Endothelial heparan sulfate is necessary but not sufficient for control of vascular smooth muscle cell growth.
The state of the endothelial cell (EC) determines the nature of its control of vascular smooth muscle cell (vSMC) biology. Conditioned medium from postconfluent ECs inhibits vSMC proliferation, whereas subconfluent conditioned medium from the same ECs has a stimulatory effect. We and others have identified confluent endothelial cells' production of heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG) as critical to vSMC growth control. The question that arises is whether the stimulation that is observed with subconfluent cells is from (1) aberrant HSPG production, (2) elaboration of noninhibitory species of HSPG, or (3) production of other factors, such as mitogens, which counteract the inhibitory HSPG to stimulate vSMCs. We studied the relative effects of conditioned medium produced by both subconfluent and postconfluent EC cultures on vSMC growth. Conditioned medium was fractionated into nonproteoglycan (non-PG) and proteoglycan (PG) components by anion-exchange chromatography. The PG fractionation profile and the antiproliferative activity of the HSPGs isolated from both subconfluent and postconfluent EC-conditioned media were similar. However, the HSPG fraction alone could not approach the inhibitory potential of unfractionated conditioned medium from postconfluent EC cultures. Non-PG proteins produced by the endothelial cultures had no effect on vSMC growth on their own. Yet, when they were mixed together with HSPG fractions, from either subconfluent or postconfluent EC cultures, the full growth effects were returned. Non-PG protein fractions from postconfluent cultures with HSPG fractions gave maximal inhibition of vSMC growth, whereas non-PG protein fractions from subconfluent EC cultures with HSPG fractions produced the maximal stimulation. Thus, whereas the net stimulatory or inhibitory effect on vSMC growth of EC-conditioned medium is density dependent, this effect does not result from a difference in the antiproliferative heparan sulfate component but rather from non-PG proteins that interact with the heparan sulfates.
Ettenson, DS; Koo, EW; Januzzi, JL; Edelman, ER
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