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Purpose: Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) is associated with corneal fibroblast migration and proliferation and plays an important role in corneal wound healing. However, the intracellular mechanisms of PDGF-mediated functions in corneal fibroblasts are poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that PDGF functional activities in the cornea involve the Janus kinase-2/signal transducers and activators of transcription-3 (JAK2-STAT3) signaling pathway and whether PDGF induces the expression of suppressors of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3), belonging to the novel family of feedback regulators of cytokine and growth factor activities.

Methods: Human corneal fibroblast (HSF) cultures were used as an in vitro model for functional analysis. Real-time polymerase chain reactions were performed to quantify gene expression. Immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting techniques were used to measure protein expression. Cell growth, migration, and ELISA assays were used for functional validation.

Results: Low endogenous levels of STAT3 and SOCS3 mRNA and protein expression were noted in HSFs. PDGF treatment of HSF significantly induced SOCS3 mRNA (3.0–4.5 fold) and protein (1.5–2.5 fold) expression in a timedependent manner. Similarly, PDGF treatment of HSF significantly increased STAT3 protein expression at two tested time points (2.5–2.96 fold). Cultures exposed to vehicle (control) did not show any change in SOCS3 and STAT3 mRNA or protein expression. An addition of AG-490, a selective inhibitor of the JAK2-STAT3 pathway, significantly inhibited PDGF-mediated STAT3 induction and cell growth and migration in HSF. We also observed that PDGF induced interleukin-8 (IL8) chemokine secretion (2 fold) and AG-490 inhibited IL8 secretion.

Conclusions: Our data showed that PDGF induced STAT3, SOCS3, and IL8 chemokine secretion in human corneal fibroblasts. Further, PDGF-induced cell growth, migration, and IL8 secretion in corneal fibroblast involve the JAK2- STAT3 signaling pathway.


This article was originally published in Molecular Vision, volume 14, in 2008.


Molecular Vision

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