Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma tumors (HNSCC) contain a dense fibrous stroma which is known to promote tumor growth, although the mechanism of stroma mediated growth remains unclear. As dysplastic mucosal epithelium progresses to cancer there is incremental overexpression of extracellular matrix metalloprotease inducer (EMMPRIN) which is associated with tumor growth and metastasis. Here we present evidence that gain of EMMPRIN expression allows tumor growth to be less dependent on fibroblasts by modulating fibroblast growth factor receptor-2 (FGFR2) signaling. We show that silencing EMMPRIN in FaDu and SCC-5 HNSCC cell lines inhibits cell growth, but when EMMPRIN-silenced tumor cells were co-cultured with fibroblasts or inoculated with fibroblasts into SCID mice, the growth inhibition by silencing EMMPRIN was blunted by the presence of fibroblasts. Co-culture experiments demonstrated fibroblast-dependent tumor cell growth occurred via a paracrine signaling. Analysis of tumor gene expression revealed expression of FGFR2 was inversely related to EMMPRIN expression. To determine the role of FGFR2 signaling in EMMPRIN silenced tumor cells, ligands and inhibitors of FGFR2 were assessed. Both FGF1 and FGF2 enhanced tumor growth in EMMPRIN silenced cells compared to control vector transfected cells, while inhibition of FGFR2 with blocking antibody or with a synthetic inhibitor (PD173074) inhibited tumor cell growth in fibroblast co-culture, suggesting the importance of FGFR2 signaling in fibroblast mediated tumor growth. Analysis of xenografted tumors revealed EMMPRIN silenced tumors had a larger stromal compartment compared to control. Taken together, these results suggest that EMMPRIN acquired during tumor progression promotes fibroblast independent tumor growth.
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; stroma fibroblast; extracellular matrix metalloprotease inducer and fibroblast growth factor receptor
As cancer cells traverse collagen-rich extracellular matrix (ECM) barriers and intravasate, they adopt a fibroblast-like phenotype and engage undefined proteolytic cascades that mediate invasive activity. Herein, we find that fibroblasts and cancer cells express an indistinguishable pericellular collagenolytic activity that allows them to traverse the ECM. Using fibroblasts isolated from gene-targeted mice, a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)–dependent activity is identified that drives invasion independently of plasminogen, the gelatinase A/TIMP-2 axis, gelatinase B, collagenase-3, collagenase-2, or stromelysin-1. In contrast, deleting or suppressing expression of the membrane-tethered MMP, MT1-MMP, in fibroblasts or tumor cells results in a loss of collagenolytic and invasive activity in vitro or in vivo. Thus, MT1-MMP serves as the major cell-associated proteinase necessary to confer normal or neoplastic cells with invasive activity.
Adhesion to the extracellular matrix (ECM) is critical for epithelial tissue homeostasis and function. ECM detachment induces metabolic stress and programmed cell death via anoikis. ECM-detached mammary epithelial cells are able to rapidly activate autophagy allowing for survival and an opportunity for re-attachment. However, the mechanisms controlling detachment-induced autophagy remain unclear. Here we uncover that the kinase PERK rapidly promotes autophagy in ECM-detached cells by activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), resulting in downstream inhibition of mTORC1-p70S6K signaling. LKB1 and TSC2, but not TSC1, are required for PERK-mediated inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycinin MCF10A cells and mouse embryo fibroblast cells. Importantly, this pathway shows fast kinetics, is transcription-independent and is exclusively activated during ECM detachment, but not by canonical endoplasmic reticulum stressors. Moreover, enforced PERK or AMPK activation upregulates autophagy and causes luminal filling during acinar morphogenesis by perpetuating a population of surviving autophagic luminal cells that resist anoikis. Hence, we identify a novel pathway in which suspension-activated PERK promotes the activation of LKB1, AMPK and TSC2, leading to the rapid induction of detachment-induced autophagy. We propose that increased autophagy, secondary to persistent PERK and LKB1-AMPK signaling, can robustly protect cells from anoikis and promote luminal filling during early carcinoma progression.
