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Am J Pathol. 1992 Jan;140(1):45-55.

Effects of transforming growth factor-beta on collagen synthesis by normal rat kidney epithelial cells.

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Department of Pathology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232.


The effects of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) on the growth of and collagen production by NRK52E cells, a clonal line established from normal rat kidney epithelial cells, have been characterized. NRK52E cells were grown in the absence or presence of TGF-beta for 4 days followed by incubation for 24 hours in serum-free medium containing [3H]proline. The secreted and cell-associated collagens produced by control and experimental cultures were isolated by limited pepsin digestion and differential salt fractionation. TGF-beta inhibited proliferation by about 50% but did not affect overall culture morphology. Both protein and collagen synthesis were increased in experimental cultures, but the increase in total collagen production exceeded that of total protein synthesis. Although NRK52E cells grown in the presence of TGF-beta continued to produce the same types of collagen (types I, III, IV, and V), their relative amounts were changed. In the experimental cultures, type I collagen production was increased eightfold, types III and V collagen levels were increased two-fold, but type IV production was only slightly enhanced. In addition to increasing total collagen production by about fivefold, TGF-beta increased the ratio of type I to type III about threefold but minimally affected the ratio of secreted to cell-associated molecules. These findings establish that TGF-beta specifically affects collagen production in NRK52E cells and that these alterations differ in many ways from the affects of epidermal growth factor. Because TGF-beta increased total collagen expression, these results provide additional evidence implicating this growth factor as a positive mediator of matrix accumulation in renal disease.

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