L-iduronate-rich glycosaminoglycans inhibit growth of normal fibroblasts independently of serum or added growth factors

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The effects of various glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) on the growth rate of normal fibroblasts and a fibrosarcoma cell line (HT 1080) were examined. Cells were grown in 96-well microplates in the absence or presence of serum mitogens, epidermal (EGF), platelet-derived (PDGF), acidic fibroblast (aFGF), or basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). Cell number was measured by using crystal violet to stain cell nuclei (Westergren-Thorsson, G., Onnervik, P.-O., Fransson, L.-A., and Malmström, A. J. Cell. Phys. 147, 523-530, 1991) and also by using a Coulter counter. In the presence of serum mitogens, L-iduronate (IdoA)-rich GAGs, such as dermatan sulfate, heparin, and highly sulfated heparan sulfate, inhibited proliferation of normal cells (25-35%), whereas HT 1080 cells were unaffected or slightly stimulated. Ham's F-12 supplemented with insulin and transferrin but without growth factors was able to support growth of both cell types. Under these conditions, the IdoA-rich GAGs still suppressed growth of normal cells (40-55%), whereas HT 1080 cells again responded poorly. When growth factors were added proliferation of normal fibroblasts was further stimulated, EGF being the most effective. In the presence of either EGF, PDGF, or bFGF, IdoA-rich GAGs had a sustained inhibitory effect on normal fibroblasts (30-50% at concentrations at or above 10 micrograms/ml). However, in the presence of aFGF, both IdoA-rich and IdoA-poor heparan sulfates enhanced growth (nearly twofold after prolonged exposure) suggesting a stabilization of this growth factor. In general, IdoA-rich GAGs appear to inhibit proliferation of normal cells irrespective of the type of growth factor used. Therefore, GAGs are likely to act directly on cell-derived regulatory components, either before or after internalization. As fibrosarcoma cells were much less sensitive to growth inhibition, they may contain altered receptors for GAGs.


External organisations
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology


  • Blood Proteins, Cell Division, Cells, Cultured, Dermatan Sulfate, Epidermal Growth Factor, Fibroblast Growth Factor 1, Fibroblast Growth Factor 2, Fibroblasts, Fibrosarcoma, Glycosaminoglycans, Growth Inhibitors, Growth Substances, Heparitin Sulfate, Humans, Iduronic Acid, Lung, Mitogens, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor, Tumor Cells, Cultured, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-9
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1993 May
Publication categoryResearch