anoikis; breast cancer; unfolded protein response
Initial assembly of extracellular matrix occurs within a zone immediately adjacent to the chondrocyte cell surface termed the cell- associated or pericellular matrix. Assembly within the pericellular matrix compartment requires specific cell-matrix interactions to occur, that are mediated via membrane receptors. The focus of this study is to elucidate the mechanisms of assembly and retention of the cartilage pericellular matrix proteoglycan aggregates important for matrix organization. Assembly of newly synthesized chondrocyte pericellular matrices was inhibited by the addition to hyaluronan hexasaccharides, competitive inhibitors of the binding of hyaluronan to its cell surface receptor. Fully assembled chondrocyte pericellular matrices were displaced using hyaluronan hexasaccharides as well. When exogenous hyaluronan was added to matrix-free chondrocytes in combination with aggrecan, a pericellular matrix equivalent in size to an endogenous matrix formed within 30 min of incubation. Addition of hyaluronan and aggrecan to glutaraldehyde-fixed chondrocytes resulted in matrix assembly comparable to live chondrocytes. These matrices could be inhibited from assembling by the addition of excess hyaluronan hexasaccharides or displaced once assembled by subsequent incubation with hyaluronan hexasaccharides. The results indicate that the aggrecanrich chondrocyte pericellular matrix is not only on a scaffolding of hyaluronan, but actually anchored to the cell surface via the interaction between hyaluronan and hyaluronan receptors.
Cells adhere to one another and/or to matrices that surround them. Regulation of cell-cell (intercellular) and cell-matrix adhesion is tightly controlled in normal cells, however, defects in cell adhesion are common in the majority of humancancers. Multilateral communication among tumor cells with the extracellular matrix (ECM) and neighbor cells is accomplished through adhesion molecules, ECM components, proteolytic enzymes and their endogenous inhibitors. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that reduced adherence is a tumor cell propertyengaged during tumor progression. Tumor cells acquire the ability to change shape, detach and easily move through spaces disorganizing the normal tissue architecture. This property is due to changes in expression levels of adhesion molecules and/or due to elevated levels of secreted proteolytic enzymes, including matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Among other roles, MMPsdegrade the ECMand, therefore, prepare the path for tumor cells to migrate, invade and spread to distant secondary areas, where they form metastasis. Tissue Inhibitors of Metalloproteinases or TIMPs control MMP activities and, therefore, minimize matrix degradation. Both MMPs and TIMPs are involved in tissue remodeling and decisively regulate tumor cell progression including tumor angiogenesis. In this review, we describe and discuss data that support the important role of MMPs and TIMPs in cancer cell adhesion and tumor progression.
Cell adhesion molecules; Extracellular matrix; Matrix Metalloproteinases; Tissue Inhibitors of Metalloproteinases
Fibrosarcomas are rare malignant mesenchymal tumors originating from fibroblasts. Importantly, fibrosarcoma cells were shown to have a high content and turnover of extracellular matrix (ECM) components including hyaluronan (HA), proteoglycans, collagens, fibronectin, and laminin. ECMs are complicated structures that surround and support cells within tissues. During cancer progression, significant changes can be observed in the structural and mechanical properties of the ECM components. Importantly, hyaluronan deposition is usually higher in malignant tumors as compared to benign tissues, predicting tumor progression in some tumor types. Furthermore, activated stromal cells are able to produce tissue structure rich in hyaluronan in order to promote tumor growth. Key biological roles of HA result from its interactions with its specific CD44 and RHAMM (receptor for HA-mediated motility) cell-surface receptors. HA-receptor downstream signaling pathways regulate in turn cellular processes implicated in tumorigenesis. Growth factors, including PDGF-BB, TGFβ2, and FGF-2, enhanced hyaluronan deposition to ECM and modulated HA-receptor expression in fibrosarcoma cells. Indeed, FGF-2 through upregulation of specific HAS isoforms and hyaluronan synthesis regulated secretion and net hyaluronan deposition to the fibrosarcoma pericellular matrix modulating these cells' migration capability. In this paper we discuss the involvement of hyaluronan/RHAMM/CD44 mediated signaling in the insidious pathways of fibrosarcoma progression.
