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Thrombospondin 2 levels are increased in aged mice: consequences for cutaneous wound healing and angiogenesis

Thrombospondin 2 levels are increased in aged mice: consequences for cutaneous wound healing and angiogenesis

Matrix Biology 22(7): 539-547

The inhibitor of angiogenesis, thrombospondin 2 (TSP2), belongs to a group of matricellular proteins that are induced in response to injury and modulate the healing of dermal wounds. Thus, TSP-2-null mice display abnormal connective tissue architecture and increased angiogenesis in the dermis, and heal wounds at an accelerated rate. In this study, we report that the content of TSP2 is increased in the uninjured skin of aged mice. Furthermore, in primary dermal fibroblasts, TSP2 expression is increased both as a function of the age of the donor and days in culture. To determine the significance of the increased TSP2 in aged mice (two years or older), we performed full-thickness excisional wounds and compared their healing in aged and young (3-4 months) wild-type and TSP2-null mice. Gross morphological examination of wounds indicated that aged TSP2-null mice healed faster than their aged wild-type counterparts, but healing in aged mice was always sub-optimal in comparison to that in young animals. Surprisingly, despite the increase in TSP2, a potent inhibitor of angiogenesis, in wounds in aged mice, the vascular density of these wounds was not reduced in comparison to that in young animals. However, immunohistochemical analysis of healing wounds revealed a shift in the peak content of TSP2, from day 10 in young mice to day 14 or later in aged mice, and there was a corresponding delay in the expected increase in matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 2 levels in aged TSP2-null mice. We suggest that the delay in expression of TSP2 and MMP2 in the wounds of aged mice could contribute to their impaired rate of wound healing.

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Accession: 012693436

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PMID: 14996433

DOI: 10.1016/j.matbio.2003.09.004

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