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Analysis of Mechanical Behavior of Dermal Fibroblasts Obtained From Various Anatomical Sites in Humans

Xu, Quan-chen MD*; Kuang, Rui-xia MM*; Wei, Shu-qiang MM; Kang, Qin MM; Wang, Juan-juan MM*; Wang, Zhi-guo MD§

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000001121
Burn Surgery and Research

Purpose Facial skin fibroblasts imposed with cyclic stretch at 10% magnitude display considerable mechanotransduction properties and biochemical reactions in our previous study. However, it is poorly understood how these shared traits are fully parallel to the common features across all fibroblasts derived from different skin-based anatomical regions in response to cyclic stretch stimulation. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of various cyclic stretches on fibroblasts derived from multiple anatomical skin sites of human bodies, and the optimal stretch magnitude was defined based on the changes to cell mechanical behavior.

Methods Fibroblasts from skin areas of the scalp, anterior chest, suprapubic, axilla, and planta were cultured and characterized in vitro. Cyclic stretch at 0%, 5%, 10%, 15%, and 20% magnitudes was imposed at a loading frequency of 0.1 Hz for 48 hours, and thereafter, the mechanical behavior and biochemical reaction of the dermal fibroblasts were analyzed.

Results Dermal fibroblasts from various anatomical sites preconditioned with varying cyclic stretch led to an evident increase in the cell proliferation ability, the expression of integrin β1 and p130 Crk-associated substrate messenger RNA and protein, and the productions of type I collagen and transforming growth factor β1, most importantly in a strain magnitude-dependent manner with the peak appearing in the range of 10% to 15% magnitude cyclic stretch.

Conclusions These findings may facilitate the subsequent studies on the conversion of normal skin fibroblasts into hypertrophic scar cells, which should be considered in an interpretation of the mechanisms of hypertrophic scarring and skin mechanics.

From the *Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University; and †The Second Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, Qingdao; ‡Dermatology Hospital, Rizhao; and §Department of Burn and Plastic Surgery, Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, Qingdao, China.

Received December 28, 2016, and accepted for publication, after revision March 8, 2017.

Supported by grants from the Provincial Natural Science Foundation of Shandong, China, to Dr Zhi-guo Wang (grant number ZR2013HQ006).

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Zhi-guo Wang, MD, and Juan-juan Wang, MM, No 111 Jiangxi Rd, Qingdao, Shandong, China. E-mail:;

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.