Walker ascites tumor cells and an extract derived from such cells (tumor angiogenesis factor, TAF) were injected into the subcutaneous tissue of rats by using a dorsal air sac technique. At intervals thereafter, thymidine-3H was injected into the air sac and the tissues were examined by autoradiography and electron microscopy. Autoradiographs of 1µ thick Epon sections showed thymidine-3H labeling in endothelial cells of small vessels 1–3 mm from the site of implantation, as early as 6–8 hr after exposure to live tumor cells At this time interval endothelial cells appeared histologically normal. DNA synthesis by endothelium subsequently increased and within 48 hr new blood vessel formation was detected. The presence of thymidine-3H-labeled endothelial nuclei, endothelial mitoses, and regenerating-type endothelium was confirmed by electron microscopy. TAF also induced neovascularization and endothelial cell DNA synthesis after 48 hr. A similar response was not evoked in saline controls. Formic acid, which elicited a more intense inflammatory response, was associated with less endothelial labeling and neovascularization at the times studied. Pericytes and other connective tissue cells were also stimulated by live tumor cells and TAF. The mechanism of new blood vessel formation induced by tumors is still unknown but our findings argue against cytoplasmic contact or nonspecific inflammation as prerequisites for tumor angiogenesis.

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