Proteoglycan 4 is present within the dura mater and produced by mesenchymal progenitor cells

Cell Tissue Res. 2022 Sep;389(3):483-499. doi: 10.1007/s00441-022-03647-4. Epub 2022 Jun 15.


Mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs) have been recently identified in human and murine epidural fat and have been hypothesized to contribute to the maintenance/repair/regeneration of the dura mater. MPCs can secrete proteoglycan 4 (PRG4/lubricin), and this protein can regulate tissue homeostasis through bio-lubrication and immunomodulatory functions. MPC lineage tracing reporter mice (Hic1) and human epidural fat MPCs were used to determine if PRG4 is expressed by these cells in vivo. PRG4 expression co-localized with Hic1+ MPCs in the dura throughout skeletal maturity and was localized adjacent to sites of dural injury. When Hic1+ MPCs were ablated, PRG4 expression was retained in the dura, yet when Prx1+ MPCs were ablated, PRG4 expression was completely lost. A number of cellular processes were impacted in human epidural fat MPCs treated with rhPRG4, and human MPCs contributed to the formation of epidural fat, and dura tissues were xenotransplanted into mouse dural injuries. We have shown that human and mouse MPCs in the epidural/dura microenvironment produce PRG4 and can contribute to dura homeostasis/repair/regeneration. Overall, these results suggest that these MPCs have biological significance within the dural microenvironment and that the role of PRG4 needs to be further elucidated.

Keywords: Dura; Epidural fat; Mesenchymal progenitor cells; Proteoglycan 4.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dura Mater / cytology
  • Dura Mater / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism*


  • PRG4 protein, human
  • Prg4 protein, mouse
  • Proteoglycans