Connective tissue growth factor, which is induced by transforming growth factor β, has been reported to mediate the stimulatory actions of transforming growth factor β on type I procollagen synthesis. Connective tissue growth factor is expressed in fibrotic disease such as scleroderma, where it is believed to promote abnormal deposition of collagen. Connective tissue growth factor expression has not been described in normal human skin or cultured skin cells, however. We report here that connective tissue growth factor mRNA is constitutively expressed in normal human skin. In situ hybridization demonstrated that connective tissue growth factor mRNA was expressed in keratinocytes throughout the epidermis and in dermal cells. Quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction revealed that the level of connective tissue growth factor mRNA in the epidermis and dermis of normal human skin was comparable to the level of housekeeping gene 36B4. Ultraviolet irradiation (2 minimal erythema dose, UVB/A2 source) reduced connective tissue growth factor mRNA expression throughout the epidermis and dermis in normal human skin in vivo. Connective tissue growth factor mRNA was reduced (30%) within 4 h post ultraviolet irradiation, and remained reduced (50%) 8-24 h post ultraviolet. Connective tissue growth factor mRNA and protein were also constitutively highly expressed in normal cultured human skin keratinocytes and fibroblasts. Ultraviolet irradiation of cultured normal human skin fibroblasts resulted in a time-dependent inhibition of connective tissue growth factor mRNA expression. At 24 h post ultraviolet, connective tissue growth factor mRNA expression was reduced 80%. Transforming growth factor β1 rapidly induced connective tissue growth factor mRNA levels (5-fold within 4 h) in skin fibroblasts, but not keratinocytes, and this induction was attenuated 80% by ultraviolet irradiation. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays demonstrated that ultraviolet irradiation reduced protein binding to the transforming growth factor β/Smad responsiveness elements in the connective tissue growth factor gene promoter, in human skin in vivo and human skin fibroblasts. Constitutive expression of connective tissue growth factor in normal human skin suggests that it is a physiologic regulator of procollagen synthesis. Ultraviolet reduction of connective tissue growth factor expression may contribute to reduced procollagen synthesis observed in ultraviolet-irradiated normal human skin and human skin fibroblasts.
- Connective tissue growth factor
- Ultraviolet irradiation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology