Wound healing-related properties detected in an experimental model with a collagen gel contraction assay are affected in the absence of tenascin-X

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Patients with tenascin-X (TNX)-deficient type Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) do not exhibit delayed wound healing, unlike classic type EDS patients, who exhibit mutations in collagen genes. Similarly, in TNX-knockout (KO) mice, wound closure of the skin is normal even though these mice exhibit a reduced breaking strength. Therefore, we speculated that the wound healing process may be affected in the absence of TNX. In this study, to investigate the effects of TNX absence on wound healing-related properties, we performed collagen gel contraction assays with wild-type (WT) and TNX-KO mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). Collagen gels with embedded TNX-KO MEFs showed significantly greater contraction than those containing WT MEFs. Subsequently, we assessed collagen gel contraction-related properties, such as the activities of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 and the protein and mRNA expression levels of transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) in the collagen gels. The activities of MMP-2 and MMP-9 and the expression level of TGF-β1 were elevated in the absence of TNX. Furthermore, filopodia-like protrusion formation, cell proliferation, migration, and collagen expression in MEFs were promoted in the absence of TNX. These results indicate that these wound healing-related properties are affected in a TNX-deficient extracellular environment.

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