Fibroblasts: Important Players in Wound Healing

Fibroblasts are a mesenchymal cell type, known for their spindle shape. Although they are present in most tissue types, they are often found in connective tissue due their function in producing extracellular matrix proteins.

While they normally function to maintain homeostasis through extracellular matrix maintenance, they have a particularly important role in wound healing. Upon tissue injury, an inflammatory environment is induced, to which fibroblasts near the injury respond. They migrate to the site of injury and proliferate, producing more extracellular matrix to speed the healing process.

Lifeline® Fibroblasts and Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone in Wound Healing

Improved wound healing can be achieved using compounds that stimulate fibroblast proliferation and survival. To determine the effects of growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) and a GHRH analog, MR-409, Cui et al. performed a study using Lifeline® primary human dermal fibroblasts as their model.

The group maintained dermal fibroblasts in Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle Medium (DMEM), but performed their experiments in FibroLife® medium. Serum contains multiple growth factors and hormones; therefore, to isolate the effects of GHRH, the researchers utilized serum-free FibroLife® medium.

It is generally thought that GHRH is released by the hypothalamus and acts on the pituitary. However, in their 2016 study, Cui and colleagues demonstrated that Lifeline® dermal fibroblasts express the GHRH receptor and proliferate in response to GHRH and its analog MR-409.

MR-409 was designed to have increased resistance to proteases in the extracellular environment, which enables it to have an increased half-life and more potent activity. The group also found that GHRH stimulates cell survival and activates the PI3K/AKT and MAPK pathways, which are required for the proliferation response.

Finally, the group demonstrated that MR-409 significantly improved wound healing in a mouse model of skin injury: wounds healed faster, had fewer signs of fibrosis, and showed increased infiltration of myofibroblasts, which are a specialized fibroblast cell type. Together, the results from this study suggest that GHRH and its analog MR-409 are relevant fibroblast-activating growth factors that stimulate wound healing.

Lifeline® offers a number of fibroblast types for your research needs, including NEW cardiac fibroblasts:

All fibroblasts are optimized for growth in FibroLife® medium.

Please let us know how you are using our cells (fibroblasts or other cell types) to answer your research questions and your study could be featured here on our blog!