BACKGROUND: The wounding response relies on tightly regulated crosstalk between recruited fibroblasts and the collagenous extracellular matrix (ECM). Discoidin domain receptor 2 (DDR2) is a tyrosine kinase receptor for fibrillar collagen expressed during pathologic scarring, for example wound healing, arthritis and cancer. We have previously shown that DDR2 phosphorylation drives key wounding responses in skin fibroblasts including proliferation, chemotactic migration and secretion of both metalloproteinases and fibrillar collagen. In this study we compared healing of cutaneous wounds in DDR2+/+ and DDR2-/- mice and analyzed specific fibroblast responses.<br /><br />RESULTS: Cutaneous wound healing was significantly delayed in DDR2-/- mice compared with DDR2+/+ animals. Reduced α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) expression and matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) activity in the DDR2-/- wound extracts indicated defective recruitment of skin fibroblasts. DDR2-/- wounds showed decreased tensile strength during healing, which correlated with a significant reduction in collagen content and defective collagen crosslinking. Non-wounded skin in DDR2-/- mice expressed less mRNA of the crosslinking enzymes lysyl oxidase (LOX), lysyl hydroxylase1 (LH1) and matricellular 'secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine' (SPARC; also known as osteonectin). Skin fibroblasts isolated from DDR2-/- mice displayed altered mRNA expression of a cluster of collagens, proteoglycans, integrins and MMPs that have been previously correlated with DDR2 expression, and reduced LOX, LH1 and SPARC mRNA levels and proteins. Stable reconstitution of wild-type DDR2 by retroviral infection restored LOX, LH1 and SPARC mRNA and protein levels in DDR2-/- fibroblasts. Contraction of collagen gels was reduced in DDR2-/- fibroblasts, accompanied by significantly reduced phosphorylated SrcY418. Inhibition of either LOX activity by β-aminoproprionitrile or MMP activity by N-[(2R)-2-(hydroxamido carbonylmethyl)-4-methylpentanoyl]-l-tryptophan methylamide (GM6001) reduced collagen gel contraction by skin fibroblasts after DDR2 induction with soluble collagen type I.<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS: DDR2 contributes to skin fibroblast responses during tissue injury. Defective synthesis of collagen type I, crosslinking molecules and MMP2 predispose DDR2-/- mice to defective dermal wounding.
Olaso, E., Lin, H. C., Wang, L. H., & Friedman, S. L. (2011). Impaired dermal wound healing in discoidin domain receptor 2-deficient mice associated with defective extracellular matrix remodeling. Fibrogenesis and Tissue Repair, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1755-1536-4-5