Chemotaxis assays in modified Boyden chambers were used to detect fibroblast chemoattractants in materials released from early-stage inflammatory cells, namely, mast cells, platelets, and neutrophils. Strong attractant activity was found in substances released from platelets. This activity was accounted for mainly by the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), which is released from the platelets and which was active as a chemoattractant at 0.5-1.0 mitogenic units/ml. The mitogenic activity of purified PDGF, measured by [3H]thymidine incorporation, occurs at a similar concentration range. By varying the gradient of PDGF, we demonstrated that PDGF stimulates chemotaxis rather than random motility. Preincubation of suspensions of fibroblasts in the presence of PDGF decreased the subsequent migration of cells to a gradient of PDGF as well as to a gradient of fibronectin, which is also in attractant for fibroblasts. The chemotactic response of fibroblasts to PDGF was not inhibited by hydroxyurea or azidocytidine but was inhibited by actinomycin D and cycloheximide, suggesting that synthesis of RNA and proteins but not of DNA is required for the chemotactic response to occur. Fibroblast growth factor, epidermal growth factor, nerve growth factor, and insulin were not chemotactic for human skin fibroblasts, suggesting that the chemoattractant activity of PDGF for fibroblasts is not a general property of growth factors and mitogens. These results suggest that PDGF could have two functions in wound healing: to attract fibroblasts to migrate into the clot and then to induce their proliferation.

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