TNF--stimulated fibroblasts secrete lumican to promote fibrocyte differentiation. Academic Article uri icon


  • In healing wounds and fibrotic lesions, fibroblasts and monocyte-derived fibroblast-like cells called fibrocytes help to form scar tissue. Although fibrocytes promote collagen production by fibroblasts, little is known about signaling from fibroblasts to fibrocytes. In this report, we show that fibroblasts stimulated with the fibrocyte-secreted inflammatory signal tumor necrosis factor- secrete the small leucine-rich proteoglycan lumican, and that lumican, but not the related proteoglycan decorin, promotes human fibrocyte differentiation. Lumican competes with the serum fibrocyte differentiation inhibitor serum amyloid P, but dominates over the fibroblast-secreted fibrocyte inhibitor Slit2. Lumican acts directly on monocytes, and unlike other factors that affect fibrocyte differentiation, lumican has no detectable effect on macrophage differentiation or polarization. 21, M2, and X2 integrins are needed for lumican-induced fibrocyte differentiation. In lung tissue from pulmonary fibrosis patients with relatively normal lung function, lumican is present at low levels throughout the tissue, whereas patients with advanced disease have pronounced lumican expression in the fibrotic lesions. These data may explain why fibrocytes are increased in fibrotic tissues, suggest that the levels of lumican in tissues may have a significant effect on the decision of monocytes to differentiate into fibrocytes, and indicate that modulating lumican signaling may be useful as a therapeutic for fibrosis.

published proceedings

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

altmetric score

  • 52.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Pilling, D., Vakil, V., Cox, N., & Gomer, R. H.

citation count

  • 80

complete list of authors

  • Pilling, Darrell||Vakil, Varsha||Cox, Nehemiah||Gomer, Richard H

publication date

  • September 2015