Int J Mol Sci 2017 Dec 28;19(1). Epub 2017 Dec 28.
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Institute for Human Tissue Restoration, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 03722, Korea.
Emerging studies have revealed the involvement of high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) in systemic fibrotic diseases, yet its role in the cutaneous scarring process has not yet been investigated. We hypothesized that HMGB1 may promote fibroblast activity to cause abnormal cutaneous scarring. In vitro wound healing assay with normal and keloid fibroblasts demonstrated that HMGB1 administration promoted the migration of both fibroblasts with increased speed and a greater traveling distance. Treatment of the HMGB1 inhibitor glycyrrhizic acid (GA) showed an opposing effect on both activities. To analyze the downstream mechanism, the protein levels of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2, protein kinase B (AKT), and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) were measured by western blot analysis. HMGB1 increased the expression levels of ERK1/2, AKT, and NF-κB compared to the control, which was suppressed by GA. HMGB1 promoted both normal and keloid fibroblasts migration to a degree equivalent to that achieved with TGF-β. We concluded that HMGB1 activates fibroblasts via the receptor for advanced glycation end product (RAGE)-mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) and NF-κB interaction signaling pathways. Further knowledge of the relationship of HMGB1 with skin fibrosis may lead to a promising clinical approach to manage abnormal scarring.