Anoikis is a mode of apoptotic cell death, consequential to insufficient cell-matrix interactions and a critical player in tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. The events involved in tumor cell progression toward metastasis potential are mediated by integrins, which upon engagement with components of the extracellular matrix (ECM), reorganize to form adhesion complexes. Targeting apoptotic players is of immense therapeutic significance since resistance to apoptosis is not only critical in conferring therapeutic failure to standard treatment strategies, but anoikis (apoptosis upon loss of anchorage and detachment from ECM also plays an important role in angiogenesis and metastasis. The ability to survive in the absence of adhesion to the ECM, enables tumor cells to disseminate from the primary tumor site, invade a distant site and establish a metastatic lesion. Tumor cells can escape from detachment-induced apoptosis by controlling anoikis pathways, including the extrinsic death receptor pathway and the ECM-integrin mediated cell survival pathway. Considering the functional promiscuity of individual signaling effectors, it is critical to dissect the molecular networks mechanistically driving tumor cells to evade anoikis and embark on a metastatic spread. Resistance to die via anoikis dictates tumor cell survival and provides a molecular basis for therapeutic targeting of metastatic prostate cancer. Further dissection of critical anoikis signaling events will enable the therapeutic optimization of anoikis targeting to impair prostate cancer metastasis prior to its initiation. This review will discuss the molecular understanding of anoikis regulation in the tumor microenvironment and the in vivo pharmacological implementation of a novel class of antitumor-drugs to optimize apoptotic-based therapeutic targeting, bypassing anoikis-resistance to impair prostate cancer progression to metastasis. Potential combination strategies targeting tumor vascularity (via anoikis) and impairing tumor initiation (via “classic” apoptosis), provide strong therapeutic promise for metastatic prostate cancer by preventing the onset of metastasis.
Tumor progression; Invasion; Focal adhesion complex; Integrins; Akt Survival signaling
Extracellular matrix (ECM) supplies both physical and chemical signals to cells and provides a substrate through which fibroblasts migrate during wound repair. To directly assess how ECM composition regulates this process, we used a nested 3D matrix model in which cell-populated collagen buttons were embedded in cell-free collagen or fibrin matrices. Time-lapse microscopy was used to record the dynamic pattern of cell migration into the outer matrices, and 3-D confocal imaging was used to assess cell connectivity and cytoskeletal organization. Corneal fibroblasts stimulated with PDGF migrated more rapidly into collagen as compared to fibrin. In addition, the pattern of fibroblast migration into fibrin and collagen ECMs was strikingly different. Corneal fibroblasts migrating into collagen matrices developed dendritic processes and moved independently, whereas cells migrating into fibrin matrices had a more fusiform morphology and formed an interconnected meshwork. A similar pattern was observed when using dermal fibroblasts, suggesting that this response in not unique to corneal cells. We next cultured corneal fibroblasts within and on top of standard collagen and fibrin matrices to assess the impact of ECM composition on the cell spreading response. Similar differences in cell morphology and connectivity were observed – cells remained separated on collagen but coalesced into clusters on fibrin. Cadherin was localized to junctions between interconnected cells, whereas fibronectin was present both between cells and at the tips of extending cell processes. Cells on fibrin matrices also developed more prominent stress fibers than those on collagen matrices. Importantly, these spreading and migration patterns were consistently observed on both rigid and compliant substrates, thus differences in ECM mechanical stiffness were not the underlying cause. Overall, these results demonstrate for the first time that ECM protein composition alone (collagen vs. fibrin) can induce a switch from individual to collective fibroblast spreading and migration in 3-D culture. Similar processes may also influence cell behavior during wound healing, development, tumor invasion and repopulation of engineered tissues.
Extracellular Matrix; Fibrin; Collagen; 3-D Culture; Cell Motility
The dermal extracellular matrix (ECM) provides strength and resiliency to skin. The ECM consists mostly of type I collagen fibrils, which are produced by fibroblasts. Binding of fibroblasts to collagen fibrils generates mechanical forces, which regulate cellular morphology and function. With aging, collagen fragmentation reduces fibroblast-ECM binding and mechanical forces, resulting in fibroblast shrinkage and reduced function including collagen production. Here, we report that these age-related alterations are largely reversed by enhancing structural support of the ECM. Injection of dermal filler, cross-linked hyaluronic acid, into the skin of persons over seventy years-old stimulates fibroblasts to produce type I collagen. This stimulation is associated with localized increased of mechanical forces, indicated by fibroblast elongation/spreading, and mediated by up-regulation of type II TGF-β receptor and connective tissue growth factor. Interestingly, enhanced mechanical support of the ECM also stimulates fibroblast proliferation, expands vasculature, and increases epidermal thickness. Consistent with our observations in human skin, injection of filler into dermal equivalent cultures causes elongation of fibroblasts, coupled with type I collagen synthesis, which is dependent on the TGF-β signaling pathway. Thus, fibroblasts in aged human skin retain their capacity for functional activation, which is restored by enhancing structural support of the ECM.
