Objectives Fetal wound healing occurs without scar tissue formation. Differences in growth factor expression between fetal and adult fibroblasts have been explored. Recently we used RNA expression studies to demonstrate that transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, acidic fibroblast growth factor (α-FGF), and basic fibroblast growth factor (β-FGF) could be detected in both fetal and adult fibroblast cell lines. In addition, adult fibroblasts showed greater relative expression of these growth factors than fetal fibroblasts. The aim of this study was to identify the level of protein expression in fetal and adult fibroblasts.
Study Design/Methods Fetal and adult fibroblasts were grown in culture using standard and serum-free media. After protein extraction, Western blot studies were performed to detect the presence and amount of TGFβ-1, α-FGF, and β-FGF growth factor proteins. β-Tubulin was used as a control.
Results TGFβ-1, α-FGF, and β-FGF proteins were detected in fetal and adult fibroblasts grown in standard and serum-free media. The fetal fibroblasts showed higher levels of all three growth factor proteins compared with the adult fibroblasts.
Conclusions Western blot studies suggest higher levels of TGFβ-1, α-FGF, and β-FGF expression in fetal fibroblasts. It is clear that significant differences exist in the expression/production of these growth factors and it seems likely that further study of these differences will help elucidate the unique healing capabilities of fetal fibroblasts.