Investigating the effects of CTGF in a cell culture model of wound healing

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Student Showcase of Research & Engagement Spring 2019
Dermako, Hannah
Shattuck, Leo
Proulx, Brandon
Kuhn, Isabella
Each year, 735,000 people suffer from a heart attack in the United States. A heart attack causes a lack of oxygen resulting in tissue death and activation of fibroblast cells. Fibroblasts lay down fibrous proteins that provide the structural framework and the cells are also responsible for a majority of tissue remodeling. Connective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF) is a gene that is involved in healthy wound healing and scarring. After injury, the extent to which scarring occurs is thought to be impacted by sequence variations in the CTGF gene that influence how cells move into a wound area. Our primary aim is to determine if CTGF genetic variants alter the rate of cell movement in a tissue culture model. The genetic variants G560T, T1309C, and G1355T were individually inserted into NIH/3T3 fibroblasts. In order to mimic a wound, a pipette tip was scratched across a plate covered in cells. Migration of the cells into the wound area was then measured. Preliminary results suggest differences in closure between the T1309C variant and normal CTGF (p-value =0.07, p < 0.10 suggestive evidence). A fundamental understanding of variation in wound closure rates can provide information for treatment strategies to manage scarring after a heart attack.