Treatment of sparse, proliferating cultures of 3T3 cells with medium conditioned by exposure to density-inhibited 3T3 cultures resulted in an inhibition of growth and division in the target cells when compared to similar treatment with unconditioned medium. This growth inhibitory activity was fractionated by ammonium sulfate precipitation and gel filtration, yielding one fraction that was 35-fold enriched in specific activity. Analysis of the chemical and biological properties of this highly active fraction indicated that: (a) it is an endogenous cell product, synthesized by the 3T3 cells and shed into the medium; (b) it is a protein and its activity is sensitive to treatment with pronase; (c) the constituent polypeptide chains have molecular weights of 10,000 and 13,000; and (d) it is not cytotoxic and its effect on target cells are reversible. These results suggest that we have partially purified from conditioned medium an endogenous growth regulatory factor that may play a role in density-dependent inhibition of growth in cultured fibroblasts. We propose the term Fibroblast Growth Regulator to describe this class of molecules.

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