Transforming growth factor β stimulates fibroblast-collagen matrix contraction by different mechanisms in mechanically loaded and unloaded matrices

Frederick Grinnell, Chin Han Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Studies were carried out to test the idea that transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) stimulated fibroblast contraction of collagen matrices by different mechanisms depending on mechanical loading on the cells and matrix. Under mechanically unloaded conditions (floating matrices), TGFβ stimulated contraction directly as an agonist and indirectly by preactivating cells to express the myofibroblast phenotype. Increased contraction of floating matrices by preactivated cells appeared to result in part from an auto-crine mechanism. Under mechanically loaded conditions (stressed matrices), TGFβ had no direct agonist effect on contraction. Fibroblasts preactivated to become myofibroblasts showed increased ability to transfer tension to stressed matrices, and tension persisted even after the cells' actin cytoskeleton was disrupted. Our findings are consistent with the idea that fibroblasts activated to become myofibroblasts in vitro have increased contractile activity and indicate that multiple mechanisms that differ depending on mechanical loading on the cells and matrix are involved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-255
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002



  • α-smooth muscle actin
  • Actin
  • Contraction
  • Myofibroblast
  • Transforming growth factor β
  • Wound repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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