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Dvorankova, Barbora; Szabo, Pavol; Lacina, Lukas; Gal, Peter; Uhrova, Jana; Zima, Tomas; Kaltner, Herbert; André, Sabine; Gabius, Hans-Joachim; Sykova, Eva; Smetana, Karel (2011): Human Galectins Induce Conversion of Dermal Fibroblasts into Myofibroblasts and Production of Extracellular Matrix: Potential Application in Tissue Engineering and Wound Repair. In: Cells Tissues Organs, No. 6: pp. 469-480


Members of the galectin family of endogenous lectins are potent adhesion/growth-regulatory effectors. Their multi-functionality opens possibilities for their use in bioapplications. We studied whether human galectins induce the conversion of human dermal fibroblasts into myofibroblasts (MFBs) and the production of a bioactive extracellular matrix scaffold is suitable for cell culture. Testing a panel of galectins of all three subgroups, including natural and engineered variants, we detected activity for the proto-type galectin-1 and galectin-7, the chimera-type galectin-3 and the tandem-repeat-type galectin-4. The activity of galectin-1 required the integrity of the carbohydrate recognition domain. It was independent of the presence of TGF-beta 1, but it yielded an additive effect. The resulting MFBs, relevant, for example, for tumor progression, generated a matrix scaffold rich in fibronectin and galectin-1 that supported keratinocyte culture without feeder cells. Of note, keratinocytes cultured on this substratum presented a stem-like cell phenotype with small size and keratin-19 expression. In vivo in rats, galectin-1 had a positive effect on skin wound closure 21 days after surgery. In conclusion, we describe the differential potential of certain human galectins to induce the conversion of dermal fibroblasts into MFBs and the generation of a bioactive cell culture substratum. Copyright (C) 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel