The levels of endogenous basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) in seven clones of cultured bovine capillary endothelial (BCE) cells were assayed, and their relation to cell morphology, bFGF receptor number, cell migration, amniotic membrane invasivity, and proteinase levels were studied. Immunoblotting experiments with anti-bFGF IgG demonstrated that cells from these clones contained different amounts of bFGF. The cells containing high levels of bFGF had a spindle or elongated appearance at confluence and a low number of high affinity receptors for bFGF. The cells containing low levels of bFGF had a cobblestone-like appearance and a higher number of high affinity receptors. When exposed to 10 ng/ml bFGF, cells containing a low level of bFGF took on an elongated appearance with a crisscross pattern similar to that seen with the high producer bFGF cells. The endogenous bFGF levels of the BCE cell clones correlated with the extent of cell migration after wounding of a monolayer and the degree of invasion of the human amniotic membrane. Cells from the clone with the highest endogenous bFGF level migrated well, invaded the amnion membrane without the addition of exogenous bFGF, and were relatively unaffected by the addition of bFGF. Cells from the clone containing the lowest level of bFGF did not migrate or invade under normal conditions. However, the addition of bFGF to the culture medium strongly enhanced both of these processes. The inclusion of anti-bFGF IgG in the media suppressed cell migration and invasion. The plasminogen activator (PA) activities of cell lysates of the clones, assayed by the 125I-fibrin plate technique, indicated that the PA levels did not correlate with the bFGF levels. Metalloproteinase activities in the conditioned medium, assayed by gelatin zymography, correlated with the endogenous bFGF levels, suggesting that the degree of expression of metalloproteinases might be critical for cell migration and invasion. These data suggest that endogenous bFGF may have an important role for migration and invasion of BCE cells during neovascularization via the induction and/or activation of specific metalloproteinases.

This content is only available as a PDF.