Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.505, No.1, 267-273, 2018
Visualization of specific collagen-producing cells by Col1-GFP transgenic mice revealed novel type I collagen-producing cells other than fibroblasts in systemic organs/tissues
Type I collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in mammals and plays important roles in maintaining the integrity of many tissues. Although fibroblasts are the main source of type I collagen, other cells also produce it; however, these cells are not well-defined owing to the lack of a specific marker. A transgenic (Tg) mouse line has been generated in which type I collagen-producing cells are labeled with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP), which enables the monitoring of these cells without requiring an additional cell marker. This Tg mouse line has since been widely used to study type I collagen-producing cells and fibrosis; one study revealed that podocytes, which were not previously considered to produce type I collagen, expressed EGFP. This raises a question regarding the specificity of EGFP expression in this Tg mouse line. To exclude the possibility of non-specific EGFP expression in the existing Tg mouse line and specifically monitor type I collagen-producing cells, we generated a new Tg mouse line and histologically confirmed the specificity of EGFP expression throughout the body. Moreover, we explored type I collagen-producing cells other than fibroblasts and revealed for the first time that Leydig cells have the ability to produce type I collagen. Because of its highly specific and physiologically accurate expression, our new Tg mouse line will help to accurately elucidate not only type I collagen-producing cells in normal tissues but also the potential cells in fibrotic tissues, providing new insights into the pathology of fibrosis. (C) 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.