Background: Estrogens are reported to increase type I and type III collagen deposition and to regulate Metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2) expression. These proteins are reported to be dysregulated in incisional hernia formation resulting in a significantly decreased type I to III ratio. We aimed to evaluate the beta-estradiol mediated regulation of type I and type III collagen genes as well as MMP-2 gene expression in fibroblasts derived from patients with or without history of recurrent incisional hernia disease. We compared primary fibroblast cultures from male/female subjects without/without incisional hernia disease.
Results: Incisional hernia fibroblasts (IHFs) revealed a decreased type I/III collagen mRNA ratio. Whereas fibroblasts from healthy female donors responded to beta-estradiol, type I and type III gene transcription is not affected in fibroblasts from males or affected females. Furthermore beta-estradiol had no influence on the impaired type I to III collagen ratio in fibroblasts from recurrent hernia patients.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that beta-estradiol does not restore the imbaired balance of type I/III collagen in incisional hernia fibroblasts. Furthermore, the individual was identified as an independent factor for the beta-estradiol induced alterations of collagen gene expression. The observation of gender specific beta-estradiol-dependent changes of collagen gene expression in vitro is of significance for future studies of cellular response.