins were also reduced. The downregulation of these ECM transcripts and proteins could be substantially prevented by transforming growth factor-beta 1, a restitution-promoting growth factor. In addition to changes of expression, the distribution of FN and LN was also altered in migrating cells after wounding, as assessed by immunofluorescence. Arg-Gly-Asp peptides that recognize the major cell attachment site on FN and antibodies recognizing the main noncollagenous domain of Col IV inhibited cell migration, but immunoneutralizing anti-LN antisera did not affect restitution. In conclusion, although paradoxically downregulated after wounding, ECM proteins, in particular FN and Col IV molecules, are able to enhance intestinal epithelial restitution.

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