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J Vasc Res. 2004 Nov-Dec;41(6):491-8. Epub 2004 Oct 28.

TGF-beta1, -beta2 and -beta3 cooperate to facilitate tubulogenesis in the explanted quail heart.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology and Cardiovascular Center, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.



Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) isoforms have been implicated as both pro- and anti-angiogenic modulators. In this study we addressed the roles of TGF-beta isoforms on coronary tubulogenesis.


Embryonic (E6) quail ventricular specimens were explanted onto collagen gels allowing endothelial cells to migrate and form vascular tubes. Growth factors and/or neutralizing growth factor antibodies were added to the cultures. Endothelial cells were identified using a quail endothelial cell marker, QH1. Image analysis was used to quantify aggregate tube length.


Addition of any isoform (TGF-beta(1), TGF-beta(2) or TGF-beta(3)) virtually prevented tubulogenesis (>95% inhibition), while stimulation of tubulogenesis occurred by adding neutralizing antibodies to TGF-beta(3), but not to TGF-beta(1) or -beta(2). When all three isoforms were added, tubulogenesis was enhanced, indicating the key role of TGF-beta(3). Documentation of the inhibitory effect of TGF-beta isoforms on tubulogenesis is further supported by our experiments in which the marked enhancement of tube formation by bFGF and VEGF was negated when exogenous TGF-beta(1), -beta(2), or -beta(3) were added to the cultures.


(1) TGF-beta(1), -beta(2) and -beta(3) each inhibits angiogenesis; (2) cooperation between the three TGF-beta isoforms and other angiogenic factors is essential for the regulation of normal tubulogenesis and (3) the stimulatory effect of VEGF or bFGF on tubulogenesis is negated by exogenous TGB-betas.

Copyright 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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