Complex interactions between cancer cells and host stromal cells result in the formation of the “tumor microenvironment”, where inflammatory alterations involve the infiltration of tumor-associated fibroblasts and inflammatory leukocytes that contribute to the acquisition of malignant characteristics, such as increased cancer cell proliferation, invasiveness, metastasis, angiogenesis, and avoidance of adaptive immunity. The microenvironment of a solid tumor is comprised not only of cellular compartments, but also of bioactive substances, including cytokines, growth factors, and extracellular matrix (ECM). ECM can act as a scaffold for cell migration, a reservoir for cytokines and growth factors, and a signal through receptor binding. During inflammation, ECM components and their degraded fragments act directly and indirectly as inflammatory stimuli in certain cases and regulate the functions of inflammatory and immune cells. One such ECM component, hyaluronan, has recently been implicated to modulate innate immune cell function through pattern recognition toll-like receptors and accelerate the recruitment and activation of tumor-associated macrophages in inflamed cancers. Here, we will summarize the molecular mechanism linking inflammation with ECM remodeling in the tumor microenvironment, with a particular emphasis on the role of hyaluronan in controlling the inflammatory response.
microenvironment; cancer progression; extracellular matrix; hyaluronan; inflammation
Anoikis—apoptotic cell death triggered by loss of extracellular matrix (ECM) contacts— is dysregulated in many chronic debilitating and fatal diseases. Mechanisms rendering tumor cells resistant to anoikis, although not completely understood, possess significant therapeutic promise. In death receptor-mediated anoikis mechanisms, FAK and RIP dissociate, leading to association of RIP with Fas, formation of the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC), activation of caspase-3, and propagation of anoikis. In contrast, anoikis resistance is accomplished through constitutive activation of survival pathways that include integrin-dependent activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK). In addition, FAK and receptor-interacting protein (RIP) association confers anoikis resistance by inhibiting the association of RIP with Fas and formation of the death signaling complex, which allows cells to escape anoikis. Up-regulation of CD44 also contributes to survival signals and promotes anoikis resistance. This review will focus on the roles of death receptors, pro-survival pathways, and the molecular players involved in anoikis escalation and resistance in OSCC.
Anoikis; Oral squamous cell carcinoma; Extracellular matrix; Focal adhesion kinase; Fas/CD95; Receptor interacting protein
Extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer (EMMPRIN) has been reported to play crucial roles, including in angiogenesis, in several carcinomas. However, the correlation between EMMPRIN levels and angiogenesis expression profile has not been reported, and the role of EMMPRIN in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is unclear. In the present study, we evaluated the association of EMMPRIN with angiogenesis, its value in prognosis, and its roles in RCC.
EMMPRIN expression was examined in 50 RCC patients treated with radical nephrectomy. Angiogenesis, proliferation, and invasion activity were evaluated using EMMPRIN knockdown RCC cell lines. The size of EMMPRIN-overexpressing xenografts was measured and the degree of angiogenesis was quantified. EMMPRIN expression was evaluated in RCC patients who received sunitinib therapy and in sunitinib-resistant cells. Further, the relation between EMMPRIN expression and sensitivity to sunitinib was examined.
EMMPRIN score was significantly associated with clinicopathological parameters in RCC patients, as well as being significantly correlated with microvessel area (MVA) in immature vessels and with prognosis. Down-regulation of EMMPRIN by siRNA led to decreased VEGF and bFGF expression, cell proliferation, and invasive potential. EMMPRIN over-expressing xenografts showed accelerated growth and MVA of immature vessels. EMMPRIN expression was significantly increased in patients who received sunitinib therapy as well as in sunitinib-resistant 786-O cells (786-suni). EMMPRIN-overexpressing RCC cells were resistant to sunitinib.
Our findings indicate that high expression of EMMPRIN in RCC plays important roles in tumor progression and sunitinib resistance. Therefore, EMMPRIN could be a novel target for the treatment of RCC.
Extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer (EMMPRIN) is a transmembrane glycoprotein that is involved in tumor invasion by stimulating matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression. Our previous immunohistochemical study found that the expression of EMMPRIN in salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma (SACC) was positively correlated with tumor perineural and perivascular invasion. The present study was designed to further investigate the role of EMMPRIN in the invasion of SACC. Western blot results showed that EMMPRIN was upregulated in the highly metastatic SACC cell line SACC-LM, compared to SACC-83, a SACC cell line with low metastatic ability. Blocking of EMMPRIN by its antibody significantly decreased the adhesion, secretion of MMP-2 and MMP-9, and invasion activity of SACC-LM cells in vitro (P<0.01). Co-cultures of SACC-LM cells with fibroblasts significantly produced elevated levels of MMP-2 and MMP-9, and promoted the in vitro invasion activity of SACC-LM cells, compared with cultures of SACC-LM cells alone (P<0.01). These results indicate that EMMPRIN may play an important role in the invasion of SACC by stimulating the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in tumor and stromal cells.
salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma; invasion; extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer; matrix metalloproteinases
Cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix (ECM) is necessary for development of the mammary gland, and to maintain the normal architecture and function of the gland. Cells adhere to the ECM via the integrin family of trans-membrane receptors, which signal to control mammary-specific gene expression and regulate cell proliferation and survival. During tumor formation, the ECM is extensively remodeled and signaling through integrins is altered such that cells become proliferative and invasive. A key regulator of whether integrin-mediated adhesion will promote tumor suppression or tumor formation is the stiffness of the stromal ECM. The normal mammary gland is typically surrounded by a loose collagenous stroma. An increase in the deposition of collagen and other stromal components is associated with mammographic density, which is one of the greatest risk factors for developing breast carcinoma. Several groups have demonstrated that increased stromal ECM density results in a matrix that is stiffer. Cells sense the stiffness of their surrounding ECM by Rho-mediated contraction of the actin-myosin cytoskeleton. If the surrounding ECM is stiffer than the cell's ability to contract it, then the tensile forces that result are able to drive the clustering of integrins and assemble adhesion signaling complexes. The result is subsequent activation of signaling pathways including FAK, ERK, and PI3K that drive cell proliferation and survival. In contrast, focal complexes are not formed in a compliant matrix, and activation of FAK and pERK is diminished, resulting in control of proliferation. Signaling from FAK moreover regulates p53 and miR-200 members, which control apoptosis and epithelial phenotype, such that a compliant matrix is predicted to promote normal mammary gland architecture and suppress tumor formation.
Pathogenesis of nutritionally variant streptococcal (NVS) endocarditis initiates with bacterial attachment to and colonization of the damaged heart valve surface. Underlying extracellular matrix (ECM) exposed to the environment during damage to cardiac endothelium provides additional receptors that could be involved in bacterial adherence. The ability of NVS and endocarditis-associated streptococci to bind ECM was investigated by using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay system that incorporated ECM secreted by baby hamster kidney and human umbilical vein endothelial cells in culture. Streptococcus defectivus, the major species isolated from NVS endocarditis cases, bound ECM of fibroblasts and endothelial cells, indicating that the ECM molecule involved in the binding was a common constituent of diverse matrices. The specific binding of S. defectivus to ECM was demonstrated by saturation binding and specific antibody inhibition studies. Of the 15 S. defectivus strains analyzed, 13 bound ECM, whereas Streptococcus adjacens and NVS serotype III strains were unable to bind the matrix. This selective binding suggested that S. defectivus binds to heart valves through a mechanism different from those of other NVS in subacute bacterial endocarditis. A survey of non-NVS streptococcal endocarditis isolates demonstrated that S. mutans, S. mitis, S. sanguis, and S. faecalis also bound ECM, whereas other viridans species were unable to bind the matrix.
The ability of lymphocytes to migrate freely through connective tissues is vital to efficient immune function. How the extracellular matrix (ECM) may affect T cell adhesion and migration is not well understood. We have examined the adhesion and migration of activated human T lymphocytes on extracellular matrix made by fibroblast-like synoviocytes and lung fibroblasts. These cells were minimally interactive until treated with a viral mimetic, Poly I:C. This treatment promoted myofibroblast formation and engendered a higher-order structured ECM rich in versican and hyaluronan to which T cells avidly adhered in a hyaluronidase-sensitive manner.
