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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Thrombospondin-1 is a potent mitogen and chemoattractant for human vascular smooth muscle cells.

Thrombospondin-1 ( TSP-1) is a matricellular protein that is present in negligible amounts in normal human vasculature but occurs in significant amounts in diseased vessels. In this study, we examined the effect of TSP-1 on DNA synthesis, proliferation, and migration in human vascular smooth muscle cells grown from saphenous vein. TSP-1 (0.1 to 30 micrograms/mL) elicited a concentration-dependent increase in DNA synthesis under serum-free conditions. In combination with platelet-derived growth factor, TSP-1 induced a synergistic effect on DNA synthesis that was significantly higher than the additive effect of both agents. In proliferation assays, TSP-1 increased cell numbers by 50% relative to the serum-free controls over 14 days. In migration assays, conducted using modified Boyden chambers, TSP-1 (> or = 10 micrograms/mL) elicited marked chemotaxis to a degree equivalent to platelet-derived growth factor. The chemotactic response to TSP-1 (10 micrograms/mL) was abolished by the GRGDSP peptide but unaffected by the control GRGESP peptide, whereas neither peptide inhibited DNA synthesis stimulated by TSP-1. Inhibition of tyrosine kinase activity with genistein or tyrphostin A23 abolished DNA synthesis induced by TSP-1, and a neutralizing antibody to platelet-derived growth factor had no effect on DNA synthesis. Similarly, migration in response to TSP-1 was largely inhibited by these tyrosine kinase inhibitors. TSP-1 is a strong mitogen and chemoattractant for human vascular smooth muscle cells under serum-free conditions. The novel finding that TSP-1 is mitogenic for human cells contrasts with previous studies that have not shown any significant effect of TSP-1 itself on the growth of animal-derived smooth muscle cells. TSP-1 may play an important modulatory role in the local regulation of vascular smooth muscle function in vascular pathologies in humans.[1]


  1. Thrombospondin-1 is a potent mitogen and chemoattractant for human vascular smooth muscle cells. Patel, M.K., Lymn, J.S., Clunn, G.F., Hughes, A.D. Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. (1997) [Pubmed]
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