SPARC regulates collagen interaction with cardiac fibroblast cell surfaces

Brett S. Harris, Yuhua Zhang, Lauren Card, Lee B. Rivera, Rolf A. Brekken, Amy D. Bradshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Cardiac tissue from mice that do not express secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) have reduced amounts of insoluble collagen content at baseline and in response to pressure overload hypertrophy compared with wild-type (WT) mice. However, the cellular mechanism by which SPARC affects myocardial collagen is not clearly defined. Although expression of SPARC by cardiac myocytes has been detected in vitro, immunohistochemistry of hearts demonstrated SPARC staining primarily associated with interstitial fibroblastic cells. Primary cardiac fibroblasts isolated from SPARC-null and WT mice were assayed for collagen I synthesis by [3H]proline incorporation into procollagen and by immunoblot analysis of procollagen processing. Bacterial collagenase was used to discern intracellular from extracellular forms of collagen I. Increased amounts of collagen I were found associated with SPARC-null versus WT cells, and the proportion of total collagen I detected on SPARC-null fibroblasts without propeptides [collagen-α1(I)] was higher than in WT cells. In addition, the amount of total collagen sensitive to collagenase digestion (extracellular) was greater in SPARC-null cells than in WT cells, indicating an increase in cell surface-associated collagen in the absence of SPARC. Furthermore, higher levels of collagen type V, a fibrillar collagen implicated in collagen fibril initiation, were found in SPARC-null fibroblasts. The absence of SPARC did not result in significant differences in proliferation or in decreased production of procollagen I by cardiac fibroblasts. We conclude that SPARC regulates collagen in the heart by modulating procollagen processing and interactions with fibroblast cell surfaces. These results are consistent with decreased levels of interstitial collagen in the hearts of SPARC-null mice being due primarily to inefficient collagen deposition into the extracellular matrix rather than to differences in collagen production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H841-H847
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Extracellular matrix
  • Fibrosis
  • Matricellular
  • Osteonectin
  • Secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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