Dynamic biological changes in fibroblasts during hypertrophic scar formation and regression

Int Wound J. 2016 Apr;13(2):257-62. doi: 10.1111/iwj.12283. Epub 2014 May 7.


The human hypertrophic scar undergoes hyperplasia and regression during progression. This study aimed to investigate whether fibroblasts in scar tissue undergo biological changes during the formation and regression of human hypertrophic scar. Using 32 scar samples, we measured collagen production by Masson's staining and the expression levels of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by immunohistochemistry. In addition, fibroblasts from scar tissue were isolated and cultured, and total RNA was extracted for measurement of TGF-β1, VEGF and collagen transcript levels by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Masson's staining showed that the number of fibroblasts and microvessels increased gradually in early and proliferative scars but decreased in regressive scars. Immunohistochemistry revealed that the expression of TGF-β1 and VEGF increased in early scars, peaked in proliferative scars and decreased in regressive scars. Moreover, the expression of TGF-β1, VEGF, collagen I and collagen III mRNAs also increased in early and proliferative scars and decreased significantly in regressive scars. Dynamic changes in fibroblast biology correlated with the formation and progression of hypertrophic scar.

Keywords: Collagen; Fibroblast; Hypertrophic scar; TGF-β1; VEGF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / genetics
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / metabolism
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / pathology*
  • Collagen / biosynthesis
  • Collagen / genetics
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / pathology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / biosynthesis
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / genetics*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / biosynthesis
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / genetics*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Collagen