This Poly I:C-induced matrix impeded T-cell spreading and migration on and through synoviocyte monolayers, while hyaluronidase treatment or adding versican antibody during matrix formation reversed the effect on T-cell migration. Hyaluronidase also reversed the spread myofibroblast morphology. These data suggest that the viscous hyaluronan- and versican-rich matrix binds and constrains T lymphocytes. Using purified matrix components and solid state matrices of defined composition we uncovered a role for versican in modulating HA - T-cell interactions. Versican prevented T-cell binding to soluble hyaluronan, as well as the amoeboid shape change on hyaluronan coated dishes and T-cell penetration of collagen gels. Together, these data suggest that hyaluronan and versican play a role in T-cell trafficking and function in inflamed tissues.
Hyaluronan; versican; lymphocyte; migration; myofibroblast; inflammation
SPARC (osteonectin/BM40) is a secreted protein that modifies the interaction of cells with extracellular matrix (ECM). When we added SPARC to cultured rabbit synovial fibroblasts and analyzed the secreted proteins, we observed an increase in the expression of three metalloproteinases--collagenase, stromelysin, and the 92-kD gelatinase-- that together can degrade both interstitial and basement membrane matrices. We further characterized the regulation of one of these metalloproteinases, collagenase, and showed that both collagenase mRNA and protein are upregulated in fibroblasts treated with SPARC. Experiments with synthetic SPARC peptides indicated that a region in the neutral alpha-helical domain III of the SPARC molecule, which previously had no described function, was involved in the regulation of collagenase expression by SPARC. A sequence in the carboxyl-terminal Ca(2+)-binding domain IV exhibited similar activity, but to a lesser extent. SPARC induced collagenase expression in cells plated on collagen types I, II, III, and V, and vitronectin, but not on collagen type IV. SPARC also increased collagenase expression in fibroblasts plated on ECM produced by smooth muscle cells, but not in fibroblasts plated on a basement membrane-like ECM from Engelbreth-Holm-Swarm sarcoma. Collagenase was induced within 4 h in cells treated with phorbol diesters or plated on fibronectin fragments, but was induced after 8 h in cells treated with SPARC. A number of proteins were transiently secreted by SPARC-treated cells within 6 h of treatment. Conditioned medium that was harvested from cultures 7 h after the addition of SPARC, and depleted of residual SPARC, induced collagenase expression in untreated fibroblasts; thus, part of the regulation of collagenase expression by SPARC appears to be indirect and proceeds through a secreted intermediate. Because the interactions of cells with ECM play an important role in regulation of cell behavior and tissue morphogenesis, these results suggest that molecules like SPARC are important in modulating tissue remodeling and cell-ECM interactions.
Fibroblasts comprise the largest cell population in the myocardium. In heart disease, the number of fibroblasts is increased either by replication of the resident myocardial fibroblasts, migration and transformation of circulating bone marrow cells, or by transformation of endothelial/epithelial cells into fibroblasts and myofibroblasts. The primary function of fibroblasts is to produce structural proteins that comprise the extracellular matrix (ECM). This can be a constructive process; however, hyperactivity of cardiac fibroblasts can result in excess production and deposition of ECM proteins in the myocardium, known as fibrosis, with adverse effects on cardiac structure and function. In addition to being the primary source of ECM proteins, fibroblasts produce a number of cytokines, peptides, and enzymes among which matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their inhibitors, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMPs), directly impact the ECM turnover and homeostasis. Function of fibroblasts can also in turn be regulated by MMPs and TIMPs. In this review article, we will focus on the function of cardiac fibroblasts in the context of ECM formation, homeostasis and remodeling in the heart. We will discuss the origins and multiple roles of cardiac fibroblasts in myocardial remodeling in different types of heart disease in patients and in animal models. We will further provide an overview of what we have learned from experimental animal models and genetically modified mice with altered expression of ECM regulatory proteins, MMPs and TIMPs.
