Modulation of endothelial cell proliferation and cell cycle progression by the "chemokine" platelet factor-4 (PF-4) was investigated. PF-4 inhibited DNA synthesis, as well as proliferation of endothelial cells derived from large and small blood vessels. Inhibition by PF-4 was independent of the type and the concentration of stimuli used for the induction of endothelial cell proliferation. Inhibition of cell growth by PF-4 was reversible. The effects of PF-4 were antagonized by heparin. Cell cycle analysis using [3H]thymidine pulse labeling during traverse of synchronous cells from G0/G1 to S phase revealed that addition of PF-4 during G1 phase completely abolished the entry of cells into S phase. In addition, PF-4 also inhibited DNA synthesis in cells that were already in S phase. In exponentially growing cells, addition of PF-4 resulted in an accumulation of > 70% of the cells in early S phase, as determined by FACS (Becton-Dickinson Immunocytometry Systems, Mountain View, CA). In cells synchronized in S phase by hydroxyurea and then released, addition of PF-4 promptly blocked further progression of DNA synthesis. These results demonstrate that in G0/G1-arrested cells, PF-4 inhibited entry of endothelial cells into S phase. More strikingly, our studies have revealed a unique mode of endothelial cell growth inhibition whereby PF-4 effectively blocked cell cycle progression during S phase.

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