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Lab Invest. 2012 Feb;92(2):214-23. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.2011.127. Epub 2011 Sep 26.

Therapeutic potential of fibroblast growth factor-2 for hypertrophic scars: upregulation of MMP-1 and HGF expression.

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Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Tokyo School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Although hypertrophic scars (HTSs) and keloids are challenging problems, their pathogenesis is not well understood, making therapy difficult. We showed that matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 expression was downregulated in HTS compared with normal skin from the same patients, whereas type 1 and 3 collagen and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) were upregulated. These differences, however, were not seen in cultured fibroblasts, suggesting the involvement of microenvironmental factors in the pathogenesis of HTS. Fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) highly upregulated the expression of MMP-1 and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) in both HTS-derived and control fibroblasts; the upregulation was reversed by extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitors. An animal study using human HTS tissue implanted into nude mice indicated that controlled-release FGF-2 resulted in significantly less weight and decreased hydroxyproline content in HTS. Degradation of collagen fibers in FGF-2-treated HTS was also confirmed histologically. Western blotting showed that FGF-2-treated HTS expressed significantly higher MMP-1 protein than control. Decreased MMP-1 expression may be an important transcriptional change in HTS, and its reversal as well as upregulation of HGF by FGF-2 could be a new therapeutic approach for HTS.

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