Growth regulation of human melanocytes: mitogenic factors in extracts of melanoma, astrocytoma, and fibroblast cell lines

Science  06 Sep 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4717, pp. 984-986
DOI: 10.1126/science.4023718


Melanocytes derived from fetal or adult skin do not propagate in vitro unless cultured in the presence of factors such as 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate (TPA). In a search for physiological factors regulating the growth of melanocytes, extracts of various cultured cell types were tested. Factors produced by melanoma and astrocytoma cell lines support continued proliferation of melanocytes in the absence of TPA. WI-38, a fibroblast cell line derived from human embryonic lung, was the most active source of melanocyte growth factors. No melanocyte growth-promoting activity was found in extracts of cultured neuroblastoma, renal cancer, normal keratinocytes, or renal epithelium. Nerve growth factor, epidermal growth factor, melanocyte-stimulating hormone, transforming growth factor-beta, and platelet-derived growth factor did not have growth-promoting activity for melanocytes. The presence of melanocyte growth factors and TPA together resulted in the strongest mitogenic activity for melanocytes, permitting the recovery (at 20 days) of 4 to 20 times as many cells as in growth factor or TPA alone.