BACKGROUND: Collagen is the most abundant protein in animals. Each polypeptide chain of collagen is composed of repeats of the sequence: Gly-X-Y, where X and Y are often L-proline (Pro) and 4(R)-hydroxy-L-proline (Hyp) residues, respectively. These chains are wound into tight triple helices of great stability. The hydroxyl group of Hyp residues contributes much to this conformational stability. The existing paradigm is that this stability arises from interstrand hydrogen bonds mediated by bridging water molecules. This model was tested using chemical synthesis to replace Hyp residues with 4(R)-fluoro-L-proline (Flp) residues. The fluorine atom in Flp residues does not form hydrogen bonds but does elicit strong inductive effects. RESULTS: Replacing the Hyp residues in collagen with Flp residues greatly increases triple-helical stability. The free energy contributed by the fluorine atom in Flp residues is twice that of the hydroxyl group in Hyp residues. The stability of the Flp-containing triple helix far exceeds that of any untemplated collagen mimic of similar size. CONCLUSIONS: Bridging water molecules contribute little to collagen stability. Rather, collagen stability relies on previously unappreciated inductive effects. Collagen mimics containing fluorine or other appropriate electron-withdrawing substituents could be the basis of new biomaterials for restorative therapies. (+info)
Expression of extracellular matrix proteins in cervical squamous cell carcinoma--a clinicopathological study.
AIM: To evaluate the intracellular and peritumoral expression of matrix proteins in squamous cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix using immunohistochemistry. METHODS: 71 squamous cell carcinomas and 10 controls were stained for laminin, fibronectin, and collagen IV. Cytoplasmic staining in tumour cells and peritumoral deposition of matrix proteins were evaluated. The association between staining results and patient age, tumour stage, histological grade, and survival was studied. RESULTS: Positive cytoplasmic staining for laminin, fibronectin, and collagen IV was observed in 17 (23.9%), 27 (38%), and 10 (14.1%) cases, respectively. Staining for laminin was most pronounced in the invasive front of tumour islands, while for fibronectin and collagen IV it appeared to be diffuse. Peritumoral staining for laminin and collagen IV was detected in 12 cases (16.9%). Early stage (Ia1-Ia2) tumours were uniformly negative for all three proteins. Cytoplasmic staining for laminin correlated with positive staining for fibronectin and collagen IV, and with the presence of a peritumoral deposition of collagen IV and laminin. There was no correlation with any of the three markers between staining results and patient age, stage, grade, or survival. CONCLUSIONS: Expression of extracellular matrix proteins in some cervical squamous cell carcinomas might reflect the enhanced ability of these tumours to modify the peritumoral stroma. This ability seems to be absent in early stage tumours. The correlation between intracytoplasmic and peritumoral expression of matrix proteins supports the evidence of their synthesis by tumour cells. However, this property did not correlate with disease outcome in this study. (+info)
Prevention of collagen-induced arthritis by gene delivery of soluble p75 tumour necrosis factor receptor.
Collagen type II-induced arthritis (CIA) in DBA/1 mice can be passively transferred to SCID mice with spleen B- and T-lymphocytes. In the present study, we show that infection ex vivo of splenocytes from arthritic DBA/1 mice with a retroviral vector, containing cDNA for the soluble form of human p75 receptor of tumour necrosis factor (TNF-R) before transfer, prevents the development of arthritis, bone erosion and joint inflammation in the SCID recipients. Assessment of IgG subclass levels and studies of synovial histology suggest that down-regulating the effector functions of T helper-type 1 (Th1) cells may, at least in part, explain the inhibition of arthritis in the SCID recipients. In contrast, the transfer of splenocytes infected with mouse TNF-alpha gene construct resulted in exacerbated arthritis and enhancement of IgG2a antibody levels. Intriguingly, infection of splenocytes from arthritic DBA/1 mice with a construct for mouse IL-10 had no modulating effect on the transfer of arthritis. The data suggest that manipulation of the immune system with cytokines, or cytokine inhibitors using gene transfer protocols can be an effective approach to ameliorate arthritis. (+info)
Expression and differential regulation of connective tissue growth factor in pancreatic cancer cells.
