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Connect Tissue Res. 1997;36(1):1-8.

Effect of growth factors on the proliferation of ligament fibroblasts from skeletally mature rabbits.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Growth factors have been shown to stimulate fibroblast proliferation during wound and ligament healing. In this study, we analyzed individual effects of eight growth factors in vitro on the proliferation of fibroblasts from the medial collateral (MCL) and anterior cruciate (ACL) ligaments of skeletally mature rabbits. We compared the proliferative response of growth factor-treated and nontreated fibroblasts of both ligaments. The growth-factor treated fibroblasts of the MCL and ACL were also compared. We found that the fibroblasts exposed to epidermal growth factor, basic fibroblast growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor-BB proliferated significantly more than untreated fibroblasts. Acidic fibroblast growth factor at a dose of 1.0 ng/ml caused significant increases in fibroblast proliferation only in the MCL. Transforming growth factor-beta 1, insulin-like growth factor-1, platelet-derived growth factor-AA, and interleukin-1 alpha did not significantly stimulate fibroblast proliferation. MCL fibroblasts generally did not proliferate significantly more than ACL fibroblasts with the exception of MCL fibroblasts exposed to the highest doses of basic fibroblast growth factor, acidic fibroblast growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor-BB. The data were also compared with those obtained earlier using fibroblasts from skeletally immature rabbits (Schmidt et al., JOR 1995). The proliferative response of both the MCL and the ACL fibroblasts was found to decrease with skeletal maturation. Thus, our findings suggest that animal age and fibroblast origin are important factors in determining the proliferative response to growth factors.

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