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Connect Tissue Res. 2009;50(5):323-9.

Cyclical cell stretching of skin-derived fibroblasts downregulates connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) production.

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Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Esthetic Surgery, Chiba University, Japan.


Delayed healing of skin wounds can be caused by wound instability, whereas appropriate massage or exercise prevents sclerosis and scar contracture. However, the mechanism by which wound healing is related to mechanical stress has not been fully elucidated. The present study aimed to identify whether mechanical stretching of fibroblasts reduces their production of extracellular matrix. We transferred skin fibroblasts into collagen-coated elastic silicone chambers, cultured them on a stretching apparatus, and used RT-PCR to examine the effects of mechanical stretching on the expression levels of 17 genes related to extracellular matrix production and growth factor secretion. We found that connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) was downregulated after 24 hr of cell stretching. Specifically, the CTGF mRNA and protein levels were 50% and 48% of the control levels, respectively. These findings suggest that cyclic stretching of fibroblasts contributes to anti-fibrotic processes by reducing CTGF production.

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