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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1987 Oct;84(20):7124-8.

Human vascular smooth muscle cells both express and respond to heparin-binding growth factor I (endothelial cell growth factor).

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Biotechnology Research Center, Meloy Laboratories, Inc., Rockville, MD 20850.


The control of vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cell proliferation is important in such processes as tumor angiogenesis, wound healing, and the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Class I heparin-binding growth factor (HBGF-I) is a potent mitogen and chemoattractant for human endothelial cells in vitro and will induce angiogenesis in vivo. RNA gel blot hybridization experiments demonstrate that cultured human vascular smooth muscle cells, but not human umbilical vein endothelial cells, express HBGF-I mRNA. Smooth muscle cells also synthesize an HBGF-I-like polypeptide since (i) extract prepared from smooth muscle cells will compete with 125I-labeled HBGF-I for binding to the HBGF-I cell surface receptor, and (ii) the competing ligand is eluted from heparin-Sepharose affinity resin at a NaCl concentration similar to that required by purified bovine brain HBGF-I and stimulates endothelial cell proliferation in vitro. Furthermore, like endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells possess cell-surface-associated HBGF-I receptors and respond to HBGF-I as a mitogen. These results indicate the potential for an additional autocrine component of vascular smooth muscle cell growth control and establish a vessel wall source of HBGF-I for endothelial cell division in vivo.

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