CTGF is an immediate early growth responsive gene that has been shown to be a downstream mediator of TGFbeta actions in fibroblasts and vascular endothelial cells. In the present study hCTGF was isolated as immediate early target gene of EGF/TGFalpha in human pancreatic cancer cells by suppression hybridization. CTGF transcripts were found in 13/15 pancreatic cancer cell lines incubated with 10% serum. In 3/7 pancreatic cancer cell lines EGF/TGFalpha induced a significant rise of CTGF transcript levels peaking 1-2 h after the start of treatment. TGFbeta increased CTGF transcript levels in 2/7 pancreatic cancer cell lines after 4 h of treatment and this elevation was sustained after 24 h. Only treatment with TGFbeta was accompanied by a parallel induction of collagen type I transcription. 15/19 human pancreatic cancer tissues were shown to overexpress high levels of CTGF transcripts. CTGF transcript levels in pancreatic cancer tissues and nude mouse xenograft tumors showed a good correlation to the degree of fibrosis. In situ hybridization and the nude mouse experiments revealed that in pancreatic cancer tissues, fibroblasts are the predominant site of CTGF transcription, whereas the tumor cells appear to contribute to a lesser extent. We conclude that CTGF may be of paramount importance for the development of the characteristic desmoplastic reaction in pancreatic cancer tissues. (+info)
Enhanced Th1 and dampened Th2 responses synergize to inhibit acute granulomatous and fibrotic responses in murine schistosomiasis mansoni.
In murine schistosomiasis mansoni, CD4(+) Th1 and Th2 cells participate in the ovum-induced granulomatous inflammation. Previous studies showed that the interleukin-12 (IL-12)-induced Th1 response strongly suppressed the Th2-cell-mediated pulmonary granuloma development in naive or primed mice. However, liver granulomas were only moderately suppressed in egg-vaccinated, recombinant IL-12 (rIL-12)-treated infected mice. The present study shows that repeated rIL-12 injections given during early granuloma development at 5 to 7 weeks after infection prolonged the Th1 phase and resulted in gamma interferon-mediated suppression of liver granulomas. The timing is crucial: if given at 6 to 8 weeks, during the Th2-dominated phase of florid granuloma growth, the treatment is ineffective. Daily injections of rIL-12 given between 5 and 7.5 weeks during the period of granuloma growth achieved a somewhat-stronger diminution in granuloma growth with less deposition of collagen but caused 60% mortality and liver pathology. In contrast, combined treatment with rIL-12 and anti-IL-4-anti-IL-10 monoclonal antibody (MAb) injections given during the Th2 phase strongly inhibited liver granuloma growth without mortality. The diminished inflammatory response was accompanied by less deposition of collagen in the liver. Moreover, neutralization of endogenous IL-12 by anti-IL-12 MAbs effectively decreased the early Th1 phase (between 5 and 6 weeks after infection) but not the developing Th2 phase (5 to 7 weeks) of granuloma development. These studies indicate that the granulomatous response in infected mice can be manipulated by utilizing the Th1-Th2-subset antagonism with potential salutary results in the amelioration of fibrous pathology. (+info)
Treponema denticola outer membrane enhances the phagocytosis of collagen-coated beads by gingival fibroblasts.
