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Curr Eye Res. 1993 Aug;12(8):703-9.

Transforming growth factor-beta stimulates collagen and fibronectin synthesis by human corneal stromal fibroblasts in vitro.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh, PA.


The effects of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF beta) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) on the synthesis of collagen and fibronectin, and on the proliferation of human corneal stromal fibroblasts in vitro, were evaluated. Human corneal stromal fibroblasts in culture were incubated for 48 hours with TGF beta or EGF in the absence of serum. Collagen and fibronectin in the culture media were measured by a collagenase-digestion assay and a competitive ELISA, respectively. The effects of the growth factors on proliferation were assessed by 3H-thymidine incorporation. Collagen synthesis was dose-dependently stimulated by TGF beta; at a concentration of 1 ng/ml of TGF beta, a 120% increase in collagen synthesis was seen over that of controls (p < 0.01). EGF, at a concentration of 10 ng/ml, induced a 40% increase in collagen synthesis over that of controls (p < 0.01). The maximum stimulation by TGF beta was greater than that by EGF (p < 0.05). Fibronectin synthesis was stimulated by TGF beta and EGF in a dose-dependent manner; 230% (p < 0.001) and 210% (p < 0.01) increases in fibronectin synthesis were caused by 10 ng/ml TGF beta and EGF, respectively. TGF beta and EGF dose-dependently stimulated 3H-thymidine incorporation. The maximum increases in 3H-thymidine incorporation reached 180% (p < 0.001) and 190% (p < 0.001) over that in controls, at 10 ng/ml concentrations of TGF beta and EGF, respectively. In conclusion, both TGF beta and EGF are potent stimulants of collagen and fibronectin synthesis and proliferation. Therefore, these two growth factors may be effective alternatives or additional choices for the treatment of corneal ulcer.

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