The role of basic fibroblast growth factor-(bFGF) induced proteinases in basement membrane (BM) invasion by bovine capillary endothelial (BCE) cells was studied using a quantitative in vitro assay previously described (Mignatti et al., 1986). 125I-iododeoxyuridine-labeled BCE cells were grown for 72 h on the human amnion BM, and cell invasion was determined by measuring the radioactivity associated with the tissue after removal of the noninvasive cell layer. BCE cells were noninvasive under normal conditions. Addition of human bFGF to either the BM or to the stromal aspect of the amnion induced BCE cell invasion with a dose-dependent response. This effect was maximal in the presence of 70 ng/ml bFGF, and was inhibited by anti-FGF antibody. Transforming growth factor beta, as well as plasmin inhibitors and anti-tissue type plasminogen activator antibody inhibited BCE cell invasion. The tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases, 1-10 phenanthroline, anti-type IV and anti-interstitial collagenase antibodies had the same effect. On the contrary, anti-stromelysin antibody and Eglin, an inhibitor of elastase, were ineffective. The results obtained show that both the plasminogen activator-plasmin system and specific collagenases are involved in the invasive process occurring during angiogenesis.

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