Counteracting effects of dexamethasone and α2-macroglobulin on inhibition of proliferation of normal and neoplastic rat hepatocytes by transforming growth factors-β type 1 and type 2 Academic Article uri icon

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  • Primary cultures of hepatocytes isolated from normal F-344 rats or from F-344 rats with hepatocellular carcinomas generated by a 2-step model of chemical carcinogenesis were used to determine if dexamethasone (DEX) or alpha 2-macroglobulin (alpha 2M) modify the ability of transforming growth factors-beta type I (TGF-beta I) and type 2 (TGF-beta 2) to inhibit labelling index of hepatocytes cultured continuously with or without epidermal growth factor (EGF). Both TGF-beta 1 and beta 2 were equivalently potent inhibitors of S-phase DNA synthesis in normal and neoplastic hepatocytes as determined by 3H-thymidine autoradiography. Both DEX (1 to 100 microM) and alpha 2M (50-200 microM) partially counteracted the mito-inhibitory effect of both TGF-betas on the proliferation of normal and surrounding hepatocytes. In contrast, neoplastic hepatocytes cultured with DEX released much less immunoreactive alpha 2M and were less able to overcome the inhibitory effect of TGF-beta than normal or surrounding hepatocytes. Purified bovine alpha 2M partially counteracted the inhibition of TGF-beta 1 or beta 2 of both surrounding and neoplastic hepatocytes. Both DEX and alpha 2M were more effective against the mito-inhibitory activity of TGF-beta 2. Our data suggest that alpha 2M released by DEX-treated normal hepatocytes contributes to the counteraction of the TGF-beta effect by DEX. Our results support the hypothesis that glucocorticoids and growth-factor-binding proteins may have important roles in modulating the effects of TGF-beta on normal hepatocyte proliferation and suggest that under some conditions hepatocellular neoplasms can be more sensitive than normal hepatocytes to inhibition of proliferation by TGF-beta.


  • Wollenberg, GK
  • Lamarre, J
  • Semple, E
  • Farber, E
  • Gauldie, Jack
  • Hayes, MA

publication date

  • January 21, 1991