Abstract

Patients with Werner's syndrome, an autosomal recessive disorder, undergo an accelerated aging process that leads to premature death. Fibroblasts from such patients typically grow poorly in culture. Here it is shown that fibroblasts from a patient with Werner's syndrome have a markedly attenuated mitogenic response to platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF). In contrast, they have a full mitogenic response to fetal bovine serum. Both PDGF binding and receptor numbers per cell are unaltered. The Werner's syndrome cells express high constitutive levels of collagenase in vitro. Although PDGF enhances collagenase expression through increased levels of hybridizable collagenase messenger RNA in normal skin fibroblasts, no induction of collagenase occurs in the Werner's syndrome fibroblasts. Moreover, the failure to respond to this agonist effect of PDGF is not restored by fetal bovine serum. The data suggest that failure of one or more PDGF-mediated pathways in Werner's syndrome cells may contribute to the phenotypic expression of the disorder.

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