, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 205-216

The importance of cell density in the interpretation of growth factor effects on collagenase IV activity release and extracellular matrix production from C6 astrocytoma cells

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We have examined the influence of basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) on the release of collagenase type IV activity and the production of extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules using C6 astrocytoma cells in monolayer culture. Collagenase type IV activity was significantly increased in a dose dependent manner in the low cell density group by treatment with FGF-2 and VEGF but significantly decreased in a dose dependent fashion in the high cell density group. These results were corroborated using Western blot technique with an antibody to gelatinase A. Addition of exogenous laminin and fibronectin to the media decreased collagenase type IV activity in a dose dependent fashion with the minimum concentration of 0.1 μg/ml. Laminin and fibronectin reached a concentration of 0.1 μg/ml in only the high cell density group after treatment with the growth factors tested. These findings indicate that C6 astrocytoma cells appear to have two regulatory mechanisms for collagenase type IV activity which are dependent on cell density. In a low cell density, C6 astrocytoma cells respond to the dominant effect of FGF-2 and VEGF by increasing the release of collagenase IV activity. In a high cell density collagenase type IV activity is decreased due to it's down regulation by released ECM molecules in response to FGF-2 and VEGF. These regulatory mechanisms may be crucial to the understanding of the coordination of tumor-associated angiogenesis by malignant glial cells.