Activation of macrophages results in the production of numerous enzymes and effector molecules. One of these monokines released by macrophages can cause directed migration of connective tissue fibroblasts in vitro. Production of this macrophage-derived chemotactic factor for fibroblasts requires activation of the macrophages either in vivo or in vitro and de novo protein synthesis. The chemotactic activity in the macrophage supernatants could be removed by a fibronectin-specific affinity column and was inhibited in the presence of antibodies to fibronectin. Furthermore, chemotactic activity in the depleted macrophage supernatants could be restored by the addition of exogenous fibronectin. Fibronectin was identified in activated macrophage supernatants by an enzyme-linked immunoassay for fibronectin. From these findings it was concluded that activated macrophages release a chemoattractant for fibroblasts and that the primary chemoattractant molecule is fibronectin. The production of fibronectin by activated macrophages may thus serve as an inflammatory mediator that in addition to its other functions can recruit fibroblasts to an area of damaged tissue, where they can proliferate and form the scar tissue necessary for tissue repair. Furthermore, in chronic inflammation, the prolonged activation of macrophages may be related to the extensive fibroblast infiltration and fibrosis that can accompany these lesions.

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