The purpose of this study is to investigate the change in chemotactic effects of human conjunctival fibroblasts (HConFs) after transdifferentiation into myofibroblasts, and to explore related molecular mechanisms. HConFs were treated with 5 ng/mL transforming growth factor (TGF)-β2 for 48 h to induce transdifferentiation into myofibroblasts. The cytokine concentrations in the conditioned media of HConFs were measured by multiplex bead-based immunoassays. The Boyden chamber assay was used to assess the chemotactic effects using the monocyte cell line, THP-1 cells. The concentration of monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 in the conditioned media was decreased after transdifferentiation into myofibroblasts (P < 0.001). The conditioned media of HConFs exerted a chemotactic effect on THP-1 cells, but this effect decreased after transdifferentiation into myofibroblasts (P = 0.032). The number of migrated THP-1 cells decreased significantly upon treatment with neutralizing anti-MCP-1 antibodies (P = 0.006) and tended to decrease upon treatment with C-C chemokine receptor (CCR) 2 antagonist. The chemotactic effect of HConFs mediated by the MCP-1/CCR2 axis was decreased after transdifferentiation into myofibroblasts.
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