Analysis of extracellular matrix synthesis during wound healing of retinal pigment epithelial cells

Microsc Res Tech. 1998 Sep 1;42(5):311-6. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0029(19980901)42:5<311::AID-JEMT2>3.0.CO;2-S.


To investigate changes in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells during wound healing, we evaluated the deposition of newly synthesized extracellular matrix (ECM) over time during wound healing in rat RPE cultures. We also estimated the effect of growth factors on the healing rate and ECM synthesis. After preparing rat RPE cell sheet cultures, we made round 1-mm defects in the cultures. Fibronectin, laminin, and collagen IV synthesis were evaluated with immunocytochemistry every 12 hours after wounding. S-phase cell distribution was analyzed every 12 hours by 5-bromodeoxyuridine uptake. We added either platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), or transforming growth factor- beta2 (TGF-beta2) to cultures at concentrations of 1, 10, and 100 ng/mL and immunocytochemically analyzed the effects on ECM and estimated the rate of wound closure. Although approximately 50% closure was achieved 24 hours after wounding, fibronectin deposits first appeared at that time. Laminin and collagen IV were first detected at 36 hours and fibronectin staining had extended toward the wound center. S-phase cells were distributed in concentric rings that moved centripetally over time and corresponded to the leading edge of the area stained with anti-ECM antibodies. TGF-beta2 enhanced ECM deposition, but EGF and PDGF did not. TGF-beta2 decreased the healing rate in a dose-dependent manner, whereas PDGF promoted wound closure. EGF enhanced closure at the highest concentration only. In summary, wound healing in RPE may be initiated when cells at the wound edge slide or migrate toward the wound center, which is followed by cell proliferation and then ECM synthesis. ECM components may be produced in a specific sequence during healing. TGF-beta2 may promote RPE cell differentiation, and PDGF may enhance proliferation during wound healing of the RPE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism*
  • Growth Substances / pharmacology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Phase-Contrast
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / cytology
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / injuries
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Time Factors
  • Wound Healing / drug effects
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Growth Substances