Heparanase and platelet factor-4 induce smooth muscle cell proliferation and migration via bFGF release from the ECM.
Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) has been shown to play an instrumental role in the cascade of events leading to restenosis; however, the mechanisms of bFGF activation following vascular injury have remained elusive. We have demonstrated that heparanase and platelet factor-4 (PF4), released from activated platelets at the site of injury, liberate bFGF from the extracellular matrix (ECM) of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC), resulting in the induction of SMC proliferation and migration. Increases in proliferation and migration were inhibited by treatment with a bFGF-neutralizing antibody, suggesting that proliferation and migration in response to heparanase or PF4 are mediated by bFGF activation. When platelets were seeded on top of SMCs, degranulation products were found to release bFGF from the ECM, increasing cell proliferation and cell migration. Again, these increases in SMC proliferation and migration were inhibited by treatment with an anti-bFGF antibody. Furthermore, these increases in proliferation were completely inhibited by treatment with an anti-heparanase antibody. Platelet degranulation products, such as heparanase and PF4, may liberate bFGF from extracellular sequestration, activating the growth factor and inducing the SMC proliferation and migration that contribute to the wound healing response following vascular injury.
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