Embryonic mouse kidneys induce angiogenesis when transplanted on the quail chorioallantoic membrane (Ekblom, P., H. Sariola, M. Karkinen, and L. Saxén, 1982, Cell Differ., 11:35-39). In these experiments all blood vessels were derived from the quail host, suggesting that kidney endothelium is derived from outside blood vessels. We have now analyzed whether kidney angiogenesis is regulated by kidney-derived soluble factors that stimulate the growth of new blood vessels. In the rabbit cornea, 11-d embryonic kidneys induced angiogenesis, whereas uninduced 11-d kidney mesenchymes did not. To characterize and purify this activity from an embryonic organ, we dissected between 600 and 1,000 14-17-d-old embryonic mouse kidneys for each purification experiment. Growth factor activity for capillary endothelial cells was found to bind to heparin-Sepharose and eluted at 0.9-1.1 M sodium chloride. Gel filtration revealed a molecular weight of 16,000-20,000 of this factor. A major 18,000-mol-wt band was seen after gel electrophoresis and silver staining of partially purified growth factor material. The chromatographed factor is mitogenic for endothelial cells but not for smooth muscle cells and stimulates angiogenesis in vivo in the rabbit cornea. Adult kidneys contained two heparin-binding endothelial cell growth factors. The differentiation-dependent production of an angiogenesis factor by the embryonic kidney suggests an important role of angiogenesis in organogenesis.

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