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Pharmazie. 1998 Jan;53(1):51-7.

Effects of growth factors on the proliferation of human keratinocytes and fibroblasts in vitro.

By: Kim DS, Korting HC, Schäfer-Korting M.

Growth/differentiation factor-5 (GDF-5) is a new member of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily of multifunctional peptide growth factors that appear to mediate many key events in cell growth and development. The effects of GDF-5 and other growth factors (epidermal growth factor, EGF; TGF-beta 1) on the proliferation of human keratinocytes and fibroblasts compared with desoximetasone and calcipotriol have been investigated. The proliferation rate was determined by a hemocytometer, MTT assay and the incorporation of [3H]-thymidine. Moreover, cell cycle analyses were performed and the influence on interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 alpha) production in keratinocytes was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) because of its pronounced proinflammatory effect. In keratinocytes, GDF-5 stimulated cell proliferation to a minor extent. The drug already proved to be effective at very low concentrations (0.1 ng/ml). Growth stimulatory effects with EGF have been observed only in keratinocyte basal medium (KBM), but not in keratinocyte growth medium (KGM). TGF-beta 1 markedly inhibited the proliferation of keratinocytes at concentrations > 1 ng/ml. Calcipotriol and desoximetasone also showed a dose-dependent cell growth inhibition in epidermal cell cultures. IL-1 alpha synthesis was greatly suppressed by calcipotriol 10(-8)-10(-6) M. EGF at 10 ng/ml, in contrast, strongly stimulated IL-1 alpha production. Neither GDF-5 nor TGF-beta 1 had a significant effect on IL-1 alpha production in keratinocyte monolayer cultures. In fibroblasts, GDF-5 induced very weak antiproliferative effects. Calcipotriol and desoximetasone also inhibited cell growth in fibroblast cultures whereas proliferation and DNA synthesis were strongly stimulated by 1 ng/ml EGF. There was, however, a contradiction between TGF-beta 1 results on fibroblasts. Whereas TGF-beta 1 increased proliferation in cell number determination and in the thymidine incorporation assay, MTT assays showed slight antiproliferative effects. Due to these controversial results, in addition cell cycle analysis was employed. TGF-beta 1 led to an increased S phase, which indicates a stimulation of cell division. The different results obtained with the MTT test suggest that TGF-beta 1 may stimulate cell division of fibroblasts not only by increasing the S phase, but also by shortening the G1 phase of the cell cycle.

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