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Age-Dependent Expression of Collagen Receptors and Deformation of Type I Collagen Substrates by Rat Cardiac Fibroblasts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 July 2011

Christopher G. Wilson
University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy, 6439 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia, SC 29209, USA
John W. Stone
University of South Carolina, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, 631 Sumter St., Columbia, SC 29208, USA
Vennece Fowlkes
University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy, 6439 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia, SC 29209, USA
Mary O. Morales
University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy, 6439 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia, SC 29209, USA
Catherine J. Murphy
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Chemistry, A512 Chemical & Life Sciences Laboratory, 600 South Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL 61801, USA
Sarah C. Baxter
University of South Carolina, Department of Mechanical Engineering, 300 Main St., Columbia, SC 29208, USA
Edie C. Goldsmith*
University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy, 6439 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia, SC 29209, USA
Corresponding author. E-mail:
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Little is known about how age influences the ways in which cardiac fibroblasts interact with the extracellular matrix. We investigated the deformation of collagen substrates by neonatal and adult rat cardiac fibroblasts in monolayer and three-dimensional (3D) cultures, and quantified the expression of three collagen receptors [discoidin domain receptor (DDR)1, DDR2, and β1 integrin] and the contractile protein alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) in these cells. We report that adult fibroblasts contracted 3D collagen substrates significantly less than their neonate counterparts, whereas no differences were observed in monolayer cultures. Adult cells had lower expression of β1 integrin and α-SMA than neonate cultures, and we detected significant correlations between the expression of α-SMA and each of the collagen receptors in neonate cells but not in adult cells. Consistent with recent work demonstrating age-dependent interactions with myocytes, our results indicate that interactions between cardiac fibroblasts and the extracellular matrix change with age.

Biological Applications
Copyright © Microscopy Society of America 2011

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