Abnormal tissue changes in wound healing behind sarcoids, say researchers

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Evidence suggests that equine sarcoids arise through abnormal tissue changes during wound healing, according to Italian researchers.

Equine sarcoids are locally invasive benign skin tumors.

Bovine papillomavirus type-1 and/or bovine papillomavirus type-2 are believed to trigger sarcoids, although the mechanisms by which the virus induces the tumor remain poorly understood.

The study team from Naples University hypothesized that latent bovine papillomavirus infections in genetically predisposed equines may be reactivated by immunosoppression and/or mechanical injury leading to a wound which may transform into a sarcoid.

Twenty-five equine sarcoids and five normal skin samples were examined microscopically. The study team also evaluated the  immunohistochemical and molecular expression of a range of proteins: type I and type III Collagen, vimentin (VIM), alfa Smooth Muscle Actin (α-SMA), Matrix Metalloproteinase (MMPs) -2, 9, 14 and the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 2 (TIMP-2).

Their immunohistochemical results showed that, in 20 of the 25 sarcoids, fibroblasts represented the principal cellular population.

The study revealed that equine sarcoids showed an altered turnover of the Extracellular Matrix (ECM) deposition and degradation, as a result of an altered expression of MMPs and TIMPs.

They said their findings seemed to confirm that the basic mechanism for the growth of equine sarcoids could be a neoplastic transformation [abnormal tissue change] during wound healing.

Manuela Martano and her colleagues, writing in the journal BMC Veterinary Research, said: “The present findings include the identification of the main cellular effectors of sarcoid growth, that is, the key cytokines regulating the scar formation process, and the regulators of ECM turnover.

“These findings therefore open the avenue for a number of potential therapeutic approaches that are likely to be developed in the near future.”

Martano was joined in the study by Brunella Restucci, Maria Ester De Biase, Giuseppe Borzacchiello and Paola Maiolino, all from Naples University; and Annunziata Corteggio, from the Institute of Protein Biochemistry, which is part of the country’s National Research Council.

Extracellular matrix remodeling in equine sarcoid: an immunohistochemical and molecular study
Manuela Martano, Annunziata Corteggio, Brunella Restucci, Maria Ester De Biase, Giuseppe Borzacchiello and Paola Maiolino
BMC Veterinary Research DOI: 10.1186/s12917-016-0648-1
The full study can be read here

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