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Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) induces different responses in lens epithelial cells depending on its concentration
J.W. McAvoy, C.G. Chamberlain


We reported previously that epithelial cells in explants from neonatal rat lenses, when cultured in the presence of fibroblast growth factor (FGF), showed increased proliferation, cell migration and fibre differentiation; moreover, fibre differentiation in response to the basic form of FGF (bFGF) was virtually completely blocked by an anti-bFGF antibody. In the present study, we report a detailed analysis of the effects of bFGF on cells in the central region of lens epithelial explants. Proliferation in explants was assessed by measuring [3H]thymidine incorporation. Cell migration was measured by labelling cells in explants with fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-dextran and monitoring them by UV fluorescence microscopy. Fibre differentiation in explants was assessed on the basis of beta-crystallin accumulation. This study showed that half maximal activities for the three responses, proliferation, migration and fibre differentiation, were achieved at different concentrations of bFGF, namely, 0.15, 3 and 40 ng ml-1, respectively. Thus, the response of lens epithelial cells to bFGF varied qualitatively, as well as quantitatively, as the concentration increased. Monitoring FITC-dextran injection cells for up to 5 days after exposure to bFGF allowed analysis of the interrelation between various responses to bFGF in individual cells. As expected some cells divided in response to FGF, mainly within the first three days. However, whether or not they divided, all labelled cells responded to FGF by migrating and elongating. Maximal migration occurred during the first day of culture and maximal elongation was achieved by day 4.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)