Mechanism of action of the migration stimulating factor produced by fetal and cancer patient fibroblasts: effect on hyaluronic and synthesis

S L Schor, A M Schor, A M Grey, J Chen, G Rushton, M E Grant, I Ellis

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We have previously demonstrated that confluent fetal fibroblasts migrate into three-dimensional collagen gels to a significantly greater extent than their normal adult counterparts. Recent studies have revealed that this behavioral difference results from the secretion by fetal fibroblasts of a soluble migration-stimulating factor (MSF) which acts on these cells in an autocrine fashion. Adult fibroblasts do not produce MSF but remain responsive to it. Skin fibroblasts from cancer patients resemble fetal fibroblasts (rather than normal adult cells) with respect to their migratory behavior on collagen gels and continued production of MSF. This communication is concerned with elucidating the biochemical basis of MSF activity. Data are presented indicating that a) hyaluronic acid is required for the elevated migratory activity displayed by confluent fetal and breast cancer patient skin fibroblast; b) adult fibroblasts exhibit a bell-shaped dose-response to MSF, with maximal stimulation of migration observed at a concentration of 10 ng/ml; c) the migratory activity of adult fibroblasts pre-incubated with MSF remains high in the absence of additional factor: and d) MSF affects both the quantity and size class distribution of hyaluronic acid synthesized by adult fibroblasts. We have previously speculated that the persistent fetal-like fibroblasts of breast cancer patients play a direct role in disease pathogenesis by perturbing normal epithelial-mesenchymal interactions. The observations reported here suggest that MSF-induced alterations in hyaluronic acid synthesis may contribute to the molecular basis of such perturbations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-46
Number of pages10
JournalIn Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1989


  • Cell Line
  • Cell Movement/drug effects
  • Child
  • Chondroitinases and Chondroitin Lyases/pharmacology
  • Culture Media/pharmacology
  • Cytokines/metabolism
  • Epithelium/metabolism
  • Female
  • Fetus/cytology
  • Fibroblasts/metabolism
  • Fibronectins
  • Glycosaminoglycans/metabolism
  • Heparin Lyase
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid/metabolism
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase/pharmacology
  • Lymphokines/metabolism
  • Male
  • Mesoderm/metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysaccharide-Lyases/pharmacology


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