Aims: To study the effect of Adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) on fibrosis of hypertrophic scar-derived fibroblasts (HSFs) and its concrete mechanism.
Background: ADSCs have been reported to reduce collagen production and fibroblast proliferation in co-culture experiments. Conditioned medium from adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs-CM) has successfully inhibited fibrosis by decreasing the expression of collagen type І (Col1) and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) in rabbit ear scar models. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), the primary growth factor in ADSCs-CM, has been shown to reverse fibrosis in various fibrotic diseases.
Objective: To test the hypothesis that ADSCs inhibit fibrosis of HSFs through the secretion of HGF.
Methods: HSFs were treated with DMEM containing 0%, 10%, 50% and 100% concentration of ADSCs-CM. The effect of ADSCs-CM on the viability was determined by cell viability assay, and the collagen production in HSFs was examined by Sirius red staining. Expression and secretion of fibrosis and degradation proteins were detected separately. After measuring the concentration of HGF in ADSCs-CM, the same number of HSFs were treated with 50% ADSCs-CM or HGF. HGF activity in ADSCs-CM was neutralized with a goat anti-human HGF antibody.
Results: The results demonstrated that ADSCs-CM dose-dependently decreased cell viability, expression of fibrosis molecules, and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1), and significantly increased matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) expression in HSFs. Collagen production and the ratio of collagen type І and type III (Col1/Col3) were also suppressed by ADSCs-CM in a dose-dependent manner. When HSFs were cultured with either 50% ADSCs-CM or HGF (1 ng/ml), a similar trend was observed in gene expression and protein secretion. Adding an HGF antibody to both groups returned protein expression and secretion to basal levels but did not significantly affect the fibrosis factors in the control group.
Conclusion: Our findings revealed that adipose-derived stem cell-secreted HGF effectively inhibits fibrosis-related factors and regulates extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling in hypertrophic scar fibroblasts.