Platelets stimulate fibroblast-mediated contraction of collagen gels

Ulrika Zagai, Karin Fredriksson, Stephen I. Rennard, Joachim Lundahl, C. Magnus Sköld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Platelets are thought to play a role in a variety of inflammatory conditions in the lung, some of which may lead to fibrosis. In the current study we tested the hypothesis that whole platelets and platelet lysate can mediate remodelling of extracellular matrix in vitro by affecting fibroblast-mediated contraction of a collagen gel. We also sought to determine to what extent platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) contribute to this effect. Methods: Washed platelets, isolated from healthy blood donors, and platelet lysate (freezing and thawing), were cast together with human lung fibroblasts in three-dimensional collagen gels. The gels were then released and cultured for four days. PDGF and TGF-β1 concentrations were measured in culture supernatants by ELISA. Results: Both platelets and platelet lysate augmented fibroblast-mediated gel contraction in a time and concentration dependent manner (19.9% ± 0.1 (mean ± SEM) of initial area vs. 48.0% ± 0.4 at 48 hours; P < 0.001 and 41.5% ± 0.6 vs. 60.6% ± 0.3 at 48 hours; P < 0.001, respectively). Fixed platelets had no effect in the system. Both TGF-β1 and PDGF-AA/AB were released in co-culture. PDGF-AA/AB had a maximum release at 24 hours whereas TGF-β1 release increased with longer culture periods. Neutralising antibodies to these mediators partially inhibited platelet-induced gel contraction. Conclusion: We conclude that platelets may promote remodelling of extracellular matrix in vitro and that PDGF and TGF-β partially mediate this effect, also indicating a role for other mediators. The findings may be an important mechanism in regulating repair processes after injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalRespiratory Research
StatePublished - Oct 17 2003


  • Fibrosis
  • Gel contraction
  • PDGF
  • Platelets
  • TGF-β

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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