This report describes the effects of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) on the anchorage-dependent and -independent growth of rat heart endothelial cells (RHE-1A). When RHE-1A cells were grown in monolayer culture with medium containing 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS) supplemented with epidermal growth factor (0.1-100 ng/ ml), growth was stimulated fivefold when compared to that of cells grown in medium containing 10% FBS alone. The stimulatory effect of EGF on RHE-1A cell monolayer growth was dose-dependent and half-maximal at 5 ng/ml. The addition of TGF-β1 in the range 0.1-10 ng/ml had no effect on RHE-1A cell monolayer growth when added to medium containing 10% FBS alone or 10% FBS supplemented with EGF (50 ng/ml). RHE-1A cells failed to grow under anchorage-independent conditions in 0.3% agar medium containing 10% FBS. In the presence of EGF, however, colony formation increased dramatically. The stimulatory effect of EGF was dose-dependent in the range 0.1-100 ng/ml and was half-maximal at 5 ng/ml. In contrast to its effects under anchorage-dependent conditions, TGF-β1 (0.1-10 ng/ml) antagonized the stimulatory effects of EGF on RHE-1A cell anchorage-independent growth. The inhibitory effect of TGF-β1 was dose-dependent and half-maximal at 0.1 ng/ml. EGF-induced RHE-1A soft agar colonies were isolated and reinitiated in monolayer culture. They retained the cobblestone morphology and contact-inhibition characteristic of normal vascular endothelial cells. Each of the clones continued to express Factor VIII antigen. These findings suggest that TGF-β may influence not only endothelial cell proliferation but also anchorage dependence. These effects may in turn be of relevance to endothelial cell growth and angiogenesis in vivo.
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* This work is part of a doctoral thesis by Daniel L. Mooradian to fulfill the requirements of the Graduate School of Wayne State Uni-versity. This work was supported in part by U.S. Public Health Service Grant HL-23603 and by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Minnesota Affiliate of the American Heart Association.