The purpose of this study was to examine regulation of collagen synthesis in human colon fibroblasts and compare the results from colon fibroblasts with those obtained in fibroblasts from human skin. The effects of interleukin-1 beta, tumour necrosis factor alpha, interferon gamma, transforming growth factor-beta, dexamethasone, and the calcium ionophore A23187 were investigated. All compounds were tested both in the absence and in the presence of fetal calf serum in the culture medium. The process of collagen synthesis in fibroblasts from colon and skin appears to be affected differently by these regulatory compounds. The most pronounced differences were that the relative collagen synthesis increased in dermal fibroblasts and decreased in colon fibroblasts upon addition of serum. In the presence of serum, interleukin-1 beta inhibited collagen synthesis in skin fibroblasts but not in colon fibroblasts. Dexamethasone suppressed the relative collagen synthesis in skin fibroblasts but not in colon fibroblasts. Transforming growth factor-beta stimulated the collagen synthesis in dermal fibroblasts in the presence of serum, but inhibited the process in colon fibroblasts. Because fibroblasts are the primary sources of collagen needed during wound repair, these results may offer (part of) the explanation why wounds in skin and intestine appear to behave differently under certain conditions.
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