Cardiac fibroblast; Matrix metalloproteinases; Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases; Extracellular matrix remodeling; Heart disease
Tissue homeostasis is influenced by mechanical forces which regulate the normal function of connective tissues. Mechanotransduction, the process that transforms mechanical stimuli in chemical signals, involves mechanosensory units integrated in cell membrane. The mechanosensory units are able to activate gene expression for growth factors or cytochines as well as to induce a biological event which results in cell proliferation and/or differentiation. In connective tissue the fibroblasts are the cells more represented and are considered as a model of mechanosensitive cells. They are ubiquitous but specific for each type of tissue. Their heterogeneity consists in different morphological features and activity; the common function is the mechanosensitivity, the capacity to adhere to extracellular matrix (ECM) and to each other, the secretion of growth factors and ECM components. Extracorporeal shock waves (ESW) have been recently used to treat damaged osteotendineous tissues. Studies in vitro and in vivo confirmed that ESW treatment enhances fibroblast proliferation and differentiation by activation of gene expression for transforming growth factor β1 (TGF- β1) and Collagen Types I and III. In addition, an increase of nitric oxide (NO) release is even reported in early stage of the treatment and the subsequent activation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are related to TGF- β1 rise. The data have been related to the increase of angiogenesis observed in ESW treated tendons, an additional factor in accelerating the repairing process. A suitable treatment condition, characterized by a proper energy/shot number ratio, is the basis of treatment efficacy. Further ESWT applications are suggested in regenerative medicine, in all cases where fibroblast activity and the interaction with connective tissue can be positively influenced.
fibroblasts; extracorporeal shock waves; shockwave treatment; mechanotransduction; connective tissue; tendon healing
Desmoid tumour is a benign, non metastasising neoplasm characterised by an elevated deposition of organic macromolecules in the extracellular matrix (ECM). The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of zinc-dependent proteinases involved in the degradation of ECM macromolecules. The MMPs and their natural inhibitors (TIMPs) have been implicated in tumour growth, invasion and metastasis. In this study we provide evidence that the in vitro cultured cell line from desmoid tumour accumulates more collagen fibres in the ECM than healthy fibroblasts.
We investigated collagen accumulation by 3H-thymidine incorporation, MMP expression by substrate gel zymography and TIMP expression by Western blot analysis.
Desmoid fibroblasts showed a reduction in MMP activity and an increase of type I and III collagen and TIMPs compared to normal fibroblasts.
The increase in collagen in desmoid fibroblasts was due to inhibited collagen degradation (reduction of MMP activity) rather than to increased collagen synthesis. Adding toremifene, an anti-estrogen triphenylethylene derivate, to desmoid fibroblasts reduced collagen accumulation by decreasing mRNA expression and increasing collagen degradation.
Cardiac fibrosis is associated with most cardiac diseases. Fibrosis is an accumulation of excessive extracellular matrix proteins (ECM) synthesized by cardiac fibroblasts and myofibroblasts. Fibroblasts are the most prevalent cell type in the heart, comprising 75% of cardiac cells. Myofibroblasts are hardly present in healthy normal heart tissue, but appear abundantly in diseased hearts. Cardiac fibroblasts are activated by a variety of pathological stimuli, such as myocardial injury, oxidative stress, mechanical stretch, and elevated autocrine-paracrine mediators, thereby undergoing proliferation, differentiation to myofibroblasts, and production of various cytokines and ECM proteins. A number of signaling pathways and bioactive molecules are involved and work in concert to activate fibroblasts and myofibroblasts in the fibrogenesis cascade. Fibroblasts and myofibroblasts are not only principal ECM producers, but also play a central role in fibrogenesis and myocardial remodeling in fibrotic heart disease. Thus, understanding the biological processes of cardiac fibroblasts will provide novel insights into the underlying mechanisms of fibrosis and provide potential targets for developing anti-fibrotic drugs. Recent studies demonstrate that Ca2+ signal is essential for fibroblast proliferation, differentiation, and ECM-protein production. This review focuses on the recent advances in understanding molecular mechanisms of Ca2+ signaling in cardiac fibrogenesis, and potential role of Ca2+-permeable channels, in particular, the transient potential (TRP) channels in fibrotic heart disease. TRP channels are highly expressed in cardiac fibroblasts. TRPM7 has been shown to be essential in TGFβ1 mediated fibrogenesis, and TRPC3 has been demonstrated to play an essential role in regulating fibroblast function. Thus, the Ca2+-permeable TRP channels may serve as potential novel targets for developing anti-fibrotic drugs.
