Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and type beta transforming growth factor (TGF beta) are potent modulators of proliferation and differentiation in many types of cells. TGF beta acts in an autocrine manner, and the regulation of TGF beta gene expression is one of the crucial events in the control of cellular functions. This study examines FGF regulation of TGF beta 1 gene expression in osteoblast-like cells. Bovine basic FGF (bFGF) increased the steady-state level of 2.5-kb TGF beta 1 mRNA two- to threefold in rat osteosarcoma (ROS17/2.8) cells in a dose-dependent manner, starting at 0.1 ng/ml. The increase of the message was detectable within 3 h after the addition of bFGF, peaked at 6 h, and lasted at least up to 48 h. This effect was blocked by a protein kinase inhibitor, K252a, indicating the involvement of phosphorylation. bFGF increased the rate of TGF beta 1 gene transcription estimated by nuclear run-on assay, while the stability of TGF beta 1 mRNA was not altered. bFGF increased the TGF beta activity in the conditioned media, estimated by DNA synthesis inhibition assay using mink lung epithelial (CCL-64) cells. Parathyroid hormone reduced the abundance of TGF beta 1 mRNA in ROsS17/2.8 cells and opposed the bFGF effect on TGF beta 1 mRNA. bFGF also increased the steady-state level of TGF beta 1 mRNA in mouse calvaria-derived MC3T3E1 and human osteosarcoma SaOS-2 cells. These findings indicate that FGF enhances the expression of TGF beta 1 gene in osteoblast-like cells and point to the tight relationship of the two growth factors involved in the control of cellular functions.

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