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      Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor in Cultured Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells

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          Background: Migration and proliferation of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells play an important role in proliferative vitreoretinopathy. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a cell surface receptor with intrinsic tyrosine kinase activity. The engagement of the receptor by its ligand can induce intracellular mitogenic signal transduction pathways and stimulate proliferation, migration and differentiation of cells. This experiment aimed to investigate the activation and role of EGFR signal transduction pathway in proliferation of human RPE cells. Methods: Cultured human RPE cells of the 3rd to 6th passages were studied by colorimetric assay for cellular growth and survival (MTT assay) to test the effects of EGF (0.1, 1, 10, 50, and 100 ng/ml) and fetal bovine serum (FBS) on proliferation of human RPE cells. An in vitro wound healing model was also set up, and the number of cells that had entered the denuded area was counted. The human RPE cells were cultured for 3 days with 0.1% FBS, 10% FBS, 10 ng/ml EGF + 0.1% FBS and a combination of EGF and 10% FBS, respectively. Immunohistochemical staining and in situ hybridization were used to observe the expressions of EGFR protein and mRNA, respectively. Activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) was detected by immunohistochemical method with specific antiphosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 antibody. Results: EGF stimulated proliferation and migration of cultured human RPE cells in a concentration-dependent manner. The maximum of the proliferation rate of RPE cells was 81.8% with EGF at a concentration of 10–100 ng/ml of EGF in serum-free Dulbecco’s modified essential medium (DMEM) and 122.7% at a concentration of 1–10 ng/ml of EGF in 5% FBS DMEM (p < 0.001); there was a significant difference between serum-free DMEM groups and 5% FBS DMEM groups. The maximum of the migration rate of the cells was 438.9% at a concentration of 10–100 ng/ml of EGF in 10% FBS DMEM, 147% with 10% FBS, and only 36% with EGF in 0.1% FBS at the concentration of 10 ng/ml (p < 0.001). EGF promoted the expression of EGFR protein and mRNA in RPE cells. FBS cooperated with EGF in the stimulation of EGFR expression, and it had a stronger effect in the process than EGF alone. After 3 days of incubation with EGF, phosphorylated ERK1/2 was detectable in the nucleus of RPE cells, whereas cells presented immunostaining positive for phosphorylated ERK1/2 in the cytoplasm before stimulation, indicating that EGF could induce MAPK nuclear translocation. Conclusion: EGF could induce EGF-EGFR-MAPK signal transduction pathway in human RPE cells in a concentration-dependent manner in vitro, which may play a key role in the activation of human RPE cell proliferation and migration.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways.

          Nearly all cell surface receptors utilize one or more of the mitogen-activated protein kinase cascades in their repertoire of signal transduction mechanisms. Recent advances in the study of such cascades include the cloning of genes encoding novel members of the cascades, further definition of the roles of the cascades in responses to extracellular signals, and examination of cross-talk between different cascades.
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            Role of inflammatory mediators in angiogenesis.

            The angiogenic process involves several cell types and mediators, which interact to establish a specific microenvironment suitable for the formation of new capillaries from pre-existing vessels. Angiogenesis occurs in several physiological and pathological conditions, such as embryo development and wound healing, diabetic retinopathy and tumours. Inflammatory cells, namely monocytes/macrophages, T lymphocytes and neutrophils, fully participate in the angiogenic process by secreting cytokines that may affect endothelial cell (EC) functions, including EC proliferation, migration and activation. Angiogenesis is the result of a net balance between the activities exerted by positive and negative regulators. With regards to inflammatory cells and endothelium cross-talk, such balance is conceptually very similar to that of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators that modulate an appropriate inflammatory response. In this review we will mainly discuss the relevance of both physiological and pathological inflammatory processes in angiogenesis, with particular regards to microenvironmental contribution. We will also describe some of the most relevant pro-inflammatory cytokines in the modulation of the angiogenic process. Furthermore, we will concentrate on what has been recently reported about the mechanism by which some of these cytokines are induced during inflammation to promote a suitable microenvironment for angiogenesis and tumour progression. Pro-angiogenic cytokines, such as IL-1 and TNF, and anti-angiogenic cytokines such as IFN-gamma and IL-12, will be briefly described. We will try to provide a rationale for the use of both cytokines and cytokine blockades as novel potential pharmaceutical targets to modulate angiogenesis in chronic inflammation as well as in cancer.
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              Betacellulin: a mitogen from pancreatic beta cell tumors.

              Betacellulin, a member of the epidermal growth factor family, has been identified in the conditioned medium of cell lines derived from mouse pancreatic beta cell tumors. Betacellulin is a 32-kilodalton glycoprotein that appears to be processed from a larger transmembrane precursor by proteolytic cleavage. The carboxyl-terminal domain of betacellulin has 50 percent sequence similarity with that of rat transforming growth factor alpha. Betacellulin is a potent mitogen for retinal pigment epithelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                June 2007
                20 June 2007
                : 221
                : 4
                : 244-250
                Department of Ophthalmology, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, PR China
                101926 Ophthalmologica 2007;221:244–250
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 6, References: 32, Pages: 7
                Original Paper


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