Published in Volume
99, Issue 5
(March 1, 1997)J Clin Invest.
1997, The American Society for
Heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor is an autocrine growth factor for human urothelial cells and is synthesized by epithelial and smooth muscle cells in the human bladder.
Urology Research, Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA. email@example.com
Published March 1, 1997
The epidermal growth factor receptor (HER1) has been implicated in regenerative growth and proliferative diseases of the human bladder epithelium (urothelium), however a cognate HER1 ligand that can act as a growth factor for normal human urothelial cells (HUC) has not been identified. Here we show that heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF), an activating HER1 ligand, is an autocrine regulator of HUC growth. This conclusion is based on demonstration of HB-EGF synthesis and secretion by primary culture HUC, identification of HER1 as an activatable HB-EGF receptor on HUC surfaces, stimulation of HUC clonal growth by HB-EGF, inhibition of HB-EGF-stimulated growth by heparin and of log-phase growth by CRM 197, a specific inhibitor of HB-EGF/HER1 interaction, and identification of human urothelium as a site of HB-EGF precursor (proHB-EGF) synthesis in vivo. ProHB-EGF expression was also detected in the vascular and detrusor smooth muscle of the human bladder. These data suggest a physiologic role for HB-EGF in the regulation of urothelial proliferation and regeneration subsequent to mucosal injury. Expression of proHB-EGF is also a feature of differentiated vascular and detrusor smooth muscle in the bladder. Because proHB-EGF is known to be the high affinity diphtheria toxin (DT) receptor in human cells, synthesis of the HB-EGF precursor by human urothelium also suggests the possibility of using the DT-binding sites of proHB-EGF as an in vivo target for the intraluminal treatment of urothelial diseases.