Modulation of procollagen gene expression by retinoids. Inhibition of collagen production by retinoic acid accompanied by reduced type I procollagen messenger ribonucleic acid levels in human skin fibroblast cultures. Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent clinical observations have suggested that retinoids, which are in frequent use in dermatology, can affect the connective tissue metabolism in skin and other tissues. In this study, we examined the effects of several retinoids on the metabolism of collagen by human skin fibroblasts in culture. Incubation of cultured fibroblasts with all-trans-retinoic acid or 13-cis-retinoic acid, in 10(-5) M or higher concentrations, markedly reduced the procollagen production, as measured by synthesis of radioactive hydroxyproline. The effect was selective in that little, if any, inhibition was noted in the incorporation of [3H]leucine into the noncollagenous proteins, when the cells were incubated with the retinoids in 10(-5) M concentration. Similar reduction in procollagen production was noted with retinol and retinal, whereas an aromatic analogue of retinoic acid ethyl ester (RO-10-9359) resulted in a slight increase in procollagen production in these cultures. The reduction in procollagen production by all-trans-retinoic acid was accompanied by a similar reduction in pro alpha 2(I) of type I procollagen specific messenger RNA (mRNA), as detected by dot blot and Northern blot hybridizations. Hybridizations with human fibronectin and beta-actin specific DNA probes indicated that the levels of the corresponding mRNAs were not affected by the retinoids, further suggesting selectivity in the inhibition of procollagen gene expression. Further control experiments indicated that all-trans-retinoic acid, under the culture conditions employed, did not affect the posttranslational hydroxylation of prolyl residues, the mannosylation of newly synthesized procollagen, the specific radioactivity of the intracellular prolyltransfer RNA pool, or DNA replication. All-trans-retinoic acid also elicited a reduction in trypsin-activatable collagenase, but not in the activity of prolyl hydroxylase or an elastaselike neutral protease in the fibroblast cultures. Incubation of three fibroblast lines established from human keloids with all-trans-retinoic acid or 13-cis-retinoic acid also resulted in a marked reduction in procollagen production. The results, therefore, suggest that further development of retinoids might provide a novel means of modulating collagen gene expression in patients with various diseases affecting the connective tissues.

published proceedings

  • J Clin Invest

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Oikarinen, H., Oikarinen, A. I., Tan, E. M., Abergel, R. P., Meeker, C. A., Chu, M. L., Prockop, D. J., & Uitto, J.

citation count

  • 109

complete list of authors

  • Oikarinen, H||Oikarinen, AI||Tan, EM||Abergel, RP||Meeker, CA||Chu, ML||Prockop, DJ||Uitto, J

publication date

  • May 1985