Heparan sulfate upregulates platelet-derived growth factor receptors on human lung fibroblasts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Heparan sulfate is a molecule that possesses a large structural variability and which has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of fibroblasts in vitro. The aim of this study was to determine whether the anti-proliferative effects of heparan sulfate were exerted by regulation of the activity of the platelet-derived growth factor and/or of the platelet-derived growth factor receptors. Both l-iduronate-rich, anti-proliferative and the l-iduronate-poor, non-anti-proliferative heparan sulfate species, were incubated with confluent human embryonic lung fibroblasts for 24 h. The mRNA levels for PDGF-AA, PDGF-BB, and their receptors were measured. Binding studies were performed with [125I]-PDGF-BB and [125I]-EGF for 2 h at 4 degreesC in cultures preincubated with both types of heparan sulfate for 24 h. In separate experiments, cultures were incubated together with heparan sulfate and [125I]-PDGF-BB for 2 h at 4 degreesC. Increases of two- to threefold in the mRNA levels for both the alpha- and the beta-receptors of PDGF was obtained after treatment with both types of heparan sulfate, whereas the mRNA levels of both the PDGF-AA and the PDGF-BB were essentially unaffected. A sixfold increase in binding was only noted for [125I]-PDGF-BB in cultures pre-treated with the anti-proliferative heparan sulfate for 24 h, whereas no effect was noted with use of the non-anti-proliferative heparan sulfate. Incubating the [125I]-PDGF-BB and the anti-proliferative heparan sulfate together for 2 h resulted in a smaller, threefold increase in binding. This indicates that the anti-proliferative heparan sulfate both stabilizes and increases expression of the PDGF receptors. To investigate whether the increased number of PDGF receptors could affect cell activity, cells were preincubated with anti-proliferative heparan sulfate and then treated with PDGF-BB. This resulted in an increase in mitogenicity compared to cells treated only with PDGF-BB. Neither an increase in binding for [125I-EGF] nor an increase in the mitogenic response of EGF could be observed in cultures pre-treated with the anti-proliferative heparan sulfate. The results indicate that the extracellular matrix itself may regulate important biological phenomena such as cell proliferation and matrix production through affecting the expression of receptors of PDGF, which initiate both stimulatory and inhibitory signals.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology


  • Cell Division, Epidermal Growth Factor, Fibroblasts, Gene Expression Regulation, Glycosaminoglycans, Heparitin Sulfate, Humans, Iduronic Acid, Lung, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor, Protein Binding, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-sis, RNA, Messenger, Receptors, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor, Up-Regulation, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1149-55
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Dec
Publication categoryResearch