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J Cell Physiol. 1996 Nov;169(2):300-8.

Tumor cell-conditioned medium stimulates expression of the urokinase receptor in vascular endothelial cells.

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Dipartimento di Genetica e Microbiologia, Università di Pavia, Italy.


We have previously reported that culture medium conditioned by human SK-Hep1 hepatoma cells or mouse S180 sarcoma cells induces in vitro angiogenesis and stimulates production of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) in vascular endothelial cells. These activities are mediated by a 3.5-10 kDa, heparin-binding peptide that upregulates endothelial cell expression of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF; Peverali et al., 1994, J. Cell. Physiol. 161:1-14.) We now report that SK-Hep 1 or S180 cell-conditioned medium rapidly induces a 4- to 5-fold increase in cell-bound uPA activity and in the high-affinity binding of 125I-prouPA to vascular endothelial cells. Ligand blotting and purification experiments show an equivalent increase in the synthesis of a cell surface protein corresponding to the endothelial cell uPA receptor (uPAR) on the basis of M, (45-50 kDa) and sensitivity to phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC). The tumor cell-conditioned media also upregulate uPAR mRNA levels in endothelial cells. Thus, the increase in uPA binding capacity of endothelial cells is mediated by an increased expression of uPAR. The uPAR-inducing activity of SK-Hep 1 or S180 cell-conditioned medium is not neutralized by antibodies to bFGF, and is associated with a peptide that has a M, higher than 10 kDa and no affinity for heparin. Therefore, it appears to be distinct from the bFGF/uPA-inducing factor secreted by the same cells, and from other heparin-binding cytokines that upregulate uPAR expression in endothelial cells.

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