The journal of histochemistry and cytochemistry : official journal of the Histochemistry Society

Correlation between Fibrillin-1 Degradation and mRNA Downregulation and Myofibroblast Differentiation in Cultured Human Dental Pulp Tissue.

PMID 25805839


Myofibroblasts and extracellular matrix are important components in wound healing. Alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) is a marker of myofibroblasts. Fibrillin-1 is a major constituent of microfibrils and an extracellular-regulator of TGF-β1, an important cytokine in the transdifferentiation of resident fibroblasts into myofibroblasts. To study the correlation between changes in fibrillin-1 expression and myofibroblast differentiation, we examined alterations in fibrillin-1 and α-SMA expression in organotypic cultures of dental pulp in vitro. Extracted healthy human teeth were cut to 1-mm-thick slices and cultured for 7 days. In intact dental pulp, fibrillin-1 was broadly distributed, and α-SMA was observed in pericytes and vascular smooth muscle cells. After 7 days of culture, immunostaining for fibrillin-1 became faint concomitant with a downregulation in its mRNA levels. Furthermore, fibroblasts, odontoblasts and Schwann cells were immunoreactive for α-SMA with a significant increase in α-SMA mRNA expression. Double immunofluorescence staining was positive for pSmad2/3, central mediators of TGF-β signaling, and α-SMA. The administration of inhibitors for extracellular matrix proteases recovered fibrillin-1 immunostaining; moreover, fibroblasts lost their immunoreactivity for α-SMA along with a downregulation in α-SMA mRNA. These findings suggest that the expression of α-SMA is TGF-β1 dependent, and fibrillin-1 degradation and downregulation might be implicated in the differentiation of myofibroblasts in dental pulp wound healing.