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Authors Vyas B, Ishikawa K, Duflo S, Chen X, Thibeault SL
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Journal Ann. Otol. Rhinol. Laryngol. Volume: 119 Issue: 5 Pages: 350-7
Publish Date 2010 May
PubMed ID 20524582
PMC ID 3167579

The role of myofibroblasts in vocal fold scarring has not been extensively studied, partly because of the lack of a robust in vitro model. The objective of this investigation was to develop and characterize a myofibroblast in vitro model that could be utilized to investigate the molecular mechanism of myofibroblast differentiation and function in injured vocal fold tissue.Differentiation of human primary vocal fold fibroblasts (hVFFs) to myofibroblasts was stimulated with 5, 10, or 20 ng/mL of recombinant transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1). Cultures were analyzed by immunofluorescence and Western blotting, with an alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) antibody used as a myofibroblast marker. Normal rabbit vocal folds were treated with 10 ng/mL of TGF-beta1 for 7 days for in vivo corroboration. The effects of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) on myofibroblast differentiation were studied with Western blots.The hVFFs demonstrated positive alpha-SMA labeling in cells stimulated by 10 and 20 ng/mL TGF-beta1, indicating that hVFFs were capable of differentiation to myofibroblasts. Transforming growth factor-beta1 induced the largest increase in alpha-SMA at 10 ng/mL on day 5 of treatment. Both HGF and IL-6 suppressed the expression of TGF-beta1-induced alpha-SMA.Our work characterizes a useful in vitro model of TGF-beta1-mediated vocal fold fibroblast-myofibroblast differentiation. The extent of differentiation appears to be attenuated by HGF, suggesting a potential mechanism to support prior work indicating that HGF plays a protective role in reducing scar formation in vocal fold injuries. Paradoxically, IL-6, which has been shown to play a profibrotic role in dermal studies, also attenuated the TGF-beta1 response.

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