uPA dependent and independent mechanisms of wound healing by C-phycocyanin

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Wound repair requires both recruitment and well co-ordinated actions of many cell types including inflammatory cells, endothelial cells, epithelial cells and importantly fibroblast cells. Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) system plays a vital role in wound healing phenomenon. We have previously demonstrated that C-phycocyanin (C-pc), a biliprotein from blue-green algae, transcriptionally regulates uPA through cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) pathway. To date, a role for C-pc in wound-healing scenario is not elucidated. This study was designed to examine the wound-healing property of C-pc in relation to fibroblast proliferation and migration. C-pc increased fibroblast proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. It also enhanced G1 phase of cell cycle and increased the expressions of cyclin-dependent kinases 1 and 2, which facilitate cell cycle progression, in a uPA-independent manner. In vitro wound healing and migration assays revealed the pro-migratory properties of C-pc. Short-interference RNA studies demonstrated that uPA was necessary for C-pc-induced fibroblast migration. C-pc also significantly elevated the expressions of chemokines (MDC, RANTES, Eotaxin, GRO α, ENA78 and TARC) and Rho-GTPases (Cdc 42 and Rac 1) in a uPA-dependent manner. Pre-treatment of C-pc-stimulated cells with pharmacological inhibitor of PI-3K (LY294002) annulled the expression of GTPases implying that Rac 1 and Cdc 42 were induced through PI-3K pathway. C-pc-induced cellular migration towards wounded area was also negatively affected by PI-3K inhibition. In vivo wound-healing experiments in mice validated our finding that C-pc accelerates wound healing. Our data provides conclusive evidence of a novel therapeutic usage for C-pc as a wound-healing agent. C-pc is a food and drug administration (FDA)-approved health supplement. We believe this compound can also be beneficial in healing of internal wounds, such as ulcers.

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