Send to

Choose Destination
J Cell Physiol. 1989 Jun;139(3):455-62.

Environment-dependent growth inhibition of human epidermal keratinocytes by recombinant human transforming growth factor-beta.

Author information

Division of Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA.


Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) purified from platelets is a potent growth inhibitor of several normal epithelial cell types in culture. In contrast, some carcinoma cell lines derived from tumors of these same tissues are resistant to this factor. Using recombinant human TGF-beta, the authors have confirmed these results with six normal human epidermal keratinocyte strains and four human epidermal squamous carcinoma cell lines. However, the sensitivity of normal cells to TGF-beta was found to depend on the culture conditions. When grown in a specialized nutrient medium supplemented with pituitary extract, keratinocytes were completely inhibited by the addition of 0.3 ng/ml TGF-beta. In contrast, when their growth was supported by cocultivation with 3T3 fibroblast feeder cells, 30- to 100-fold higher concentrations of TGF-beta were required to achieve comparable growth inhibition. This differential sensitivity occurred despite the fact that in both culture systems TGF-beta in the culture medium had a half-life of about 50 minutes, becoming tightly bound to the surface of the culture dish. Bound TGF-beta proved to be biologically active and stable for about a week in the absence of 3T3 feeder cells. Incubating 3T3 cells on TGF-beta-coated dishes, however, resulted in nearly quantitative removal and degradation of the TGF-beta within 2 days, permitting normal rates of keratinocyte growth. The binding of TGF-beta to surfaces and the ability of fibroblasts to attenuate its inhibitory activity for epithelial cells must be considered when evaluating in vitro models and in planning strategies for the use of this factor in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center