Human gingival fibroblasts (HGFs) degrade collagen fibrils in physiological processes by phagocytosis. Since Treponema denticola outer membrane (OM) extract perturbs actin filaments, important structures in phagocytosis, we determined whether the OM affects collagen phagocytosis in vitro by HGFs. Phagocytosis was measured by flow cytometric assessment of internalized collagen-coated fluorescent latex beads. Confluent HGFs pretreated with T. denticola ATCC 35405 OM exhibited an increase in the percentage of collagen phagocytic cells (phagocytosis index [PI]) and in the number of beads per phagocytosing cell (phagocytic capacity [PC]) compared with untreated controls. The enhancement was swift (within 15 min) and was still evident after 1 day. PI and PC of HGFs for bovine serum albumin (BSA)-coated beads were also increased, indicating a global increase in phagocytic processes. These results contrasted those for control OM from Veillonella atypica ATCC 17744, which decreased phagocytosis. The T. denticola OM-induced increase in bead uptake was eliminated by heating the OM and by depolymerization of actin filaments by cytochalasin D treatment of HGFs. Fluid-phase accumulation of lucifer yellow was enhanced in a saturable, concentration-dependent, transient manner by the T. denticola OM. Our findings were not due to HGF detachment or cytotoxicity in response to the T. denticola OM treatment since the HGFs exhibited minimal detachment from the substratum; they did not take up propidium iodide; and there was no change in their size, granularity, or content of sub-G1 DNA. We conclude that a heat-sensitive component(s) in T. denticola OM extract stimulates collagen phagocytosis and other endocytic processes such as nonspecific phagocytosis and pinocytosis by HGFs. (+info)
Interferon-alpha does not improve outcome at one year in patients with diffuse cutaneous scleroderma: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether interferon-alpha (IFNalpha) reduces the severity of skin involvement in early (<3 years) diffuse scleroderma. METHODS: In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, 35 patients with early scleroderma received subcutaneous injections of either IFNalpha (13.5 x 10(6) units per week in divided doses) or indistinguishable placebo. Outcomes assessed were the modified Rodnan skin score, as determined by a single observer at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months, as well as data on renal, cardiac, and lung function. Pre- and posttreatment skin biopsy samples were analyzed and blood was obtained for assessment of procollagen peptide levels. RESULTS: There were 11 withdrawals from the IFNalpha group and 3 from the placebo group due to either toxicity, lack of efficacy, or death. In the intent-to-treat analysis, there was a greater improvement in the skin score in the placebo group between 0 and 12 months (mean change IFNalpha -4.7 versus placebo -7.5; P = 0.36). There was also a greater deterioration in lung function in patients receiving active therapy, as assessed by either the forced vital capacity (mean change IFNalpha -8.2 versus placebo +1.3; P = 0.01) or the diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (mean change IFNalpha -9.3 versus placebo +4.7; P = 0.002). Skin biopsy showed no significant decrease in collagen synthesis in the IFNalpha group, and no significant differences in the levels of procollagen peptides were seen between the 2 groups. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that IFNalpha is of no value in the treatment of scleroderma, and that it may in fact be deleterious. (+info)
Association of the aggrecan keratan sulfate-rich region with collagen in bovine articular cartilage.
Aggrecan, the predominant large proteoglycan of cartilage, is a multidomain macromolecule with each domain contributing specific functional properties. One of the domains contains the majority of the keratan sulfate (KS) chain substituents and a protein segment with a proline-rich hexapeptide repeat sequence. The function of this domain is unknown but the primary structure suggests a potential for binding to collagen fibrils. We have examined binding of aggrecan fragments encompassing the KS-rich region in a solid-phase assay. A moderate affinity (apparent Kd = 1.1 microM) for isolated collagen II, as well as collagen I, was demonstrated. Enzymatic digestion of the KS chains did not alter the capacity of the peptide to bind to collagen, whereas cleavage of the protein core abolished the interaction. The distribution of the aggrecan KS-rich region in bovine tarsometatarsal joint cartilage was investigated using immunoelectron microscopy. Immunoreactivity was relatively low in the superficial zone and higher in the intermediate and deep zones of the uncalcified cartilage. Within the pericellular and territorial matrix compartments the epitopes representing the aggrecan KS-rich region were detected preferentially near or at collagen fibrils. Along the fibrils, epitope reactivity was non-randomly distributed, showing preference for the gap region within the D-period. Our data suggest that collagen fibrils interact with the KS-rich regions of several aggrecan monomers aligned within a proteoglycan aggregate. The fibril could therefore serve as a backbone in at least some of the aggrecan complexes. (+info)