Vaginal fibroblastic cells from women with pelvic organ prolapse produce matrices with increased stiffness and collagen content

Alejandra M Ruiz-Zapata*, Manon H Kerkhof, Samaneh Ghazanfari, Behrouz Zandieh-Doulabi, Reinout Stoop, Theo H Smit, Marco N Helder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Web of Science)


Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is characterised by the weakening of the pelvic floor support tissues, and often by subsequent prolapse of the bladder outside the body, i.e. cystocele. The bladder is kept in place by the anterior vaginal wall which consists of a dense extracellular matrix rich in collagen content that is maintained and remodelled by fibroblastic cells, i.e. fibroblasts and myofibroblasts. Since altered matrix production influences tissue quality, and myofibroblasts are involved in normal and pathological soft tissue repair processes, we evaluated matrix production of cells derived from pre-and post-menopausal POP and non-POP control anterior vaginal wall tissues. Results showed that cells from postmenopausal POP women deposited matrices with high percentage of collagen fibres with less anisotropic orientation and increased stiffness than those produced by controls. There was a transient increase in myofibroblastic phenotype that was lost after the peak of tissue remodelling. In conclusion, affected fibroblasts from postmenopausal prolapsed tissues produced altered matrices in vitro compared to controls. Such aberrant altered matrix production does not appear to be a consequence of abnormal phenotypical changes towards the myofibroblastic lineage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22971
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2016


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