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Wound Repair Regen. 2006 May-Jun;14(3):321-4.

Lactate stimulates endothelial cell migration.

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Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA, and Department of General Surgery, University Hospital Tübingen, Germany.


The significance of the high lactate levels that characterize healing wounds is not fully understood. Lactate has been shown to enhance collagen synthesis by fibroblasts and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production by macrophages and endothelial cells. VEGF has been shown to induce endothelial cell migration. However, it has not been shown whether accumulated lactate correlates with the biological activity of VEGF. Therefore, we investigated the effect of lactate on migration of endothelial cells. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells and human microvascular endothelial cells were cultured to subconfluent monolayers in standard six-well tissue culture plates. Following a 24-hour serum starvation, cells were treated with the indicated concentrations of l-lactate. Cell migration was assessed using a modified Boyden chamber. VEGF protein in the cell culture supernatant was measured by enzyme-linked immunoassay. Lactate-enhanced VEGF protein synthesis in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Lactate added into the bottom well did not stimulate cellular migration from the upper well. However, lactate when added together with endothelial cells to the bottom well of the Boyden chamber increased cellular migration in a dose-dependent manner. This effect was blocked by anti-VEGF and by cycloheximide. Lactate enhances VEGF production in endothelial cells, although lactate, itself, is not a chemoattractant. We conclude that the lactate-mediated increase in cellular migration is regulated by VEGF.

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