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Biochem J. May 15, 1991; 276(Pt 1): 113–120.
PMCID: PMC1151151

Characterization of release of basic fibroblast growth factor from bovine retinal endothelial cells in monolayer cultures.


Release of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) was investigated in bovine retinal endothelial cells (BREC) maintained in monolayer culture. Confluent cells released bFGF into serum-free culture medium or medium containing 5% serum at rates of up to 105.2 and 61.3 pM/day respectively. bFGF release coincided with a decrease in monolayer cell number and increases in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) concentration and cells and cell-debris particles in the medium, which suggested that cell damage and lysis were responsible for growth-factor release. Maximum bFGF release at 24 h (230 +/- 10 pM) occurred when the cells were treated with lipopolysaccharide (10 micrograms/ml), which also produced the greatest changes in parameters of cell damage. Sub-confluent cells showed little overt damage at 24 h, but released bFGF (78 +/- 20 pM) along with LDH, indicating that some cell lysis had occurred. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) was also released into serum-free culture medium at a rate of 0.34 nM/day, but not into medium containing serum or when the cells were treated with lipopolysaccharide. This implies that the mechanism of IGF-1 release is different from that of bFGF and is not related to cell damage. Culture medium conditioned by BREC stimulated the proliferation of these cells, as measured by an increase in their incorporation of [methyl-3H]thymidine from 7550 +/- 479 to 10467 +/- 924 d.p.m. These results demonstrate that bFGF is released from damaged BREC and that medium conditioned by these cells can stimulate retinal-endothelial-cell proliferation. This strengthens the case for an involvement of this growth factor in retinal neovascularization.

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