The hallmark of fibrosis is an accumulation of fibrillar collagens, especially of collagen type I. There is considerable debate whether in vivo type II epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is involved in organ fibrosis. Lineage tracing experiments by various groups show opposing data concerning the relative contribution of epithelial cells to the pool of myofibroblasts. We hypothesized that EMT-derived cells might directly contribute to collagen deposition. To study this. EMT was induced in human epithelial lung and renal cell lines in vitro by means of TGF-beta 1 stimulation, and we compared the collagen type I (COL1A1) expression levels of transdifferentiated cells with that of myofibroblasts obtained by TGF-beta 1 stimulation of human dermal and lung fibroblasts. COL1A1 expression levels of transdifferentiated epithelial cells appeared to be at least one to two orders of magnitude lower than that of myofibroblasts. This was confirmed at immunohistochemical level: in contrast to myofibroblasts, collagen type I deposition by EMT-derived cells was not or hardly detectable. We postulate that, even when type II EMT occurs in vivo, the direct contribution of EMT-derived cells to collagen accumulation is rather limited. (C) 2013 Published by Elsevier Inc.
- Epithelial to mesenchymal transition
- Collagen deposition
- Epithelial cells
- RENAL INTERSTITIAL FIBROSIS
- LIVER FIBROSIS
- MYOFIBROBLAST TRANSDIFFERENTIATION
- FIBROBLASTS DERIVE