TRP channels; fibroblasts; fibrosis; remodeling; extracellular matrix
Invadopodia are extracellular matrix (ECM)-degrading protrusions formed by invasive cancer cells. Podosomes are structures functionally similar to invadopodia that are found in oncogene-transformed fibroblasts and monocyte-derived cells, including macrophages and osteoclasts. These structures are thought to play important roles in the pericellular remodeling of ECM during cancer invasion and metastasis. Much effort has been directed toward identification of the molecular components and regulators of invadopodia/podosomes, which could be therapeutic targets in the treatment of malignant cancers. However, it remains largely unknown how these components are assembled into invadopodia/podosomes and how the assembly process is spatially and temporally regulated. This review will summarize recent progress on the molecular mechanisms of invadopodia/podosome formation, with strong emphasis on the roles of lipid rafts and phosphoinositides.
Invadopodia; podosome; cancer invasion; metastasis; lipid raft; phosphoinositide
Cadherins are integral membrane proteins expressed in tissue-restricted patterns that mediate homophilic intercellular adhesion. During development, they orchestrate tissue morphogenesis and, in the adult, they determine tissue integrity and architecture. The synovial lining is a condensation of fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) and macrophages one to three cells thick. These cells are embedded within the extracellular matrix, but the structure is neither an epithelium nor an endothelium. Previously, the basis for organization of the synovium into a tissue was unknown. Here, we cloned cadherin-11 from human rheumatoid arthritis (RA)-derived FLS. We developed L cell transfectants expressing cadherin-11, cadherin-11 fusion proteins, and anti–cadherin-11 mAb. Cadherin-11 was found to be expressed mainly in the synovial lining by immunohistologic staining of human synovium. FLS adhered to cadherin-11–Fc, and transfection of cadherin-11 conferred the formation of tissue-like sheets and lining-like structures upon fibroblasts in vitro. These findings support a key role for cadherin-11 in the specific adhesion of FLS and in synovial tissue organization and behavior in health and RA.
synovium; synoviocyte; rheumatoid arthritis; cadherin; cell adhesion
Extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer (EMMPRIN), also known as CD147, is a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily that is present on the surface of tumor cells and stimulates adjacent fibroblasts to produce matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). It has been proved to be associated with tumor invasion and metastasis in various human malignancies. In our study, the protein expression level of EMMPRIN in 306 cases of astrocytic glioma is investigated by immunohistochemistry assay. Statistical analysis was utilized to evaluate the association of EMMPRIN with clinicopathological characteristics and prognosis of patients. It was proved that EMMPRIN protein expression was increased in glioma compared with that in normal brain tissue. Moreover, EMMPRIN immunohistochemical staining was correlated with WHO grade and Karnofsky performance score for strong positive EMMPRIN staining is more frequently detected in glioma of advanced grade or low KPS score. It is also demonstrated that EMMPRIN could be an independent negative prognostic factor in glioma for patients with glioma of strong EMMPRIN staining tend to have high risk of death. These results proved that EMMPRIN is associated with prognosis of glioma, which may also suggest the potential role of EMMPRIN in glioma management.
A number of pro-fibrogenic stimuli, such as growth factors, cytokines and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, involve Akt and its downstream substrates in mediating their effects. We previously reported that absence of Akt1, which is the predominant isoform of the three gene Akt family in vascular cells, resulted in impaired ECM remodeling in skin and vasculature. In the current study, we investigated the importance of Akt1 in TGFβ-and bleomycin-induced synthesis and secretion of ECM proteins by fibroblasts. We observed that both TGFβ and bleomycin stimulated the synthesis of ECM proteins in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Treatment with TGFβ and bleomycin also resulted in increased phosphorylation of Akt, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and their downstream signaling partners, p70S6 Kinase, Ribosomal S6 protein and 4E-BP1, resulting in the activation of this pathway. The effects of TGFβ and bleomycin on ECM synthesis were blunted by pre-treatment with an mTOR inhibitor rapamycin. Whereas mTOR is responsible for the transcriptional regulation of a number of ECM proteins, adhesion molecules and matrix metalloproteases (MMPs), synthesis of major ECM proteins such as fibronectin and collagens (types I, II and V) by fibroblasts in response to TGFβ and bleomycin is regulated by mTOR at the translational level. These findings indicate the importance of the Akt-mTOR signaling pathway in TGF-mediated fibrogenic events in vivo.
TGFβ; bleomycin; Akt; mTOR; extracellular matrix; fibronectin; collagen