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Concept: Fibroblast


Determinant factors leading from stem cells to megakaryocytes (MKs) and subsequently platelets have yet to be identified. We now report that a combination of nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2 p45 unit (p45NF-E2), Maf G, and Maf K can convert mouse fibroblast 3T3 cells and adult human dermal fibroblasts into MKs. To screen MK-inducing factors, gene expressions were compared between 3T3 cells that do not differentiate into MKs and 3T3-L1 cells known to differentiate into MKs. 3T3 cells transfected with candidate factors were cultured in a defined MK lineage induction medium. Among the tested factors, transfection with p45NF-E2/MafG/MafK lead to the highest frequency of CD41-positive cells. Adult human dermal fibroblasts transfected with these genes were cultured in MK lineage induction medium. Cultured cells had megakaryocytic features, including surface markers, ploidy, and morphology. More than 90% of MK-sized cells expressed CD41, designated induced MK (iMK). Infusion of these iMK cells into immunodeficient mice led to a time-dependent appearance of CD41-positive, platelet-sized particles. Blood samples from iMK-infused into thrombocytopenic immunodeficient mice were perfused on a collagen-coated chip, and human CD41-positive platelets were incorporated into thrombi on the chip, demonstrating their functionality. These findings demonstrate that a combination of p45NF-E2, Maf G, and Maf K is a key determinant of both megakaryopoiesis and thrombopoiesis.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Gene expression, Fibroblast, Bone marrow, Transfection, 3T3 cells, Non-terminally differentiated


Multipotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are found in various tissues and can proliferate extensively in vitro. MSCs have been used in preclinical animal studies and clinical trials in many fields. Adipose derived stem cells (ASCs) have several advantages compared to other MSCs for use in cell-based treatments because they are easy to isolate with relative abundance. However, quantitative approaches for wound repair using ASCs have been limited because of lack of animal models which allow for quantification. Here, we addressed the effect of topically delivered ASCs in wound repair by quantitative analysis using the rabbit ear model. We characterized rabbit ASCs, and analyzed their multipotency in comparison to bone marrow derived-MSCs (BM-MSCs) and dermal fibroblasts (DFs) in vitro. Topically delivered ASCs increased granulation tissue formation in wounds when compared to saline controls, whereas BM-MSCs or DFs did not. These studies suggest that ASCs and BM-MSCs are not identical, though they have similar surface markers. We found that topically delivered ASCs are engrafted and proliferate in the wounds. We showed that transplanted ASCs exhibited activated fibroblast phenotype, increased endothelial cell recruitment, and enhanced macrophage recruitment in vivo.

Concepts: Wound healing, Collagen, Extracellular matrix, Fibroblast, Stem cell, Mesenchymal stem cell, Bone marrow, Wound


Direct conversion of human fibroblasts into mature and functional neurons, termed induced neurons (iNs), was achieved for the first time 6 years ago. This technology offers a promising shortcut for obtaining patient- and disease-specific neurons for disease modeling, drug screening, and other biomedical applications. However, fibroblasts from adult donors do not reprogram as easily as fetal donors, and no current reprogramming approach is sufficiently efficient to allow the use of this technology using patient-derived material for large-scale applications. Here, we investigate the difference in reprogramming requirements between fetal and adult human fibroblasts and identify REST as a major reprogramming barrier in adult fibroblasts. Via functional experiments where we overexpress and knockdown the REST-controlled neuron-specific microRNAs miR-9 and miR-124, we show that the effect of REST inhibition is only partially mediated via microRNA up-regulation. Transcriptional analysis confirmed that REST knockdown activates an overlapping subset of neuronal genes as microRNA overexpression and also a distinct set of neuronal genes that are not activated via microRNA overexpression. Based on this, we developed an optimized one-step method to efficiently reprogram dermal fibroblasts from elderly individuals using a single-vector system and demonstrate that it is possible to obtain iNs of high yield and purity from aged individuals with a range of familial and sporadic neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Nervous system, Neuron, Gene, RNA, Fibroblast, Neurodegenerative disorders, Acetylcholine


