We previously found that fibronectin (FN) had a functional site (YTIYVIAL sequence in the 14th type III module) suppressing the integrin-mediated cell adhesion to extracellular matrix. FN-derived peptides containing this antiadhesive site were also shown to regulate cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. The present study shows that the FN-derived antiadhesive peptides suppress the myofibroblastic conversion of rat hepatic stellate cells (HSC). Freshly isolated HSC underwent myofibroblastic conversion during culture in the presence of FBS, as evaluated by indices representing the phenotypic activation of HSC, including increased proliferation, consumption of vitamin A-enriched lipid droplets, and expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin. However, appearance of these myofibroblastic characters was suppressed by coculturing HSC with the FN-derived antiadhesive peptides. On the other hand, the activated HSC, which had already acquired the myofibroblastic phenotype through repeated subculture, secreted FN and then stimulated matrix assembly of ED-A (+) cellular FN as well as plasma FN, while the FN-derived antiadhesive peptides inhibited them. Furthermore, the FN-derived antiadhesive peptides suppressed the integrin-mediated adhesion of the primary HSC to plasma FN and ED-A (+) cellular FN substrates. These results suggested that the FN-derived antiadhesive peptides down-regulated the myofibroblastic conversion of HSC in an indirect manner by inhibiting the integrin-mediated adhesive interaction of HSC with ED-A (+) cellular FN.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.