Molecular vision

All-trans retinoic acid regulates the expression of the extracellular matrix protein fibulin-1 in the guinea pig sclera and human scleral fibroblasts.

PMID 20405022


Fibulin-1 (FBLN1) mRNA is expressed in human sclera and is an important adhesion modulatory protein that can affect cell-matrix interactions and tissue remodeling. Scleral remodeling is influenced by all-trans retinoic acid (RA). Our purpose was to confirm the presence of fibulin-1 protein in guinea pig sclera and investigate the effect of RA on the expression of fibulin-1 in guinea pig sclera in vivo and in cultured human scleral fibroblasts (HSFs). Confocal fluorescence microscopy was used to study fibulin-1 and aggrecan expression and localization in sclera from control guinea pigs and in animals given RA by daily gavage from 4 to 8 days of age. The effects of RA (from 10(-9) to 10(-5) M) on fibulin-1 expression in HSFs were observed by immunohistochemistry and assayed by real-time PCR and western blot analysis. Fibulin-1 protein expression was detected by confocal fluorescence microscopy in guinea pig sclera and in cultured HSFs. Upregulation of fibulin-1 in scleral tissue was observed after feeding with RA. In vitro, the level of Fbln1 mRNA was increased after treatment of HSFs with RA (at concentrations of 10(-8) to 10(-6) M; p<0.001), with a maximum effect at 10(-7) M. Fibulin-1 protein levels were significantly increased after treatment of HSFs with 10(-7) M of RA for 24 or 48 h (p<0.05). Fibulin-1 protein was expressed in guinea pig sclera and cultured HSFs. Expression was regulated by RA, a molecule known to be involved in the regulation of eye growth. Further studies on the role of fibulin-1 in the regulation of eye growth, including during the development of myopia, are therefore warranted.