Capsular contraction is the most common complication of breast reconstruction surgery. While presence of the contractile protein alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) is considered among the causes of capsular contraction, the exact etiology and pathophysiology is not fully understood. The objective of this study was to investigate the possible role of lubricin in capsular formation and contraction by determining the presence and distribution of the lubricating protein lubricin in human breast tissue expander capsules. Related aims were to evaluate select histopathologic features of the capsules, and the percentage of cells expressing α-SMA, which reflects the myofibroblast phenotype. Capsules from tissue expanders were obtained from eight patients. Lubricin, at the tissue-implant interface, in the extracellular matrix, and in cells, and α-SMA-containing cells were evaluated immunohistochemically. The notable finding was that lubricin was identified in all tissue expander capsules: as a discrete layer at the tissue-implant interface, extracellular, and intracellular. There was a greater amount of lubricin in the extracellular matrix in the intimal-subintimal zone when compared with the tissue away from the implant. Varying degrees of synovial metaplasia were seen at the tissue-implant interface. α-SMA-containing cells were also seen in all but one patient. The findings might help us better understand factors involved in capsule formation.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.