Growth factors play a crucial role in the regulation of cellular proliferation and matrix degradation in wound healing and cancer. We have shown that thrombospondin 1 (TSP-1) and its cysteine-serine-valine-threonine- cysteine-glycine (CSVTCG)-specific receptor play a key role in cell invasion and matrix degradation in different carcinomas. The present study was done to determine whether TSP-1 and its receptor show a similar pattern of expression in wound healing and cancer. Expression and localization of TSP-1 and its receptor were determined in fetal wounds, adult burn wounds, and different human malignancies by immunohistochemical staining and computerized image analysis. In healing wounds, TSP-1 was expressed in the stroma early in the process, followed by a steep decline. The TSP-1 receptor localized to neovessels and highly proliferating cells (i.e., fibroblasts, basal cells), its levels remaining relatively constant. Cancer cells and tumor-associated microvessels expressed the TSP-1 receptor, whereas TSP-1 localized predominantly to the tumor-associated stroma. These data suggest a critical role for TSP-1 and its CSVTCG-specific receptor in wound healing and cancer.
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