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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Functional Dissection of CD26 and Its Pharmacological Inhibition by Sitagliptin During Skin Wound Healing

Yue Jiang, Yuan Yao, Jin Li, Yanling Wang, Jie Cheng, Yumin Zhu

(Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Oral Disease, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2021; 27:e928933

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.928933


BACKGROUND: Skin fibroblasts are primary mediators underlying wound healing and therapeutic targets in scar prevention and treatment. CD26 is a molecular marker to distinguish fibroblast subpopulations and plays an important role in modulating the biological behaviors of dermal fibroblasts and influencing skin wound repair. Therapeutic targeting of specific fibroblast subsets is expected to reduce skin scar formation more efficiently.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Skin burn and excisional wound healing models were surgically established in mice. The expression patterns of CD26 during wound healing were determined by immunohistochemical staining, real-time RT-PCR, and western blot assays. Normal fibroblasts from intact skin (NFs) and fibroblasts in wounds (WFs) were isolated and sorted by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) into 4 subgroups - CD26⁺ NFs, CD26⁻ NFs, CD26⁺ WFs, and CD26⁻ WFs - for comparisons of their capacities of proliferation, migration, and collagen synthesis. Pharmacological inhibition of CD26 by sitagliptin in skin fibroblasts and during wound healing were further assessed both in vitro and in vivo.
RESULTS: Increased CD26 expression was observed during skin wound healing in both models. The CD26⁺ fibroblasts isolated from wounds had significantly stronger abilities to proliferate, migrate, and synthesize collagen than other fibroblast subsets. Sitagliptin treatment potently diminished CD26 expression, impaired the proliferation, migration, and collagen synthesis of fibroblasts in vitro, and diminished scar formation in vivo.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data reveal that CD26 is functionally involved in skin wound healing by regulating cell proliferation, migration, and collagen synthesis in fibroblasts. Pharmacological inhibition of CD26 by sitagliptin might be a viable strategy to reduce skin scar formation.

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