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Abstract

In previous experiments (Grotendorst et al, 1981), we showed that platelet-derived growth factor promotes the migration of smooth muscle cells in vitro. Using a “checkerboard” analysis, we now establish that platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) acts as a true chemoattractant for cultured aortic smooth muscle cells. Other growth factors such as epidermal growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, and insulin are not chemoattractants. The chemotactic response occurs before the initiation of DNA synthesis and is not affected by inhibition of DNA synthesis. Chemotaxis occurs at levels of PDGF lower than required for mitogenesis. RNA and protein synthesis are required for the chemotactic response. As found previously in bacteria and leucocytes, we find that methylation reactions are required for the chemotactic response. The possibility is discussed that PDGF acts in vivo at sites of vascular injury to attract smooth muscle cells from the medial layer to the luminal surface, and is involved in the early stages of the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.