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Search Results to Barbara D. Smith, PhD

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Research Expertise & Professional Interests Dr. Smith is Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry at Boston University School of Medicine. Her research interests include- collagen gene expression associated with inflammation, atherosclerosis, tumors, and fibrotic diseases including systemic sclerosis. Collagen, a family of extracellular proteins, plays a critical role in remodeling after injury. Progressive deposition of excess extracellular matrix (ECM), occurs in a large group of diseases with no effective therapy including cardiovascular disease, pulmonary fibrosis, diabetic nephropathy, systemic sclerosis, and liver cirrhosis. Fibrosis (excessive scarring) is a progressive deposition of excess collagen-rich extracellular matrix produced by activated myofibroblasts leading to impairment and finally failure of affected organs. In normal healing following injury, fibroblasts differentiate into myofibroblasts. If progression to fibrosis occurs, these myofibroblasts do not undergo apoptosis but instead continue to proliferate and produce excess amounts of ECM. Isolated primary fibroblasts from fibrotic lesions maintain their activated myofibroblast phenotype containing abundant stress fibers with smooth muscle actin (SMA). Myocardin related transcription factors (MRTF-A, MRTF-B), members of the myocardin family, link actin dynamics with gene transcription. Our data indicate that MRTF-A dramatically (100 fold) activates collagen transcription. Fibroblasts with knockdown of MRTFA have different morphology and produce less collagen and SMA. We hypothesize that MRTFA plays a central role in activation and perpetuation of myofibroblast during the development of fibrotic disease.
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