Low Oxygen Tension Increases mRNA Levels of Alpha 1 (I) Procollagen in Human Dermal Fibroblasts

J Cell Physiol. 1993 Nov;157(2):408-12. doi: 10.1002/jcp.1041570225.


Dermal fibroblasts exposed to low oxygen tension show upregulated synthesis of transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1), an established stimulatory peptide in the formation of extracellular matrix proteins. In this report, procollagen synthesis was measured in cultures of confluent adult human dermal fibroblasts exposed to either standard (20%) or low (2%) oxygen tension. By Northern blot analysis the steady state levels of alpha 1 (I) procollagen mRNA were increased by 75 to 150% of control (standard oxygen) as early as 12 hours and more than 200% 96 hours after exposure of cells to low oxygen. Similar increases in procollagen mRNA levels were obtained in hypoxic fibroblast cultures in a collagen lattice. The stimulatory effect of hypoxia on procollagen mRNA levels in fibroblast monolayers was diminished by antibodies to TGF-beta, and could not be augmented further by the addition of TGF-beta 1, evidence that hypoxic fibroblasts may already be maximally stimulated by TGF-beta 1. We conclude that low oxygen tension enhances steady state mRNA levels of alpha 1 (I) procollagen, and that this effect is mediated at least in part by TGF-beta 1.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Antibodies / pharmacology
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Epidermal Cells*
  • Epidermis / chemistry*
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / analysis
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / chemistry*
  • Fibroblasts / cytology*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / metabolism
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology
  • Oxygen / pharmacology*
  • Partial Pressure
  • Procollagen / genetics*
  • Procollagen / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / immunology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology


  • Antibodies
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Procollagen
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Oxygen