Myofibroblasts are metabolically and morphologically distinctive fibroblasts expressing α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), and their activation plays a key role in development of the fibrotic response. In an activated state, myofibroblasts cease to proliferate and start to synthesize large amounts of extracellular component proteins. The expression of α-SMA correlates with the activation of myofibroblasts. Decorin, a member of the small leucine-rich proteoglycan gene family, has been implicated in the negative control of cell proliferation primarily by upregulating the expression of p21, a potent inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase. In order to examine the effect of decorin on myofibroblast cell growth, we rendered a human lung myofibroblast cell line, MRC-5, quiescent by either cell–cell contact or serum starvation, and examined the relationship between decorin and α-SMA expression in these cells. The expression of decorin in cells made quiescent by serum starvation was lower than that in cells made quiescent by cell–cell contact. In contrast, the expression of α-SMA in cells made quiescent by cell–cell contact was lower than that in cells made quiescent by serum starvation. Furthermore, forced expression of decorin was accompanied by a suppression of α-SMA expression, whereas knocking down of decorin expression by RNA interference increased the expression of α-SMA.
Decorin α-smooth muscle actin Myofibroblast
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This work was supported in part by grants from the Japanese, Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, from the Encouragement of Young Scientists from Kinki University, from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare for Organ Fibrosis Research and a “High-Tech Research Center” Project for Private Universities: matching fund subsidy from MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology), 2002–2006, Japan.
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