A Flowable Placental Formulation Prevents Bleomycin-Induced Dermal Fibrosis in Aged Mice

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jun 14;21(12):4242. doi: 10.3390/ijms21124242.


Fibrosis, the thickening and scarring of injured connective tissue, leads to a loss of organ function. Multiple cell types, including T-cells, macrophages, fibrocytes, and fibroblasts/myofibroblasts contribute to scar formation via secretion of inflammatory factors. This event results in an increase in oxidative stress and deposition of excessive extracellular matrix (ECM), characteristic of fibrosis. Further, aging is known to predispose connective tissue to fibrosis due to reduced tissue regeneration. In this study, we investigated the anti-fibrotic activity of a flowable placental formulation (FPF) using a bleomycin-induced dermal fibrosis model in aged mice. FPF consisted of placental amnion/chorion- and umbilical tissue-derived ECM and cells. The mice were injected with either FPF or PBS, followed by multiple doses of bleomycin. Histological assessment of FPF-treated skin samples revealed reduced dermal fibrosis, inflammation, and TGF-β signaling compared to the control group. Quantitative RT-PCR and Next Generation Sequencing analysis of miRNAs further confirmed anti-fibrotic changes in the FPF-treated group at both the gene and transcriptional levels. The observed modulation in miRNAs was associated with inflammation, TGF-β signaling, fibroblast proliferation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition and ECM deposition. These results demonstrate the potential of FPF in preventing fibrosis and may be of therapeutic benefit for those at higher risk of fibrosis due to wounds, aging, exposure to radiation and genetic predisposition.

Keywords: amnion; chorion; inflammation; oxidative stress; umbilical tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Bleomycin / adverse effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Extracellular Matrix / genetics
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Placenta / cytology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Signal Transduction
  • Skin Diseases / chemically induced
  • Skin Diseases / metabolism
  • Skin Diseases / pathology*
  • Skin Diseases / therapy*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Bleomycin