Research ArticleTissue Repair

NF-κB activation persists into the remodeling phase of tendon healing and promotes myofibroblast survival

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Science Signaling  17 Nov 2020:
Vol. 13, Issue 658, eabb7209
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.abb7209

NF-κB signaling in tendon repair

Tendon injuries usually heal through a fibrotic process, generating scar tissue that impairs the function of the healed tendon. The organized bundles of collagen and other extracellular matrix proteins that make up the bulk of tendon tissue are generated by proteins secreted by fibroblast-like cells called tenocytes. Best et al. found that nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) signaling not only was activated during the early inflammatory phase of flexor tendon healing in mice but also persisted into the late remodeling phases of repair in tenocytes and myofibroblasts. Reducing NF-κB signaling in tenocytes stimulated apoptosis and scarring during the late stages of healing. In human tendon scar tissue, NF-κB signaling was also active, and myofibroblasts expressed prosurvival markers. Thus, NF-κB signaling promotes cell survival and fibrotic progression during tendon healing.

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