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Biol Reprod. 1993 May;48(5):1120-8.

Identification and localization of alternately spliced mRNAs for vascular endothelial growth factor in human uterus and estrogen regulation in endometrial carcinoma cell lines.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Cambridge, Rosie Maternity Hospital, United Kingdom.


Repair of human endometrium after menstruation and preparation of the endometrium for implantation involves profound angiogenic changes. Vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF) is a recently identified growth factor with significant angiogenic properties. Four species of mRNA encoding VEGFs were identified in human endometrium and myometrium. All species were present throughout the menstrual cycle. Two species, VEGF165 and VEGF121, were present in peripheral leukocytes, indicating tissue-specific splicing of the two other VEGF transcripts. In situ hybridization of mRNA encoding VEGF was not restricted to vascular smooth muscle but was present in epithelial and stromal cells of endometrium throughout the cycle, and the distribution changed during the course of the cycle. All four species of VEGF were expressed by the endometrial carcinoma cell lines Ishikawa, HEC 1-A, and HEC 1-B. Estradiol increased steady-state levels of mRNA encoding VEGF in a dose- and time-dependent manner in HEC 1-A cells. Conditioned medium from these cells possessed angiogenic activity that was depleted by passage through a heparin affinity column. None of the cell lines demonstrated mRNA for acidic or basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF), despite previous reports of the identification of immunoreactive basic FGF in HEC 1-A and HEC 1-B cells. These findings show that VEGFs, not FGFs, are the principal angiogenic growth factors secreted by these cells and that human endometrium expresses a secreted angiogenic growth factor whose site of expression changes during the menstrual cycle.

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