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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1996 Nov;15(5):664-72.

Differential regulation of airway epithelial integrins by growth factors.

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Department of Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital, California, USA.


The pattern of integrin expression on human airway epithelium changes significantly in injury or inflammation. In particular, two integrins, the fibronectin receptor, alpha 5 beta 1 and the fibronectin/tenascin receptor alpha v beta 6, are expressed at low or undetectable levels in normal airways in vivo but are induced in response to airway epithelial injury. We investigated the effects of various growth factors known to be present in the airways on the expression of constitutively expressed and inducible airway epithelial integrins using flow cytometry. In primary cultures of human airway epithelial cells, transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF beta 1) dramatically increased expression of alpha v beta 6 and essentially did not affect the expression of any other integrin, including alpha 5 beta 1. In contrast, epidermal growth factor (EGF) upregulated surface levels of both alpha v beta 6 and alpha 5 beta 1. Together, TGF beta 1 and EGF had an additive effect on alpha v beta 6 and alpha 5 beta 1 expression while increasing levels of alpha 2 beta 1 and decreasing expression of alpha 3 beta 1- and alpha 6-containing integrins. In contrast, the transformed airway epithelial cell line, BEAS-2B, expressed a markedly different repertoire of integrins. Integrin expression on BEAS-2B cells was not affected by any of the growth factors tested in this study. These results demonstrate that, in primary cultures of human airway epithelial cells, the pattern of integrin expression can be dramatically altered by growth factors. The inducible integrins, alpha v beta 6, and alpha 5 beta 1 are most subject to regulation by growth factors and expression of each of these can be differentially regulated. The differential regulation of the two principal fibronectin receptors on airway epithelial cells suggests that they may mediate different cellular responses to fibronectin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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