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Fibroblasts are involved in all pathologies characterized by increased ExtraCellularMatrix synthesis, from wound healing to fibrosis. Granulocyte Macrophage-Colony Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF) is a cytokine isolated as an hemopoietic growth factor but recently indicated as a differentiative agent on endothelial cells. In this work we demonstrated the expression of the receptor for GM-CSF (GMCSFR) on human normal skin fibroblasts from healthy subjects (NFPC) and on a human normal fibroblast cell line (NHDF) and we try to investigate the biological effects of this cytokine. Human normal fibroblasts were cultured with different doses of GM-CSF to study the effects of this factor on GMCSFR expression, on cell proliferation and adhesion structures. In addition we studied the production of some Extra-Cellular Matrix (ECM) components such as Fibronectin, Tenascin and Collagen I. The growth rate of fibroblasts from healthy donors (NFPC) is not augmented by GM-CSF stimulation in spite of increased expression of the GM-CSFR. On the contrary, the proliferation of normal human dermal fibroblasts (NHDF) cell line seems more influenced by high concentration of GM-CSF in the culture medium. The adhesion structures and the ECM components appear variously influenced by GM-CSF treatment as compared to fibroblasts cultured in basal condition, but newly only NHDF cells are really induced to increase their synthesis activity. We suggest that the in vitro treatment with GM-CSF can shift human normal fibroblasts towards a more differentiated state, due or accompanied by an increased expression of GM-CSFR and that such “differentiation” is an important event induced by such cytokine.
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