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FEBS Lett. 1998 Apr 3;425(3):441-7.

Intercellular communication between vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells mediated by heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor.

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Department of Biological Regulation, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF), a potent mitogen and migration factor for vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC), promoted neovascularization in vivo in the rabbit cornea. MRI demonstrated quantitatively the angiogenic effect of HB-EGF when introduced subcutaneously into nude mice. HB-EGF is not directly mitogenic to endothelial cells but it induced the migration of bovine endothelial cells and release of endothelial cell mitogenic activity from bovine vascular SMC. This mitogenic activity was specifically blocked by neutralizing anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) antibodies. In contrast, EGF or transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) had almost no effect on release of endothelial mitogenicity from SMC. In addition, RT-PCR analysis demonstrated that VEGF165 mRNA levels were increased in vascular SMC 4-10-fold by 0.35-2 nM of HB-EGF, respectively. Our data suggest that HB-EGF, as a mediator of intercellular communication, may play a new important role in supporting wound healing, tumor progression and atherosclerosis by stimulating angiogenesis.

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