Wound macrophages express TGF-alpha and other growth factors in vivo: analysis by mRNA phenotyping

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Science  05 Aug 1988:
Vol. 241, Issue 4866, pp. 708-712
DOI: 10.1126/science.3041594


The presence of macrophages is required for the regeneration of many cell types during wound healing. Macrophages have been reported to express a wide range of mitogenic factors and cytokines, but none of these factors has been shown in vivo to sustain all the wound-healing processes. It has been suggested that transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) may mediate angiogenesis, epidermal regrowth, and formation of granulation tissue in vivo. Macrophages isolated from a wound site, and not exposed to cell culture conditions, expressed messenger RNA transcripts for TGF-alpha, TGF-beta, platelet-derived growth factor A-chain, and insulin-like growth factor-1. The expression of these transcripts was determined by a novel method for RNA analysis in which low numbers of mouse macrophages were isolated from wound cylinders, their RNA was purified and reverse-transcribed, and the complementary DNA was amplified in a polymerase chain reaction primed with growth factor sequence-specific primers. This single-cell RNA phenotyping procedure is rapid and has the potential for quantification, and mRNA transcripts from a single cell or a few cells can be unambiguously demonstrated, with the simultaneous analysis of several mRNA species. Macrophages from wounds expressed TGF-alpha antigen, and wound fluids contained TGF-alpha. Elicited macrophages in culture also expressed TGF-alpha transcripts and polypeptide in a time-dependent manner after stimulation with modified low-density lipoproteins and lipopolysaccharide endotoxin, which are characteristic of the activators found in injured tissues.

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