Connective tissue growth factor promoter activity in normal and wounded skin
Springer Science and Business Media LLC -- Fibrogenesis & Tissue Repair
DOI 10.1186/1755-1536-1-3

In skin, connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2) is induced during tissue repair. However, what the exact cell types are that express CTGF in normal and wounded skin remain controversial. In this report, we use transgenic knock-in mice in which the Pacific jellyfish Aequorea victoria enhanced green fluorescent protein (E-GFP) gene has been inserted between the endogenous CTGF promoter and gene. Unwounded (day 0) and wounded (days 3 and 7) skin was examined for GFP to detect cells in which the CTGF promoter was active, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) to detect myofibroblasts, and NG2 expression to detect pericytes. In unwounded mice, CTGF expression was absent in epidermis and was present in a few cells in the dermis. Upon wounding, CTGF expression was induced in the dermis. Double immunolabeling revealed that CTGF-expressing cells also expressed α-SMA, indicating the CTGF was expressed in myofibroblasts. A subset (~30%) of myofibroblasts were also NG2 positive, indicating that pericytes significantly contributed to the number of myofibroblasts in the wound. Pericytes also expressed CTGF. Collectively, these results indicate that CTGF expression in skin correlates with myofibroblast induction, and that CTGF-expressing pericytes are significant contributors to myofibroblast activity during cutaneous tissue repair.