Vimentin has been shown to be involved in wound healing, but its functional contribution to this process is poorly understood. Here we describe a previously unrecognized function of vimentin in coordinating fibroblast proliferation and keratinocyte differentiation during wound healing. Loss of vimentin led to a severe deficiency in fibroblast growth, which in turn inhibited the activation of two major initiators of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), TGF-β1 signaling and the Zinc finger transcriptional repressor protein Slug, in vimentin-deficient (VIM(-/-)) wounds. Correspondingly, VIM(-/-) wounds exhibited loss of EMT-like keratinocyte activation, limited keratinization, and slow reepithelialization. Furthermore, the fibroblast deficiency abolished collagen accumulation in the VIM(-/-) wounds. Vimentin reconstitution in VIM(-/-) fibroblasts restored both their proliferation and TGF-β1 production. Similarly, restoring paracrine TGF-β-Slug-EMT signaling reactivated the transdifferentiation of keratinocytes, reviving their migratory properties, a critical feature for efficient healing. Our results demonstrate that vimentin orchestrates the healing by controlling fibroblast proliferation, TGF-β1-Slug signaling, collagen accumulation, and EMT processing, all of which in turn govern the required keratinocyte activation.

Concepts: Gene expression, Scar, Wound healing, Collagen, Extracellular matrix, Healing, Fibroblast, Wound


Macroautophagy is a conserved degradative pathway and its deterioration is linked to disturbances in cellular proteostasis and multiple diseases. Here, we show that the RAB GTPase RAB18 modulates autophagy in primary human fibroblasts. The knockdown of RAB18 results in a decreased autophagic activity, while its overexpression enhances the degradative pathway. Importantly, this function of RAB18 is dependent on RAB3GAP1 and RAB3GAP2, which might act as RAB GEFs and stimulate the activity of the RAB GTPase. Moreover, the knockdown of RAB18 deteriorates proteostasis and results in the intracellular accumulation of ubiquitinated degradation-prone proteins. Thus, the RAB GTPase RAB18 is a positive modulator of autophagy and is relevant for the maintenance of cellular proteostasis.

Concepts: Fibroblast, Modulation, ACT, GTPase, Autophagy


Fish discards and subproducts may represent an important source of raw material, not only for the food industry, but for other different kind of industries, such as the nutraceutical and cosmetic industries. Collagen, which is mainly obtained from animal skins, is an important structural protein in the animal kingdom having many different applications. It is well known that fish skins constitute a significant subproduct in the fishery industry, especially in the case of some species, where fish skins may represent up to 20% of the total body weight of fish. Peptides from collagen hydrolysates have been described to be useful for preventing skin aging and osteoarthritis, however, the mechanism for these biological activities is not well known. Fibroblasts are the main cell types involved in the collagen synthesis, and in the present work, human dermal fibroblasts have been exposed to the treatment of collagen peptides of two different molecular weight ranges. Results show that higher molecular weight collagen peptides produce higher synthesis of collagen type I mRNA and, therefore, it may suggest that prior molecular weight selection may be an important step to maximize the effect of collagen hydrolysates on collagen type I synthesis by dermal fibroblasts.

Concepts: Protein, Collagen, Extracellular matrix, Fibroblast, Skin, Industry, Type-I collagen, Structural proteins


Oxidative stress is the major cause of skin aging that includes wrinkles, pigmentation, and weakened wound healing ability. Application of antioxidants in skin care is well accepted as an effective approach to delay the skin aging process. Methylene blue (MB), a traditional mitochondrial-targeting antioxidant, showed a potent ROS scavenging efficacy in cultured human skin fibroblasts derived from healthy donors and from patients with progeria, a genetic premature aging disease. In comparison with other widely used general and mitochondrial-targeting antioxidants, we found that MB was more effective in stimulating skin fibroblast proliferation and delaying cellular senescence. The skin irritation test, performed on an in vitro reconstructed 3D human skin model, indicated that MB was safe for long-term use, and did not cause irritation even at high concentrations. Application of MB to this 3D skin model further demonstrated that MB improved skin viability, promoted wound healing and increased skin hydration and dermis thickness. Gene expression analysis showed that MB treatment altered the expression of a subset of extracellular matrix proteins in the skin, including upregulation of elastin and collagen 2A1, two essential components for healthy skin. Altogether, our study suggests that MB has a great potential for skin care.

