A cell surface preparation from confluent endothelial cells can inhibit DNA synthesis of actively growing endothelial cells. The decrease in the rate of [3H]thymidine incorporation is concentration dependent and levels off at 47% of the control. The preparation has no affect on the growth of vascular smooth muscle cells. A similar preparation from smooth muscle cells does not show inhibitory activity with either endothelial or smooth muscle cells. The inhibition of growth can also be demonstrated by a decrease in thymidine index and growth rate. The inhibition is transient and after 48 h, the growth rate is similar to that of the control. In a wound edge assay, both migration and proliferation are inhibited. The inhibitory activity is partially labile to trypsin and abolished by pepsin, heating at 100 degrees C, or reduction. Cell surface iodination and analysis of the proteins removed by urea treatment by SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis show at least 11 bands with apparent molecular weights from 250,000 to 18,000. These radiolabeled proteins, as well as the active component of the cell surface preparation, are sedimentable at 100,000 g for 1 h. They are both solubilized in 30 mM octyl glucoside but not by treatment with 0.1 M sodium carbonate, pH 11.5. These results suggest that the activity is due to a cell-surface membrane fraction and may provide a basis for studying the mechanism of density-dependent inhibition of growth in a normal cell of defined origin.

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