Concepts: Senescence, Wound healing, Collagen, Extracellular matrix, Fibroblast, Gerontology, Skin, Maximum life span


Fibroblasts are primary cellular protagonists of wound healing. They also exhibit circadian timekeeping, which imparts an approximately 24-hour rhythm to their biological function. We interrogated the functional consequences of the cell-autonomous clockwork in fibroblasts using a proteome-wide screen for rhythmically expressed proteins. We observed temporal coordination of actin regulators that drives cell-intrinsic rhythms in actin dynamics. In consequence, the cellular clock modulates the efficiency of actin-dependent processes such as cell migration and adhesion, which ultimately affect the efficacy of wound healing. Accordingly, skin wounds incurred during a mouse’s active phase exhibited increased fibroblast invasion in vivo and ex vivo, as well as in cultured fibroblasts and keratinocytes. Our experimental results correlate with the observation that the time of injury significantly affects healing after burns in humans, with daytime wounds healing ~60% faster than nighttime wounds. We suggest that circadian regulation of the cytoskeleton influences wound-healing efficacy from the cellular to the organismal scale.

Concepts: Protein, Wound healing, Collagen, Fibroblast, In vivo, Wound, Rhythm, Meter


The ability to directly enhance electrical excitability of human cells is hampered by the lack of methods to efficiently overexpress large mammalian voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSC). Here we describe the use of small prokaryotic sodium channels (BacNav) to create de novo excitable human tissues and augment impaired action potential conduction in vitro. Lentiviral co-expression of specific BacNav orthologues, an inward-rectifying potassium channel, and connexin-43 in primary human fibroblasts from the heart, skin or brain yields actively conducting cells with customizable electrophysiological phenotypes. Engineered fibroblasts (‘E-Fibs’) retain stable functional properties following extensive subculture or differentiation into myofibroblasts and rescue conduction slowing in an in vitro model of cardiac interstitial fibrosis. Co-expression of engineered BacNav with endogenous mammalian VGSCs enhances action potential conduction and prevents conduction failure during depolarization by elevated extracellular K(+), decoupling or ischaemia. These studies establish the utility of engineered BacNav channels for induction, control and recovery of mammalian tissue excitability.

Concepts: Neuron, Fibroblast, Heart, Action potential, Ion channel, Electrophysiology, Voltage-gated ion channel, Sodium channel


In this paper, the isolation of dillapiole (1) from Piper aduncum was reported as well as the semi-synthesis of two phenylpropanoid derivatives [di-hydrodillapiole (2), isodillapiole (3)], via reduction and isomerization reactions. Also, the compounds' molecular properties (structural, electronic, hydrophobic, and steric) were calculated and investigated to establish some preliminary structure-activity relationships (SAR). Compounds were evaluated for in vitro antileishmanial activity and cytotoxic effects on fibroblast cells. Compound 1 presented inhibitory activity against Leishmania amazonensis (IC(50)  = 69.3 µM) and Leishmania brasiliensis (IC(50)  = 59.4 µM) and induced cytotoxic effects on fibroblast cells mainly in high concentrations. Compounds 2 (IC(50)  = 99.9 µM for L. amazonensis and IC(50)  = 90.5 µM for L. braziliensis) and 3 (IC(50)  = 122.9 µM for L. amazonensis and IC(50)  = 109.8 µM for L. brasiliensis) were less active than dillapiole (1). Regarding the molecular properties, the conformational arrangement of the side chain, electronic features, and the hydrophilic/hydrophobic balance seem to be relevant for explaining the antileishmanial activity of dillapiole and its analogues.

Concepts: Fibroblast, In vitro fertilisation, In vitro, Chemical compound, Piper aduncum, Piper